De-industrialization not decline: a new meta-narrative for post-war British history

Tomlinson, J. (2016) De-industrialization not decline: a new meta-narrative for post-war British history. Twentieth-Century British History, 27(1), pp. 76-99. (doi:10.1093/tcbh/hwv030)

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Abstract

Much of the economic and other historiography of post-war Britain is shaped by the perceived failure of Britain to consistently match the growth rates of GDP experienced in other rich countries. These declinist narratives are commonly coupled to tendentious and ideologically driven analyses of economic, social and political developments. This article seeks to displace this declinist narrative by one focussing upon de-industrialization and its consequences. The argument is that de-industrialization, beginning in the 1950s, brought about such a range of profound changes, that it provides the best underpinning narrative for understanding late twentieth-century Britain. After suggesting why ‘growth’ and ‘decline’ are not the best terms for understanding this period, the article sets out the case for seeing the employment changes brought about by de-industrialization as crucial to many changes in economic welfare. De-industrialization not only increased wage inequalities and job insecurity, but also re-shaped the social security system and the pattern of public employment. In addition, de-industrialization has seriously compromised the aim of neo-liberalism to free the labour market from the influence of government.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tomlinson, Professor James
Authors: Tomlinson, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Journal Name:Twentieth-Century British History
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0955-2359
ISSN (Online):1477-4674
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Twentieth-Century British History 27(1):76-99
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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