Independence within the Fashionable World. Wealthier, Happier, Fairer: Why Not Scotland? – Abstract

Independence within the Fashionable World. Wealthier, Happier, Fairer: Why Not Scotland? – Abstract


This paper units out an in depth evaluation of the UK’s efficiency throughout a variety of financial and social indicators relative to that of ten European nations: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Eire, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

It exhibits that the UK is already performing poorly and there’s a broad consensus that Brexit will result in an extra deterioration within the UK’s relative financial efficiency. Enhancing the economic system will subsequently turn into even tougher if Scotland stays tied to the under-performing UK mannequin.

What do these different nations have that Scotland doesn’t? They’ve considerably extra financial coverage autonomy and a a lot higher means to tailor insurance policies to their very own particular circumstances. The proof factors to independence broadening the coverage choices obtainable to deal with areas of relative under-performance and to profit from Scotland’s potential.

The paper discusses how different nations use the total powers of independence, and, in doing so, describes the extra choices that might turn into obtainable to an impartial Scotland.

The complete powers of independence will not assure success – however will enhance Scotland’s potential and put the levers of change within the palms of the Scottish individuals and the governments they vote for.

The paper:

  • Offers detailed proof to indicate {that a} comparator group of ten European nations out-performs the UK on a variety of measures.
  • Offers additional proof confirming the success – sustained over the long-term – of impartial European nations of Scotland’s measurement relative to the UK (and different nations).
  • Discusses the insurance policies, mechanisms and establishments underpinning the success of the comparator group and the way these may affect an impartial Scotland’s method to financial and social improvement. The proof means that the total powers of independence are mandatory for Scotland to fulfil its potential.
  • Offers the context for forthcoming papers within the prospectus collection by highlighting the alternatives that might be created by independence.
  • Highlights some particular insurance policies pursued with success by these nations that might be chosen by governments in an impartial Scotland.

Proof and Context

The paper presents 10 key info:

1. The comparator nations are wealthier – some considerably wealthier – than the UK

2. The comparator nations have maintained the wealth hole with the UK over time

3. Revenue inequality is decrease within the comparator nations

4. Poverty charges are decrease within the comparator nations

5. There are fewer kids residing in poverty in all of the comparator nations – and pensioner poverty is decrease in all other than Switzerland

6. The comparator nations have larger social mobility

7. Many of the comparator nations have a smaller gender pay hole

8. The comparator nations have larger productiveness – usually considerably larger – than the UK

9. Gross expenditure on analysis and improvement is larger in a lot of the comparator nations

10. Enterprise funding is larger in all of the comparator nations for which we now have knowledge, in most years

It then discusses the present financial context, presenting arguments to indicate that:

  • The established order now not presents stability and continuity
  • Relative to its European friends, the UK mannequin is more and more outmoded
  • The comparator nations of Scotland’s measurement have constantly out-performed the UK throughout a variety of financial and social indicators and
  • Scotland is well-positioned to study from the expertise of different nations and use the powers accruing via independence to enhance financial, social and environmental outcomes considerably

Scotland’s strengths: in lots of regards Scotland possesses related – or higher – pure useful resource endowments and intrinsic benefits to the comparator nations. Certainly, Scotland has a variety of property, specialisms and capabilities that stand it in good stead to maximise the alternatives of independence rapidly. Along with our huge pure and renewable vitality sources, these embody (however should not restricted to):

  • A powerful and globally recognised observe document of invention, innovation and studying
  • Robust enterprise sectors and a welcoming enterprise surroundings
  • Pure heritage and capital offering distinctive alternatives for tourism and underpinning a singular and recognised model, and
  • World class universities

Additional proof is introduced throughout 4 primary areas:

i) Macroeconomic outcomes: the comparator nations carry out nicely towards the UK on a variety of macroeconomic indicators akin to GDP per head, employment charges and debt and deficit as a share of GDP. They’ve benefitted from efficient financial and financial administration by credible establishments which has created the soundness on which these nations have constructed and sustained financial dynamism and social solidarity.

ii) Financial dynamism: the comparator nations have larger productiveness and enterprise funding, make investments extra in analysis and improvement and register extra patents per million of inhabitants. The comparator nations additionally are likely to carry out strongly throughout the varied world surveys of innovation and competitiveness e.g. the World Financial Discussion board’s World Competitiveness Report.

