Undermining Capitalism

Undermining Capitalism: State Ownership and the Dialectic of Control in the British Coal Industry

Joel Krieger
Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 334
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvk79
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  • Book Info
    Undermining Capitalism
    Book Description:

    Beginning with the nationalized British coal industry and then raising more general issues concerning the contemporary state, Joel Krieger studies the day wage structure for face workers (National Power Loading Agreement) introduced by the National Coal Board in 1966, its consequences, and the ways in which earlier work conventions, wage structures, and social relations affected it.

    Originally published in 1984.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5574-2
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. CHAPTER ONE STATE OWNERSHIP, THE NCB, AND CONTRADICTIONS OF BUREAUCRATIC MANAGEMENT
    (pp. 3-36)

    When the party label Social Democrat still referred mainly to German Marxists, and the Labour Party was occupied with working through the special meaning and purpose of socialism for Britain, the issue of nationalization was at the core of party debate. In 1952, Roy Jenkins, now a leader of Britain’s own Social Democratic Party, but then representing a strong mainstream position within the Labour Party, explained what state ownership in Britain was all about.

    A substantial extension of public ownership is . . . an essential prerequisite of greater equality of earned incomes and an inevitable concomitant of greater equality...

  6. CHAPTER TWO THE POLITICS OF PRODUCTIVITY
    (pp. 37-61)

    With the introduction of the NPLA, the Board turned its active attention to ensuring the best results during the settling-in period. Throughout the summer and early fall of 1966, the NCB staff worked to secure the advantages of control it hoped to achieve from the agreement. The wages staff considered, but never implemented, proposals that men who were restricting effort be paid at a fall-back rate below the national power loading rate.¹ Management discussed the problem of challenging customary practices such as cavilling or the election of team members by seniority or by waiting lists or by other procedures which...

  7. CHAPTER THREE TOWARD AN EXPLANATION
    (pp. 62-101)

    In the colliery anthropologies which follow, I will discuss changes which I observed in power and laboring relations in a set of ten collieries and demonstrate distinctive regional patterns in the politics of productivity under piece-rate and under time-based daywage structures. In so doing, I will illustrate the processes by which a well planned and executed effort by the competent, highly motivated management of a state-run industry came undone, and how all efforts to impose a centralized structure on a reluctant and fragmented industry were defeated. These colliery studies reveal a broad and complex evolution in national wages policy, centered...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR DURHAM COLLIERY STUDIES
    (pp. 102-174)

    George Harvey, the “Wardley Lenin” and leading rankand-file activist in the interwar years, wrote about the leadership of the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA): "The religion of the area official is compromise.”¹ Dave Douglass, a contemporary pitman-agitator in Harvey’s mold, who also worked at Wardley Colliery as a young man, expands on Harvey’s theme.

    When the Durham Miners’ Association was founded in 1869, the county was divided into three districts and an agent appointed to each of them. . . . the number increased as the union prospered. . . . [T]heir full-time officials soon developed a particular character. Almost invariably...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE NOTTINGHAM COLLIERY STUDIES
    (pp. 175-260)

    It is commonplace for people in Nottingham who are associated with coalmining to stress two particular features about the industry they know: that the men are hard-working and that both the rank and file and the union are prepared to cooperate with management so long as they get a fair return for their efforts. As a consequence, on both sides of the industry Nottingham men feel constrained by the NPLA and embittered by a wage structure which, they believe, rewards slacking and petty militancy while it fails to provide any incentive for determined production. A member of the area NCB...

  10. CHAPTER SIX CONCLUSION
    (pp. 261-278)

    True to their understanding of Weber, academic social scientists have stressed the need for greater insight into the inner rationality of administrative organizations, while Marxist theorists have mainly considered the broad structural characteristics of the capitalist state, presupposing a close connection between state activities and the reproduction of class relations. Too often, their attention to the character of the state within a class environment simply counterbalanced the one-sidedness of conventional academic concern for the internal dimensions of bureaucracy and the highly observable features of their institutional structures. Accordingly, the explicit relationship between theinternalorganization structure and theexternalevolution...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 279-298)
  12. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 299-300)
  13. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 301-314)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 315-321)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 322-322)