Many observers consider the critical difference between ‘New’ Labour and the party in the past to be their respective attitudes towards capitalism. Labour historically has been viewed as antagonistic to capitalism since it was based on private ownership and therefore thought to work against the collective interest. This disposition led the party to extend common ownership in the belief that only when the economy was run by government could it operate to the advantage of the working-class majority. In contrast, ‘New’ Labour is thought to consider that in a modern, globalized economy no government can do no more than make the labour force fit to do capitalism’s bidding. Thus, from being a constraint on the exploitative and at times destructive forces unleashed by capitalism, Labour under Blair has become its champion. In particular, although established largely to defend the interests of trade unionists against those of their employers, since 1994 Labour has been accused of privileging the welfare of business over that of the workers.
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