Economics and Economic Policy in Britain, 1946-1966 by T. W. Hutchison. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1968.

E. A. G. Robinson


Professor Hutchison is a very distinguished historian of
economic thought who has hitherto written little or nothing in the field
of economic policy-making. In this book he is concerned not so much with
economic policy as with econo¬mists as advisers on economic policy. His
method is the method of the historian of economic thought. He looks at
different economists recommending and criticising policies, looks at the
outcomes of policies and sizes up the value of the advice. As one of
those whom among many others he has chosen to dissect in this way, I
have no ground for complaint. My fellow specimens differ in different
periods. Those who most frequently appear on his paper include Harrod,
Balogh, Robertson, Hicks, Joan Robinson, Kahn, Johnson, Warswick, Dow,
Kaldor, Day, Paish. He looks at what was written during various periods
and in relation to the issues of those periods: the early post-War phase
of adjust¬ment to the post-War world and the devaluation of 1949; the
post-Korean ex¬pansion and the new monetary policy of 1951-55; the
development of growth consciousness and of persistent inflation during
1955-60; the continuing pro¬blems of growth and those of entry into the
common market during 1960-66, where his story ends. It is fascinative,
particularly for the victims, to look again in hind-sight and see where
one was reasonably right and where one was obviously wrong.

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