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Chronicles of a Death Foretold: The Winter of Discontent and Construction of the Crisis of British Keynesianism

Abstract : Thirty years on, and in the context of a new crisis, it is time to return to the Winter of Discontent and to the mythology that it has generated. In this paper, I show that the Winter of Discontent was in many respects a manufactured crisis-lived, experienced and responded to through a very particular construction of the events. And I show that such a construction of events is difficult to reconcile with the evidence itself. The Winter of Discontent, I suggest, did mark the passing of Keynesianism, corporatism and the post-war consensus. But it did so not because the events of the winter of 1978-1979 were precipitated by union power nor by the inherent contradictions of the Keynesianism economic paradigm, but because the crisis that it was seen to symbolise was constructed in precisely such terms. Keynesianism's death in Britain was not economically given, but politically orchestrated. The implications of this for our understanding of the present crisis are highly significant and are explored in the final section of the paper.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - 10:43:04 AM
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Colin Hay. Chronicles of a Death Foretold: The Winter of Discontent and Construction of the Crisis of British Keynesianism. Tim Bale. Margaret Thatcher, Routledge, pp.235 - 258, 2014. ⟨hal-02295373⟩

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