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Brinley Thomas, Migration and Economic Growth: A Study of Great Britain and the Atlantic Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954. 362 pp. (second edition, 1973, xxxi + 498 pp.) [Book Review]

Foreman-Peck, James S. 2006. Brinley Thomas, Migration and Economic Growth: A Study of Great Britain and the Atlantic Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954. 362 pp. (second edition, 1973, xxxi + 498 pp.) [Book Review]. EH.net , n/a.

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Abstract

The Rise and Fall of the Atlantic Economic Community: Brinley Thomas' (1906-1994) contention that "it is instructive to regard the Atlantic community of nations as one economy" was immensely refreshing for those of us brought up on national economic histories. Interactions with the wider world tended to be downplayed or at least left unexplained in more conventional accounts. Moreover 'Migration and Economic Growth' was not the work simply of a period specialist historian; Thomas was an economist, deploying a massive range of statistics to discover the nineteenth-century world that had been lost after a half century of total war.[1] In the second edition, this world, in many respects rather close to textbook neoclassical economics, provided a fruitful means of interpreting the great boom after 1945, as well. Unusually by today's standards, the study begins with a history of nineteenth-century thought about non-competing groups, social mobility and migration. Traditionally trade theory assumed perfect mobility of labor within the national economy, but none between economies. Changes in trade policy and market integration required shifts of employment between sectors within the national economy. Yet in the later nineteenth century, rather than change occupation and sectors, workers would often choose a different country of residence; they were not substitutes or competitors for other types of labor. Thomas concentrates on class rather than occupational immobility, however.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Publisher: Economic History Services
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:29
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/40001

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