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Chapter 20

SOC102 Questioning Sociology Chapter 20

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Lorne Tepperman

Questioning Sociology Chapter 20 – What are the challenges of economic transition? Introduction - Karl Marx o The economic aspects of life is important for understanding any society o Economic determinism  Many of a society’s key structures (e.g., system of social hierarchy or class structure) are determined by the type of economic production dominant in a society  The most powerful are those who own a resource  The least powerful are those who do not  E.g., feudal society  Wealth is created through the agricultural production from large land holdings  Social division between lords and serfs  Land-holding nobility based in rural areas is most empowering  E.g., modern capitalist society  Wealth is created through the operation of factors producing manufactured goods  Social division occurs between those who own the means to produce manufactured foods and those who must sell their labour power  Capital-owning financiers based in urban centres is most empowering - Max Weber o Economic developments do not stem from economic causes alone, but rather from changes in religious beliefs and values, which then produce changes in economic behaviour - Krishan Kumar o Knowledge progressively affects work in two ways  Upgrading of the knowledge content of existing work (e.g., new technology adds to the skill of workers)  Creation and expansion of new work in the knowledge sector - Knowledge can transform the economy in the Maritimes in two ways o More strategic management of the existing natural resources through the application of knowledge-based strategies in resource-based industries o Increase and development of knowledge workers Unemployment and underemployment in Maritime Canada - Maritime Canada is home to some of the oldest communities in North America o Natives descended from the Mi’kmaq o Black population descended from slaves who escaped from American plantations o White population descended from English and French Acadian settlers - The economic underpinnings has been the resource base (e.g., fish, timber, coal) and commerce arising from this, and other activities (e.g., ports, navy, coastguard, mercantile fleets) o The fishing industry is faced with problems of over-fishing and climate change o The shrinking of Canada’s rail system ended the need for coal and steel industries o The westward shift of trade and commerce created competition for banking and financing industries - The Maritime region has the some of the highest levels of unemployment and underemployment in Canada o Remaining jobs in Maritime Canada are seasonal o Opportunities for employment alternate between high-intensity work and long periods of unemployment - Today’s young Maritimers are remarkably homogenous in their aspirations for service sector work o Pursing formal education and choosing to gain the experience necessary to enter the knowledge economy The brain drain and Maritime communities - There is a problem with retaining its own human capital in the region called brain drain or out-migration - Ross Finnie o High provincial unemployment rates, high rates of collection of employment insurance benefits, and absence of employment income induce people to migrate to provides where opportunities are better o Young people with higher educational qualifications are more likely to move - Maurice Beaudin and Senastien Breau o New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are losing large numbers of their new graduates o Nova Scotia increased its number of new graduates, but not enough to compensate for the overall loss of human capital - Atlantic Provinces Economic Council  14% (340,000) of Atlantic Canada’s population has migrated out to other provinces; and of these, 70,000 were between 15-24 years old - The continued departure of young educated people poses a problem 1. Education budgets are one of the largest categories of expenditure for provincial governments  How do they legitimize continued expenditure for students who leave the province as soon as they graduate when they must fund other areas of need (e.g., health care) for those who remain? 2. Reproduction of stable communities (e.g., family support becomes very difficult)  Who looks after the older people when young people move out in search of jobs? - Human capital retention is an important priority for both the community and the government The rise of the call centre industry - Maritime Canada is home to 35% of the Canadian business services industry - Call centres began to arrive in the Maritimes in the early 1990s - New Brunswick o Frank McKenna  Identified the strengths of New Brunswick’s labour force (e.g., bilingual)  Attempted to develop an industrial mix that would capitalize on the strength  By 1997, there were 6,000 new jobs created - Nova Scotia o By 1998, there were at least 41 call centres o By 2005, there were at least 65 call centres (e.g., 15,000 jobs) - Prince Edward Island o By 2003, there were at least 11 call centres (e.g., 1,192 jobs) What is a call centre?
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