Born OTD in 1883, English lawyer, soldier and politician, Clement Attlee. His government’s Keynesian approach to economic management aimed to maintain full employment, a mixed economy and a greatly enlarged system of social services provided by the state. To this end, it undertook the nationalisation of public utilities and major industries, and implemented wide-ranging social reforms, including the passing of the National Insurance Act 1946 and National Assistance Act, the foundation of the National Health Service (1948) and the enlargement of public subsidies for council house building. His government also reformed trade union legislation, working practices and children’s services; it created the National Parks system, passed the New Towns Act 1946 and established the town and country planning system.

Clement Attlee was the Labour prime minister who presided over Britain’s radical postwar government, delivering the end of the Empire … More

Born OTD in 1908, Canadian-born economist, public official, and diplomat, John Kenneth Galbraith. Galbraith’s international bestseller The Affluent Society is a witty, graceful and devastating attack on some of our most cherished economic myths. As relevant today as when it was first published over 60 years ago, this newly updated edition of Galbraith’s classic text on the ‘economics of abundance’, lays bare the hazards of individual and social complacency about economic inequality. Why worship work and productivity if many of the goods we produce are superfluous – artificial ‘needs’ created by high-pressure advertising? Why begrudge expenditure on vital public works while ignoring waste and extravagance in the private sector of the economy? Classical economics was born in a harsh world of mass poverty, and has left us with a set of preconceptions ill-adapted to the realities of our own richer age.

And so, too often, ‘the bland lead the bland’. Our unfamiliar problems need a new approach, and the reception given … More