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Labour Under the Marshall Plan: The Politics of Productivity and the Marketing of Management Science.

Labour under the Marshall Plan: The Politics of Productivity and the Marketing of Management Science By Anthony Carew. Detroit, MI, Wayne State University Press, 1987. 293 pp., bibliography.

The scope of this book is not just the Marshall Plan and its Economic Cooperation Agency (ECA) but the whole postwar U.S. assistance effort in Western Europe, including ECA'S successor agencies and the work of American union officials. The author, Anthony Carew, lecturer in industrial relations at the University of Manchester in England, lumps together all these activities, stretching to 1960 and beyond, under the rubric of "Marshall Aid."

What impact, Carew asks at the beginning of his book, did Marshall Aid have on European labor politics? He quickly narrows down that sweeping question geographically-to Great Britain, France, West Germany, and Italy-and also substantively: Did Marshall Aid have its impact "through its programs of support for anti-Communist organizations" or "in the realm of ideas"-that is "through the cultural norms it helped to implant in a society gradually accustoming itself to economic growth and consumer affluence"?

More particularly, he is concerned whether this aid "undermined the radicalism of the trade union and Socialist movement," whether it was responsible for the postwar drift of European Socialists to "revisionism"their "tendency to abandon traditional Marxist and other class-based precepts" in their thinking and actions. He concludes that, although neither responsible for originating "revisionism" nor solely responsible for its growth, Marshall Aid "contributed mightily to the success that it enjoyed," and did so through propagating "Marshall Plan values," especially the need for increased productivity and improved labor-management cooperation. These values, "promoted through the extensive programme of social engineering, provided a congenial environment in which deradicalizing pressures could operate in the labor movement in the 1950's.

The "social engineering," as defined by Carew, reached far and wide. It covered not just assistance to non-Communist unions, the anti-Communist activism of labor officers on U.S. Government staffs, and special programs such as U.S. visits of European labor leaders to study productivity, but even covered the early work of the Ford Foundation, which took over "where the educational and propagandistic work of the Marshall Plan took off." He credits research on labor relations sponsored by the Ford Foundation, with "creating a

global [non-Marxist] consensus around industrial issues" and an "intellectual hegemony by the sheer scale of its operation." He unfortunately implies that those who carried out what he calls "in effect subcontracted Marshall Plan work"-scholars such as John Dunlop, Val Lorwin, Adolph Sturmthal, Seymour M. Lipset, and E. Wight Bakke-all whistled to a tune called by Henry Ford II and the Rockefellers.

Carew's book, completed with the help of a Rockfeller Foundation grant, is not a tract. Based on extensive research into government and private documents, supplemented by interviews with some participants in Marshall Aid labor programs, it reflects much of the complexity (although little of the drama) of the times. Carew recognizes, for example, that some European Communist parties were, "as much as anybody," responsible not only for their own loss of popularity among voters but even for the declining appeal of the Socialist program.

It is surprising, therefore, that he confines himself to the influence of Washington and to developments in Western Europe as he seeks an explanation for the decline of Marxism as an ideology. He makes only passing reference to crucial contemporary events in Berlin, Prague, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, as though they transpired in a vacuum and as though the behavior of Marxism's leading purveyors could not diminish its acceptance as an ideology and a reasonable basis for action.

The omission is especially glaring because Carew generally does not ignore context. His book is rich in background information on the U.S. aid agencies, on the postwar labor movements of the four West European countries, and on the differing postwar policies of the split U.S. labor movement. He also goes into much detail on the decline of the World Federation of Trade Unions-how the CIO and almost all West European unions abandoned it after the pattern of its domination by the U.S.S.R. became crystal clear. But here again it escapes him that the puppet-like behavior of the Communists in the World Federation of Trade Unions could undermine the appeal of their Socialist values.

As Carew points out in his introduction, there has previously been "no history, adequate or otherwise," devoted to the role of labor (United States and European) in the reconstruction of Western Europe. His book has drawn together much of the material of a fascinating and dramatic story still to be told. -ROBERT A. SENSER

Former Labor Attache Reston, VA
COPYRIGHT 1988 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Author:Senser, Robert A.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 1988
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