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Work & Economy Work Modern economies Work Expenditure of mental and physical effort to produce goods and services to meet needs Occupation Job: work done in exchange for a wage or salary Not all work is a job.

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Work & Economy

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work economy
Work & Economy
  • Work
  • Modern economies


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



Job: work done in exchange for a wage or salary

not all work is a job
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
division of labor

Division of labor

Specialization of work into separate occupations

organization of work taylorism
Organization of work: Taylorism
  • “scientific management”
  • Time-motion studies
  • See this in McDonaldization
organization of work fordism
Organization of work: Fordism
  • Extension of Taylorism
  • Mass production (assembly line)
  • Also mass marketing
  • See this also in McDonaldization
marx division of labor is alienation
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
marx on commodities
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
marx on commodities11
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
the quantity of value exchange value
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)
exchange value
Exchange value
  • “human labour in the abstract”
  • An average of the skills, time, and productivity of labor in any particular time period
  • 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
the fetishism of commodities
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)
the fetishism of commodities17
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)
general formula for capital
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?
general formula for capital19
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?
what is the source of that increment
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)
example making bling
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?
modern economies
Modern economies
  • Capitalism and socialism
  • Stages of capitalism
  • International division of labor
weber on capital

Weber on capital

What does protestant “asceticism” have to do with the development of capitalism?

stages of capitalism
Stages of capitalism
  • Family capitalism
    • Entrepreneurs
    • Later, family dominates shareholding
    • Small businesses
stages of capitalism27
Stages of capitalism
  • Managerial capitalism
    • Managers in large firms gain more control than family member shareholders
    • Separation of ownership and control
stages of capitalism28
Stages of capitalism
  • Institutional capitalism
    • Corporations own other corporations
    • Interlocking directorates
      • Direct
      • Indirect

concentration of ownership and control
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?)
international division of labor
International division of labor
  • Transnational corporations: operate across national boundaries
  • Tendency toward global planning, oligopoly
global planning
Global Planning
  • Global cultural bazaar
  • Global shopping mall
  • Global workplace
  • Global financial network

(Barnet and Cavanagh, 1994)

race to the bottom
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)
alternative globalization movement

Alternative globalization movement