The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain

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A new edition of the leading textbook on the economic history of Britain since industrialisation. Leading historians and economists examine the foundational importance of economic life in modern Britain as well as the close interconnections between economic, social, political and cultural change. Each chapter provides a clear guide to the major controversies in the field and students are shown how to connect historical evidence with economic theory and how to apply quantitative methods. Volume 2, on 1870 to the present, tracks the development of the British economy from late nineteenth-century global dominance to its early twenty-first-century position as a mid-sized player in an integrated European economy. The chapters re-examine issues of Britain's relative economic growth and decline over the 'long' twentieth century, setting the British experience within an international context, and benchmark its performance against that of its European and global competitors.

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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: 9780521527385
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 490
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 1.26 (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

1. Economic growth during the long twentieth century Nicholas Crafts; 2. From empire to Europe: Britain in the world economy Kevin O'Rourke; 3. Population, migration and labour supply Tim Hatton; 4. Health and welfare Bernard Harris; 5. Income and living standards Ian Gazeley; 6. Technology, innovation and economic growth Tom Nicholas; 7. Consumption and affluence Avner Offer; 8. Cycles and depressions Matthias Morys; 9. The City and the corporate economy David Chambers; 10. Armaments and the economy Jari Eloranta; 11. The deindustrial revolution: the rise and fall of UK manufacturing, 1870–2010 Michael Kitson and Jonathan Michie; 12. The rise of the service sector Steve Broadberry; 13. The household economy Peter Scott; 14. Growth of the public sector Bob Millward; 15. Soft power: the media industries Gerben Bakker; 16. Sterling and monetary policy Catherine Schenk; 17. Economic policy and management Roger Middleton; 18. Economic ideas and ideology Roger Backhouse and Keith Tribe.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

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    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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