The Information Proletariat and Globalization – Hookes

The Information Proletariat and Globalization – Hookes

Submitted for the International Conference:

The Working Class: What is it and where is it?

At the Economics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Moscow, 11-12 July 2006

Introduction: The fetishisation of manual labour

It is generally recognised that the character of work has changed considerably during
the 20th Century. The classical Marxist proletariat, manual factory workers, from
being the overwhelming majority, say, 70-80 % of the workforce, are now between
10-20% in advanced capitalist countries. Those members of the workforce who
provide services, especially information processing and delivery services, are now the
majority.1 A sub-group of the ‘information proletariat’ are sometimes called
‘knowledge workers’, that is,  those who jobs require high level of knowledge input
obtained from advanced schooling. They are now about one third of the workforce in
the US, more than twice as numerous as the manual factory proletariat. They are
expected to become at least 40% of the working population, say by, 2010. [1] This
latter group can be considered to be the new core proletariat of a knowledge-based
society. It contains many highly privileged groups such as university teachers and
researchers, and so on, whose level of alienation is, let us say, tolerable, as well as
less privileged technical knowledge workers.  The information proletariat as a whole
includes many highly exploited workers such as those in call-centres and data-input

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Crisis? What Crisis? – Petras

Crisis. What Crisis?  Profits Soar!

James Petras

While progressives and leftists write about the “crises of capitalism”, manufacturers, petroleum companies, bankers and most other major corporations on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific coast are chuckling all the way to the bank.

From the first quarter of this year, corporate profits have shot up between twenty to over a hundred percent, (Financial Times August 10, 2010, p. 7).  In fact, corporate profits have risen higher than they were before the onset of the recession in 2008 (Money Morning March 31, 2010).  Contrary to progressive bloggers the rates of profits are rising not falling, particularly among the biggest corporations (Consensus Economics, August 12, 2010).  The buoyancy of corporate profits is directly a result of the deepening crises of the working class, public and private employees and small and medium size enterprises. Continue reading

Doing: in-Against-and-Beyond Labour – Holloway

Peter Waterman sez: This is the first theoretical paper I have come across that attempts to reconceptualise labour in the light of 21st C capitalism and the new social movements. In so far as it draws (critically) on Marxist theory at its most abstract level, it makes for heavy reading. It invites popularization. And it provokes responses. Political-economists of the world, respond! Preferably on ReinventingLabour. Now read on…

Continue reading

Re-Animate on Charitable Giving – Zizek

In this short RSA Animate, philosopher Slavoj Zizek investigates the surprising ethical implications of charitable giving.

Social Crisis in Europe – Karamessini

The Social Crisis in Europe: Politics of Precariousness or Shift to a New Social Model of Regulation

By: Maria Karamessini

One year and a half after the outbreak of the current economic recession, generated by the financial crisis that began in the USA a year earlier, all international organisations are announcing the beginning of recovery in Europe, but recognise that unemployment is going to rise further in the coming years due to a continuing downward adjustment of employment meant to bring labour productivity back to its pre-crisis level.

”Adjustment”, “correction” and “clearing” mechanisms for capital to protect or redress (rates of) profits during economic crises always imply painful social consequences for the working classes, labour market (re)entrants, and vulnerable social groups. However, the extent and acuteness of such consequences differ in time and space, as a result of state intervention and national institutional settings that may reinforce or mitigate them. Finally, crises can also be moments of rupture of the prevailing social and institutional order and of major reshuffling of class coalitions, power relations, and institutional architecture at the national and international levels. Continue reading

Of Human Greed – Taylor interviews Harvey

Of human greed: Laurie Taylor interviews David Harvey

The Humanist, Vol 125, Issue 4, July/August 201o

A search for the reasons for the economic meltdown has prompted a turn back to Marx. Laurie Taylor meets the “dialectical materialist” geographer David Harvey who, 40 years into his career, is suddenly being taken seriously Continue reading

De-Growth Declaration – Barcelona 2010

Second International Conference
on Economic Degrowth for Ecological
Sustainability and Social Equity,

26-29 March 2010, Barcelona

Degrowth Declaration Barcelona 2010

In the midst of an international crisis more than four hundred researchers, practitioners and civil
society members from forty countries gathered in Barcelona in March 2010 for the Second
International Conference on Degrowth. The Declaration of the First International Conference in Paris
in 2008 noted the looming multidimensional crisis, which was not just financial, but also economic,
social, cultural, energetic, political and ecological. The crisis is a result of the failure of an economic
model based on growth. Continue reading