What the Policy Exchange Got Wrong

Last weeks Policy Exchange report that wrote off cities in the North failed to take account of what really makes the difference to the success of any community – social capital.

The success of any community depends more on the intelligence, passion and co-operation of its people than on the abundance of its natural resources or its geographical position.

It depends more on its civic structures, the rules, norms, co-operation and reciprocity that enable individuals to support each other socially and economically, than the fertility of its soil.

It depends more on the freedom and ability of local people to invent and create than on the beauty of its countryside.

It is applied communal and individual intelligence, not natural resources, that separate successful communities from failing ones.

Only those communities that develop social conditions favourable to enterprise can prosper no matter what other natural resources that community has.

We also forget this lesson in much of our enterprise development work – the fact that enterprise is a social activity, a team sport and not an individual one.

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