A chronological account of industrial policy This book surveys governmental industrial policy in Britain from 1900 to the early 1990s, exploring the perennial concern of governments to improve the efficiency and the competitiveness of British industry. Organized chronologically, it focuses on the formation of policy-making, and policy implementation, according to the ideas and beliefs that have dominated during the century.
Thus industrial policy is traced through time of war and recession, through the building of the welfare state and times of growth, and through stagflation, economic liberalism, and deindustrialization. The constant
theme of the book is the attempt by all governments to achieve the objectives of high growth, low unemployment, and international competitiveness. An examination of the effects of government ideologies Dr Tomlinson reveals both the microeconomic context of industrial policy, and microeconomic effects of these policies. The emphasis is on the formation of policy according to the ideology of the political party in power. Tomlinson also
deals with the capacity of each government to carry out its policy, and the ways in which this capacity may be limited by economic constraints, or by the institutions through which industrial policy is
implemented. Detailed case studies The focus of the book is on British industry, although in parts Tomlinson uses a comparative perspective to set British policy in the world context, most notably during the chapter on the 1980s. The book ends with two case studies, the industries of cotton and cars, to illuminate the policy explored in the previous chapters. Tomlinson concludes that the British government has continuously found an
acceptable industrial policy problematic.
`This book will be welcomed by many who teach British industrial history ... an important contribution, original in what it attempts to capture within two covers. The history of the politics of economic policy has for long focused on macroeconomic issues, and this starting point certainly colours Tomlinson's work, but we should strongly welcome the path he is now taking.'
`The discussion of the often neglected 1950's is welcome, there is a useful reappraisal of Labour policy in the 1960's, the sections on natioanlisation are particularly good, and there is an excellent bibliography. This book is full of interesting detail and suggestive comment.'
The Economic History Review
`Jim Tomlinson has written a highly accessible macroeconomic account of British industrial policy, based on a wide range of secondary sources, on Parliamentary Papers and on Public Record Office files.'
Journal of Economic History