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Case Title:

UK’s Manufacturing Competitiveness (B): What have Privatisation and Deregulation Done?

Publication Year : 2009

Authors: Naga Sandhya, Ramadugu Girija P.

Industry: Manufacturing


Case Code: GBE0076

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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This case study, the second of the three-part series, captures the competitiveness of UK’s manufacturing sector since Margaret Thatcher’s era. The case study illustrates the impact of Margaret Thatcher’s monetarist policies and Laissez-faire doctrine on UK’s manufacturing competitiveness. The policies, although helped in ceasing the long-term decline of this sector when compared to its competitors – Germany, France and US – proved expensive for traditional industries, which saw their fortunes sinking. New industries like aerospace, pharmaceuticals and electronics, became the face of modern manufacturing sector in UK. However, the sector is still a big concern for governments and educationalists because of its decreasing share to UK’s GDP. This case study explores various issues of UK’s manufacturing sector like productivity gap, challenges from low-cost countries, changing patterns of global trade, etc. It lays focus on how the sector once again received a blow due to global recession (2008).

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To have an overview of UK’s manufacturing sector from 1700 to 1990 and also understand the kind of unsettling that was a result of Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation and deregulation for UK’s manufacturing sector
  • To understand the nature of privatisation and deregulation in UK’s economy and debate on whether the privatisation and deregulation have hampered or boosted UK’s manufacturing sector’s competitiveness
  • To have an overview of the current status of UK manufacturing sector’s competitiveness
  • To debate on the reasons for the gradual decline of UK manufacturing sector and explore all the possible ways for reviving its lost status.

Keywords : UK Manufacturing, Competitive advantage of Nations, David Ricardo’s Theory of Comparative cost advantage, textile Industry, Iron and steel industry, Napoleon Wars, Laissez-faire policy, Mercantilism, English East India company, Industrial Revolution

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