Education-line Home Page

Six Points on Education for Human Capital, Employers' Needs and Business in New Labour's Green Paper

Prepared for an Open Meeting on Promoting Comprehensive Education in the 21st Century, Camden Town Hall, Judd Street, London, WC1, 1.00 - 3.00pm, 24th March 2001.

Glenn Rikowski

(Version 1.0 - 19th March 2001)



This presentation uncovers the "deep structure" within New Labour's Green Paper, Schools: Building on Success (DfEE, 2001). It does this through focusing on the issues of human capital, employers' educational needs and business as they figure in the Green Paper.


Labour-power / Human Capital

Education today exists within a particular social universe - the social universe of capital. The "substance" of this social universe is value, and value is social energy. Value is not self-generating, despite appearances. It is produced by our labour throughout capital's social universe.

Within the social universe of capital, there are two types of commodity: the "general class" of commodities, and labour-power (Rikowski, 1999a, 2001b). It is the latter that concerns us here. Labour-power is the capacity to labour; the skills, attitudes, knowledges and attributes that are utilised in the production of use-values (something that has utility for us).

In each social formation, labour-power assumes a particular social form. In contemporary capitalist society, labour-power takes on the form of human capital, the human as a form of capital (Rikowski, 1999a). As I have argued elsewhere at length (Rikowski, 1999b, 2000a), it is human capital that is at the foundation of New Labour's education policy. New Labour is mightily concerned that education is framed within a commitment to generating the skills and labour-power attributes that enhance the productiveness and competitiveness of British workers in an era of globalisation. Although this is most obvious in New Labour's policy documents on lifelong learning, it is also evident throughout its policy statements on school education (Rikowski, 2000a). In the Green Paper, even projected enhanced nursery provision is justified in terms of catching up with our "competitor nations" (DfEE, 2001, para 2.8, p.21).

The Green Paper argues that human capital development must proceed throughout our lifetimes - a kind of 'learning unto death' (Rikowski, 1999b) which excludes no-one, for:

In the 21st century, it will not be acceptable for young people to leave formal education with few skills. Everyone will need to be knowledgeable, to be able to reason, to think logically and creatively and continue to learn throughout their lives (DfEE, 2001, para 4.1, p.42).

Teachers, of course, must also invest in, and develop, their own human capital to the max in order to ensure that children are as work-ready for the labour market as inhumanly possible:

The working environment is changing at an unprecedented rate. Like every other profession, teaching must keep pace it we are to prepare children for a rapidly changing labour market. For teachers, as much as for their pupils, the issue is one of lifelong learning: the need to continuously build and update skills (DfEE, 2001, para 5.26, p.70).

However, it is not just human capital development for an unspecified form of economy that is required. It is human capital development for New Labour's "knowledge economy", or (as it is referred to in the United States) the "new economy". Thus: education is key to preparing the nation for "the emergence of the new economy and its increased demands for skills and human capital" (DfEE, 2001, para 1.4, p.8).


New Labour and the Knowledge Economy

The Green Paper, then, advocates that public sector education generates human capital for a specific form of economy in England: the "knowledge economy". The "knowledge economy" is probably New Labour's biggest idea, and it has survived into the Green Paper despite huge fallout in share values in the last year. However, unlike the nebulous Third Way, the knowledge economy has real social substance. Peter Mandelson promoted the knowledge economy as a leading idea for New Labour when he was at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). As Ruth Rikowski (2000) has indicated, attempting to pin down the "knowledge economy" is like swimming in soup. On the one hand, the weight of the vast array of related concepts makes progress towards understanding exactly what the 'knowledge economy' is difficult, and on the other hand its banality is breathtaking.

On the first point, Ruth Rikowski demonstrates that in defining what the 'knowledge economy' is, we are faced with the task of differentiating it from a lot of background noise. Related concepts include: the information economy, the Digital Age, the Information Age, knowledge capitalism, the learning economy, the e-economy, e-commerce, e-business, the new economy, the modern economy - the list could be further extended (Ruth Rikowski, 2000, gives other examples).

