If she had looked at the rest of the year, Queen Elizabeth II would have witnessed her country pass an almost unbelievable milestone at the beginning of her reign.
The British monarch, whose father was the king of the subcontinent, has died while India is trying to overtake Britain in economic power.
When the Queen ascended the throne in 1952, India was an independent nation that had just been liberated from British rule. Seven decades later, India will officially become the world’s fifth-largest economy later this year. The UK slipped to her sixth place, though some economists argue that the actual ranking is her eighth.
In 1952, it was indisputably one third behind the United States and the Soviet Union. As a further sign of strength, Britain joined the superpowers that year as a nuclear power.
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Britain was a giant in manufacturing and trade. Coal mining, shipbuilding, heavy industry, motor vehicle manufacturing, textiles: followed by a list of activities and mass employment that dominate the industrial centers of the country in the north of England and the West Midlands. Many of them were state-owned.
Liverpool, Southampton and London’s East End docks were in full swing, carrying ships to and from the British Empire.
Buildings were everywhere as people began to rebuild, devastated by the war and constant bombing. Vast areas of the urban population had to be rehousing, and the Council seized the opportunity to denounce the Victorian-era slums that had ravaged so many towns and cities.
Highways were built and the new National Health Service and Welfare State called for hospitals, clinics and offices to be built. school building too. Britain was buzzing with activity.
Nevertheless, times were difficult. Some staple food rations continued to apply, and double-income families were not common. During the years of conflict, women, who had been employed in fields ranging from weapons to agriculture, found they were no longer needed as the industry reverted to being almost exclusively male.
The head of state may have been a woman, but in Britain there were few opportunities for women to advance their careers. Women in top positions were rare. Women made up her third of the workforce, but they were often in posts with little prospect of meaningful advancement. In 2022, the male-to-female ratio will be roughly 50/50, and women will be promoted to the most powerful positions, including prime minister, three times.
After that, college graduates were predominantly male. Today, women make up the majority of students studying for their first degree.
Much of the change was due to enlightenment. Similarly, in 1952, divorcees and single-parent families struggled to be accepted. not anymore. In 2021, most births were to unmarried parents.
Major social changes that led to declining church attendance, the legalization of abortion and homosexuality, and the introduction of birth control pills played their part. The economy was also to blame for disappearing. This has, incidentally, been supplanted by a more pro-female service industry in which the UK excels.
Sitting at the top of its sprawling empire, Britain had to come to terms not only with the loss of its colonies, but also with the rise of new economic forces: globalization and digitalisation.
Proxy UK manufacturer status in China
Britain, which once faced no or little competition, must fight for all good. Asia, especially China (currently No. 2 on the economic charts), continues to show its considerable strength. For example, the iconic British sports car, the MG, was once built near Oxford. The current electric MG is produced in China.
For a long time, EU membership and the presence of a free trade bloc on its doorstep compensated for the empire’s decline. But that is gone and the UK in 2022 is feeling very alone and must find and conclude a trade deal. Ironically, some of them were made in countries that were fully under their jurisdiction in 1952.
But the economy has changed and is five times larger than it was in 1952. However, productivity is declining and defies repeated efforts to improve.
It’s a more crowded country, with plenty of mouths to feed. When the Queen succeeded her father in 1952, Britain had a total population of 50.4 million. Today it is 68.3 million. Much of that increase has occurred in the last 30 years as net immigration increased.
Queen Elizabeth’s Timeline – In Photos
Then there are more people and they live longer. When he turns 70 in 2022, both men and women can expect to live seven years longer than they did in 1952.
But by and large, they are wealthier and enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle. Public ownership gave way to privatization. Collective transport by buses and trains is complemented and overtaken by privately owned cars. Public housing declined in favor of private housing (with the emergence and establishment of ancillary industries wholly devoted to housing renovation). Restaurants and fast food outlets are on every high street. We also eat healthier and more diverse foods imported from abroad.
In 1952, the average home price was less than £2,000 ($2,311), today the equivalent of £60,000. The average house value is now £274,000, says the Nationwide Building Society (don’t forget that pounds are also how the currency switched from shillings and pence to decimals). .
For most of the Queen’s reign, average British wages exceeded inflation. They didn’t after her 2008 financial crisis, and may not be this year when inflation hit double digits.
Trade unions, once very dominant during nationalization, lost their influence during the Margaret Thatcher era. In 2022, against the backdrop of the rising cost of living, they are making their presence felt and threatening a nationwide strike.
Having experienced high taxes at various stages of the Queen Elizabeth II era, Britain became accustomed to low taxes and market forces replacing public intervention during and after Thatcher’s tenure. But gradually, higher taxes returned. With the response to Covid and fuel shortages in 2022 caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the government’s measures, while designed to benefit the majority of British citizens, must be paid.
A recession is looming. But there is a strong sense that it was once here, that it survived the crisis and thrived. For 70 years, the UK economy has endured oil shocks, the Suez crisis, the Falklands conflict, the devaluation of the pound, and the withdrawal from the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM).
Britain is still in good shape, although it may not be as strong as it once was.
Published: September 14, 2022, 12:10 PM