An independent Scotland will have a unique combination of economic assets to build a prosperous and wealthy society.
Medium sized European nations like Norway, Sweden and Denmark are among the richest countries in the world well ahead of the UK. Scotland shares many similar features with medium sized nations.
As set out by Dominic Frisby, there are 5 areas that are crucial to developing a wealthy country in the 21st century.
Scotland has them all and with independence Scotland will have the powers to become better off.
1) Prosperity needs natural resources
Scotland is a resource rich country.
Scotland has vast fish stocks and a considerable agricultural output.
Scotland’s beautiful landscapes contribute to a thriving tourism sector.
There are very few countries in the world with such a diverse range of valuable natural resources.
2) Prosperity needs a skilled population
Scotland’s most valuable resource is its people.
With successful universities (5 in the world’s top 200) and colleges, Scotland has a capable and educated population by global standards.
These institutions produce high quality research and teaching. 40,000 international students come to Scotland to learn.
453,570 students in Scotland learn skills in services, tourism, the professions, engineering, construction and all other diverse areas across the economy. (238,805 in colleges and 214,765 in universities)
These skills mean people and companies in Scotland have advantages in key areas listed in point 4.
Investment in education is a long-term investment in the wealth of a community. In this area Scotland has a strong foundation to build on as an independent country.
3) Prosperity needs access to trading markets
Scotland is extremely well placed for trade in the 21st century.
Scotland is a member of the world’s biggest common trading market – the European Union. Scotland also has a strong trading relationship with the United States of America with £3.6 billion of exports.
Geographically Scotland is positioned between England and growth in the Arctic region. An independent Scotland will continue an open trading relationship with England and Ireland, while making the most of future opportunities.
China and Russia are both expanding their trading interests in the Arctic region. Scotland can benefit from the establishment of new trading and shipping routes to its North. This is a huge opportunity for Scotland, which can expand its global horizons with the full economic powers of independence. The work of Lateral North is a key example of this.
In terms of trade – in the EU, with the USA, with the rest of the UK and in the Arctic – Scotland is in a very strong position.
4) Prosperity needs excellent sectors and products
In the 21st century Scotland will compete on quality within the global economy.
Countries like China and India will produce the cheapest goods, so Scotland must focus on output that cannot be reproduced.
Fortunately Scotland already has a substantial number of globally renowned sectors and products that are popular in the global market.
Food and drink, chemicals and digital software technology are contribute to almost £100 billion in Scottish exports.
Scotland’s skills in areas such as oil platform decommissioning, life sciences (biological and medical), research and development, whisky, renewable energy projects, electronics, textile design, the games and film industry are competitive advantages in growth sectors.
This means that Scotland is the best place for this type of work and business. An independent Scotland can expand on this, especially within manufacturing and design.
5) Prosperity needs extensive financial services systems
Scotland has many institutions which can handle large scale financial projects, expansions and investments.
This is important for the opportunities and challenges for an independent country including borrowing on the international credit markets, negotiating and managing shares of national assets and liabilities, and constructing plans for investment, growth and innovation.
The ability of financial companies to manage investment projects remains a key mark of prosperity in the global economy.
Despite problems with elements of shadow banking, other financial services such as pensions management, investment funds and building societies remain at the centre of the economic system.
The likes of Aberdeen Asset Management, Standard Life and Baille Gifford all have big operations in Scotland, which deal with business across the world. Aberdeen Asset Management alone managed assets worth £350 billion as of March 2013, the largest of any fund manager in Europe.
For this reason, Scotland is a perfect financial environment to establish a national energy investment fund.
Conclusion: Prosperity needs independence
Scotland is almost unique in the developed world in having all the ingredients that contribute towards the creation of wealth and value. Other medium sized European countries have used their strengths to become prosperous, successful countries. So can Scotland.
Yet Scotland still lacks the final factor for economic success: self-government.
Independence means the people of Scotland will have their future in their hands. This means that decisions on tax, labour rights, migration, industrial policy, trade and investment and social security will be taken in Scotland’s interest.
Westminster isn’t working. But with independence Scotland will have access to its wealth and will have the powers to improve the economy and create more jobs.
That’s why an independent Scotland will be one of the world’s wealthiest nations.