On the second point, definitions of the knowledge economy often rest merely on saying something exceedingly banal: such as, 'knowledge has become the primary ingredient of what we make, do, buy and sell' (Stewart, 1998, p.12). Here, the knowledge economy is an economy where knowledge is the 'one factor of production, sidelining both capital and labour' (Drucker, 1998, p.15). Stewart (1998, p.6) has a similar notion, where knowledge and communication (as opposed to natural resources and physical labour) are the 'fundamental sources of wealth'. This corroborates Leadbeater's (1999) notion of the 'weightless economy' where individuals live on 'thin air'.

Examination of Neef's (1998) edited collection on The Knowledge Economy does not readily yield up succinct definitions of the phenomenon. Interestingly, the DTI provides a more complex portrayal of the knowledge economy than the e-academics. Indeed, the DTI argues that cool definitions emphasising the 'weightless economy' miss much of the substance of the knowledge economy:

Terms such as de-industrialisation, globalisation, the information age, the digital or weightless economy all capture elements of what we observe. The knowledge driven economy is a more general phenomenon, encompassing the exploitation and use of knowledge in all production and service activities, not just those sometimes classified as high-tech or knowledge intensive. (DTI, 1998, Introduction, para 1.6)

For the DTI, it follows from this that:

In the global economy, capital is mobile, technology spreads quickly and goods can be made in low cost countries and shipped to developed markets. British business therefore has to compete by exploiting capabilities which competitors find hard to imitate. The UK's distinctive capabilities are not raw materials, land or cheap labour. They must be our knowledge, skills and creativity (DTI, 1998, Our Competitive Future: Building the Knowledge Economy, in: Abell and Oxbrow, 1999, p.116).

In the Third Millennium Lecture at 10 Downing Street (23rd May, 1999), David Potter, Chairman of Psion, argued that the knowledge economy could be viewed as an economy where knowledge (intellectual capital) is the primary source of value:

[We] are in the relatively early phases of a major economic revolution. This revolution is based around the concept of a post industrial era where making things is increasingly automated and routine, creating things is difficult and value therefore derives from creation and from the intellectual capital or knowledge base of the firm or nation. Furthermore, I believe that as a nation we are not engaged in or participating at the frontier of this change. (Potter, 1999, p.7)

Charles Leadbeater echoes aspects of Potter's picture of the knowledge economy when he states that:

... knowledge capitalism is the most powerful creative force we have yet developed to make people better off - something it does by generating and spreading intelligence in the usable form of products and services (1999, pp.9-10)

But perhaps the most succinct definition comes from TFPL. It incorporates many of the aspects highlighted in those above whilst holding that the knowledge economy is at an early stage of development:

Knowledge economies are emerging in the western world where knowledge, expertise, and innovation are now the primary asset and key competitive advantage. (TFPL, 1999)

This constitutes a useful working definition of the "knowledge economy".

The Green Paper's strategy for secondary education is anchored in the knowledge economy (DfEE, 2001, Introduction, p.4). It is argued that a sense of urgency comes from the "imperative for public education to prove that it can respond to the challenges of the new economy", (DfEE, 2001, para 1.2, p.8) as it is clear that "... ICT is transforming business processes in every sector of the economy, both public and private" (DfEE, 2001, para 1.29, p.16).

On the basis of this observation, the Green Paper advocates that the education system for the 21st century must have a 'leading edge', and this will be provided by advanced specialist schools linked to developing the 'school of the future' (DfEE, 2001, para 4.16, p.48). Advanced specialist schools are to arise out of specialist schools that have indicated high-performance levels of output over a five-year period (ibid.). Secondly, the Green Paper states that there will be some Beacon schools that will have a mission in relation to achieving "effectiveness in teaching the skills relevant to the emerging economy, including promoting creativity and the use of ICT" (DfEE, 2001, para 4.17, p.48). Finally, to ensure that schools are sufficiently geared up to producing pupils for the knowledge economy they are to receive broadband connections so that the "speed and quality of Internet working will be greatly enhanced" (DfEE, 2001, para 6.27, p.84). A special 10 million Classroom of the Future pilot scheme will "enable schools in 12 areas to explore radically new and inspiring ways of delivering education" (ibid.).

