The introduction explains the context of the book and examines data on UK manufacturing, showing how badly our engineering has fared compared with international competitors – especially Germany.
Having worked within the UK engineering industry for many years and chaired 15 companies, including stock market quoted, private equity backed, and university spin offs, Tom Brown offers a unique insight into the challenges facing engineering companies, as well as the impact this has on the economy, people’s working lives, and society. Tragedy & Challenge will appeal to readers interested in economics and politics, business management, investing, and our changing society – including those who enjoyed Evan Davis’s Made in Britain and Peter Marsh’s The New Industrial Revolution. This book examines existing data on UK manufacturing in order to demonstrate how badly our engineering has fared compared with international competitors, especially Germany. The author also recounts his varied early experiences in the industry from night shift manager to Managing Director and the life-changing lessons he gained from working in a German-speaking company. Tragedy & Challenge analyses the causes of the decline in UK engineering, considering its poor leadership, original analysis of the detrimental effects of government economic policy, and the destructive influence of the City including an insider’s uninhibited view of fund managers, analysts, and private equity. Tom Brown concludes that, while some decline was inevitable due to global factors, the example of Germany shows it did not need to be nearly so precipitate; some responsibility lies with management and unions, but ultimately poor governments, the City, and decaying social attitudes were to blame, and now Brexit makes the prognosis even more daunting.