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Myths of decline

CP Snow, Correlli Barnett and other polemicists of British decline are wrong-Britain has not had an anti-scientific, anti-technological culture. David Edgerton argues that far from acting as a lobby for science, their theories have damaged it

The first thing we know about science and technology in general is that it is growing at an ever accelerating pace. But the first thing we know about British science and technology is that it is declining. We have known this for over 100 years. It is surprising that any of it is left at all.

This “declinism” has painted a composite picture which shows British science and technology as weak in comparison to most comparable countries; which shows British higher education dominated by the arts, and latterly by the social sciences; which shows British government and big companies dominated…

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