Thus: in the Green Paper we have human capital development for the knowledge economy, and schools will be driven by these perceived imperatives - especially secondary schools. In turn, this is linked to a conception, articulated by Prime Minister James Callaghan in his (in)famous Ruskin College Oxford speech of 1976, that schools must meet industry's needs. However, rather than 'old' manufacturing industry(1), meeting the needs of employers for the knowledge economy - e-commerce, and the virtual economy - would seem to be paramount.


The Enigma of Employer's Educational Needs

From the outset, it should be noted that research has demonstrated that employers suffer from a kind of "confused employer syndrome" in relation to their educational needs (Rikowski, 2001a). When asked 'what they are looking for' in young recruits, employers' statements are typically confused or contradictory. However, as I have indicated (Rikowski, 2001a), employers are necessarily confused as labour-power (human capital) in capitalist society is a contradictory phenomenon. These contradictions(2) emerge from the nature of labour in capitalism, and no amount of employer or researcher rationality can overcome these. Employers' statements regarding their 'educational needs' are expressions of the fact that such staements are attempts to grasp an essentially contradictory phenomenon - labour-power - and to make it rational, coherent and intelligible when these are logically impossible. Employer confusion is unavoidable (as future work, Rikowski, 2002, will demonstrate). Thus, after the Rolling Stones, it is not just the case that 'You can't always get what you want. Oh no, you can't always get want you want', but also that employers 'Can't get no satisfaction' regarding their educational needs.

Nevertheless, it might have been expected that employers' needs statements in the Green Paper were to be tied closely to arguing that schools provide the skills and other labour-power attributes demanded by the knowledge economy. The outcome was not so coherent. The Green Paper gave two broad accounts of what employers demanded from schools in terms of the labour-power attributes required by future workers, as follows:

[1] ... we want to establish 'education with character' in every school. This praise is intended to suggest that pupils, in addition to achieving high standards, should have the opportunity at school to develop as well-rounded, creative, self-reliant individuals, who know right from wrong, who can work in teams, who respect their fellow pupils whatever their backgrounds, who are able to manage their own learning, who see the value of working hard now in order to achieve success later, who are prepared to take risks, who are steadfast in the face of adversity and who have the confidence to contribute to the success of their school, their families and their community. These characteristics are as important in the workplace as they are in the community and are highly prized by employers (DfEE, 2001, para 1.29, p.16 - my emphases).


[2]... Academic achievement is clearly crucial both to ensure that individuals have a range of options when they finish school and to ensure the future success of society as a whole. But no-one believes it is the only important outcome of schooling. It is also important that pupils learn to know right from wrong; to get along with their fellow pupils, whatever their background; to work in teams; to make a contribution to the school as a community; and to develop positive attitudes to life and work. This is important, not just for their capacity to take control of their own lives and to contribute to their family and community, but also to the success of the emerging new economy (DfEE, 2001, para 4.76, p.61 - my emphasis).

In these definitions of employers labour-power needs, what is demanded from the community and the family is viewed as basically being the same as what is demanded by employers in the world of work. The second 'needs' statement does explicitly weld the qualities schools develop in young people to the new economy. However, there is no explicit link to IT. Furthermore, the broad general statements provided in the Green Paper of 2001 could be replicated with very similar lists of employers' labour needs going back to the First World War(3). Finally, although these 'needs statements' point to very general characteristics and traits to be developed in young people by schools for the world of work, as Martin Allen has argued(4), this runs counter to the proposals to educate to specific employment strands for some young people at ages 14-16. Thus, the Green Paper, when it comes to educate for employment, ignores its own evidence regarding 'what employers want'.

