New Liberalism 1902-1918: National Efficiency

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Britain's National Efficiency

  • Concern British economy and workforce were not at peak efficiency
  • Britain would fall behind as a world leader
  • This was heightened by:
    • Revelations about poverty, disease and physical weakness amongst working class
    • Physical state of soldiers volunteering for Boer War
    • Time it took to defeat ill equipped Boer farmers
    • Speed America and Germany were overtaking industry
    • Growth of mobile European armies
  • It led to criticism focusing on:
    • System of parliamentary Government as ran by amateurs who were incapable
    • Perceived amateurism of army officers and inadequate training of men
    • Authority of the Treasury, conservative thinking: 'tight rein on purse strings'
  • Advocates of national efficiency support intervention in the field of welfare and improvement of secondary education by the state
  • Wanted expert business men for Government and military training for all men
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