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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Monopoly relations in the Canadian state, 1939-1957 : (How the coordinative and recuperative functions peculiar to the monopoly state became established in the Canadian civil service James, Hugh Mackenzie


In this thesis a theory of monopoly capitalism, and particularly of the recuperative functions of the monopoly state, is presented. It is suggested that this theory throws significant light on the marked transformations which occurred in the Canadian Civil Service between 1939 and 1957. It is hypothesized that the Canadian state undertook what has been defined as 'monopoly functions' during this period. The argument is supported by an analysis of the institutional structure of the wartime and postwar Civil Service - examining the administrative hierarchy, the range of institutional contradictions, and the radically altered relation of the state to the private economy. The theory of monopoly capital employed in this thesis follows from a tradition of Marxist debate, but places peculiar emphasis on the distinction between the production of means of production (DI) and the production of means of consumption (DII). The production of the means of production would include particularly the capital goods sector and the large infrastructural networks supportive of national industry. The production of the means of consumption would include the 'necessaries of life' required to support the direct producers - both durable and non-durable consumer goods. It is argued that the relationship of the state to each of these two sectors is of a different character and significance - a position not generally held. Another important concept highlighted is that of the "work of coordination and unity," which is used to weld the theory of the monopoly economy to a few central hypotheses concerning the monopoly state itself and forms of monopoly state intervention. It is suggested that the particular structural ambivalences, institutional rivalries, and patterns of institutional growth which are characteristic of the postwar Canadian state can be explained, in their mutual relation, by the principal hypotheses of the theory of the monopoly role of the state. The connections which have been brought to light in this research are most revealing. Not only do individual circumstances "measure" against precepts of the theory, but main lines of development which occurred simultaneously in different parts of the Civil Service are seen to stand in a highly suggestive relation to one another when viewed from this perspective. Pivotal to the development of this argument is a review of the historical bases of the wartime/postwar state, and the establishment of a measure of comparison by which to gauge the extent and direction of institutional change between 1939 and 1957.

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