Our purpose in this Introduction is to set the scene for the detailed analysis of the UK economy which is the subject matter of this book. The teaching of economics has arguably become increasingly pseudo-scientific, content to build ever more sophisticated models which are judged on virtually any criterion other than the amount of light which they shed upon the behaviour of economic agents in the real world. This, in its turn, has tended to detract from the need to study the historical and political context within which policy-making actually takes place. This book, however is entirely about the real world, and therefore requires the reader to have at least a rudimentary understanding of economic history and political systems. This Introduction sets out to provide this understanding and may, therefore, readily be omitted by those already conversant with its context.
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