|laager. A Boer term for a defensive encampment of circled wagons, a tactic used to great effect against the Zulu and other Nguni nations during the Boer wars of expansion in the nineteenth century. It later became a metaphor for a siege mentality, such as contributed to apartheid, applicable to any people or leadership evincing an attitude of paranoid encirclement.|
|labor. (1) One of the factor endowments of an economy. It is any productive work or activity done by wage workers. (2) The overall labor capacity of an economy, whether employed or latent. See alsohuman capital; slave labor.|
|Labor Party (Israel).SeeIsrael; Golda Meir; Shimon Peres; Yitzhak Rabin.|
|labor theory of value. The theory, not originally but most famously, propounded by Karl Marx, holding that the value of a commodity is derived wholly from the labor that goes into its production. Capitalists are then portrayed as exploiters who unjustly “expropriate” the “surplus value” of worker sweat and toil. Despite the gaping oversight of not accounting for capital, management skills, marketing, and other factors that add real value, it was the main premise of Marxist economic theory and doctrine and of Soviet bloc planning.|
|Labour Party (Great Britain). Founded in 1900 to represent the interests of the rising, industrial working classes in Great Britain, it participated in national front governments in both world wars. The first Labour government was a minority, taking power in January 1924 under Prime Minister Ramsay Mac-Donald with just 191 seats in the House of Commons. It did not last a year |
and throughout was dependent for the king’s commission on the sufferance of Aisquith and the Liberals. Labour sought to regularize diplomatic relations with Russia that had been severed by the Bolshevik Revolution. This raised ferocious opposition, and the government fell in October when—in the wake of the spurious Zinoviev letter—the Liberals withdrew support on a question of confidence. In the elections that followed, the Conservative Party won a landslide 415 seats against Labour’s reduced 152 and the Liberal’s 42. Labour achieved its first majority government in 1945, leading to Atlee replacing Churchill in the middle of the Potsdam conference. Atlee’s government was sympathetic to the cause of decolonization and oversaw partition of India and Pakistan. Labour dominated British politics during the 1960s under Harold Wilson and then took a radical and unilateralist turn in both domestic and foreign policy, which helped keep it from power until 1976. It moderated significantly during its years in opposition in the 1980s and 1990s, a period of repeated defeat at the hands of Margaret Thatcher, John Major, and the Conservative Party that lasted some 16 years. In 1997, under Tony Blair, Labour confirmed its turn toward the center on many issues and this, along with Conservative political exhaustion and scandals, enabled it to win the largest Parliamentary majority of the twentieth century. In 2001 it was returned with a substantial majority.