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Chapter 8

Sociology 2R03 Chapter 8.docx

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Augie Fleras

Chapter 8 Institutionalized inequality  Institutions are racialized, gendered, and classed by virtue of principles, practices, and structures that construct workplace barriers in advantaging some and disadvantaging others The new economy: inequalitites of work, working, and the workplace  40% of household: woman breadwinner  Men have assumed primary child care in 1/3 of families  Workers with no jobs, jobs with no workers Insight: defining a new economy: a multifaceted reality  New economy generally refers to the part of the economy that is digital- technology based with corresponding structural changes across the economy at large; entails a shift from predominantly manufacturing based/ resource extraction economy to an economy incorporating a knowledge based dimension o The centrality of information (creativity) and communication (digital) technology (ICT) as basis for wealth production o A network based economy anchored in the realities of always-on, always- connected technology o An intensely competitive global market economy with a corresponding division of labour based on world-wide grip of productive loops of cost efficient sites o Flexible workplace patterns (post Fordist) o Massive restructuring due to job-stripping automation o McDonaldization (efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control) o Increased service oriented work o Pyramidal model that has well paid knowledge workers at the top and many low wage workers at the bottom  Structural readjustment to the concept of work, working, and the workplace, one that reorders worker lives and life chances along a new set of rules, priorities, and opportunities (not all beneficial to worker) Continued  Dramatic shift toward a freelance economy of contract, contingent, and temporary labour as work is farmed out on a piecemeal basis when needed or convenient  Walmart: 40-50% replacement of workers each year o Less permanent more contract, temporary work  What is good for the new economy does not really benefit the labour sector  Work as conventionally defined is being superseded by new forms involving a shift in doing work, workplace design, and dynamics of working  Three tiered system is evolving: privilegedprosaicprecarious, because of ideological shifts and changes in social and economic context FYI: working dangerously; is today the day you die?  10 migrant workers from Peru killed; 3 migrant workers in Ontario were killed in job related incidents  Over 1000 Canadians die each year- five killed per day or 6.8 per 100 000 workers  Victims: men, older men, workers in mining and contruction, Northwest Territories had the highest fatality rate, and cause of death is split between accidents and occupational induced disease in 2005  65 workers in 2009 received workers compensation because of an accident; $19 billion annually: cost of occupational injuries From work to jobs to Mcjobs to joblessness: a crisis in the making  Organized work evolved with the industrial revolution and the mechanization of the productive process  1970’s labour-intensive industrialization raised the figure of peoples with jobs to 90% of the workforce  Emerging flexible schedules, withering compliance to authoritarian management- worker relations  New economy models have transformed the principles of production by incorporating new patterns of wealth creation, including the following post- Fordist initiatives: delivery of parts as needed, availability of disposable labour, reliance on outsourcing, small batch production to meet demand, and elimination of any operations that do not directly contribute to corporate value  Erratic and highly competitive environments that seldom lead themselves to regulation or control  New ways of organizing work and working typify a post-Fordist economy, with its reduction of management tiers, greater worker discretion, just-in-time production, and new approaches to industrial relations  Wealth creation in the new economy reflects post-industrial employment patterns rooted in knowledge and services instead of manufacturing  Work in the new economy reflects a bifurcated system of labour: knowledge workers and low paid workers  Emphasis towards: being more inclusive, flexible, and worker friendly yet structural barriers continue to obstruct a workplace democratization Case study Prosaic work in the new economy: conveyor belt burgers  Fordist means of production dovetailed with Taylorist principles of scientific management, namely mass production, standardized products, large inventories, strict division of labour, labour deskilling, vertical integration, and global firms  Taylorism sought to make complex organizations more efficient and productive by applying the principles of rationality as a basis for controlling the workforce; the drive for efficiency by controlling costs transformed the workplace into a glorified machine with mechanistic precision and control o Simple division of labour o Carefully calibrated methods to determine the most efficient work routine o Divide the production process into its smallest constituent units for assignment to trained workers o Encourage productivity by increasing monetary rewards as the central incentive for hard work o Routinizing work by eliminating the human element  Fordist models were based on an integrated assembly line, rationalization of production of labour, product standardization, economies of scale, and principles of scientific management  The workplace could be described as autocratic because it was organized around the bureaucratic principles of an authoritarian hierarchy where everything was in its place and done in a proper sequence  Most workers exerted little control over the production process; the work itself was often alienating or exploitative, high stress levels, mind-numbing routines  The dehumanization process is organized around the pursuit of quantity, service, and cleanliness  Burger King o Movements and emotions are controlled by the franchise  The fast food industry relies on restrictive work processes and authoritatian labour management relations that reduced labout and work to its simplest components Rethinking work and working: a three-tiered workplace  Human labour is gradually being redefined or discarded because of computer mediated automation, a neoliberal mentality that elevates market/profits over all considerations, and a corporate reorganization that treats workers as “profit busting liabilities”  A knowledge based economy will produce jobs for scientists, engineers, software analysts, and biotechnology researchers; those in the caring sector (teachers to eldercare providers should prosper)  Precarious work usually includes the following o Little job security, low wages, no pension, no union protection, and minimal control over working conditions o Contract, part time, self employment, and temporary as well as service industry jobs a
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