1972–89 — External Change: From Incorporation to Partial Disengagement

  • George Myconos
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


To 1989, developments on the national plane of this external dimension of change hinted at a partial disengagement between organized labour and the state. And yet, at best, these changes represented only portents of more fundamental changes to come. To elaborate we first look at the fate of the corporatist, and then the functional, relationships between organized labour and the state in the 1972–89 period. These were the relationships that had, for decades, kept trade unions within the orbit of the state. In the earlier survey of organized labour’s engagement with this external dimension (1945–72) it was ascertained that the national-political was by far the most important realm of interaction. This predictable finding emerged after a review of corporatist regimes — in both voluntaristic and statist forms — and also of the various ways in which the leaders of trade union organizations committed themselves to defending the interests of the state. Implicit throughout this was the assumption that the labour actors at furthest remove from the national-political realm — that is, the peak transnational confederations — acted as disengaged agents, rather than pivotal actors within the transnational network. In other words, the fixation on the national ensured that this transnational confederacy remained very weak indeed, in spite of its ever-increasing global reach.


Foreign Policy Collective Bargaining Labour Organization Liberal Democratic Party Trade Secretariat 
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© George Myconos 2005

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  • George Myconos

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