Popular Capitalism and World Politics

  • John Redwood


In April 1976 I wrote that the government needed to make a new start in its approach to the nationalised industries.1 I concluded that equity capital had to be issued to investors outside the government in order to create new disciplines for the businesses. Although the conclusions were hedged with a certain caution, necessary as the advice was being tendered tongue in cheek to a Labour Government, they evoked considerable disquiet and a strong counter-attack from one of the doyens of conventional economic thinking, Professor Lipton.2 Sufficient controversy was provoked for the Investors Chronicle to ask me to write a series of articles probing the disappointing performance of the nationalised industries further. The first panoramic article of 7 January 1977 concluded ‘to cut costs, improve services, and make investment steadily and profitably, live within your means, and make a success of your business needs the spur of competition, where you are judged by your bank manager and shareholders’. The following articles tried to expose the ways in which government intervention and ownership made successful business management in the interests of the customers and the shareholders impossible.


Public Sector Stock Market Economic Liberalism British Telecom Election Victory 
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Notes and References

  1. 3.
    Richard Pryke, Public Enterprise in Practice (London, 1971).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Richard Pryke, The Nationalised Industries: Policies and Performance since 1968 (Oxford, 1981).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    The problems of control are set out in John Redwood and John Hatch, Controlling Public Industries (Oxford, 1982).Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    The origins and early history of the nationalised industries is best charted in Sir Norman Chester, The Nationalisation of British Industry 1945–51 (London, 1975).Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    A. Nejad, The Employee Buy-out of the National Freight Consortium (London, 1986).Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    As described in John Redwood, Public Enterprise in Crisis (Oxford, 1980).Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    See John Redwood, Equity for Everyman (1986).Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    J. Kay, C. Mayer and D. Thompson (eds.), Privatisation & Regulation: The UK Experience (Oxford, 1986), argues for the importance of deregulation rather than privatisation to improve micro performance.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    White Paper, Privatising Electricity (HMSO, 1988).Google Scholar
  10. 12.
    See, for example, William Keyser (ed.), Public Enterprise in the EEC, 7 vols (The Netherlands, 1978).Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    Martin Holmes, The First Thatcher Government (London, 1985) gives an excellent account of the change of climate in handling industrial relations problems 1979–83.Google Scholar
  12. 14.
    T. Congdon, The Debt Threat (Oxford, 1988).Google Scholar
  13. 15.
    Gabriel Roth, The Private Provision of Public Services in Developing Countires (World Bank/Oxford 1987) sets out a wide range of examples.Google Scholar
  14. 16.
    A. E. Sayons, ‘Le rôle d’Amsterdam dans l‘histoire du capitalisme commercial et financier’, Revue Historique, 183 (1938).Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    Arthur Birnie, An Economic History of the British Isles (London, 1961): 271 passim.Google Scholar
  16. 18.
    R. B. Nye and J. E. Morpurgo, The Growth of the USA (Harmondsworth, 1972): 623 passim.Google Scholar
  17. 19.
    See the comment on the structure of the Japanese economy in Andrea Boltho, Japan: An Economic Survey 1953–73, Chapter 2: 22ff. and especially the comparative table on scale of manufacturing establishments on 26 which shows how much more concentration on large enterprises there is in the UK than Japan.Google Scholar
  18. 20.
    The arguments about state profligacy as set out in David Galloway, The Public Prodigals (London, 1976) are becoming more widely understood.Google Scholar

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© John Redwood 1990

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  • John Redwood

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