Britain's Place in the World: Import Controls 1945-60 by George Brennan, Alan Milward

By George Brennan, Alan Milward

Britain's position on the planet examines the institution and effectiveness of import controls, relatively quotas. putting quotas again within the centre of British heritage, Milward and Brennan make a few radical claims for Britain's fiscal functionality in a world context. having a look right into a good selection of industries from motorized vehicles to typewriters, uncooked chemical substances to nutrition produce, they learn the meant and genuine obstruction to imported items represented by way of quotas, and the political and monetary ramifications past the statistics.This is the fourth e-book to be released within the Routledge Explorations in financial historical past sequence.

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Example text

19 When there had been an earlier surge of imports of Japanese cotton goods in 1936–7 the Japanese manufacturers had agreed to a negotiated quota on exports to the USA. Another inter-industry agreement like that of 1937 seemed likely to be ineffective, because of the more liberal way in the post-war climate of opinion in which US courts were interpreting the anti-trust laws. GATT had proscribed the use of import quotas to meet such a case. The Japanese manufacturers’ association was ‘persuaded’, therefore, in 1955 to announce a temporary voluntary unilateral quota on exports to the USA.

Delegating the removal of quotas to an international organisation with a programme with its own rules and its own system of supervision was a task from which international economic conferences in the inter-war period had fled. That such a programme could be undertaken so vigorously and go so far is the best demonstration that changes in the nature of the democratic state were beginning to render inappropriate the quota regime which had developed in the inter-war period. There were also, however, specific historical circumstances which led to the initiation of that international programme in 1949.

The political primacy of the origins of quotas, the fact that they were often introduced essentially to resolve a problem of governance rather than an economic problem, for in a different political context the economic problem might have been resolved by quite different methods, such as a devaluation, implies that they may well not have been the optimal choice of economic policy. And indeed they had a poor press from economists. Once filled, they eliminated any relationship between prices and markets.

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