Generally speaking, actors could more easily agree on what was considered the international standard than in the 1970s, as a result of the progress of economic and political internationalisation. Foreign models had never been ignored, but the advocacy of international convergence seemed to have become more persuasive. At least until the 1990s, however, the world had yet to be borderless, and it is worth examining the core actors' interests and the strength of their cohesion.
Following the framework of Chapter 3, the first section of this chapter considers the interests of business. It examines the recent changes in economic conditions such as low growth and changing industrial structure, and then discusses how those changes affected the preferences of business regarding competition policy. The second section discusses the changes in political attitudes to market competition. This is followed by an investigation of changes in the role of industrial policy officials. The third section looks at the development of British and Japanese competition policy from the 1970s to the 1990s, and considers how the interests of competition policy officials have changed over the years.
As shown in the previous chapter, both Britain and Japan increased their international economic interdependence since the 1980s. The entry of foreign companies naturally led to a rise in the level of competition in the domestic market. In order to discuss market competition in Britain and Japan, low economic growth in those countries must also be taken into consideration.
Table 6.1 shows that the post-1970s British economy grew mostly by under 3 per cent, with the exception of the late 1980s. Economic performance was particularly low in the early 1980s and the early 1990s, so that it was even observed that the country's 'relative economic decline has been so persistent that it must be attributed to very deep-seated features of the British political economy'. 1 The British economy began to recover in the late 1990s, but the