The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain

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Overview

The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain is a comprehensive account of the economic history of Britain since 1700, based on the most up-to-date research. Roderick Floud and Paul Johnson have assembled well-known international scholars to produce a set of volumes which serve as a textbook for undergraduate students as well as an authoritative reference guide to the subject.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain has all the hallmarks of a mature textbook.' Economic History Review

'… these volumes are the best available economic history of modern Britain. They demonstrate not only the vitality of the subject but its fundamental importance and relevance.' History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521527378
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 572
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 1.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Roderick Floud has taught modern British history in the UK and the USA; his recent research has used information on human height and weight to explore changes in living standards and he is one of the founders of the sub-discipline of anthropometric history, summed up in The Changing Body (Cambridge University Press, 2011) which has been widely praised. He wrote the first textbook of quantitative methods for historians and has edited all four editions of The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain. Roderick has also written extensively on higher education policy and received a knighthood for services to higher education. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and an Academician of the Social Sciences. He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States and is currently Chair of the Social Sciences Committee of the European Science Foundation. He has recently embarked on a new research study of the economic history of British gardening.

Jane Humphries is Professor of Economic History at Oxford University where she teaches economic and social history at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Her research has ranged across many issues to do with growth and development. She has also published extensively on gender, the family and the history of women's work. Her recent Ranki prize-winning monograph, Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution, involves a bold and innovative use of working-class memoir, studied both quantitatively and qualitatively, a methodology that she is developing further in her current study of women and girls' experiences of industrialization. She presented the recent BBC4 documentary, 'The Children Who Built Victorian Britain', which was based on her work. Professor Humphries is a Fellow of All Souls College, an Academician of the Social Sciences and a Fellow of the British Academy.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Roderick Floud and Paul Johnson; 1. Accounting for the industrial revolution Joel Mokyr; 2. Industrial organisation and structure: families, institutions, risk and trust Pat Hudson; 3. British population during the 'long' eighteenth century, 1680–1840 E. A. Wrigley; 4. Agriculture during the industrial revolution Robert C. Allen; 5. Manufacturing and technological change Kristine Bruland; 6. Money, finance, and capital markets Stephen Quinn; 7. Trade: discovery, mercantilism and technology C. Knick Harley; 8. Government and the economy, 1688–1850 Ron Harris; 9. Household economy, 1688–1850 Jane Humphries; 10. Living standards and the urban environment Hans-Joachim Voth; 11. Transport Simon Ville; 12. Education and skill of the British labour force David Mitch; 13. Consumption in eighteenth century and early nineteenth-century Britain Maxine Berg; 14. Scotland T. M. Devine; 15. The extractive industries Roger Burt; 16. The industrial revolution in global perspective Stanley L. Engerman and Patrick K.O'Brien.

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  • Posted March 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Dull, dull, dull, but still, rightly, sees Thatcher as the disaster she was.

    Roderick Floud is Vice-Chancellor of London Metropolitan University, and Paul Johnson is Professor of Economic History at the London School of Economics, so it is no surprise that this is a very safe book. There are 14 contributors from Britain and one each from Canada, Japan and the USA.

    The first chapter is on the wartime economy. Each of the other 14 looks at an aspect of the economy from 1945 to 2000 - growth, manufacturing, state ownership of industry, education, monetary policy, financial services, economic policy, living standards, services, the EU's impact, technology, regional policy, fiscal policy and industrial relations.

    It is clear, even from this conventional set of readings, how destructive Thatcherism has been. Between 1949 and 1973, the economy grew by 3% a year; between 1973 and 2000, by only 2.3% a year. Britain has had the biggest deindustrialisation of any advanced industrial nation, because the ruling class has refused to invest in manufacturing. Thatcher's liberalisation of finance capital forced firms to maximise their financial returns at the expense of industrial investment.

    Thatcher cut government R&D, supposedly to boost private R&D and investment, but actually to cut them both. Britain has for decades underinvested in education and training. By contrast, Germany has comprehensive post-16 vocational training and extended its industrial apprenticeship system into services. Thatcher embraced the EU in order to promote the free market, and the EU duly gave us low growth and high unemployment. Her attack on trade unions caused income inequalities to grow: the richest 1%'s share of total income went from 5% in 1980 to 10% in 1998.

    The book ignores what a far more gifted writer noted over a century ago: "increasing concentration of wealth, rapid elimination of small and medium-sized enterprises, progressive limitation of competition, incessant technological progress accompanied by an ever-growing importance of fixed capital, and last but not least the undiminishing amplitude of recurrent business cycles."

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