From Krugman's macroeconomic textbook:

It’s one of the classic questions in economic history: Why did Britain, the home of the Industrial Revolution, by far the world’s leading economy for much of the nineteenth century, end up falling behind other nations at the start of a new century? It’s not a tragic story: the British economy continued to grow, and it remained a rich country by international standards. Still, by the early twentieth century it was obvious that British industry was no longer at the cutting edge. Instead, the United States and Germany had come to supplant Britain as the new economic frontier. What happened?

That’s not an easy question to answer. Robert Solow, an MIT economics professor and Nobel laureate who pio- neered the theory of economic growth, once memorably declared that all efforts to explain Britain’s lag end in “a blaze of amateur sociology.” Indeed, among the reasons often given for the lag are such things as the excessive influence of the landed aristocracy, social barriers that prevented talented individuals from the wrong class from rising, and a cult of amateurism that was good enough for people running small family firms but not for the managers of large modern corporations.

I have no a clue what it supposed to mean. Googling didn't help.

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    $\begingroup$ Do you know what it means for someone to be an amateur? $\endgroup$ – user253751 Jul 14 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is more a question of English usage than economics. You may want to try English.stackexchange.com instead. $\endgroup$ – Kenny LJ Jul 15 at 0:59
  • $\begingroup$ @KennyLJ "I think this is more a question of English usage than economics." Can you explain how? The question is of some unknown (to me) economic practice in Britain, probably related to way managers work there. It's not a linguistic question. $\endgroup$ – user161005 Jul 15 at 4:15
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    $\begingroup$ amateur is used in two senses in that paragraph, first to describe the type of analysis used to rationalise what has happened, and second, in the bolded phrase, to describe the lack of a professional skillset among managers. Both were pejorative, and neither was particularly true $\endgroup$ – Henry Jul 15 at 8:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Henry I'm not sure about this interpretation. IMHO, the text can be interpreted to mean that Brit managers didn't care about very much about education of their subordinates, by either hiring people without formal education or by not providing on-job training $\endgroup$ – user161005 Jul 16 at 14:09

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