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Chapter 13

Week 7 - Market Exchange (Brym Chapter 13 - Work and the Economy).doc

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Sheldon Ungar

Market and Exchange 1 Wednesday, February 29, 2012 The Promise and History of Work Salvation or Curse? · Bill Gates argues that computers reduce our work hours, make goods and services cheaper by removing distribution costs of capitalism, and enjoy more leisure time. (Pg. 365) Three Revolutions · The economy is the institution that organizes the production, distribution, and exchange of goods and services. (Pg. 366) · Analysts divide the economy into three sector: 1. The primary sector (agricultural) includes farming, fishing, logging, and mining. (Pg. 366) 2. In the secondary sector (manufacturing), raw materials are turned into fishing goods; manufacturing takes place. (Pg. 366) 3. Finally in the tertiary sector (service sectors), services are bought and sold. (Pg. 366) The Development of Agriculture · Productivity refers to the amount of goods and services produced for every hour worked. (Pg. 367) The Development of Modern Industry · International exploration, trade, and commerce stimulated the growth of markets from the fifteenth century on. (Pg. 367) · Markets are social relations that regulate the exchange of goods and services. In a market, the prices of goods and services are established by how plentiful they are (supply) and how much they are wanted (demand). (Pg. 367) The Development of the Service Sector · Computers created jobs in the service sector as quickly as it eliminated them in manufacturing. (Pg. 367) · The computer is to the service sector as the steam engine was to manufacturing and the plow was to agriculture. (Pg. 367) The Social Organization of Work · The agricultural, Industrial, and Postindustrial Revolutions increased productivity, caused shifts between sectors in employment, and altered the way work was socially organized. (Pg. 368) · The division of labour refers to the socialization of work tasks. The more specialized the work tasks in a society, the greater the division of labour. (Pg. 368) “GOOD” VERSUS “BAD” JOBS · Bad jobs are often called “deal-end” jobs. (Pg. 369) The Deskilling Theory · Harry Braverman argued that owners organize work to increase profit and one way of doing that is to break complex tasks into simple routines. (Pg. 370) · This increased division of labour has three consequences: 1. Machinery can be used to replace workers. (Pg. 370) 2. Given the simplification of work routines, less skilled, cheaper labour can be used. (Pg. 370) 3. Employees can be controlled more directly since less worker discretion and skill is needed to complete each task. (Pg. 370) · Deskilling refers to the process by which work tasks are broken into simple routines requiring little training to perform. Deskilling is usually accompanied by the use of machinery to replace labour wherever possible and increase management control over workers. (Pg. 370) Week 7 Work and the Economy  Chapter 13 · Deskilling can be best understood as a separation between conception and execution in a job. (Pg. 370) · Fordism is a method of industrial management based on assembly-line methods of producing cheap, uniform commodities in high volume. (Pg. 370) · Scientific management, developed in the 1910’s by Fredrick W. Taylor, is a system for improving productivity. After analyzing the movements of workers as they did their jobs, Taylor trained them to eliminate unnecessary actions. This technique is also known as Taylorism. (Pg. 371) Part-Time Work · For two reason the, the expansion of part-time work is not a serious problem in itself: 1. First, some part-time jobs are good jobs in the sense defined previously. (Pg. 370) 2. Second, some people want to work part-time and can afford to do so. (Pg. 370) · Degradation seems to be a universal feature of this type of deskilled work. ACritique of the Deskilling Thesis · Two line of argument potentially undermine the deskilling thesis: 1. First, not all jobs are being deskilled. (Pg. 372) 2. Second, deskilling may be occurring primarily in jobs that are characteristic of the old economy. (Pg. 372) The Social Relations of Work · The rise of more knowledge-insensitive economy has a big impact on the social relation of work. (Pg. 374) Labour Market Segmentation · David Gordon identified three stages of the labour market: 1. The initial proletarianization in which a large industrial working class replaced craft workers in small workshops. (Pg. 375) 2. During labour homogenization extensive mechanization and deskilling took place. (Pg. 375) 3. Finally, the third phase of labour market development is that of labour market segmentation. · Labour market segmentation is the division of the market for labour into distinct settings. In these settings, work is found in different ways and workers have different characteristics. There is only a slim chance of moving from one setting to another. · The result is a segmented labour market in which there are two different settings, workers, and the work they do have different characteristics: o The primary labour market comprises mainly highly skilled or well-educated white males. They are employed in the large corporations that enjoy high levels of capital investment. In the primary labour market, employment is secure, earnings are high, and fringe benefits are generous. (Pg. 376) o The secondary labour market contains a disproportionately large number of women and members of ethnic minorities, particularly recent immigrants. Employees in the secondary labour market tend to be unskilled and lack higher education. They work in small firms that have low levels of capital investment. Employment is insecure, earnings are low, and fringe benefits are meager. (Pg. 376) Workers Resistant and Management Response · The human relations school of management emerged in the 1930’s as a challenge to Taylor’s scientific management approach. It advocated less authoritarian leadership on the shop floor, careful selection and training of personnel, and greater attention to human needs and employee job satisfaction. (Pg. 376) Week 7
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