A theme common to most of the papers in this collection is industrial change, the forces that bring it about and the response of societies, or groups within society, to technical and commercial innovation. The present volume pursues this theme in the context of British industry, and particular attention is directed towards the economic policies of government as they affect industrial change. For the second volume, the field of inquiry is Japan’s economic progress, and in several of the papers in the present volume I have sought to interpret the recent course of economic development in Britain by pointing to the contrasts between her experience and Japan’s during the last half century. When in the early 1920s I began to write on economic affairs, Britain was still the leading industrial power after the United States. Japan was still predominantly a peasant country with a well-developed infrastructure but scarcely more than a fringe of modern, large-scale industry. In the period since the first of these papers was written Japan has stepped into Britain’s place as a manufacturing country, while Britain’s industrial achievements, in spite of a substantial absolute advance in production and national income, have been far surpassed by those of several Western countries as well as by Japan herself. This reversal of positions, like every change in a nation’s history, is to be ascribed to the convergence of many causes. Some of these lie too far beyond the range of an economist’s competence to call for more than an acknowledgment of their potency, but it would be unrealistic to ignore them, and I have tried to give them their due.


Economic Policy Private Enterprise Industrial Relation Demand Management Economic Progress 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    R. E. Caves and Associates, Britain’s Economic Prospects (Allen and Unwin, 1968).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    R. E. Caves, ‘Second Thoughts on Britain’s Economic Prospects’, in Sir Alec Cairncross (ed.), Britain’s Economic Prospects Reconsidered (Allen and Unwin, 1971), p. 212.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    S. R. Dennison, The Location of Industry and the Depressed Areas (Oxford University Press, 1939), passim.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    P. M. Hohenberg, Chemicals in Western Europe, 1850–1914 (Chicago, Rand McNally, 1967) Chapter 3.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    D. L. Burn, Economic History of Steel-Making (Cambridge University Press, 1940), p. 68.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Cf. G. C. Allen, The British Disease (London, Institute of Economic Affairs, 1976), pp. 37–50.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    J. A. Schumpeter, The Theory of Economic Development (Harvard University Press, 1934). The book was first published in German in 1911.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    J. A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (Allen and Unwin, 1943), p. 84.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    W. J. Reader, Imperial Chemical Industries: A History, Volume 1 (Oxford University Press, 1970), p. 13.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© G. C. Allen 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. C. Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LondonUK

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