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The New Spirit of Capitalism



The contrast between the France of 1968-78 and the France of 1985-95 cannot help but draw attention. The earlier decade was marked by aggressive social movements (not all of which were the doings of the working class); an extremely active trade unionism; changes in the allocation of value added which benefited wage-earners (as did the adoption of securityenhancing social legislation); and at the same time, lesser product quality and lower productivity gains, due at least in part to employers ’ and corporate leaders ’ inability to control labour. The later decade was marked by the quasi-absence of social movements (humanitarian aid being their only real manifestation); disoriented unions who had become reactive rather than proactive; an employment relationship that had been increasingly precarious; a greater disparity in incomes and an allocation of the value added that once again had become favourable to capital; the re-subjugation of a labour force undermined by a significant reduction in the number of strikes and social conflicts and by a drop in absenteeism and in staff turnover; and the manufacturing of higher quality goods. How was it possible for so much change to occur in such a short lapse of time, withou

Year: 2009
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