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Chapter 9

SOC260 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Labour Power, Deskilling, Ageism

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stephen speake

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CHAPTER 9: CAGE(s) and Unpaid Work
Bosses often hire the least expensive work force to maximize profit and minimize costs
Women and immigrant workers = disproportionately represented in garment industry
o Paid less
Replacing older workers w/ younger less expensive workers
o Ageism
3 issues that can be used to classify jobs as good or bad:
o physical workplace environments vary
good jobs: comfort at work and low risk of injury/illness
bad jobs: uncomfortable, dangerous, or unhealthy
o the intrinsic rewards that people get from jobs vary
good jobs: intrinsically rewarding b/c they are challenging and characterized by:
high levels of autonomy
low levels of alienation
o extrinsic rewards vary as well
good jobs: high pay, good benefits, job security, promotion opportunities
o suggests that good and bad jobs are distributed based on individual merit/ based on
meritocracy (allocating positions based on “excellence”).
Good jobs for highly educated people etc.
o Organizes the processes of production according to the following characteristics:
Private ownership & control of means of production belongs to few select people
Continuous growth owners of capital continually try to increase profit
Exploitation owners of capital profit @ the expense of the workers
Labour-wage exchanges workers act as free agents by selling their labour power to
capitalists in exchange for a wage
Commodity exchange takes place in free markets, subject to supply and demand, that
regulates economic activity.
Karl Marx
o Capitalism is also a SOCIAL systemproduction processes are organized based on the social
relations of production
o Owners, managers, and workers have unequal rights to the means of production and resources
o Access to ‘good jobs’ = highly restricted to the capitalist class
o As capitalism evolves, a ton of bad jobs will result from an increasing polarization of workers
into 2 central classes: the proletariat and bourgeouisie. This polarization would involve 3 things:
Less small business owners and smaller middle class
More income going to the owners of large businesses and less earnings for middle-class
Continued deskilling of work and therefore more alienation of workers
DEFINE SOCIAL CLASS in a more simplified way from Wright
There are 4 classes:
1) Capitalist-executive class: controls both labour power of others and the means of production
2) Old middle class: ‘petite’ bourgeoisie’—commands the means of production
3) New middle class: controls the labour power of others
4) Working class: controls neither
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