Michael Kidron

Inside Britain

(Spring 1962

From International Socialism (1st series), No. 8, Spring 1962, pp. 31–32.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Ownership, Control and Success of Large Companies
P. Sargant Florence
Sweet & Maxwell. 279 pp. £3 3s net.

In so far as the attainment of socialism is dependent on developments within the capitalist economy and the realism of a socialist political program dependent on a clear appreciation of these developments, the writings of Professor Sargant Florence are essential reading for us. The Professor is no socialist; on the contrary. Nor is this book in any sense an ‘exposure’. But its lucid, dispassionate and supremely well-documented chapters constitute a detailed map of the British economy which is as necessary as it is seldom used.

The ground covered is so vast and so much interest lies in the detail that no survey can even pretend to do justice to the book. We are shown, inter alia, the immense importance of the giant industrial firms, their rapid growth between the terminal dates of the study, 1936 and 1951, how ownership, voting power and control are tightly held, whether and in what circumstances directors are important and so on. Within these themes there is a mass of illumination of value to people as different as members of the New Left interested in sharpening the analysis started in the Insiders and the Controllers, and members of shop-stewards committees who are more than likely to meet up with a helpful analysis of their firm.

Few readers will be able to afford £3 3s for the book; some at least might afford the time to go through it at the local library.

Last updated on 18 February 2017