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A century of persistent dissatisfaction with Britain's economic performance can As Table 1 shows, Britain's growth performance has been the most stable of the.
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View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title Recent years have witnessed radical changes in British economic policy. Synopsis : Successive Conservative governments brought dramatic changes 0n the conduct of British economic policy. In his introduction the editor provides the background to these chapters by examining the theoretical basis of the different policy innovations and by exploring the analytical models appropria to the study of economic policy. It is clear, accessible and non-technical throughout. Buy New Learn more about this copy.

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About AbeBooks. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Search for all books with this author and title. Customers who bought this item also bought. Stock Image. Britain's Economic Miracle Nigel Healey. Published by Routledge In concrete terms this meant the development of a state-financed system of social security accessible to all citizens and state responsibility for the economy.

According to this theory, the state should be more active in introducing regulations and controls aimed at influencing prices and wages, rather than just implementing economic policy in an attempt to prevent recession. Within Keynesianism, full or high employment was made a primary objective. Since , the traditional Keynesian approach to macroeconomic policy had fallen from political favour. Monetarism was made an alternative to the post-war Keynesian orthodoxy. The Conservative government, which came to power under the leadership of Mrs Thatcher, was determined to make a complete break with the past in its management of the British economy.


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In contrast to Keynesian short-run demand policy, emphasis was placed on improving the long-run, supply-side performance of the economy. This policy is known as Thatcherism. The term came into use in the early s, pejoratively introduced by the journal Marxism Today, but given favourable connotations by N. Lawson, a high-powered financial journalist and later the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the second Thatcher administration.

In , when Labour came to power, the economic policy has been changed. However, the policy conducted by Labour differs from the traditional Keynesian policy.

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Blair, the leader of the Labour Party and the current Prime Minister. In the run-up to the election, G. Brown, the Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, committed the party to the traditional economic virtues of low inflation, a balanced budget, reducing the national debt — and not taxing and spending like Labour governments are supposed to. Labour, if elected, its leaders promised, would help set an economic framework — of low inflation, low taxes, flexible labour markets and modest public spending — to create the kind of incentives and stable expectations that are meant to encourage investment, entrepreneurialism and new business formation.

Brown, like N. Lawson, the Conservative Chancellor before him, is a supply-sider. This means that the focus of the government attention shifts from the total amount of demand on the economy — spending and investment — to the capacity of the economy to supply that demand without causing inflation.

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The government supply-side strategy is aimed at drawing those out of work into the labour market, thereby raising tax revenues and putting downward pressure on wages. I have long been convinced that the only successful basis for the conduct of economic policy is to seek the greatest practicable degree of market freedom within an over-arching framework of financial discipline to bear down on inflation. Post-war governments in Britain concentrated on improving living standards of the population and on re-establishing international economic competitiveness of the country.

One of the main features in economic policy of this period was nationalisation.

Britain's Economic Miracle: Myth or Reality?

Pursuing this policy, the Labour Party nationalised many key areas of the economy including public utilities, airlines, public transport and the steel industry. At the beginning of the s, the British population were enjoying a marked improvement in living standards. Successive governments, however, had failed to strengthen the British economy in the face of international competition.

This lack of competitiveness had led to a situation in which even key British exports to fading colonies were in decline. The years following the in the world economy were marked by downward tendencies. On the one hand, in ended the great post-war expansion, caused by the intensive exploitation of the new investment opportunities, which eventually led to their exhaustion.

On the other hand, economic slowdown was prompted by the OPEC oil price hikes in Although all the advanced countries had suffered from these events, the extend of the economic slide in Britain had been particularly remarkable.

The striking fact was not that the British economy showed no growth, but that its rate of growth was less than that of the most technologically advanced economy, the United States. Whereas Germany, Japan and France all significantly closed the technological gap between themselves and the United States, Britain failed to do so. Whereas the manufacturing sector grew at a 3.

Britain consistently failed to match the levels of productivity growth achieved in other countries. It was Keynesianism that was blamed by the Conservatives for the failure of governments to control inflation and the pursuit of targets for employment and growth by manipulating demand which had led periodically to unsustainable booms and accelerating inflation. As a counterbalance to the Keynesian agenda, the Conservatives re-developed a concept of monetarism, emphasising stabilisation policy. It rejected Keynesianism as a framework for policy, particularly the idea that policy-makers should try to manipulate the total level of demand in the economy or to try to strike a balance between inflation and unemployment, or the balance of payments and growth.

Among the most prominent developers of monetarism was American economist M. Fridmann who had done much to influence M. Thatcher after she came to power. Monetarism is first a specific doctrine about the causes of inflation — it argues that there is a link between the growth of the stock of money and the rate of increase in prices in the medium term.

Only when sound money has been restored can full employment and sustainable economic growth be achieved again. While the Labour Party continued to hold on to out-dated ideals about a welfare state, the Conservative Party moved away from it. It sought to apply a monetarist approach to the problem of managing the economy, making the control of inflation the primer target. Once inflation was under control, it was argued, employment would look after itself, aided by reforms on the supply side of the economy that would liberate private enterprise from a dead weight of state intervention and onerous taxation.

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The secret of success lay in teaching the markets, not least the labour market, that financial discipline would be maintained, come what may. If only a set amount of money was available, inflation would thereby be contained, and inflationary wage settlements would simply lead to particular groups of workers pricing themselves out of jobs, or particular employers pricing themselves out of business. Some fall in output, or rise in unemployment, had to be envisaged as part of a learning process; but a couple of years after the money supply had been cut back, inflation would duly fall.

It is worth dividing the Thatcher decade into 3 phases, as far as macroeconomic policy and performance are concerned.