Apart from the two very general statements of employers' needs in the Green Paper, there is a slightly more focused account. This is that:

Employers increasingly emphasise, not just academic qualifications, but skills and attitudes such as entrepreneurship, motivation, teamwork, creativity and flexibility (DfEE, 2001, para 4.76, p.61).

Again, perhaps apart from entrepreneurship, the characteristics to be developed in young people for the world of work would not have been out of place in the 1960s, 1950s - or even the 1930s, on some accounts. The reference to 'entrepreneurship' would have held up well in the 1980s. What is clear is that, although New Labour holds much store in the emerging knowledge economy, what schools have to do for employers in the opening years of the twenty-first century is little different to what they were asked to do in the 1930s.

Recruitment studies and historical accounts of what labour-power attributes employers require from schools indicate that work attitudes are the most important category of attributes demanded by employers (Rikowski, 2000c, 2001a). In this context, the emphasis on 'education with character' in the Green Paper, as exemplified in the statements regarding what employers want in young people when they leave education, makes sense. Above all, schools are being are to socially produce labour-powers that incorporate good work attitudes, real 'character'. Furthermore, faith schools in particular, but all schools in general (each must have their own 'ethos'), must develop work-conducive 'character'. A school's 'ethos' is crucial for:

This combination of skills, attitudes and habits of the mind we have called 'education with character'. Perhaps the most important means of ensuring pupils develop character in this sense is the ethos of the school they attend (DfEE, 2001, para 4.77, p.61).

On the basis of the Green Paper, if schools set out to socially produce young people on the basis of employers' labour-power demands they are set to an agenda that dates back over 80 years. Secondly, even general guidance on how to school for the demands of the knowledge economy is slim - short of mass and intensive use of ICT, and the announcement of specific ICT initiatives.


Business into Schools Does Go

The Green Paper consolidates and extends the role of business in school life. On the basis of Dave Hill's (1999) analysis of New Labour's education policy as essentially a neoliberal concoction that trails the Conservative education agenda, this is not surprising. It is the extent of proposed business involvement in school life that is truly startling. The following features can be expected in a New Labour second term of government:

Business taking over 'failing' schools - external sponsors are to take responsibility for under-performing schools (DfEE, 2001, Introduction, p.4), an extension and ratification of a development gathering pace in the last few years. Thus: "...we intend to develop a new model which would enable an external private or voluntary sector sponsor to take responsibility for a weak or failing school against a fixed-term contract of, say, five to seven years with renewal subject to performance. This would create a new way for private and voluntary sponsors of existing successful schools to support the management of weak or failing schools. This will further develop the model used at King's Manor, Guildford, where '3Es', a charitable foundation from The City Technology College, Kingshurst, was responsible for establishing the new school (Kings College) and is currently supporting its management and development for a period of ten years. It also builds on the successful experience of specialist schools, where formal assessment of management quality, and performance targets and review, are integral to the process of gaining and retaining specialist status" (DfEE, 2001 para 4.23, p.49). For "This option will also enable successful schools to work in partnership with sponsors from the private and voluntary sectors, including recognised faith groups" (DfEE, 2001, para 4.24, p.49). In general, and "Increasingly, schools, colleges and local businesses will work closely together to deliver these opportunities more effectively, and the students involved will be supported by a network of advisers and mentors including the Connexions Service" (DfEE, 2001, para 4.48, p.55). It might be too cynical to suggest that the criteria for defining 'failing' schools might be set at a level so as to maximise business take-overs, thus providing corporate capital with significant 'economies of scale' in running large numbers of schools. Certainly, however, there is a business interest in schools failing on a significant scale (enough to make profits from economies of scale). Business lobbying of Minister and officials to denounce specific schools and LEAs as 'failures' is perhaps not completely set within Education Fantasy Island.

