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Anthony Crosland

(1918—1977) politician and writer


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(1918–77)

British Labour politician and socialist theorist. C. A. R. (Tony) Crosland's The Future of Socialism (1956) was a revisionist critique of socialism which had an important impact on the British Labour Party, and on Continental socialist parties.

Crosland defined the goals of modern socialism as the pursuit of political liberalism and political/social equality. Egalitarianism distinguished socialism from other political creeds. It required high levels of government expenditure on services and the redistribution of income and wealth which, he argued, was politically feasible when the economy was expanding. Keynesian demand management of a mixed economy, with some direct government ownership but within a system of predominantly private ownership, was the means to ensure economic growth. Crosland argued that additional nationalization and state ownership of industry was an unnecessary objective of socialism in Britain, which should instead apply state control and regulation of industry. Educational egalitarianism through the replacement of grammar and secondary modern schools by neighbourhood comprehensive schools, together with the expansion of opportunities in higher education, was another important aspect of Crosland's socialism.

Crosland entered the cabinet of the Labour government in 1965, and was a prominent figure, until his untimely death in 1977 while serving as foreign secretary. His arguments undoubtedly contributed to the comprehensive school movement and to the scepticism of many socialists with further nationalization, although in contrast with many other socialists who shared generally similar views, Crosland was not an enthusiastic exponent of membership of the European Community.

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Subjects: Economics — Politics.


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