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Canada (161,877)
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SOC263H5 (63)
Chapter Final

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Anna Korteweg

Chapter 9: CAGE (S) and Paid Work  Introduction  Paid Work: exchange relationship  Garment industry is bad and garment work is hard.  Managers and owners exploit workers in a quest to maximize productivity and profits, and there is always pressure to produce more.  Managers control their workers by restricting those who sign grievances and by eliminating or moving „problem‟ workers to different departments or jobs; supervising work closely and limiting employees contact with each other.  Practice of hiring least expensive worker to maximize company‟s profit has a long history in the garment industry.  Women and immigrant workers are disproportionately represented in this industry: they are paid less.  Jobs within the industry are segregated along gender lines (women make up 88- 96% of 3 lowest paid occupations in the garment industry); ethnic groups (in particular shops, with higher wages being paid in shops where most of the workers are French Canadian).  Employers replace older workers with younger workers who are less expensive to maximize their company‟s profit and reduce labour expense. Since, older workers will not be able to produce equal quantity of work as younger workers can.  Issues that can be used to classify jobs as relatively good or bad:IMPORTANT!  Physical environments of workplaces vary considerably: people employed in good jobs experience comfort at work, and low risk of workplace injuries or illness whereas, bad jobs often have uncomfortable and dangerous or unhealthy physical environments.  Jobs vary in the intrinsic rewards that are derived from them: unlike bad jobs, good jobs tend to be intrinsically rewarding because they are challenging and are characterized by high levels of autonomy and low levels of alienation.  Extrinsic awards such as high pay, good benefits, and job security and promotion opportunities are associated with good jobs.  Autonomy: ability of workers to make their own decisions about how to do the work, how fast to do it and what needs to be done. It refers to the control that workers have over their work processes.  Alienation: The sense that we have lost control over social institutions that we have created. Often characterized as estrangement from the self and from the society as a whole. Marx believed that general alienation was rooted in the loss of control on the part of workers over the nature of the labor task, and over the products of their labor.  Ideology of capitalism suggests that good and bad jobs are distributed on the basis of individual merit.  Good jobs are reserved for highly educated, more skilled workers whose contributions to economic activities are considered more valuable than the contributions that other makes….Inequality in this outcome of paid work seems justified.  Capitalism is nan economic system that organizes processes of production according to the following characteristics:  Private ownership and control of means of production by few people.  Continuous growth such that owner of capital continually strive to increase their profits.  Exploitation: owners of capital profit at the expense of workers.  Labour-wage exchanges: workers act as free agents in selling their labour power to capitalists in exchange for a wage  Commodity exchange that takes place in free markets, subject to supply and demand which in turn regulates economic activity.  Karl Marx was first to recognize that capitalism is also a social system in which production processes are organized according to the social relations of production.  The social and economic organization of the processes of production results in a continuum of good and bad jobs.  He also argued that as capitalism evolved, proliferation of bad jobs will exist resulting from an increasing polarization of workers into two classes: proletariat and bourgeoisie.  Polarization would involve:  Reduction in proportion of small business owners and shrinking of old- middle class.  Increasing proportion of income going to the owners of large businesses and reduction in earnings of middle-class workers.  Continued deskilling of work and increase in the alienation of workers.  Canada’s class and occupational structure  4 Classes: IMPORTANT!!!  Capitalist executive class: controls labour power of others and means of production.  Old middle class: controls means of production but not the labour power of others.  New middle class: controls labour power of others but not the means of production.  Working class: no control over means of production and labour power of others.  Since early 1900s the proportion of Canada‟s class structure comprising small business owners declined.  Increase in proportion of employed Canadians in the old middle class have been mixed (positive and negative) --- small business owners.  Positive: small business owners are free of control of large capitalist enterprises and as a result, have more autonomy and other intrinsic awards associated with their work. Their work is less alienating.  Negative: rise of small business owners is the result of globalization and workplace restructuring where workers lose their jobs and are forced to earn a living without some of the extrinsic rewards of employment in large companies.  Dramatic increase in female labour-force participation rate. Dramatic increase began after 1961.  Women did not enter the labour force on an equal footing with men. Their social- class positions, occupations and industries they worked in were structured by gender.  Women were underrepresented in all occupations that involved decision making and authority, regardless of whether they work full time or part time.  Increase in self-employed women. Nature of work among self-employed women is different than of men.  Women who work for pay are concentrated in particular occupations and industries. Women’s jobs are more highly concentrated in health care and social assistance, service producing, and educational service in industrial sectors of the economy. Men’s jobs are highly concentrated in the goods-producing and manufacturing sectors.  Historically, member of British and Jewish English-speaking groups have dominated the professional, managerial and elite occupation and have been employed in primary labour markets (a pool of good jobs characterized by high pay, good benefits, and job security).  Although this domination has declined, ethnicity still influences class and occupational structures even when education, age, and place of birth are taken into account.  Ethnic and racial minority groups (exception: Jewish) are underrepresented among upper and middle class and overrepresented in the working class. Members of visible minority underrepresented in professional and managerial occupational groups.  Age also structures paid work. Younger workers are disproportionately less well represented among the self-employed.  Younger workers tend to be segregated in low-paid, often part-time, service sector jobs even though they have educational attainment rates higher than those of previous cohorts (associates).  The cumulative advantage/disadvantage hypothesis: argues that individuals are born with specific class, gender and racial or ethnic characteristics that provide them with a certain amount of advantage or disadvantage.  As time passes, separation between advantages and disadvantages grows and age groups become increasingly heterogeneous.  This is because economic and social value attached to productive work depends on one‟s gender, race or ethnicity, class and age.  Younger and older workers are more likely to be employed in non-standard work such as part-time, temporary/contract based job etc. “women > men”  Younger workers = part time job and school; older workers = closer to retirement, short term work or difficulty finding new job.  Age structure of industries and occupations may be classified in 1 of 5 ways:  Uniform age distribution: only construction and wholesale trade industries and no occupational groups had a uniform age distribution.  Youth overrepresented: all parts of retail trade, accommodation, food and beverage services, and other services.  “Prime age” groups overrepresented: in professional and technical occupations, managerial occupations, production occupations, crafts and trade.  Older workers overrepresented: in service occupations and resource- sector occupations.  “prime age” groups underrepresented  Work in the new economy is characterized by greater individualism, job insecurity, risk and instability, less likely to be employed in the same job for life.  Historical Transformation:  Rise of capitalist production - private ownership: individual people who own the means of production and can do the ownership they want. Practices of capitalism; relatively few people who own. Eg. Factory, share in a big company.  Capitalist transformation: service economy (product not intangible) (Harry Braveman) and knowledge economy (new idea, new production etc.) (Daniel Bell).  Globalization: Global commodity chains (translation flow of labour power and network through complex situations of economic change) and digital globalization; Define limits to increase productivity; great benefits and cost; how we organize and explain work.  Key points of capitalism: o Private ownership ( see above) o Those who own
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