By John Short
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Extra resources for The Urban Arena: Capital, State and Community in Contemporary Britain
In the current recession, therefore, it is scarcely surprising that youth unemployment should be such a significant feature. 25 million of the officially declared unemployed were aged under 25 and this figure did not include the 280,000 people on youth opportunity programmes. The position of school-leavers is particularly actute and by 1983 only one in three school-leavers was likely to find a job. The unskilled and semi-skilled are particularly badly hit by the introduction of labour-saving machines, but so too are the skilled workers in the declining manufacturing sectors.
In Britain, however, industrial capital has not sought to maintain its power over the workforce through incomes policies or through direct control of legal sanctions. Incomes policies can easily become part of a wider strategy of controlling profits, prices and investment strategies, and companies do not want to be in the front line of taking their own workforce to court: so firms have sought to shift the onus oflegal action onto the state. rvative's Employment Acts of 1980 and 1982 all ofwhich had to reckon with the power of the trade The Response of Capital 45 unions.
Most major corporations now have a number of interests in different sectors of the economy. Risk is spread wider while the multiplicity of holdings allows the company to respond rapidly to variations in profitability. Capital can be withdrawn from unprofitable sectors and quickly switched to more profitable ones, all under the same corporate umbrella. The international dimension. The major British companies are multinational. Just over 20 per cent of the largest multinationals are British. 1. The international dimension is an important characteristic of British corporations.