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Economy, Class, Ideology and the Transformation of the Organisational Landscape: A Marxian Speculation
journal contributionposted on 05.12.2012, 16:24 by Joanne K. Grady, Stephen Ackroyd
In this article it is argued that in the last three decades there have been significant further developments in the capitalist mode of production in the UK and the USA. Using an analysis drawing on the distinction between the three circuits of capital distinguished by Marx and later analysts (production, commerce and finance), it is argued that a new international division of economic activities has emerged involving a substantial relocation and re-articulation of the circuits with much of production now located in China and the Far East, and finance substantially located in Britain and the USA. These developments have had extensive but clear consequences for national economies in various locations in the world and for the types of organisations and institutions taking prominent places within them. Continuing, and again using Marxian concepts, we argue that associated with the re-articulation of circuits of capital in a new geo-political context, there has been a significant reconfiguration of class structures and other changes in the economies centrally implicated in these changes. We bring forward an argument for a significant shift in social as well as the economic re-configuration of Britain and the USA. In particular we suggest the emergence of a new group within the traditional ruling class (a new elite, or, more adequately, a newly dominant class faction) which we suggest has taken over leadership of the ruling class and some of the key institutions in these economies. This has led, among other things, to a truly astonishing redistribution of wealth and income in these countries, rapidly increasing the already disproportionate assets and income of the top 0.01 % of the population. The increasing dominance of this group of finance capitalists explains not only the emphasis on freeing restrictions on investment when this is not obviously in the interest of the state and still less of the majority of the population, but in the wholesale reforms of the state. However, our point is not to develop political economy based on Marx’s concepts and ideas, but to indicate that many of the innovations and changes that have preoccupied organisational analysts in recent times can be shown to be implicated in the changes we consider. From this point of view, much organisational and institutional change is systemic rather than discrete in its causation. We argue that many of the changes that have interested academics in the organisation studies field can be seen to be collateral fallout from the types of processes we identify here, which, taken together, have significantly altered the organisational landscape.