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The Conservatives and Industrial Efficiency, 1951-1964

Thirteen Wasted Years?

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The Conservatives and Industrial Efficiency, 1951-1964 by Nick Tiratsoo
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It is widely recognized that Britain's relative economic growth has slowed drastically since the end of the Second World War. The 1950s are often seen as the significant decade in this respect, when a strong government could have checked economic underperformance in its earliest stages. However, in 1964 Labour alleged that the Conservative government had sorely failed to do just this and had led the nation through thirteen wasted years. Many commentators have agreed with such judgements, yet until now their views have been subject to little serious empirical scrutiny. The Conservatives and Industrial Efficiency , 1951 1964 responds to the need for a full assessment of the Conservatives performance in this crucial period. Drawing upon a wide range of archival sources, Nick Tiratsoo and Jim Tomlinson explore the different aspects of the efficiency question. Beginning with the major issue of attempts in the 1950s to Americanise British industry, the authors also discuss Conservative policy on competition, education and training, investment and research and development. This new survey reveals that the Conservatives were informed about each of these issues, yet shrank from effective reform. They were, rather, reduced to inertia by ideological dilemmas, internal party antagonisms and conflicting strategic objectives. Tiratsoo and Tomlinson conclude that 19511964 were indeed thirteen wasted years. The Conservatives and Idustrial Efficiency, 1951-1964 will be of interest to all those concerned with the post-1945 economic and political history of Britain. The wealth of archival material brought together by Tiratsoo and Tomlinson and the quality of their analysis lays a vital foundation for further research into this important area.
Release date NZ
August 27th, 1998
14 Tables, black and white
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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