The Steel Industry, 1939-1959: A Study in Competition and Planning

By Duncan Burn | Go to book overview
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PREFACE

This is a sequel to The Economic History of Steelmaking, 1867-1939 published in 1940. I first planned on my publisher's suggestion in 1948 to bring the first book up to date by adding two or three chapters. But the extent of change in the industry in the countries covered grew so fast that this was soon impracticable. Hence the new book. It is complete in itself, but it starts conceptually as well as chronologically where the other leaves off, and I think the earlier history necessary for the full understanding of the recent phase. The years since the war have been exceptionally rich in institutional developments associated with the steel industry. In Britain and on the Continent new institutions specific to the steel industry have emerged, and they fall wholly within the scope of this book. In the United States the industry has been subject to the extending influence of Antitrust. No attempt is made here to describe the antitrust system in general; but its impact on the steel industry is surveyed. I should have liked to include an analysis of Russian planning: but the opportunity to observe it has not come my way. The writing of the book was finished in 1959, and only minor modifications have been made since then: it was not possible, for example, to make use of the annual reports of the Iron and Steel Board or the British Iron and Steel Federation for 1959.

When I wrote the first book I knew the industry only as an outside observer. During the war I was for the first four years on the staff of the Iron and Steel Control, part of the time as Deputy Director of Statistics. Membership of a United States-- United Kingdom Metallurgical Mission in February--April 1943 involved me in joint operations with members of the American industry. In 1944 I was dealing with post-war prospects for steel at home and abroad in the Raw Materials Department of the Ministry of Supply. How far my judgements met with approval in R.M.D. should doubtless remain

-xiii-

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