Learning from business: those in the education service will be encouraged to "learn from others, including business" (DfEE, 2001, para 1.29, p.17 - my emphasis).

Consolidation of the role of the private sector in nursery education: "We will encourage the development of new integrated early years centres which draw on the strengths of the public, private and voluntary sector" (DfEE, 2001, para 2.18, p.24).

Public-Private Partnerships in nursery education: The Green Paper advocates expansion of early education provision. From September 2004, every 3-year-old whose parents want one will have a free nursery place This provision "...will be based on partnerships between the public, private and voluntary sectors" - so that parents have real 'choice' (DfEE, 2001, para 2.21, p.25).

New Specialist "Business Schools": Thus - "In addition to technology, languages, sport and the arts, we will offer schools three new specialist options: engineering; science; and business and enterprise. Business and enterprise school will be expected to develop strong curriculum-business links and develop teaching strengths in business studies, financial literacy and enterprise-related vocational programmes. Widening the options in this way will mean that schools will spread good practice and promote innovation through the system in more subjects. They will be assisted by the Technology Colleges Trust broad bandwidth Intranet" (DfEE, 2001, para 4.15, p.47 - my emphasis).

Extension of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI): For "Many schools are also benefiting from the Private Finance Initiative. Twenty-one deals have been signed so far, and funding for a further 33 has been agreed in principle, bringing benefits to around 640 schools. The scale of activity in increasing. Private finance deals can provide schools with modern learning environments, fully maintained over twenty-five to thirty years. They enable teachers to focus on teaching, using well-equipped classrooms and without the many distractions from maintaining poor buildings. We want to consider where there is potential for allowing schools to use their devolved capital resources to finance future public private partnerships" (DfEE, 2001, para 6.19, p.81).

Business sponsorship and business mentoring: A significant extension of business sponsorship and mentoring (especially mentoring for Head teachers) is proposed, and "Sometimes partnerships and networks will reach out of the education service and out of the country too. Many schools are now working closely with businesses. Examples include the specialist schools and Education Action Zones which have business sponsors, the business mentoring programme for headteachers organised by Business in the Community and the Adopt-a-School arrangement that Nottingham City Education Authority has developed with its local business community" (DfEE, 2001, para 6.34, p.85).

These proposals are set to open school doors to private capital on an expanding scale. They meld into viewing schools as sites for profit making and profit taking. They seek to break down barriers to trade within compulsory public education in England(5) on an agenda that is consonant with the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) mission to open up schools to corporate capital (McLaren, 2000; McLaren and Farahmandpur, 2001; and Rikowski, 2001b). The Green Paper has purchased a neoliberal ticket for schools. It is a neoliberalism that sponsors education quasi-markets, the penetration of public schools by corporate and venture capital and the degeneration of education on the altar of capital (Hill, 1999; Allman, 2001; Cole, Hill, McLaren and Rikowski, 2001). Mike Moore, WTO Director-General, has argued that a new trade round is necessary and that trade barriers in agriculture, manufacturing and services must be cut by a third if a world recession is to be avoided (de Jonquieres, 2001). 'Services' includes education, so beware!


Local Education Authorities as Business Agents

In the "businessification" (Benn and Chitty, 1999) of schools heralded by the Green Paper, Local Education Authorities (LEAs) have a specific and significant role to play. Basically, they become "business agents" - the collective spivs of educational life in the England of the Future. First, the Green Paper puts LEAs in their place: "Local Education Authorities no longer control schools but they do have a key role in challenging and supporting them" (DfEE, 2001, para 6.52, p.88). Secondly, the Green Paper argues that for the crucial role of school improvement LEAs are simply inadequate. For the Green Paper writers, it is clear that "The lack of professional standards for school improvement services and those who work within them is, for example, a key weakness of the current arrangements, and one which could hold back the pace of reform" (DfEE, 2001, para 6.57, p.89).

