Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quotation for the day: Martin van Creveld

Most of the nationalizations which took place in the 1930s and 1940s had been carried out by left-wing governments for ideological reasons, and in the face of opposition from the right. However, in country after country it became clear that the movement was in fact part of a long-term historical trend that conservative cabinets found themselves powerless to resist. Sometimes the need to provide employment acted as the decisive factor; in other cases it was a question of enabling bankrupt companies to continue providing essential services in fields as far apart as transportation and defense...
[I]t was the Conservative government of Edward Heath, not a Labour cabinet, which rescued the firm of Rolls-Royce in 1971. As it happened, this was the same year when the Republican administration of Richard Nixon, for very similar reasons (namely, the threatening bankruptcy of the firms in question) took over rail passenger service in most of the United States and created Amtrak.
Martin van Creveld, The Rise and Decline of the State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999) 357-8.

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