New PDF release: Politics and Society in Britain: An Introduction

By Michael Moran (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0333361385

ISBN-13: 9780333361382

ISBN-10: 1349179620

ISBN-13: 9781349179626

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Example text

Finally, the evidence of broad swings in voting behaviour in recent decades suggests a growing tendency to appraise governments by their short-term ability to manage the economy. The strengths of the 'populism' model of the political culture are that it correctly identifies some key points of stress in contemporary British politics and rightly highlights a sharp decline in deference to the high born. But the model overstates the extent to which other kinds of deference have declined and is historically short-sighted in concentrating on the events of the last couple of decades.

A contrasting view is that institutions like investment trusts and insurance companies are elaborate means of perpetuating ownership and control by the very rich; that bodies like pension funds, while nominally serving the interests of their contributors, are still controlled by the traditional economic elite; and that the economic behaviour of financial institutions does not differ greatly from that of traditional capitalists. The argument continues unresolved, in part because it goes beyond economic arithmetic to more elusive judgements about power and motivation in the economy: to judgements, for instance, about who has power in pension funds and insurance companies and about how far their investing behaviour is dominated by profit motives (Minns, 1980).

This argument asserts that ownership and control of productive resources have been transferred from private hands to those of corporate bodies serving the interests of millions of individuals, such as pensioners and insurance policy holders. A contrasting view is that institutions like investment trusts and insurance companies are elaborate means of perpetuating ownership and control by the very rich; that bodies like pension funds, while nominally serving the interests of their contributors, are still controlled by the traditional economic elite; and that the economic behaviour of financial institutions does not differ greatly from that of traditional capitalists.

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Politics and Society in Britain: An Introduction by Michael Moran (auth.)


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