New PDF release: A Textbook Of Marxist Philosophy

By Leningrad Institute Of Philosophy

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There were, however, two areas of importance to the unions in which the Schmidt Government was able to make significant advances. In labour market policy, there were some major initiatives, particularly in the introduction of employment creation schemes to help young workers, and in the expansion of vocational training. In 19 7 6 a Training Opportunities Act was passed which, over a four-year period, helped increase training places from 450 000 to 630 000 a year. The Government also carried through the Bundestag legislation which introduced a 'parity' system of co-determination (albeit in a weakened form) on the supervisory boards of all companies employing over 2000 workers - a reform for which the unions had long fought.

On the other hand, when a country adopted expansionist policies, the result was less likely to be the transmission of expansion than the discouragement of those policies by fiscally conservative international financial institutions and by more orthodox governments. We have seen above that medium-size economies which attempted to expand against the trend, like the United Kingdom in the mid-19 70s and France in the early 1980s, were unsuccessful. Both ran up large balance of payments deficits and, because of loss of reserves, were forced to succumb to the pressure of other governments and the international bankers, and change their policies.

But the idea of some kind of compact with the trade unions to exercise an element of restraint on increases in incomes in order to create the conditions for stable growth, rising standards ofliving and generous welfare programmes was central to the Socialist experience before 19 73. Despite the different geographical and historial circum- Socialism before the Recession: the Golden Age, 194 5-7J 25 stances, there were also some similarities in their approach to external relations. Sweden, of course, had a tradition of neutrality, while both Britain and West Germany were members of NATO.

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