Growth and slowdown : profitability, capital and output in Britain 1873-1973.
The thesis looks at trends in British economic growth, capital accumulation and profitability
from 1873 to 1973. It divides into three parts. The first considers the historical origins of
modem growth theory, and provides a critique of Neoclassical 'marginal productivity'
categories. The second investigates the concepts underlying national accounting estimation of
'output', 'capital' and 'profit', and offers an alternative estimate of long-run capital outlay/GDP
ratios, and the rate of return, for the British economy after 1873. The third part breaks the
period down into three consecutive phases; 1873-1914, the interwar years and the post-1945
period up to 1973. It looks first at the controversy surrounding the 'Great Depression, 1873-
96', and the view that a 'climacteric' is better located in the Edwardian era, arguing that trends
in profits and prices, not output and employment, marked out the former period as depressed.
The chapter on the interwar years highlights the deceleration in capital outlay dating from the
Edwardian era, and views the 1930s recovery as predicated upon a restoration of profitability,
rather than a 'Keynesian' expansion of aggregate demand. In the penultimate chapter, the GDP
acceleration witnessed during the 1950s and 1960s is linked, neither to Keynesian 'multiplier'
effects of increased state expenditure nor to a spontaneous working out of market-driven
technological influences. Instead, the trans-World War Two rise in the rate of return provided
the catalyst for high GDP growth in the early 1950s, while key institutional transformations
enabled continuity of the 'Golden Age' during the 1960s, despite diminishing rates of return