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The political economy of inflation in the 1970s

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This paper derives from a broader concern with how, in the post-war period, economic ‘problems’ in Britain have been constructed, how these constructions have been disseminated, and with what effects. The 1970s inflation is especially interesting in this light given the central role the issue played in the economic and political crises of these years. The paper examines both the attempts of the Labour government to construct an effective anti-inflation policy, and the Conservative ambition to use inflation as a key part of its critique of ‘consensus’ policy. Especial attention is paid to the popular understandings of inflation at this time, and how they inter-acted with elite economic policy discourses.

This talk is part of the Financial History Seminar series.

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