Many existing accounts of the IMF crisis have argued that British policy was determined either by the exercise of structural power by markets through the creation of currency instability and the application of loan conditionality, or by demonstrating that only policies of a broadly monetarist persuasion would be sufficient to sustain confidence, a recognition which was reached through a process of policy learning. This paper offers a re-assessment of economic policy-making in Britain during the 1976 IMF crisis to show that policy change did not occur as a result of disciplinary market pressure or a process of social learning. It argues that state managers have to manage the contradictions between the imperatives of accumulation and legitimation, and can do so through the politics of depoliticisation. It then uses archival sources to show how significant elements of the core-executive had established preferences for deflationary policies, which were implemented in 1976 by using market rhetoric and Fund conditionality to shape perceptions about the range of issues within the government‟s scope for discretionary control
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