Re LOV and Tory Stabilisation ?

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Thu Jul 6 17:50:11 MDT 1995


Chris B. wrote:

> But the weak secular position of British capitalism, means that it can
> only seek to accumulate further at the expense of its working class.
> That not only weakens its economy but also weakens the cultural and
> social level of the workforce in a way which makes it difficult for
> British capitalism to keep up with the most modern technical innovations.

Jerry:

I think we agree that British capitalism *is* attempting to increase
capital accumulation at the expense of the working class (a policy that
Thatcher attempted as well).  This does not mean though that due to its
"secular position", this is the *only* option for the expansion of
British capital.  Other options include:  protectionism, breaking with
the Common Market, exploiting British colonies more and increasing
direct foreign investment, devaluation and monetary reform, deregulation,
etc.  The capitalist state in the UK does not have one choice with
regards to capital accumulation, but *many*.  The problem is that any
of the above policies has pitfalls -- economic and social/political.

Chris writes that UK policy "weakens the cultural and social level of the
workforce in a way which makes it difficult to keep up with most modern
technical innovations."  What do you mean by this?  Do you mean -- as I
suspect -- that UK state policies will lead to a decrease in skills,
training, and education for the British working class and thereby make it
more difficult for British workers to perform the types of jobs demanded
in an economy with increasing technical innovations?  The problem with
this idea is that it assumes that so-called "high-tech" industries
require workers with high-tech skills.  The newer technologies in most
branches of production, though, are being designed in such a way that
they can be operated by workers with *less* skills.  "High-tech"
occupations (e.g. assembly of microprocessors) frequently can be
performed by *unskilled* workers.  Only a minority of workers will be
required to have specialized technical skills and since those jobs will
pay more than unskilled jobs, we can expect there to be a sufficient
supply of workers to meet the demand for labor of British capitalists.
Most frequently, you hear the high-tech argument from liberal economists
and Social Democrats who oppose the complete dismantilling of the social
wage and educational systems.  It is a flawed argument for the above reasons.

Jerry


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