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The 20th Century saw a massive structural change to the face of the Scottish economy.

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Introduction

The 20th Century saw a massive structural change to the face of the Scottish economy. The journey from the early 1900's where the Victorian inheritance of major industries like shipbuilding and construction of locomotives were dominant, to the rise and apparent demise of white collar industries in Scotland today has been a far from smooth one. At the turn of the 20th century the Scottish economy was somewhat unstable. The made to order capital investment products like the ships were over dependent on a healthy and thriving international market and quite simply if there were no orders then there were no jobs for the ordinary workers, no wages and so a poor standard of living and many times of uncertainty. This in turn had a knock on effect on Scotland's basic industries like coal, steel and textiles. The shipyards didn't need steel if they weren't building so the steel works had no market and in turn the ordinary labourer bore the brunt. Wages were already kept to a minimum as labour costs were the main deficit on the balance sheet. The companies, during lean times, had to keep costs low in order to deliver competitive quotes and this trend saw no sign of bucking as around 1910 only state help was keeping shipbuilding alive with almost all being produced at a loss despite low labour costs. In 1914 the First World War appeared, on the outside, to be a blessing in disguise for a floundering economy. ...read more.

Middle

A 'bloody fight to the death' was the pattern of this war and the Government recognised this but knew it faced major problems in convincing the ordinary people who had learned many harsh lessons from the last Great War. A new policy was abruptly drawn up and the Government took total control. Once again new life was breathed into all the heavy industries as the policy of a command economy took full swing with the government telling people where to go, what to eat and where to work and therefore stimulating the areas of the markets it wanted to revive and this dispelled their previous claim that they couldn't help. The success of the nation pulling together was rewarded with the eventual collapse of the Nazi's and the experts deployed to plot their downfall now returned to not only a heroes welcome but to new trades; the structural engineers, explosives experts and pilots all helped open up new opportunities for all in these fields. As part of the command economy the government introduced widespread nationalisation across the board. Banks, railways, steel, electricity, telephone and eventually shipbuilding were nationalised with most profits going straight into the treasuries purse and with almost all of Scotland's industries under these sectors it is here that it had the greatest impact. Other reforms promised pre war were not easy to implement, nor were they cheap. ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite all this Scotland's economy isn't actually in all that bad a shape in terms of job opportunities, with the growth of the service sector, electronics and insurance industries over the past twenty years Scotland now has just under the average UK household income and is by far not the worst off area. Scotland is now totally unrelient on the heavy industries and factories which now lie derelict and serve as a reminder of the Thatcher years but the disappearance of these areas of work has left its mark on the Scottish society, with many great divides now apparent within society. Unemployment now appears to be correlated to peoples post codes with areas such as Glasgow's Anniesland having 9.9% unemployment yet neighbouring district of Glasgow Kelvin only 1.1%� unemployment and this only serves to reinforce social divisions between the areas. Life expectancy, worryingly, also varies across even areas of Glasgow with residents of upmarket Bearsden expected to enjoy an extra seven years on people from nearby Drumchapel. There also seems now to be a discrimination against certain groups in society with single parents, pensioners and disabled making up a high proportion of the poor and with state benefits linked to the supposed 'cost of living' and not average income then the situation for these groups looks bleak for the foreseeable future. With these gaping divides continually growing it seems no one can really predict what the next 100 years holds for Scotland's economy. 1- figures from the Office of National Statistics 2000 2- figures correct as of 1998 1 ...read more.

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