By B. W. E. Alford
The talk over "Britain in decline" nonetheless rages within the educational, political and public spheres. during this concise undergraduate publication, B.W.E. Alford examines Britain's fiscal improvement inside of a framework of political, social and cultural components, together with subject matters reminiscent of the alleged strategy of deindustrialization, the function of sterling, hard work kin and the impression of presidency coverage. Professor Alford presents a transparent and crucial advent to the topic, but indicates how advanced and deep-rooted are the factors of the "British Disease."
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Extra resources for British Economic Performance 1945-1975 (New Studies in Economic and Social History)
Analyses of a number of them have drawn attention to government constraints on investment through holding down prices [Ashworth, 1986], imposing unfavourable borrowing terms and, in some cases, outright refusal to sanction borrowing [Pryke, 1981]. But it is difficult to see these factors as amounting to an absolute restriction when put against the equally well recorded government support for overcapacity and inefficient working. In sum, the general impression to be gained from the literature is that industrial profits were slimmed over the period, but by nothing like as much as bald balance sheet figures suggest, and that an easing in the cost of finance over the 1960s was followed by a hardening in the early 1970s.
For the Treasury this presented a golden opportunity to recover its traditional dominance which it had lost during the war. The danger to be avoided was inflation. Hence the emphasis was on orthodoxy and sound finance rather than on theory. In this sense, Keynes's General Theory may well be regarded as self-defeating in terms of its impact on political economy. Many of the prescriptions were congenial to the tight hand and narrow intelligence of the Treasury because they laid stress on fiscal policy and underwrote macroeconomic adjustment as against any form of microeconomic planning or direction.
The fact that important elements in the Labour Party were thinking in these terms marked a major shift from the ideals expressed in the party's 1945 election manifesto, Let Us Face The Fmure: '[we shall] plan from the ground up, giving an appropriate place to constructive enterprise and private endeavour in the national plan'. Such ideals were grandiose both in their conception and in relation to the practicalities of post-war reconstruction. But the idea of the mixed economy was hardly less grandiose.