The archaic, plodding and dinosaurial nature of LEAs may hold back the modernisation and "businessification" of schools, it is argued in the Green Paper. Where this occurs:

To encourage more rapid and imaginative progress, we have suggested four further practical ways for Authorities to build on recent reforms and pursue modernisation. These activities reinforce each other and are designed to operate together (DfEE, 2001, para 6.58, p.90).

These 'practical ways' are:

  1. Education Authorities can help to promote a more open market in schools' services and take steps to ensure that all schools have the knowledge and skills they need to be better purchasers of goods and services.

  2. Education Authorities can test out new ways of sharing school improvement responsibilities with groups of schools who have knowledge and skills to discharge that role.

  3. Education Authorities can develop and trial new ways of discharging responsibilities in partnership with other Local Authorities, and with public-private and voluntary sector bodies.

  4. We are also working on the development of national professional standards and national recognition of those engaged in the key role of school improvement.

The first proposal is chilling. Basically, LEAs will be charged with the task of assisting the corporate invasion of our schools. They must develop and open up further 'education markets' to capital. Where such markets do not exist, then they must be created. LEAs and schools must be skilled in the finer points of the 'contract culture': the mechanisms, procedures and processes involved in awarding contracts for services - on an expanding scale - to representatives of capital: the philosophy basically known as Best Value.

The third proposal hints at the progressive contracting out of school improvement work. No doubt some universities (themselves virtual business organisations, well tuned in to the bidding, contract and 'overheads' cultures) will eagerly gobble up some of these contracts. But private contractor activity in school improvement is a real possibility. LEAs, on working to the third proposal, are urged to experiment.

The fourth proposal seeks to regulate the proposed market in school improvement. It is a safety guard against incompetence, but whether the regulatory procedures are sufficient to curtail corporate rip-offs remains to be seen, and probably irrelevant.

There are hints that LEAs not embracing the new business culture or actively stalling or hamstringing business penetration of English schooling are liable to be taken over by private sector operators. The message is clear: LEAs must guide, advise and aid business organisations seeking to enter a range of 'education markets' within English 'state' schools. Where no such markets exist, then there are to be nurtured. This is what is meant by "innovation", and "We are supporting a range of developments involving Education Authorities and partners to promote innovation in these areas" (DfEE, 2001, para 6.58, p.90).

In the Green Paper, LEAs are to drive through New Labour's neoliberal education agenda. If they refuse, or are lacking in competence in this area, then private sector outfits can always be drafted to get the job done.


Deliverance - of schools unto capital

There is no future, we are told, in putting forward alternatives to the existing structures, however unequal, unjust and destructive they are. We are told that social history has come to an end with the capitalist form of society. (MSF, 2000, Fighting the multinationals, p.1)

Every time we criticise changes being made, we must suggest what changes are required instead. It is much harder to do this but that is what the Hillcole Group was formed to do. (Caroline Benn and Clyde Chitty, 1999, p.39)

[On education] The only alternative is an education system that can offer the democratic reconstruction and cultural regeneration of society that is daily becoming more necessary if we are to ensure adequate social provision while also modernising the economy. (Hillcole Group, Rethinking Education and Democracy, 1997, p.16)

[And] We continue to fight because we must, not because we are assured of victory. The mere chance of victory is reason enough. (Peter McLaren, Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution, 2000, p.8)

The first three points centre on the development of labour-power (human capital) attributes in young people through compulsory education as advocated in the Green Paper. This calls for strong regulation - of curricula, of teachers' labour, of structures and procedures. Points 4 and 5, however, play to the Green Paper's neoliberal tune, and this chimes with de-regulation of educational services on the basis of corporate capital but regulated by the laws of money and contract.

