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Building Scotland’s future now: A new approach to financing public investment

Overview —

A proposal to build a public-owned Scottish National Infrastructure Company to manage public investment and local procurement.

Credits—

Iain Cairns

Christine Cooper

Andrew Watterson

Ben Wray

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Investment has become a dirty word in the era of ‘investment banking’. Investment banking is widely considered to be one of the causes of the 2008 financial crash (Varoufakis, 2015). When bankers talk about investing, they mean short-term speculation on stocks, bonds or other complex financial derivatives. That is, a form of trading (or, more accurately, gambling) that contributes nothing to the ‘real’ economy.

Reclaiming investment is a necessary task. The value in the concept of investment is that it is exactly the opposite of the sort of speculative, short-termism in economic thinking that dominates the minds of ‘investment’ bankers.

KEY POINTS

― In doing so, we believe there are three key principles which a Scottish Government approach to public investment should follow:

― Public investment should prioritise socially and environmentally useful projects.

― Public investment should not subsidise corporate failure.

― Public investment should prioritise areas of the economy that have positive ‘multiplier effects’; childcare would be one example of this.

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