Political Economy and the Labour Party: The Economics of Democratic Socialism 1884-2005, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Political Economy and the Labour Party

The Economics of Democratic Socialism 1884-2005, 2nd Edition

By Noel Thompson, Noel Thompson


340 pages

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`In Political Economy and the Labour Party, Noel Thompson gives an informative and stimulating outline of the ideas and theories that have shaped the party’s economic policy since 1900.’ - Times Literary Supplement

A new edition of the American Library Association's `Outstanding Academic Book' award winner.

This new volume brings this study of the rich tradition of British socialist political economy and its influence on the British Labour Party fully up-to-date.

Surveying the Labour tradition from the Fabianism of the Webbs to the `social-ism’ of Tony Blair’s Third Way, this new edition considers the critical engagement of these political economies with capitalism and the policies they articulate. It also discusses the manner in which they influence, or establish the context for, Labour’s economic thinking and policymaking and traces the ideological trajectory British social democratic political economy over the course of the twentieth century. In its concluding chapter this volume assesses the present character of the political economy advanced by the Labour Party and raises the question as to whether it can any longer be considered part of the social democratic tradition.

This is an essential new edition of this now standard text for students taking courses on the history of political and economic thought and, more generally, courses on the political and intellectual history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain.

Table of Contents

Part 1: 1884-1929 1. British Marxism, State Socialism and Anarcho-Communism 2. Fabian Political Economy 3. Guild Socialism 4. Liberal Socialism and the Challenge to Fabianism 5. R.H. Tawney: The Political Economy of Ethical Socialism 6. The Political Economy of Ramsay MacDonald and Philip Snowden 7. The Political Economy of the Labour Party, 1918-1929 Part 2: 1929-1945 8. Labour in Office, 1929-1931 9. Stabilising Capitalism to Socialist Ends 10. Building a Socialist Economy: Planning the Market and Public Ownership Part 3: 1945-1970 11. Theory into Policy, 1945-1951 12. Socialism in an Age of Affluence, 1945-1964 13. Political Economy and Party Policy, 1951-1970 Part 4: 1970-2005 14. Rethinking Socialism: Towards an Alternative Economic Strategy 15. Liberal Socialism Revised: The 1970s 16. The Alternative Economic Strategy and After, 1972-87 17. Liberal Socialism Rejuvenated, the 1980s 18. Towards a New Labour Political Economy 19. New Labour Triumphant 20. Conclusion

About the Authors

Noel Thompson is Professor of History and Head of the School of Humanities at the University of Wales, Swansea. He is a respected historian of Labour's economic thinking and, more generally, of socialist and anti-capitalist political economy in Britain.

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