chapter  6
32 Pages

Education, Production and Reform

Since in a modern economy the quality and efficiency of the working population and the degree of vocational and social mobility very largely depend on the educational system, an analysis of its relation to the occupational structure must naturally dominate any discussion of the economic consequences of educational provision or any attempt to assess the effect of education on the national economy (Floud and Halsey, 1961). What is remarkable about the statement above is that, thirty years

after its original publication in 1956, it sounds so contemporary. It would not be surprising to find it attributed to a recent MSC publication or to a member of the current Thatcher administration. This is not meant in any sense to imply that Floud or Halsey had or have any affinity with those positions — neither is it intended to suggest that the reformist tradition with which they have been associated has simply won the intellectual argument during the past three decades. Indeed, the exact opposite is now the case. The broad social-democratic reformist consensus has collapsed, and it is this fact which provides the crucial context for the present discussion of socialist education thinking.