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Work and Economy

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  1. Work & Economy • Work • Modern economies

  2. Work Expenditure of mental and physical effort to produce goods and services to meet needs

  3. Occupation Job: work done in exchange for a wage or salary

  4. Not all work is a job. • Informal economy: transactions taking place outside the official economy; e.g., barter, illicit manufacture and markets • Homework: work done for use within the household sphere; e.g., housework, home garden

  5. Division of labor Specialization of work into separate occupations

  6. Durkheim: division of labor is organic solidarity Economic interdependence

  7. Organization of work: Taylorism • “scientific management” • Time-motion studies • See this in McDonaldization

  8. Organization of work: Fordism • Extension of Taylorism • Mass production (assembly line) • Also mass marketing • See this also in McDonaldization

  9. Marx: division of labor is alienation • Labor is human nature (species-being) • Capitalism estranges (alienates): • Worker from product • Manual from mental labor (worker separated from control of labor process) • Worker from his/her human nature • from nature as nature • from self as species-being

  10. Marx on commodities • An example of theory building • Where to begin? • What is the simplest “unit” of the capitalist mode of production? • Commodity: thing brought into existence (produced) for the purpose of • satisfying human wants • exchanging it for money

  11. Marx on commodities • Quality and quantity (dialectical opposites) • Use-value • The quality of a commodity • The “utility of a thing” • Real “only by use or consumption” • Utility not necessarily due to labor: e.g., air, soil, meadow

  12. But what makes two different things equal in “value”?

  13. The quantity of value = exchange value • “We see then that that which determines the magnitude of the value of any article is the amount of labour socially necessary, or the labour-time socially necessary for its production.” (p. 17)

  14. Exchange value • “human labour in the abstract” • An average of the skills, time, and productivity of labor in any particular time period

  15. Commodities • Embody the relations between humans and nature (use value) and the social relations between classes in capitalism (exchange value) • Labor produces value; capital expropriates it through exchange

  16. The Fetishism of commodities • Seems simple, on the surface • But commodities (in value) not concrete objects; they’re abstractions • “A commodity is therefore a mysterious thing, simply because in it the social character of men’s labour appears to them as an objective character stamped upon the product of that labour” (p. 19) • “…a definite social relation between men, that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things.” (ibid)

  17. The Fetishism of commodities • Isn’t this what Giddens/Weber does with class? • Class measured in terms of amount of purchasing power (wealth) • Classes seen as quantity of goods • Class “relationships” seem to be relations between things; more or less • Marx, on the other hand, sees class as relations between people, as social relations, disguised as relations between things (exchange)

  18. General Formula for Capital • Selling in order to buy (consumption): • C—M—C • Commodity->money->commodity • This is what workers do • What is the commodity they start with and sell? • Who do they sell it to?

  19. General Formula for Capital • Buying in order to sell (money as capital): • M—C—M´ • M—C—C'—M' • M´ represents “…the original sum advanced, plus an increment.” • What is the source of this “increment,” this addition to value?

  20. What is the source of that “increment?” • Surplus value (s) • Labor is a commodity (v for variable capital) • As a commodity, the value of labor is the cost of reproducing it • Labor is the source of value • (c + v) + s = C´ • Exploited labor is source of profit • Capitalists accumulate capital (get richer)

  21. Example: making bling • Capitalist spends $25 on materials, buildings, energy, etc. so C = 25 • Worker paid $5 per hour (10 hour work day) to make bling, so v = 50 • Worker makes 2 bling per hour • Bling sells for $5 per bling, so C` = $100 • What is the s?

  22. Making bling

  23. Modern economies • Capitalism and socialism • Stages of capitalism • International division of labor

  24. Weber on capital What does protestant “asceticism” have to do with the development of capitalism?

  25. Capitalism and socialism(ideal types)

  26. Stages of capitalism • Family capitalism • Entrepreneurs • Later, family dominates shareholding • Small businesses

  27. Stages of capitalism • Managerial capitalism • Managers in large firms gain more control than family member shareholders • Separation of ownership and control

  28. Stages of capitalism • Institutional capitalism • Corporations own other corporations • Interlocking directorates • Direct • Indirect http://www.theyrule.net/

  29. Concentration of ownership and control • 200 largest manufacturing corporations control more than half of manufacturing capital • Same structure in finance • Finance capital dominates manufacturing • Monopoly: when one firm dominates an industry (Microsoft?) • Oligopoly: when a few firms dominate (oil?)

  30. International division of labor • Transnational corporations: operate across national boundaries • Tendency toward global planning, oligopoly

  31. Global Planning • Global cultural bazaar • Global shopping mall • Global workplace • Global financial network (Barnet and Cavanagh, 1994)

  32. race to the bottom • retailers buy from “manufacturers” • who in turn buy from factories around the world • who are not held to “first world” standards of wages and work conditions • (Bonacich & Applebaum; in Giddens: 433) • Wal-Mart as example • De-industrialization leads to • layoffs, downsizing, unemployment; • inner-city poverty and related social problems (Wilson, 1996)

  33. Alternative globalization movement Protests: http://indymedia.org Alternatives: http://www.corpwatch.org/trac/globalization/roots/