By P L Payne
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Additional resources for British Entrepreneurship in the Nineteenth Century
But doubts remained. Nicholas questioned the very basis of the methodology employed by the neoclassical cliometricians to show that no productivity failure occurred . Locke criticised their failure to analyse sufficiently the factors involved in calculating cost, profit and productivity [244; 245] and, after reviewing the course of the debate, Crouzet remarked in 1982 that although McCloskey and Sandberg 'thought that they had saved the Victorian entrepreneur from damnation and assured his reputation....
Influenced no doubt by the relatively high rate of economic growth, burgeoning exports and apparently rapid technological diffusion, there has been little or no retrospective criticism of the early Victorian entrepreneur. Yet the decline of a number of hitherto leading firms can be traced to this period. 'The Final Phase' of Marshall's of Leeds set in during the mid 1840s, though this once great firm was destined to linger on for another forty years, by which time many of its leading competitors in flax spinning had already gone: Benyons in 1861, John Morfitt and John Wilkinson a few years later and others, including W.
At home, or in limited regional areas, this could be done; overseas, it was impossibly expensive for the small firm, and of the 'giant companies' that came into existence at the close of the century, few could equal J. & P. Coats, under the redoubtable German salesman, 0. E. Phillipi [219: 389-92 ], in the efficiency of their marketing organisations. Instead, resort was made to meeting the most perverse specifications in order to satisfy the customer's often unreasonable demands. British steelmakers offered a multiplicity of shapes and sections [229: 80-1 ]; the locomotive and carriage and wagon builders went to almost ridiculous lengths to satisfy the whims of consulting engineers [318; see also 82: 192]; rarely did a shipbuilder send two similar vessels down the slipways of the Clyde or the Tyne; while at the level of the firm, C.
British Entrepreneurship in the Nineteenth Century by P L Payne