Safe in their hands? : public service and the state regulation of the water industry in Britain
The primary concern of the thesis is the development of a materialist analysis of the state regulation and administration of labour in the context of the development of the water industry in England and Wales over the past two centuries. The project develops and explores the methodological and conceptual premises of Karl Marx contained principally in Vol. I. of Capital, the Grundrisse and A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. The project determines the form and function of the state 'logically' as a precipitate of the contradiction between value and use-value, and traces the 'historical' manifestation of state 'forms' through the movement of this contradiction. The 'determination' of the 'municipal', 'planner-state' and 'neo-liberal' state 'forms' of regulating the water industry developed through the contradiction between value and use-value and the project traces the way in which this was manifested through the struggle between concrete and abstract labour or the working class and capital. The struggle between abstract and concrete labour shifted the contradiction between value and use-value to the level of the state which became manifested through the struggle over the form of the state; as manifested through the contradiction between regulation and administration. The specific form of this struggle with respect to the water industry became a struggle over the form of 'public service'. The thesis, therefore, develops an analysis of the struggle between concrete and abstract 'public service'. The thesis emphasises the way in which different forms of abstract and concrete state regulation have fundamental implications for the form of 'management' within industry; and highlights the importance of 'valorisation' imperatives with regard to the study of management and labour process. The thesis finally develops the 'socialist pluralism' of GDH Cole to develop an outline of a non-alienated water industry.