Industrial Democracy

Industrial Democracy

Industrial Democracy, a philosophy that the worker should share in industrial decisions. There have been various theories of industrial democracy, the most extreme form requiring the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement by the government of industry by the workers, as in syndicalism. A refined theoretical system was the Guild Socialism of the Fabians and others; nationalization with worker representation on the board of management was another form.

Milder modem versions argue that the worker should share in the control of industry as a citizen shares in the control of the state. Collective bargaining goes some way to achieve this aim, with the workers' views on matters affecting them expressed by the trade union. Joint consultative committees at various levels can discuss more -widely ranging topics of common interest, but although their role as an advisory body is important, final decisions are still taken by management. The modem concept of industrial democracy, unlike the earlier forms, tends to accept the capitalist system and the position of management, and recognizes that workers cannot share directly in the management of industry. Some argue that a strong and independent trade union movement that safeguards workers' rights provides a realistic degree of industrial democracy.

The various forms of industrial democracy are more feasible in a monopoly or large firm that dominates the market than in a competitive market requiring rapid reaction to unforeseen changes in supply or demand.

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