In This Review

New Jerusalems: The Labour Party and the Economics of Democratic Socialism
New Jerusalems: The Labour Party and the Economics of Democratic Socialism
By Elizabeth Durbin
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985, 320 pp
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A study of how some of the leaders of the Labour Party in the prewar period revised its traditional program to make it economically sound and sophisticated, non-Marxist and cognizant of Keynes. The author's father, Evan Durbin, a prominent and admirable man tragically drowned at a young age, was, along with Hugh Gaitskell, a major figure in designing a program that hoped to achieve a socialist economy by parliamentary means without weakening the economy or arousing the propertied opposition to violence. In Thatcherite England-and elsewhere-their hopes seem discredited or anachronistic but their efforts to prepare economically sound plans for a better society in the economically depressed and class-ridden England of the day still carry a message, as does the example that social planning with visionary goals requires the most penetrating assessment of economic theory and practice, and of political realities.