It may be that there is an inherent tension between the statist project of labour-power (human capital) enhancement within the Green Paper and the neoliberal "businessification" of schools based on viewing education as a site for capital accumulation and profit-making. The former concerns preparing labour-power for a knowledge economy based on some conception of employers' labour-power 'needs' (the 'needs of industry'). The latter rests on opening up schools to business. In differing ways, however, both of these strategies within the Green Paper deliver schools into the hands of capital. It may be possible that some form of "franchise state" or "contracting state" as articulated in Ainley and Bickerstaff (1993)(6) can overcome this tension through devising standards for human capital development that can be incorporated within contracts awarded to private sector operators involved in frontline school operations. Meanwhile, we can exploit the tensions within the Green Paper regarding overall strategy.

Our key tasks, then, are to struggle for a comprehensive education that has neither human capital development or profit generation as foundations of its functioning. In this struggle:

Visions and passions must develop in concert, in an intimate dance, with analysis and intellect. (Paula Allman, 1999, p.141)

Today's Open Meeting is a first step towards organising a campaign designed to unite passion, visions, analysis and intellect for a project of rethinking and reconstituting comprehensive education for a Future With a Future.


Abel, Angela & Oxbrow, Nigel (1999) Skills for the Knowledge Economy: the reality of the market-place, Business Information Review, Vol.16 No.3, pp.115-121.

Ainley, Patrick (1999) Learning Policy: towards the certified society (Basingstoke: Macmillan).

Ainley, Patrick & Bickerstaff, Sarah (1993) Transitions from Corporatism: The Privatisation of Policy Failure, Contemporary Record: The Journal of Contemporary British History, winter, Vol.7 No.3, pp.541-556.

Allman, Paula (1999) Revolutionary Social Transformation: Democratic hopes, Political Possibilities and Critical Education (West, Connecticut & London: Bergin & Garvey).

Allman, Paula (2001) Education on Fire! Foreword to: M. Cole, D. Hill, P. McLaren & G. Rikowski, Red Chalk: on schooling, capitalism and politics (Brighton: Institute for Education Policy Studies).

Benn, Caroline & Chitty, Clyde (1999) Conclusion: There is an alternative, in: M. Allen, C. Benn, C. Chitty, R. Hatcher, N. Hirtt and G. Rikowski, Business, Business, Business: New Labour's Education Policy, A Hillcole Paper (London: Tufnell Press).

Cole, Mike, Hill, Dave, McLaren, Peter & Rikowski, Glenn (2001) Red Chalk: on schooling, capitalism and politics (Brighton: Institute for Education Policy Studies).

De Jonquieres, Guy (2001) WTO chief renews call for trade round, Financial Times, 13th March, p.14.

DfEE (2001) Schools: Building on Success - raising standards, promoting diversity, achieving results. Department for Education and Employment, Cm5050 (Norwich: The Stationery Office Limited).

Drucker, Peter (1998) From Capitalism to Knowledge Society, in: D. Neef (ed.) The Knowledge Economy (Boston & Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann).

DTI (1998) Our Competitive Future: Building the Knowledge Driven Economy. Department of Trade and Industry, at:

Hill, Dave (1999) New Labour and Education: Policy, Ideology and the Third Way (London: Tufnell Press).

Hillcole Group (1997) Rethinking Education and Democracy: A socialist alternative for the twenty-first century, co-ordinated by Caroline Benn and Clyde Chitty (London: Tufnell Press).

Leadbeater, Charles (1999) Living on Thin Air: the new economy (London: Viking).

McLaren, Peter (2000) Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield).

McLaren, Peter & Farahmandpur, Ramin (2001) Teaching against Globalization and the New Imperialism: Toward a Revolutionary Pedagogy, Journal of Teacher Education, March/April, Vol.52 No.2, pp.136-150.

MSF (2000) Fighting the multinationals, Movement for a Socialist Future Pamphlet, June (London: MSF).

Neef, Dale (ed.) (1998) The Knowledge Economy (Boston & Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann).

