Britainomics

Has something been occurring in Britain that undercuts the headlines about Prime Minister Thatcher shaking up her Cabinet and taking other measures to safeguard her tough brand of conservatism? You'd think so to read the British weekly Economist, which says that two other things have had "a greater effect than any Thatcherite policy." They are Britain's switch from importing to exporting oil and its switch of resources from manufacturing to services.

We hear echoes of such discussion in the United States where some see the stress on bolstering industrial production as out of step with the switch to a service economy and "information age." So far the US has not returned to its oil-exporting days. But politicians in both countries might do well to take the advice of the Economist begging party orators to took at what is actually hapenning in the economy.

In 1975 British manufacturers and services were investing the same amount. Today the services share is close to 25 percent more than manufacturing's. In two years manufacturing employment fell by almost 14 percent. Services lost only 2 1/4 percent.

Such changes often get lost in the political shuffle of what is liberal, what is conservative, what is the middle alternative. The Economist looks at the facts rather than the rhetoric and sees "a future a lot less bleak than the past." That would not be bad oratory either.

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