Government Versus the Market: The Growth of the Public Sector, Economic Management and British Economic Performance, C. 1890-1979

ISBN: 9781858983714
Publisher: Edward Elgar Pub
Publication Date: 1998-01-13
Number of pages: 784
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In Government Versus the Market, Roger Middleton provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary and controversial analysis of how Britain's relative economic decline from the late nineteenth century onwards generated an intense debate about the legitimate roles of government and the market.

After a thorough analysis of Britain's long-run economic performance in a comparative context, which emphasizes how the problem of decline is frequently misunderstood, and an account of the long-run forces promoting and constraining government growth, he then charts how the economic role of government evolved in response to decline but produced a mix of macroeconomic and microeconomic policies which proved inadequate for the task.

This major study emphasizes the institutional and political constraints to economic modernization and uses the specific characteristics of Britain's predicament, a combination of market failure and impotent state, to explain why by 1979 the burgeoning New Right were able to launch an attack upon big government. Dr Middleton then demonstrates how Britain's subsequent economic performance, while brilliantly propagandized as an economic renaissance, has in fact been lackluster and why the Conservatives' economic strategy failed to address the underlying problems of decline and to reduce the size of the public sector. Government versus the Market brings an unrivalled historical, empirical and theoretical breadth to our understanding of the last century of British economic history as well as a wealth of material on economic performance and public sector growth, and the fullest bibliography yet published on Britain's economic decline.

Comprehensive, authoritative and wide-ranging, this extensive study uses a long-term and comparative framework which draws upon the latest research of economists, historians and political scientists to show why successive governments have been unable to halt Britain's relative economic decline.

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