Exams

2282 mots 10 pages
Why Nationalise?

“Nationalisation is the centre piece of the socialist vision, an inevitable outcome of long standing debates within the labour party and of its rise to power” (Caincross 85 cited in Millward 97)

This is one of the arguments for the programme of nationalisation in the UK. It is one of many suggested for the phenomena, which occurred in the late 40’s, and accounted for over 80% of the transfer of private industry to public ownership. This particular political argument centres on the idea that

“Private ownership of productive assets creates a concentration of power over resources which is intolerable in a democracy” (Griffith & Wall 98)

With this in mind, nationalised industries came to produce 9% of the UK’s GDP and were responsible for employing 7.3% of the UK workforce. (Griffith & Wall 98) The First World War gave great momentum to socialist theory, lead primarily by the Webb partnership, which produced various great works, and were key to the development of the trade unions. In early 1918 the Webb’s produced “Labour and the new social order” containing ideas, which the labour party quickly adopted. It promoted

“The progressive elimination from industry of the private capitalist, individual or joint stock; and the setting free of all who work whether by hand or brain, for the service of the community” (Webb 1918 cited in Kelf – Cohen 61)

Six months on, labour called for the “Immediate nationalisation of railways, mines and electric power” however by 1920 there was talk of nationalisation of all the industries and all the services, in one go, so the Webb’s set about providing the best form of administration for each industry and service on an individual basis, dealing first and foremost with those on a national basis. In there eyes the objective for nationalisation was to centralise and improve service, create full participation of workers in the management process, safe guarding the interests of consumers and the general

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