The Labour Party and the Capitalist Firm, c. 1950-1970

Jim Tomlinson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    One of the most profound challenges facing the Labour party in the post-war period was its ability to understand and make policy to reform the private sector. Before the Attlee government, Labour had little to say on this issue, but that government's experience exposed the dangerous ‘vacuum’ this involved. In the 1950s the nature of the capitalist firm ranked alongside the alleged ‘embourgoisement’ of the working class as an issue framing Labour's ideological and policy debate. The centrality of this issue reflected the fact that understanding the firm was inextricably linked to a raft of broader arguments within the Left about the nature of modern capitalism. The benign view of the corporation that flowed from the revisionist wing of the party was challenged by the ‘declinist’ politics of the 1960s, and in office after 1964 Labour pursued a modernizing agenda which centrally involved seeking to shape the behaviour of the private sector in order to deliver the higher economic growth that Labour so much desired. The failure of this growth to materialize led to great disillusion across the party about the policies pursued by the Wilson government, and this in turn led to a fundamental rethink of policy that was to underpin the radical agenda of the party in the 1970s.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)685-708
    Number of pages24
    JournalHistorical Journal
    Volume47
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004

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    Labour Party
    Labor
    Government
    Private Sector
    Agenda
    Capitalism
    Economic Growth
    Fundamental
    Labour Government
    1950s
    Working Class
    1970s
    Revisionist
    1960s
    Post-war Period
    Centrality

    Cite this

    Tomlinson, Jim. / The Labour Party and the Capitalist Firm, c. 1950-1970. In: Historical Journal. 2004 ; Vol. 47, No. 3. pp. 685-708.
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    The Labour Party and the Capitalist Firm, c. 1950-1970. / Tomlinson, Jim.

    In: Historical Journal, Vol. 47, No. 3, 09.2004, p. 685-708.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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