iii) Social solidarity and high quality of life: the comparator nations carry out significantly strongly throughout a variety of measures – they’ve decrease charges of poverty and earnings inequality and better charges of social mobility. The higher social outcomes achieved within the comparator nations are mirrored within the extra established surveys and indices of happiness and wellbeing such because the United Nations Human Growth Index and the OECD’s Higher Life Index on which all of the comparator group rating larger than the UK.

iv) labour market:The once more, the comparator nations carry out nicely throughout a variety of measures. Most have larger common wages; all have decrease prevalence of low pay; all have a decrease proportion of earnings accruing to the highest 1%; most have a narrower gender pay hole and fewer individuals vulnerable to in-work poverty.

Observe that not all of the comparator nations out-perform the UK on each indicator listed on this part. However the best-performing comparator nations carry out higher than the UK throughout many. And what actually distinguishes these nations is their means – sustained over the long run – to marry financial dynamism with deep social solidarity.


The paper then:

Assesses frequent components contributing to the relative success of the comparator nations. It notes that each one nationwide fashions differ to some extent and focuses on some frequent traits shared throughout most of comparator nations. These embody:

  • Extra universalistic social safety regimes, together with extra beneficiant out of labor advantages
  • More practical labour market insurance policies together with considerably larger funding in coaching/reskilling
  • Prime quality enterprise areas
  • Efficient social partnership – cooperative relationships between enterprise, labour and authorities in pursuit of shared targets, and
  • Extra progressive types of possession and governance e.g. larger prevalence of cooperatives and mutual

Discusses components serving to to clarify the UK’s relative poor outcomes:

  • Brief-termism/company governance – the UK has a definite method with detrimental outcomes when it comes to productiveness, funding and inequality
  • Inconsistent industrial coverage – characterised by a scarcity of dedication, weak establishments and a number of co-ordination failures
  • Deregulation – facilitating ‘low highway’ approaches to competitiveness via price minimisation and work intensification slightly than ‘excessive highway’ approaches primarily based on affected person funding and higher concentrate on expertise formation/utilisation
  • Labour market inequality – a comparatively excessive proportion of each low wage staff and really excessive earners
  • De-institutionalisation – the UK additionally has few of the deliberative and co-ordinating establishments frequent in Europe’s co-ordinated market economies

Highlights some particular approaches/initiatives which might be attribute of the comparator nation fashions – the paper discusses:

  • Sweden’s Job Safety Councils – a social accomplice led initiative to help staff vulnerable to redundancy retrain for brand new alternatives
  • The Danish Disruption Council – a joint endeavour between Authorities, enterprise, unions and academia to make sure the Danish mannequin evolves to fulfill the technological challenges of the twenty first century
  • Danish Industrial Foundations – Denmark has excessive prevalence of this distinct type of possession related to a variety of constructive outcomes


  • An impartial Scotland couldn’t be remodeled to match the success of the comparator nations in a single day.
  • Nonetheless, what is obvious from the proof introduced on this paper is that dependency on decision-making by UK Governments has led to outcomes that fail to match Scotland’s potential, and with the injury of Brexit, will the truth is imply Scotland discovering it ever tougher to realize that potential each within the brief and lengthy phrases.
  • No two nationwide fashions are the identical. A key lesson from the experiences of the nations thought of above is that fashions evolve to replicate nationwide circumstances, particular challenges, cultures, traditions and institutional legacies.
  • Nations of an identical measurement are attaining higher outcomes than Scotland is ready to obtain as a part of the UK. These nations function working examples of the probabilities for and choices obtainable to an impartial Scotland.
  • The proof additionally means that the total powers of independence are mandatory to construct a profitable mannequin through which deep social solidarity and financial dynamism turn into mutually-reinforcing.
  • There’ll in fact be a variety of views about exactly how and whether or not progress in Scotland with these full powers will be achieved. Independence by itself is not going to assure improved efficiency: that will probably be decided by the standard of decision-making. The Constructing a brand new Scotland collection will set out the Scottish Authorities’s proposals and we look ahead to a nationwide debate about how as an impartial nation we are able to create a wealthier, happier and fairer Scotland.


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