Election reading

There has been a number of good article and things firing around of late. So it seemed to make sense to shove them up here.

Firstly there is an interesting article, spotted by Will about how right-wing politics has taken ownership of popular cultural issues to defend the interests of a rich minority. Will reckons it “puts what I guess we already knew in quite a concise way,” but takes issue with one bit in it: “The media colludes in this by focusing on ‘benefits cheats’ while ignoring massive tax avoidance.”

He argues instead, “The main focus on benefit cheats has been coming from DWP, with their huge advertising and media campaign. They are the ones putting out the press release every time someone is convicted. Apparently their anti benefit fraud campaign has cost £6million. I’m sure if they put the same publicity effort into tax avoidance the media would follow them.”

Next up, I read a rambling and cheery read about John-Lewis and whether it could be progressive a model for other companies.

It is owned by its employees – or partners – who have a say in how it is run, and receive a share of the profits. Surely this the way every organisation should be run…

Generally I find it puzzling how the left has almost nothing to say about how companies are organised. Business is arguably the most significant organising force in our society, yet we are always chasing the state to change things.

Finally, last week’s Guardian Politics podcast I found a real cracker, speculating on the (crucial) issues that will be left out of all the election campaigning.

If anyone stumbles into anything else of interest, do stick it up.

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One thought on “Election reading

  1. “Business is arguably the most significant organising force in our society, yet we are always chasing the state to change things”

    Yep indeed. The Left has little to say about it because their frame of reference is too broad. They understand the sphere of production, the sphere of exchange, and the capitalist state – with its role in maintaining the stability of the productive processes of capitalism. In this sense, the state is what brings the personal touch to capitalism; the ability to moderate the extreme, inhuman forces that would self destruct the human race if capitalistic rules were left unchecked and followed to their inevitable conclusion.

    As you can see, the organisation of capitalism in this (albeit brief and probably contentious) model is left to the state since individual companies are all experiencing the same competitive pressures and are therefore required to follow similar strategies in order to succeed. Therefore, the electorate has to apply pressure to the state as a conduit through which class relations are enacted.

    In contrast, it is possible to adopt an evolutionary approach to the organisation of governance in society. With this approach we can begin to dig into the complexities of structure that abound within the spheres of production and exchange as we see that state policy is not only designed to mitigate the inevitable brutalities of capitalism but also to pursue specific goals and to raise money with the aim of achieving these goals. As different forms of legislature are enacted in order to pursue uch interests, different legislative spaces are created in which private companies operate subject to a myriad of varied pressures. These companies respond to these pressures in ways that may or may not be predicted by the legislating power as they work toward their own interests (typically the profit motive) and the legislating power then has to respond as necessary in order to best achieve its goals… and so on.

    The state is responsible to the population through the electoral process. Thus it is still within the state’s power to ultimately apply pressure onto businesses. However, as you can see, it’s powers are limited to predict and respond.

    With regards to the organising of businesses specifically, this is a major topic of the branch of academia International Management and other such business oriented subjects. They study organisational change and efficiency and what structure works best in what environment. Anecdotally, I have worked in 5 private organisations now and my eye-opener was the diversity between them all – especially in the small to medium bracket which represents about 95% or so of all UK business. Each industry attracts specific types of people and each type of business willf urther segment this broad category into those with the personality type to fit that specific company. And the organisation of companies at this level is highly oriented about the personality of the owner/managers. What is clear though, is that their is a niche for almost every personality type out in the private market – from hard core sell your mum to buy a beer types, to never fire anyone even if they shit on the desk types.

    In effect, what this demonstrates is that anyone, by virtue of working for a business run along ethical lines with which they agree, and contributing to its success, will indirectly be exerting their own pressure on the state (through the business’s own lobbying efforts, or through the efforts of a trade body, or by nature of its success alone) to enact legislation that favours this type of business and therefore the type of people it employees. In short, we should all go and work for John lewis and live to serve middle england with a smile, providing htem with the right high quality product for the right price, and maybe even mention TheBathhouse to them in an effort to set off a pensioners micro-revolution in favour of social justice and an end to those soppy RSPCA adverts.

    but that’s enough from me folks, as I think you’ve probbly already decided – if you got this far… which if you did I congratulate you on… who the hell set this site up?.. and how do they choose who gets to spout all their waffle over it?..

    Signing out Failure to Fathom

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