The theme of British economic decline is inescapable in contemporary debates about Britain's economic performance and sense of national identity. Understanding Decline is a serious contribution to an important argument, approached in a way that is accessible not only to the specialist academic market but to students of economics, history and politics. Barry Supple, to whom the volume is dedicated, when Professor of Economic History at Cambridge was concerned with various aspects of this historical problem. Indeed, his 1993 Presidential Address to the Economic History Society, 'Fear of failing', already a classic, is reprinted here as a highly effective keynote essay. Other essays pick up this theme in diverse but essentially unified ways, seeking to assess British economic performance in different ways over the past two centuries. They include case-studies through which the reality of decline can be explored, while differing perceptions of decline are examined in a number of essays dealing with ideas and policy issues.
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