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The Implicit Theory of Historical Change in the work of Alan S. Milward

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  • Frances M. B. Lynch
  • Fernando Guirao

Abstract

Alan S. Milward was an economic historian who developed an implicit theory of historical change. His interpretation which was neither liberal nor Marxist posited that social, political, and economic change, for it to be sustainable, had to be a gradual process rather than one resulting from a sudden, cataclysmic revolutionary event occurring in one sector of the economy or society. Benign change depended much less on natural resource endowment or technological developments than on the ability of state institutions to respond to changing political demands from within each society. State bureaucracies were fundamental to formulating those political demands and advising politicians of ways to meet them. Since each society was different there was no single model of development to be adopted or which could be imposed successfully by one nation-state on others, either through force or through foreign aid programs. Nor could development be promoted simply by copying the model of a more successful economy. Each nation-state had to find its own response to the political demands arising from within its society. Integration occurred when a number of nation- states shared similar political objectives which they could not meet individually but could meet collectively. It was not simply the result of their increasing interdependence. It was how and whether nation-states responded to these domestic demands which determined the nature of historical change.

Suggested Citation

  • Frances M. B. Lynch & Fernando Guirao, 2011. "The Implicit Theory of Historical Change in the work of Alan S. Milward," Working Papers 586, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:586
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    File URL: http://www.barcelonagse.eu/sites/default/files/working_paper_pdfs/586.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:ulb:ulbeco:2013/6699 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Broadberry,Stephen & O'Rourke,Kevin H., 2010. "The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521882033, November.
    3. Mark Harrison, 1988. "Resource mobilization for World War II: the U.S.A., U.K., U.S.S.R., and Germany, 1938-1945′," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 41(2), pages 171-192, May.
    4. Zamagni, Vera, 2010. "What is the Message of 'Understanding the Process of Economic Change' for Economic Historians?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 157-163, May.
    5. A. S. Milward, 1964. "The End of the Blitzkrieg," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 16(3), pages 499-518, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    historical change; development; World Wars; Third Reich; Blitzkrieg; New Order; Vichy; Fascism; Grossraumwirtschaft; German question; reconstruction; golden age; integration; supranationality; Bretton Woods; Marshall Plan;

    JEL classification:

    • B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other
    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N54 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P45 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - International Linkages
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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