There is a view that the financial sector of the post-war British economy was in need of reform that was postponed to the detriment of growth for 30 years until liberalisation started in full earnest after the election of 1979. There is another side of the story in this comparison. The first three decades of the post war period witnessed a decline in the share of wages accruing to the top percentile of earners. The trend was reversed around 1979, without any commensurate rise in output per person employed. The average growth rate of GDP in the second period was no greater than that in the first period because cyclical fluctuations were deeper. The de-regulation of the financial system allowed for recycling the wealth of the rich to contribute to housing inflation and rent seeking opportunities, creating an illusion of prosperity.