THROUGHOUT our series of articles, the Scottish Banking & Finance Group has provided an overview of how, with our own currency, Scotland can take control of the economy through money creation by the government, working with the central bank, through taxation and by government “borrowing” which is actually a process of providing a safe place for citizens and businesses to save.

Unionists know independence will fail if we don’t have our own currency so focus instead on spreading fear about the Scottish currency being “weak” and about Scotland’s fiscal deficits and government debt being too high and unsustainable. This assumes that deficits are “bad”, which is plain nonsense economics. It is austerity which is bad. “Government debt” is not an issue at all since the borrowing will be in our own currency and mainly from the Scottish public.

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Now it is important to discuss what Scotland can do with these economic powers. The first issue is to decide what it is we want to do – what are the collective choices and priorities of the Scottish people? Making these choices democratically depends upon Scotland having a democratic constitution which gives the people a voice in deciding our future and ensuring our political institutions and processes deliver accountability from our elected leaders.

We will have to choose our priorities because we cannot do everything at once and cannot have everything we might like to have. We have to make choices because our human and physical resources are limited and the planet imposes limits on what is possible, too.

This means we have to develop an industrial strategy and have to think about trade – what we can produce ourselves with the resources we have and what we will need to acquire from others, either by accepting foreign investment in Scotland or by importing from elsewhere.

Let’s suppose Scotland chooses to make maximum effort to undertake and complete the transition to a zero-carbon economy in as short a time as possible. This will require the allocation of a very large proportion of our resources in order to build all the new infrastructure for a zero-carbon economy. This will inevitably mean diverting resources from other parts of the economy, and allocating capital accordingly.

To produce the things we need in order to live well, we may have to decide to bring in additional resources by accepting foreign investment and expertise from abroad. One example is electric vehicle production – while Scotland has high-value assets such as the Alexander Dennis bus company, which produces electric buses and fire engines, we do not currently have electric car manufacturing capacity.

Such capacity exists elsewhere – in the rUK and in Europe for example – so we will either have to trade (importing electric cars), build up our own domestic production capacity or invite overseas manufacturers to establish manufacturing here.

The National: The Alexander Dennis bus factory in Falkirk

Dennis was once a Scottish company but is now owned by NFI, a Canadian bus manufacturer. This means profits now flow out of Scotland. This is precisely the sort of company that should remain Scottish but achieving that requires capital to be made available from our domestic financial system.

We have witnessed similar foreign takeover of strategically important Scottish assets such as steel and aluminium production by Tata and then by Liberty Steel. Without capital being provided by our own financial sector Scotland will continue to see foreign takeover of the productive capacity we do have.

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Steel and aluminium are strategically important materials for our economy and production capacity must remain in Scottish ownership and “clean” manufacturing methods adopted, using electric foundry technologies. Again, domestic capital has to be allocated to allow this transition to happen.

We are currently witnessing the threat of closure and job losses at McVitie’s factory in Glasgow. This is a 200-year-old Scottish company that was part of the Scottish company United Biscuits, taken over in 2014 by a Turkish multinational Yildiz Holding (of which Pladis is a subsidiary).

Scotland simply cannot afford a food producer such as this to fall into foreign ownership and the fact that it did so is the result of the failure of our financial system to keep it in domestic ownership and instead seek short-term financial returns by facilitating the takeover.

Foreign investment in Scotland may be necessary where we lack capacity to produce priority infrastructure, goods and services but we really must avoid the capacity we do have being taken over by foreign companies. Making sure Scotland’s financial institutions provide the capital required to keep our companies and infrastructure in domestic ownership is a top priority for the reform of our banking and financial system.