The new Jerusalem versus the dual economy: A study of the moral and political economy of worker co-operation.
thesisposted on 19.11.2015, 09:11 by Peter Davis
This thesis has sought to achieve four related objectives in its analysis of the worker co-operative movement from the 1820s until the present. Firstly, we have sought to re-establish the importance of moral precepts in determining the agenda of the political economy of co-operation. We have drawn attention to the importance of Christian values and theology in providing the inspiration and an ideological framework for much of the movement's development. Secondly, we have sought to provide a critique of the theory and practice that has characterised worker co-operative development in the past and in the present. We have sought explanations for past failures and for the continuing marginal existence of the worker co-operative movement. Thirdly, we have sought to establish the importance of the analysis of the English Labour Economists of the 1820/30s for the provision of an alternative strategy for worker co-operative development. We show that their ideas were largely ignored by their contemporary co-operators and after Marx it has been generally assumed that their contribution to socialist thought had been surpassed. Finally, we develop the ideas of John Francis Bray in the light of our contemporary situation to provide a reworked and up to date statement of his approach to the redemption of labour. Our approach differs from Bray's in its recognition of the futility of utilising small savings to buy up capital. We advocate the use of small savings to buy labour. We demonstrate that this approach is both easier to execute and more effective in its results given modern labour market conditions and the established strength of organised labour.