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The ingredient crucial to success


Will a Russian bear with a stick beat you up?
He doesn't have to. He'll just eat you.

The American head of TNK-BP has fled Russia as "another Kremlin-backed forced expropriation" occurs. No doubt this looks like a success to the Kremlin, but according to Roger Scruton this is not the way long-term achievements are built.

Take, for example, the economic success of the City of London. Scruton explains why it occurred -

The City of London had grown during the Middle Ages as a unique self-governing venture, with its own rules and customs, under the protection of the trade guilds (or livery companies), and administered by its own mayor and aldermen. Its independence from the state and the court was symbolised by its geographical separation from the city of Westminster, and it has had a continuous history of resistance to the high-handedness of sovereigns and their favourites. . .Its most important financial institutions - such as the Bank of England, Lloyd's, the merchant banks and the Baltic Exchange - began life as private ventures, outside the control of the state, and subject only to the law of the land. But they were not founded simply with a view to short-term gain. . .

The City was successful because -

. . .'My Word is my Bond' - was the unspoken motto of the City. There were cheats and scoundrels; but until recent times these were the exception, and their activities were systematically marginalised by the honest houses which formed the central conduit of the City's affairs. English commerce in general, and the City in particular, were vivid illustrations of the thesis defended in recent years by Francis Fukuyama, that trust is an integral component of economic success. All long-term enterprise and all creative risk-taking depend upon an element of trust; and as the network of mutually trusting businesses expands, so does the wealth of each of them.

Dasvidanya, Russia.

Comments (1)

The Bear & Staff shown on the pub sign come from the arms of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick. He was the richest, most powerful man in England in the 15th Century and was so influential in royal circles that he was nicknamed the Kingmaker. He ruthlessly married off his daughters for political advantage but his machinations caught up with him eventually and he was killed at the Battle of Barnet.

A descendent, Robert Dudley, became a favourite with Elizabeth I and speculation has it that she would have married him had the political situation allowed. He too had the bear and (ragged)staff on his coat of arms.

The pub name perhaps arose as a reminder of one of these men.

Elaine Saunders
Author: A Book About Pub Names

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