The World Economy since 1945: A Stylized Historical Analysis
The Economic History Review
Volume 38, Issue 2, Article first published online: 11 FEB 2008
Abstract: Preparing this year’s Tawney Memorial Lecture has been a gratify- adventure. In the first place it led me to recall a meeting with Tawney in 1950 at the home of Michael and Cynthia Postan. Wrapped about in his heavy brown tweeds, pipe ashes descending into their ample folds, Tawney seemed a John Bullish sort of man, all-of-a-piece, but with eyes alert and sensitive suggesting the complexity which, in fact, distinguished his mind and character-a complexity which soon emerged in conversation. The task also led me to re-read a good deal of Tawney’s more familiar writing and to read for the first time his Commonplace Book and The Attack and Other Essays which Cynthia Postan and Peter Mathias, respectively, urged on me.
As you will see, it was in these latter pieces that I found strands of thought, commitment, and passion which linked naturally to the broad conclusions of my paper. Tawney was, evidently, too grand and serious a figure to be introduced cosmetically into our proceedings this morning. When I began, I had not, in fact, expected my subject would relate to his work. I was rather surprised and pleased when it did.