GSF opinion piece by General Sir Richard Barrons KCB CBE – Beyond Shooting At Our Feet: UK Strategy For A Harder World

We are delighted to publish the fourth in our series of expert comment and analysis. As always, the views expressed are those of the author and not of GSF unless otherwise stated. The full version of Sir Richard’s latest article is now available to download: UK Strategy For A Harder World

One thought on “GSF opinion piece by General Sir Richard Barrons KCB CBE – Beyond Shooting At Our Feet: UK Strategy For A Harder World

  1. As mentioned previously both General Barrons’ pieces are interesting, relevant and perceptive.

    The mention of AI driven next generation manufacturing also known as Industrie 4.0 introduces the problem that manufacturing industry will no longer be tied to the location of sources of labour but will instead migrate to locations with cheap electricity, water, and real estate, that occur within a minimum level of security and logistics.

    The battles with the Million miners in the 1980s was about replacing the more expensive deep mined coal with the cheaper open cast Australian coal to give a lower cost per megawatt of electricity to keep manufacturing industry competitive.

    As the cost of solar and wind continues to plummet, manufacturing industry will be tempted to migrate to North Africa and other places with abundant sun and wind.

    This then causes two problems. Who collects the taxes on the output of those factories and how do the British investors who have built those factories continue to receive a return on their investment over the lifetime of the factory.

    Will the British Army return to their 19th century role of debt collector as for example Sir Garnet Wolsey in suppressing the Urabi revolt after the battle of Tel el Kebir?. Urabi had, as you recall, decided to refuse to repay the debts run up by the profligate Egyptian Khedive on ruinous terms in London and Paris.

    Such neocolonialism would not work given the higher levels of education and knowledge of the populations in Africa.

    For such highly automated factories and their logistics networks to work there will be a need to share some very sensitive cyber-security knowledge with the operators in Africa. The attack surface of the highly automated and reconfigurable factories and their logistics is very large and securing it is a challenging and very well paid activity.

    Quite what this does to the education sector in UK isn’t clear. Do we educate people for jobs which go overseas and pay the graduates some sort of Universal Basic Income, or do we train the vast numbers of intelligent and highly motivated young people in North, West and Sub Saharan Africa to do the jobs which migrate away?

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