Last night's interesting BBC2 programme drew a contrast (back then) between England (where profits drove people to get together and innovate) and the dirigiste French state, where scientific research was controlled centrally and canals went where it suited the state rather than where players in the economy perceived it would benefit them.
No room for complacency now.
How much did the UK government spend on electric cars, again? That was another wrong call. Not only are they absurdly expensive, to judge by the US we'll see lorries running on shale gas first - saving, not costing money.
The contrast now would favour the USA, and countries like South Korea, against us.