There has been conversation of, what has been termed, “Red Toryism”; the idea that, at least some, sections of the Tory Party have used ideas more commonly from the Left. I’ve even heard the guru of this “Red Toryism”, Phillip Blond, of the Think Tank Respublica, described as a “Marxist”! Blond, who’s an adviser to Cameron, is no doubt the driving power behind the latest example of this, the Tories advocacy of Worker Co-operatives in the Public Sector. But, as the saying goes, there is certainly nothing at all new under sunlight.
The very first thing I want to say is that I believe it’s important, for a Marxist, to distance themselves from the propensity to disparage the motives of politicians, even bourgeois politicians. There is no reason for us to argue that such people do not believe, sincerely, in the ideas they put forward.
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Feudalism found itself approaching against obstacles to its own expansion. Within it was arising the potent causes of Mercantilism, which symbolizes a stepping-stone to Capitalism. The Mercantilists, the Merchant “Capitalists”, were not Capitalists in any way really. As Marx explains, Capital is a social relationship; it is the romantic relationship between Capital and Wage Labour. Today The same is true. History moves on of the actions of individuals irrespective. Within the last century, Marxists have been singularly unsuccessful in pushing forward their agenda.
Nevertheless, significant changes in the Mode of Production have continued to occur without them. The sign of Capitalism, the simple thing that means it is progressive, vis a vis all previous Modes of Production, and which drives ever faster development and innovation, is competition. But, in the 19th Century competition provided way to Monopoly, as the small companies became swallowed up by ever larger, ever more efficient firms. But, ever-larger companies meant ever-larger amounts of Capital that had to be laid out, with consequently ever larger risks. Among the top features of Capitalism during the last a century has been the drive to lessen, and where possible remove that risk.
One of the first steps for the reason that path was the introduction of legislation to determine the rule of limited liability. In place of outright competition, therefore, Capitalism was forced to borrow from the basic ideas about economic planning and Management of the future socialist society. Moreover, at an individual enterprise level, the apparent changes in productive relationships compelled similar methods on Capital.
Huge investments of Capital cannot be made simply on a whim, risking dropping all. Indeed, in Europe, many other aspects of that socialist culture have been followed by means of socialised healthcare, education, and so on. The European Capitalists did so, because of the conditions that confronted them, and because these socialised systems offered them a more efficient method of providing such necessary services than could private Capitalist provision. The US, confronted with different conditions adopted a different route, though it will not be neglected that the united states too has socialised health care by means of Medicare and Medicaid, as well as socialised education.
Capital in america, has been pressured to consider increasing socialised health care now, as the cost of private healthcare has risen inexorably. But, in Britain, specifically, the actual fact that healthcare and other areas of the Welfare State have grown way beyond what Capital originally envisaged has led to its own problems and contradictions. Capital released the Welfare State and socialised services because it was the most affordable method of it reproducing Labour Power that was fit for the purposes of 20th Century economies.
But, everything changes, and what was most effective then is not today. Capital is looking for new ways to reduce that cost. That is clear from what can be seen from the Tories proposals on such Co-operatives. The Tories speak of the constant state environment a cover these services, that your Co-operatives would have to adhere to. The power for employees within the Co-operative would be that if they deliver the service to the mandatory standard within this budget, the surplus can be kept by them either to invest in their Co-operative or to share out among themselves.