PASADENA - "Six years after Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher took office determined to promote recovery, proud old Britain - birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, master of a third of the world in the 19th century, a Great Power only four decades ago - remains a nation in decline." So summarized R. W. Apple Jr. of The New York Times Oct. 9 after an 8 1/2-year assignment as the Times bureau chief in London. Mr. Apple is far from alone in drawing such conclusions. None other than Prince Charles warned that the British people must change their attitudes toward enterprise and industry. "Otherwise," he said, "we are going to end up as a fourth rate country." The prince said he detected a culturally deep-seated refusal by the British public to face the facts of the nation's relative economic decline. Those facts became more evident in 1985. The International Monetary Fund revealed that Italy has overtaken Britain in its standard of living. Indications are that in 10 years Spain and communist East Germany (West Germany caught up 25 years ago) could also pass Britain.
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