The Future of Socialism: The Book That Changed British Politics Paperback – 14 Sep 2006
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"'The key social democratic text remains Tony Crosland's The Future of Socialism...' --Will Hutton
'The most important post-War attempt to define a non Marxist socialism for the Labour Party.' --Financial Times
'Labour's greatest Revisionist intellectual' --The Independent
About the Author
Anthony Crosland was one of the most fascinating and important figures in British politics since the war. An Oxford economics don before becoming MP for Grimsby he held a succession of middle ranking ministerial posts before becoming Foreign Secretary under James Callaghan. He died in 1977 aged only 58.
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Top Customer Reviews
Dismissed by the traditionalist labour left of his day as a dillettante Crosland wrote a book which examined the ways in which capitalism has been transformed from its early days into what exists today and reading it it is easy to forecast the shifts in public opinions which paved the way for the historic migration of the centre ground of politics to the right which took place with Thatcherism.
The is a foreword by Gordon Brown which is a nice piece of writing welcoming the return to print of The Future of Socialism and making some important points about the political imperative of credibility.
Brown appears to posit that British socialists need to take a long, long view upon economic and political development and change in Britain, this is inline with earlier books by British socialists, such as Bernard Crick which posit a change spanning generations during which much confidence building needs to be carried out by socialists and recognition in the mean time of how dated original goals and objectives can become.
Part One of the book looks at the transformation of capitalism and asks the important question of whether or not the status quo can really be considered capitalism. This chapter is important because, I feel wrongly, many supporters and opponents have understood socialism purely in contra distinction to capitalism itself.Read more ›
The thing that will strike most contemporary readers most forcefully is that the book is written from a background in which the 1930s and the British society of that time were still living memories. It was, at least in Crosland's account, a completely different country. It was still a country in which aristocracy counted for something serious. It was also a country in which industry was in private hands. So the very interesting references to the world as it was, looking back from 1956, gives one an explanation of why the Labour government of 1945 wanted to nationalise some industries, and why it stopped where it did.
The post war revolt against the British class structure also makes much more sense when seen from this perspective. The account of class in Britain at the time of writing is very illuminating. He has a knack of picking the difficult counter example to an argument, and also the convincing specific point that supports one. However, he is surprisingly naive about the role of class in other countries. He greatly underestimates its importance in America and the Sweden of the day, which he thinks, without any apparent real acquaintance, to have no defined class lines.Read more ›
Crossland rescues socialism from the cancer that is Marxism.