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November 11, 2010


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British industry fat and lazy in the 1930s? Then how, pray tell,
did it prove so flexible, adaptive, efficient, creative, and resilient during World War II? Calling British industry fat and lazy does not square with the historical facts. See American journalist AJ Liebling's account of war-time British industry which I quoted here:


And this same British industry after the war invented modern computers, commercial information processing, and jet aircraft.


The British political system in the 1930s looked pretty good in comparison with other European countries (eg France) that later put in a stronger economic performance. How does that square with the theory that political failure led to economic failure?


One thing I’ve never heard in my time overseas is “I wish we had a Senate like yours.”

Perhaps he hasn't traveled very far. For many years in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, members of the Australian Commonwealth Senate fought for rights and powers similar to those enjoyed by their colleagues in the US, eventually establishing, for example, a system of oversight committees across the full range of government functions. The practices of the US Senate certainly inspired these reforms to the Australian Senate, as Australian senators at the time, such as Lionel Murphy, declared.


If Britain declined from the 1870s then the cause must date from around that time. To claim it came 60 years later is non-sensical.
Britain declined relatively in terms of manufacturing, but continued to lead the world in terms of finance and financing. It was the world's biggest creditor by far in 1914, and the biggest debtor by 1918. This shifted financial power from the UK to USA, and with it world dominance.

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