'Full Employment Capitalism' and the Labour Party

Ajit Singh


Assuming that the next general election produces a Labour majority, the over-riding objective of the next Labour Government must in my view be the creation and maintenance of full employment. Few socialists will question the validity of this purpose in today's circumstances. In this essay, I shall argue two propositions: first, that it is a realisable objective within the existing framework of a parliamentary democracy. However, in view of the state of the economy which a Labour Government is likely to inherit, major institutional changes in the functioning of the mixed economy will be required, heralding a significant shift in the balance of power between labour and capital. Secondly, I shall argue that a Labour Government, and only a Labour Government, is now capable of restoring full employment without jeopardising or seriously eroding the fabric of the current democratic order. Finally, I shall examine the question whether this single-minded pursuit of full employment in the short and medium term by a Labour Government is also likely to further the long-term goal of socialism in Britain.

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