Potter, David (1999) Wealth Creation in the Knowledge Economy of the Next Millennium. Third Millennium Lecture, Downing Street, London, by David Potter, Chairman of Psion, 27th May, at:

Rikowski, Glenn (1999a) Education, Capital and the Transhuman, in: Dave Hill, Mike Cole, Peter McLaren and Glenn Rikowski (Eds) Postmodernism in Educational Theory: Education and the Politics of Human Resistance (London: Tufnell Press).

Rikowski, Glenn (1999b) Nietzsche, Marx and Mastery: the Learning Unto Death, in: P. Ainley & H. Rainbird (Eds) Apprenticeship: Towards a New Paradigm of Learning (London: Kogan Page).

Rikowski, Glenn (2000a) New Labour's Knowledge Economy versus Critical Pedagogy: the Battle in Seattle and its significance for education. Paper presented at the Conference of Socialist Economists 2000, 'Global Capital and Global Struggles: strategies, alliances, alternatives', University of London Union, Malet Street, 1-2 July.

Rikowski, Glenn (2000b) The 'Which Blair' Project: Giddens, the Third Way and education, Forum for promoting comprehensive education, Vol.42 No.1, pp.4-7.

Rikowski, Glenn (2000c) That Other Great Class of Commodities: Repositioning Marxist Educational Theory. A paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Conference 2000, Cardiff University, Session 3.4, 7th September.

Rikowski, Glenn (2001a) Education for Industry: A Complex Technicism, Journal of Education and Work, Vol.14 No.1, pp.29-49.

Rikowski, Glenn (2001b) The Battle in Seattle: Its significance for education (London: Tufnell Press).

Rikowski, Glenn (2002) The Interpretation of Dreams: Education, Labour-power and the Needs of Industry (forthcoming).

Rikowski, Ruth (2000) The Knowledge Economy is here - but where are the knowledge professionals? Part 1, Business Information Review, Vol.17 No.3, pp.157-167.

Stewart, Thomas (1998) Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Nations (London: Nicholas Breasley Publishing Limited).

TFPL (1999) Skills for Knowledge Management: A briefing paper. Presented at 'Skills for the Knowledge Economy: a one day seminar', Royal Society of Arts, 5th July, based on research undertaken by TFPL on behalf of The Library and Information Commission, Executive Summery, TFPL Ltd., London, at:


1. Witness New Labour's attitude to the recent crises at Ford (Dagenham), Rover Group (at Longbridge) and Vauxhall (Luton). The DTI seemed to be more concerned that it hadn't been 'consulted' prior to redundancy/closure plans being announced than with the consequences of those developments for workers at those plants.

2. The nature of these contradictions flow from a set of what I call "aspects" of labour-power in capitalism: the value (quantitative) aspect, the use value (quality) aspect, the exchange-value (equality) aspect, and the subjective and objective aspects. These contradictions flow from the different (and contradictory) ways that workers are forced to expend their labour in capitalist society. These points shall be developed in future work (Rikowski, 2002).

3. In the early 1980s, I explored the Institute of Personnel Management and Industrial Society's journal going back to the First World War in order to track down employers' 'needs statements' regarding youth labour and the attributes to be produced in young people by schools. The two broad definitions of employers' needs given in the Green Paper would not have been out of place in the inter-War period in these journals. There is nothing essentially new here; no new needs of industry for schools to work to in order to meet the perceived demands of the knowledge or new economy.

4. At an organising meeting on 6th March in the NUT Office, Tachbrook Street, Victoria, London.

5. The Green Paper applies only to England.

6. See also Ainley (1999).

Glenn Rikowski is a Senior Research Fellow in Lifelong Learning in the Faculty of Education at the University of Central England in Birmingham. He has been a member of the Hillcole Group of Radical Left Educators since 1994. His latest publication is The Battle in Seattle: Its significance for education, published by the Tufnell Press, March 2001. See:

This document was added to the Education-line database on 22 March 2001