Michael Young: an innovative social entrepreneur

Meredith, Stephen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2382-1015 (2016) Michael Young: an innovative social entrepreneur. In: Alternatives to State Socialism in Britain: Other Worlds of Labour in the Twentieth Century. Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements . Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 271-302. ISBN 978-3-319-34161-3

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This chapter attempts to locate Michael Young, the architect of the party's state-centric 1945 election manifesto and subsequent social democratic 'radical' in his advocacy of social programmes based on community, family and individual initiatives, in longer historic traditions of Labour's non-state socialist development.
It charts the trajectory of Young’s ‘post-socialist’ development and assesses his contribution to thinking about social democratic and progressive alternatives to Labour’s more traditionally state socialist concerns, perspectives and presentation. It suggests that Young was an early post-war pioneer of the kind of non-statist, decentred, participatory and community-based brand of liberal socialism that was to reappear in Labour’s ‘post-revisionist’ social democracy from the mid-1970s and in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) after 1981 through to 'New' Labour and beyond. This was part of a much longer tradition of British socialism, including G.D.H. Cole’s Guild Socialism, concerned with decentralised and devolved, associational and participatory forms of social and political organisation, which has subsequently been marginalised in the Labour pantheon by dominant paradigms and narratives of Labour’s state-centred development.

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