Nostalgia for decline in deconvergent Britain

Adam Tooze in Chartbook:

After a year of political turmoil and financial embarrassment, Britain ends 2022 shaken. There is a new spate of talk about national decline. Once again the UK is falling behind. The outlook is uncertain. It is symptomatic that Perry Anderson chose already in 2020, to author yet another gigantic essay for the New Left Review on the UK.

I generally avoid writing about the UK. My feeling about the country are too conflicted. But the discussion going on right now makes it irresistible. It seems as though half a century or more of debate are once again up for grabs.

Though the British elite had a first attack of nerves around 1900 as imperialist rivals emerged on the scene, the decline debate as we know it today originated in the 1950s, within the frame of US hegemony, at a moment when imperial humiliation in Suez coincided, as Jim Tomlinson has shown with the publication of new comparative productivity figures by the OECD.

More here.