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Irrational Expectations

Barry Supple, 18 November 1982

The 1982 Budget 
edited by John Kay.
Blackwell, 147 pp., £10, July 1982, 0 631 13153 1
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Money and Inflation 
by Frank Hahn.
Blackwell, 116 pp., £7.95, June 1982, 0 631 12917 0
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Public Enterprise in Crisis: The Future of the Nationalised Industries 
by John Redwood.
Blackwell, 211 pp., £5.25, May 1982, 0 631 13053 5
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Controlling Public Industries 
by John Redwood and John Hatch.
Blackwell, 169 pp., £12, July 1982, 0 631 13078 0
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... It is a nice question whether Britain’s economic institutions or the attempts of economists to explain why they do not tick are in a greater mess. Every now and then, albeit with decreasing regularity, a government minister will tell us, as the Chief Secretary of the Treasury does in the collection of essays on The 1982 Budget, that there is a new dawn over the hill, that, before our very eyes, ‘things are improving’ – only to be contradicted by some even more authoritative voice, although it hardly needs the CBI to remind us of the frailty of political positive thinking ...

Doing something

Barry Supple, 3 June 1982

Getting and Spending: Public Expenditure, Employment and Inflation 
by Leo Pliatzky.
Blackwell, 232 pp., £12, March 1982, 0 631 12907 3
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Inside the Treasury 
by Joel Barnett.
Deutsch, 200 pp., £8.95, February 1982, 9780233973944
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Public Expenditure and Social Policy: An Examination of Social Spending and Social Priorities 
edited by Alan Walker.
Heinemann, 212 pp., £7.50, March 1982, 0 435 82906 8
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... In April 1935, with the staple industries stagnating and over two million people out of work, Harold Macmillan rose in the Commons to press for a radical policy of industrial reconstruction and public investment. What, he asked, were the arguments against public capital expenditure? ‘What is the case of the Treasury, the people who really govern England from the Box that is outside?’ His answer was that the Treasury was immobilised by fear of ‘artificial’ expansion, a consequent collapse and an increased burden of debt ...

Ex-King Coal

Arthur Marwick, 31 March 1988

The History of the British Coal Industry. Vol. IV, 1913-1946: The Political Economy of Decline 
by Barry Supple.
Oxford, 733 pp., £50, December 1987, 9780198282945
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... Martin Wiener and others: entrepreneurs, the argument goes, will be entrepreneurs. Thus Professor Supple sums up the record of the British coal owners in the inter-war years as follows: ‘The historical debate about entrepreneurship in the coal industry has possibly been too much influenced by an understandable dislike of the coal owner’s political and ...

Thoughts on the New Economic History

David Cannadine, 15 April 1982

The Economic History of Britain since 1700. Vol. 1: 1700-1860 
edited by Roderick Floud and Donald McCloskey.
Cambridge, 323 pp., £25, October 1981, 0 521 23166 3
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The Economic History of Britain since 1700. Vol. II: 1860 to the 1970s 
edited by Roderick Floud and Donald McCloskey.
Cambridge, 485 pp., £30, October 1981, 0 521 23167 1
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The Population History of England 1541-1871: A Reconstruction 
by E.A. Wrigley.
Edward Arnold, 779 pp., £45, October 1982, 0 7131 6264 3
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The Decline of British Economic Power since 1870 
by M.W. Kirby.
Allen and Unwin, 211 pp., £15, June 1981, 0 04 942169 7
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The Coming of the Mass Market 1850-1914 
by Hamish Fraser.
Macmillan, 268 pp., £16, February 1982, 0 333 31034 9
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... In essence, Fraser’s picture illuminates the aggregates, tables and arguments assembled by Barry Supple in his essay on the same subject in the second volume of Floud and McCloskey. Here is the rise of a mass market, a revolution in retailing, and the transformation of light industry, with results which have lingered until our own day. For the ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... might be extended to keep pace. While Armitage and Crawford include more poets, O’Brien is more supple and reflective of the diverse poetries of the last twenty or so years. His brief introductions to each poet are also bibliographically useful, critically independent and sometimes funny (he describes C.H. Sisson as ‘an acquired taste’ who seems ...

Paradise Lost

Stephen Bann, 17 March 1983

Deadeye Dick 
by Kurt Vonnegut.
Cape, 224 pp., £7.50, February 1983, 0 224 02945 2
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by Max Frisch, translated by Geoffrey Skelton.
Methuen, 142 pp., £5.95, February 1983, 0 413 51750 0
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The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British ‘New Wave’ in Science Fiction 
by Colin Greenland.
Routledge, 244 pp., £11.95, March 1983, 0 7100 9310 1
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More Tales of Pirx the Pilot 
by Stanislaw Lem, translated by Louis Iribarne, Magdalena Majcherczyk and Michael Kandel.
Secker, 220 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 9780436244117
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Yesterday’s Men 
by George Turner.
Faber, 234 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 571 11857 7
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Rebel in Time 
by Harry Harrison.
Granada, 272 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 246 11766 4
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Three Six Seven: Memoirs of a Very Important Man 
by Peter Vansittart.
Peter Owen, 236 pp., £8.95, February 1983, 0 7206 0602 0
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... takes place that will not finally be redeemed and retrieved. As the self-educated inventor Fred T. Barry assures our eponymous hero: ‘Human being [sic] always treat blizzards as though they were the end of the world.’ But the raging storms that have swept over the plains of the Middle West are due to vanish without trace, or without significant ...

My Darlings

Colm Tóibín: Drinking with Samuel Beckett, 5 April 2007

... the lights up. And there he would be, dressed like a tramp, his eyes filled with light, his face supple, his expression charming if it were not so sad and rueful. Ready to do his Beckett one-man show. Moving just a tiny bit, not his body and not really his eyes, but his face doing a sudden flicker as the breath came. He was almost going to speak and then ...

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