British Industry, 1700-1950

British Industry, 1700-1950

British Industry, 1700-1950

British Industry, 1700-1950

Excerpt

This study by Professor Walther Hoffmann is the second enquiry into the quantitative development of the British economy which has been undertaken by the Kiel Institut für Weltwirtschaft. The observations which we made concerning these enquiries in our preface to Dr. Werner Schlote's study of Britain's overseas trade apply also to this book. Professor Hoffmann's study endeavours to analyse long-term changes in the British industrial economy so that we may understand the fundamental factors which have contributed to the development of the country's industrial structure. While we may claim that this book is more than a study in economic history it must also be pointed out that it is limited to material capable of statistical treatment. The author has left on one side those problems which are not amenable to statistical analysis. The essential object of the enquiry is to construct a production index of the British industrial economy.

The difficulties which the author has met with in handling original sources have been even more serious than those which faced Dr. Schlote when he was examining the development of Britain's overseas trade. This is because statistics of industrial output have had to be brought together from a large number of very scattered sources. When production statistics were not available the author has used 'representative figures '. These are estimates which have always been constructed on a careful theoretical basis in the light of a judicious examination of all the available information. Professor Hoffmann has kept constantly in mind the desirability of extending his calculations over as long a period as possible--even when they were only of an approximate character--in order to be able to give a really comprehensive analysis of the way in which the industrialisation of Great Britain occurred. Again, the subject of this enquiry has made it possible to secure a rather more detailed statistical analysis of certain topics than was possible in Dr. Schlote's book on Britain's overseas trade. It is seldom possible to isolate the overseas trade statistics of particular commodities. But the output of separate . . .

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