SOCY 122 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Meritocracy, Outsourcing, Deskilling

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Power and The Logic of Collective Action
Inputs:
Employer
Primary organizer of labour force
Capital exists as a fluid resource
Employees
Union is secondary organizer of labour force
History of worker association
Human/labour power inseparable
Entire spectrum of needs/wants
Cant reduce fundamental needs
Key questions
Employers:
Costs of demands vs cost of lockout
Willingness to pay
Fairly monological, one thing to worry about
How is this going to profit the business
Employees:
Costs of strike vs management offer
Willingness to pay
Willingness to act
Dynamics:
Employers
Fluidity of capital
It can be invested elsewhere it can be stock piled
Costs of work stoppage
Easier to calculate a work stoppage for a business
Employees
Cost of accepting offer vs. Cost of no income
Diverse membership; diverse interests, wants and needs
Consensus building via negotiation
Mobilization and maintaining strike
Ontological Nature of Labour & The Logic of Collective Action
Social organization of work creates conditions of power within societies
Power is balanced between employers and employees
The balance of power is not equal
Can create tension
A functioning economy is critical to every society - capital holds critical resources
Two logics of collective action disadvantages employees
In order to create a cohesive group becomes difficult
The globalization of the economy makes employment increasingly precarious
The jobs that you are hoping to have may not be there and you will be competing with
your colleagues
This undermines the power of employees to negotiate
Meritocracy
No different than the olympics
Its a competition; those who work hard enough and make it to the top you receive
more than people in the middle and the bottom
Hierarchal system where awards are unevenly distributed based on your merit
Ex: sports system
Start at pee wee and go to pros
Based on performance
Based on achievement, doesn’t matter where you came from it matters where you end
up
Object of inequality
Within the economy education matters
Equality of opportunity
Gini-coefficient
Measures income
Income inequality has grown
The top get more and the bottom get less
Canadian Inequality
The top 1% in 2007
246,000 individuals
Minimum income %169k
Average $404k
Only based on income
$82.7 male
79% between 35 and 64 (vs. 54% of pop.)
58% with BA or more (vs. 19% of pop.)
52% work 50+ hrs./wk. (vs. 19% of pop.)
14.1 management (vs. 6.1% of pop.)
11.6% health care profess (vs. 2% of pop)
7.1% business & finance (vs. 1.8% of pop.)
Why the growing divide?
2 recessions- forced entrants to workforce to take lower paying jobs
Outsourcing of work; deskilling of white collar jobs
Minimum wage sets wage floor
Falling unionization