More On: Britain
At its height, the British Empire was the world's most powerful empire. By 1921, the empire had enslaved roughly a quarter of the world's people and controlled nearly a quarter of the world's land area.
The Union Jack was the flag of Great Britain throughout every corner of the world, from Asia to Australia, and from the Americas to Africa. The magnitude of the Kingdom's global dominance may be gauged by the fact that if the Empire had existed today, it would have ruled over all continents and at least 64 countries.
That is only one example of the British territorial dominance. The United Kingdom was a financial powerhouse as well! By the way, the British empire possessed the world's largest fleet and controlled all of the world's major commercial routes. Britain had access to large ports in key commerce hubs such as Bombay, Sydney, Cape Town, and Hong Kong. Did you know that until New York overtook London as the world's economic center after World War I, London was the world's economic capital?
The UK is still the fifth largest economy in the world. It continues to enjoy a somewhat high standard of living and continues to exert great influence in matters of international importance. But it is all slipping away fast. And that is our main talking point today.
Following WWII, the United States began to outpace the United Kingdom at an unheard-of rate. The United Kingdom entered a period of extreme 'austerity' beginning in 1945. The United Kingdom evolved into a full-fledged "welfare state." Do you have any idea what that means? The United Kingdom embraced socialism with zeal. Nationalizations included the Bank of England, railways, heavy industries, steel, and coal mining. The economy took a long time to recover, housing was scarce, bread was rationed, and many other basics remained in limited supply.
The British economy was entirely reliant on American loans to stay afloat. The Conservatives retook power in 1951 and presided over a lackluster 13-year economic recovery. The ascension of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister in 1979 was the second-best thing that happened to the United Kingdom after its victory in World War II.
The United Kingdom embraced capitalism and privatization under Thatcher. Free trade, open markets, privatization, deregulation, and shrinking the public sector - all of these ideas spread quickly over the world thanks to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund's political dominance (IMF). Thatcher emphasized on competitiveness and labor and product market flexibility.
Margaret Thatcher reduced direct income taxes while increasing indirect taxes. She decreased inflation by raising interest rates, slowing the development of the money supply. She also imposed monetary limitations on government expenditures and cut spending on social services like education and housing. She had turned the British economy around by 1990.
However, things have steadily deteriorated since then.
According to a recent IEA research, the majority of millennials and Generation Z individuals in the United Kingdom want to live in a socialist society because they feel it is the best system for reducing inequality in the country. According to the poll, 16 to 34-year-olds in the United Kingdom are "anti-capitalist." Young people want the trains, energy, and water services to be renationalized, and private companies out of the NHS.
Up to 78 percent blame capitalism for the housing crisis in the United Kingdom, and 67 percent prefer a socialist economy, while 75 percent believe climate change is a "especially capitalist problem." Moreover, 70 per cent agreed that “capitalism feeds racism,” while 73 per cent thought a socialist system would increase people’s solidarity, compassion, and collaboration.
Inflation in the United Kingdom has been high for 30 years
The cost of living issue in the United Kingdom intensified in December 2021, when inflation reached 5.4 percent, the worst level in over 30 years. Consumer price inflation jumped to 5.4 percent in December, up from 5.1 percent in November, the highest level since March 1992. The consumer price index (CPI) is predicted to grow to 6% by April, according to the Bank of England, with some analysts predicting it to reach 7%.
Since the 2000s, the British tale has been one of a ship steadily sinking. The issue is that many on board believe the ship is unsinkable. That a miracle will occur and all will be well with the world once more. As a result, British officials, including Boris Johnson, are doing nothing to address the economy's and society's underlying flaws.
As a result, the flaws are just becoming worse. The United Kingdom can no longer claim to be the world's "numero due" power. China has long held that position, at least in economic terms, which Britain came dangerously near to under David Cameron's presidency. Now is the time for the UK to turn home and start focusing on internal challenges rather than being driven by an insatiable desire to be perceived as an international leader. Once it resolves its domestic difficulties, it will inevitably be in that position. If British officials continue to avoid taking responsibility for reforming the country from within, the country will soon be unsalvageable.