• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Was there continuous economic decline in Britain during the second half of the twentieth century ? For many economists and historians, there was a continuous economic decline. One of their arguments is that if we travel through Britain in the early twent

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Consensus Was there continuous economic decline in Britain during the second half of the twentieth century ? For many economists and historians, there was a continuous economic decline. One of their arguments is that if we travel through Britain in the early twenty-first century, it is not difficult to find areas of dereliction and disuse where there used to be industrial power houses. There used to be metal-bashing industries in the Midlands, shipbuilding in the North East, coal mining in South Wales. After World War II, the position of Britain in international economic league tables slipped downwards. The British industries were not competitive enough, there were numerous high-profile failures in managing big projects. Many economists defined this lack of competitiveness because of low productivity and low investment, they called this the "British disease". In the 1970's and in the early 1980's there was the peak of fear in the British economy after the OPEC oil price crisis of 1973-4. On the other side of the view, the people who are against this idea of economic decline, believe that it is "obvious" that post-war Britain experienced a period of sustained prosperity and ever-rising living standards. For many historians, the years from 1950 to 1973 were seen as a "Golden Age". There was full employment, high growth rates, important advances in welfare, in an important contrast with to the strains of the war and the terrible memories of the 1930's. ...read more.

Middle

Wilson also attempted large-scale reform of trade union power through his White Paper "In Place of Strife" but then backed up because of the trade unions which would create unsolved problems. Even though there was prosperity in the 1960's, it can be argued that many problems in the British economy were not tackled. With the sudden rise of oil prices in 1973, this ended the long post-war boom. There was also deeper structural weakness in Britain which would cause a major depression and much gloom about the prospects for the economy. With the damaging miners strike of 1973-74, it persuaded Heath's government to create a three-day week and then to call a national election in 1974. When Labour returned to power, both of Wilson's and Callaghan's government's found numerous difficulties in overcoming industrial unrest, or in avoiding splits within the Labour Party about how to deal with it. There was also in Britain rising unemployment and financial instability. During the time of the rising unemployment, there was also a period of rapid inflation. The pound lost almost a quarter of its value against the American dollar in 1976. Denis Healey, the Chancellor was forced to take out a massive loan from the International Monetary Fund. This was a humiliating way of showing weakness. The only way the government could obtain this loan was by cutting government spending, which made splits in the Labour party. ...read more.

Conclusion

Many historians say that in 1997, Labour inherited a healthy economic situation, after the Conservatives were in power for 18 years. In conclusion, it is very difficult to determine which of these parties is the right one. One thing that we are sure of is that the British economy of 1997 has a much more extended progress in terms of living standards than the British economy of right after the war. The British population had much more money than after the war. Rationing was a far away memory. During the Cold War era, there was much more stability and a greater peace. The Thatcherian view says that Britain followed the wrong economic path from 1951-79. "Butskellism" was a mistake, too much nationalisation and not enough privatisation and not enough competition. The Thatcherian's are against the "nanny state". The view of the "Golden Age" says that the post-war boom was a period of sustained social and economic success. They say that Britain became more prosperous and an equal society. They are completely against the Thatcherian view. The "balanced" view believes in post-war recovery but they also say that Britain was not competitive enough. They believe in Thatcher's economic reforms but at too high a price in social divisions. They say that the period from Churchill's second term to 1997 has been uneven but probably a successful part of the post-war prosperity of Western Europe as a whole. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate History section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate History essays

  1. Great Depression and effect on Britain

    The new industries were in great demand. They were industries such as electronics, car manufacturing and chemicals. These industries did not use steam engines and electricity was available easily. Also, goods produced were directly at the consumer. These industries employed people who had better education and the ones with more

  2. Mao - his social and economic policies and his decline and re-establishment of power

    * Over the course of the Five Year Plan, heavy industrial output nearly trebled and light industrial output rose by 70%. Overall targets were exceeded by 20%. * The $300 million lent by the USSR represented only 3% of total investment under the Five Year Plan, so the Chinese government

  1. Interwar Years: 1919-39

    Protectionism * Many governments reacted to the Great Depression by trying to protect their own industries from foreign competition by means of raising tariff barriers against imported goods. * In 1930 a tariff in the USA called the Hawley-Smoot Tariff greatly restricted foreign imports but, in the process, sparked off a tariff 'war' with other countries.

  2. Evaluate the successes and failures of one ruler of a single-party state

    argued to have facilitated the carrying out of the purges, which led to the widespread loss of human life. However, it should be noted that had Russia (without industrialization) succumbed to Hitler in WWII, Germany might not have lost the war, ergo, resulting in the conclusion that socialism in one

  1. IB History HL, Extended Notes: Russia, the Tsars, the Provisional Govenment and the Revolution.

    Bourgeoisie oppressed the masses by controlling the factories and didn?t compensate the workers enough. 2. Necessary change would be accomplished through a revolution in which the workers would topple the bourgeoisie. A period of dictatorship of the proletariat would follow making the bourgeoisie realize the benefits of socialism.

  2. 20th Century History Revision Notes

    -Rescue lasted 9 days and brought 10x number of men back to England; terrible defeat, France fell in 6 weeks. Honk Kong -Japan attacks Hong Kong in 1941. (British colony) -Canada forced to defend Honk Kong. -Canadians were ill-equipped, outnumbered, supplies and ammunitions ran out.

  1. Extended Essay - The Role of a UN-Secretary General to Achieve World Peace: The ...

    had planned thoroughly to leave with the first team and would summon the second team upon achieving permission from Castro to observe the dissembling of the missiles in Cuba as soon as possible. Unfortunately, without informing the Secretary-General, the UN people had arranged twenty-eight pieces of luggage of ?communications equipment,

  2. Explain why Britain joined the EEC in 1973 and why the process caused so ...

    Britain was again one of the nations to take part, but again refused to become a founder member. The reasons for Britain deciding not to join included; prioritising relations with the Commonwealth and the United States, and the fact that Britain?s economic performance was diagnosed in terms of internal conditions rather than external alignments and trading relationships (2).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work