SOSC Lecture #8
November 14 2013
• Alienation and Class
• Johnny Cash: One piece at a time. An auto worker in Detroit, who wanted to buy a car
he couldn’t afford so he stole a piece of the car and built it at home.
• “Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more”
• July 1979 (Terry Conlin first day). He walked to Black Creek Pioneer Village. Talked to a
boot maker from the 19 century
• The boot maker said he was a very important, he was proud of what he produced,
people came to him from far away to order boots.
• He’d make the boot from scratch, he was an artist. He was self employed, he decided
everything for himself.
• His neighbours were a blacksmith and a cooper (a barrel maker)
• 1872, over 8000 coopers in Ontario. 10 years later, less than 50 in Ontario.
• Mass production, industrial revolution came to Ontario. Life became difficult for boot
makers and others of the sort.
• Assembly line workers change. They become Alienated.
• 1844. Wealth of Nations divided into 2 parts. First part how to increase the wealth of
nations. 2 part, design on how to increase.
• P. 734 of Wealth of Nation. Adam Smith’s quote.
• Everyone agreed alienated labour makes us less human. Removes the part that makes
• Work becomes a mean to some other end.
• Life begins, when work ends.
• We’re all living for the weekend.
• We go to work to get enough finances for our free time.
• We no longer see ourselves in the product we provide.
• We see ourselves in the product we purchase, not by the work we do.
• Say capitalism, say alienation. Both are the same.
• EX/ Bata Shoe, everyone in the company are alienated – Reinhardt
• Every summer, gun violence and alienated youth
• Industrial Psychologist. Trying to find how productive workers are. Changing the
environment to see worker production. Bringing in music, changing lighting, changing
colour of walls.
• Even if you love your job, you’re still alienated according to Reinhardt
• Over time under capitalism, big fish eat little fish. Fewer people own the big part of the
company. And more people are selling their labour for work.
• Division of labour.
• Development of Markets, in land, labour and commodity
• Human beings are bought and sold, become commodity
• S.O.P.P Self, Others, Product, Process.
• Self: We’re not creative creatures, we are working for someone else. We are alienated
from our self. • Others: Constant competition with others. Alienated from others. At constant competition
with each other. Outside of work we are part of unions who are also in competition
• Product: We no longer see ourselves in the product we make
• Process: Alienated from the process of making the product
• People identify themselves as middle class.... whatever that means.
• Bush Sr. : There are no classes. You either make it or not
• Lower class: You’re own fault.
• Upper class: You’re arrogant
• Liberals: Class is a concept, slippery at best. You are what you say you are.
• Various ways of ordering society. Which still exists. EX/ Cast system in India
• 1848, Marx. History of Class struggle. Oppressor and Oppressed. What you do for a
living, determines your class.
• Do you make a living by selling your labour power or buying someone’s labour power?
• Buying: Bourgeoisie; Selling: Proletarian
• Class in NA: Your income, your past time, your education.
• Conlin: He falls in the middle of the class idea.
• A social group, which shares a common set of characteristics or experiences based on
their location and role in the economy. These characteristics shape and limit the kinds of
power individual members of that class have access to, determines your economic
power (shape workplace), how much political power (affect rules of game in politics),
shapes the dominant ideology, class is a social relationship.
• Employment, Unemployment and Underemployment (Main St. To Bay St.)
• Neo-Liberal Globalization (after Keynesian)
• 1945-1970, golden era of capitalism.
• Unemployment averaged less than 5%, which was high at the time.
• Countries like Japan, if the rate was 3% there is a government crisis.
• You want the rate to be as close as 0%, but 2% was as close as you could get
• 1970-1990, unemployment rates average just over 8%