Britain's Economic Performance

Britain's Economic Performance

Britain's Economic Performance

Britain's Economic Performance

Excerpt

Introduction and Summary

MORE THAN a decade has passed since the Brookings Institution published the book by Richard E. Caves and Associates entitled Britain's Economic Prospects (April 1968). Attention was drawn to Britain at that time because the economy was perceived to be underperforming. But at the outset of that book it was noted that "Britain's economic performance since World War II outstrips any earlier period in the past half century." Thus, measured by Britain's own economic history, the postwar record through 1967 was one of success, not failure.

It was only when one compared Britain to other European industrial countries and Japan, which had accomplished economic miracles, that the U.K. performance appeared inadequate. As seen in table 1, the U.K. growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) between 1957 and 1967 was only 65 percent of the average rate for member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It was below that of the slow-growing United States, only about one-half of the growth rate of France and West Germany, and less than one-third of that of Japan. Still, in 1967 the per capita GDP of Britain trailed only that of the United States; it was about the same as those of France and Germany and decidedly higher than that of Japan (table 2) . Observers were dissatisfied with Britain's economic performance, therefore, because they . . .

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