Britain: The Nationalization Mess

Even the most Blimpish British opponent of the Labor government's nationalization of industry would not dispute its goals. But even some stalwart Laborites are sorely embarrassed by the failure of state-owned industries to achieve any of those goals. Far from stimulating Britain to rising peaks of employment, technological progress and exports, the government enterprises have dragged the economy down.

The National Coal Board, for example, has been so slow to close inefficient pits that it requires immense government subsidies; it lost $24 million in fiscal 1969. The railroads have run a deficit of around $365 million in each of the...

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