4

Attempts to ‘Modernize’

Nationalization and the Nationalized Industries in Postwar Britain

Glen O’Hara

INTRODUCTION

“These measures of ours are not theoretical trimmings. They are the essential part of a planned economy that we are introducing into this country”: Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s justification of the nationalization of 20% of British industry (Attlee 1947, 42). His rhetorical confidence in physical planning was matched by Hugh Dalton, Labour’s first postwar Chancellor, but it was to conflict with other Labour politicians’ visions for ‘socializing’ industry. Some of Attlee’s ministers held quite different views, faithful to a potent amalgam of liberal Keynesian that originated primarily with the economist James Meade and his colleagues ...

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