By Malcolm B. Hamilton (auth.)
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Finally, both theorists treat power as if it were a sort of homogeneous, cumulative, material or substance. One must always be careful, however, in using the concept of power, to specify precisely what the power in question relates to. We must always ask: power to do what? The power that unions might have to increase wage levels and improve working conditions is not the same sort of thing as the power that a socialist party might have to take industries into public ownership or limit the prerogatives of management.
The major reason for the altered balance of power is the growth of white-collar labour organisation which has released non-manual employees from the hegemony of capital. Stephens rejects the traditional Marxist model of class polarisation and adopts a more Weberian approach so far as distribution of income is concerned. In terms of the distribution of control, the lower propertyless non-manual workers, not involved in performing the global function of capital, form a distinct non-manual working class which has grown steadily in size and significance in recent decades.
If it exerts a constant force, which, for example, is tending to produce deradicalisation of policy, this should show up increasingly over time. Shorter-run fluctuations in economic conditions are likely to affect party policy indirectly through the way they affect membership and resources and relative deprivation. Economic recession reduces the level of unionisation and thereby the funds and, perhaps, membership of the party. Falling levels of real income make it more difficult for the party to raise financial resources.
Democratic Socialism in Britain and Sweden by Malcolm B. Hamilton (auth.)