The Balance of Payments

Jim Tomlinson

in Managing the Economy, Managing the People

Published in print October 2017 | ISBN: 9780198786092
Published online October 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191827778 | DOI:
The Balance of Payments

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Economic History


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This chapter traces the changing representation of the balance-of-payments ‘problem’ from the 1940s through the post-war period, and the reasons for its virtual disappearance as an important narrative about the economy in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The balance of payments is an especially striking case of both the malleability and partiality of narratives deployed to seek to persuade the public of the importance of an economic policy issue. This chapter also shows the possibility of long-standing economic ‘problems’, once deemed vital to the national economy’s management, disappearing from view as new ways of looking at economic issues, linked to changing institutional arrangements and doctrines, come to the fore.

Keywords: trade; overseas investment; City of London; exchange rates; Sterling Area

Chapter.  10598 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Economic History

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