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The Political Economy of Nationalisation in Britain, 1920–1950


Sue Bowden, Martin Chick, Gerard Crompton, David Edgerton, David Greasley, John Hassan, Peter Howlett, Peter Lyth, Robert Millward, Ruggiero Ranieri, John Singleton, John Wilson
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  • Date Published: January 1995
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521450966

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About the Authors
  • In this 1995 study of the causes of nationalisation, experts in British industrial history analyse the public ownership debates, and explain how many well-informed and moderate groups came to believe that the public ownership of certain major industries would be economically beneficial. During Attlee's Labour governments of 1945–51 a number of important industries, including coal, electricity, the railways and gas were taken into public ownership, and legislation was passed for the nationalisation of the steel industry. It was then argued that nationalisation would lead to an improvement in the efficiency of these key sectors, on which the rest of British industry depended for inputs. This study examines the historical issues and uses detailed case studies of industries to explore the public ownership debate.

    • Written by a team of experts on economic and industrial history
    • Examines a key issue in the economic history of Britain in the twentieth century
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… an admirable collection of papers on the political and economic background to nationalisation.' The Financial Times

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 1995
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521450966
    • length: 340 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.62kg
    • contains: 27 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Government and Industry 1920–50:
    1. Industrial organisation and economic factors in nationalisation Robert Millward
    2. Labour, the Conservatives and nationalisation John Singleton
    Part II. Case Studies of Industry Organisation, Performance and Nationalisation:
    3. The coal industry: images and realities on the road to nationalisation David Greasley
    4. The changing role of government in British civil air transport 1919–49 Peter Lyth
    5. The motor vehicle industry Sue Bowden
    6. The railway companies and the nationalisation issue 1920–50 Gerald Crompton
    7. The motives for gas nationalisation
    practicality or ideology John F. Wilson
    8. Public ownership and the British arms industry 1920–50 David Edgerton
    9. The water industry 1900–51: a failure of public policy? John A. Hassan
    10. Debating the nationalisation of the cotton industry, 1918–50 John Singleton
    Part III. Government and the Process of Industrial Change in the 1940s:
    11. 'The thin edge of the wedge?': nationalisation and industrial structure during the Second World War Peter Howlett
    12. The political economy of nationalisation: the electricity industry Martin Chick
    13. Partners and enemies: the government's decision to nationalise steel 1944–48 Ruggiero Ranieri
    Part IV. Review and Conclusions:
    14. The ownership of British industry in the post-war era: an explanation Robert Millward and John Singleton

  • Editors

    Robert Millward, School of Arts, University of Manchester

    John Singleton, Sheffield Hallam University


    Sue Bowden, Martin Chick, Gerard Crompton, David Edgerton, David Greasley, John Hassan, Peter Howlett, Peter Lyth, Robert Millward, Ruggiero Ranieri, John Singleton, John Wilson

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