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Labour Movements and World Politics (Essay Sample)

LBST 335 GLST 335 HIST 335 — GLOBAL LABOUR HISTORY Six photographic portraits of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, Vladimir Lenin, and Mao Zedong. Top left and right: Karl Marx (1818–1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820–1895), authors of Das Kapital and The Condition of the Working Class in England, respectively, were key organizers of the First and Second International. Both spent most of their lives in exile in England after participating in the unsuccessful German revolution of 1848. Karl Marx by John Jabez Edwin Mayal, public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Friedrich Engels by George Lester, public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Middle left and right: Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919) and Leon Trotsky (1879–1940) were writers and revolutionary leaders, killed by German military and the Soviet secret police, respectively. Rosa Luxembourg, public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Leon Trotsky, public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Bottom left and right: Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924) and Mao Zedong (1893–1976) were writers and leaders of the revolutions in Russia and China, respectively. Vladimir Lenin by Viktor Bulla, public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Mao Zedong, The People's Republic of China Printing Office, public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Unit 1: A Theoretical Framework: Beverly Silver's Forces of Labor Introduction The history of global labour is extremely diverse. The conditions among which workers performed their work changed very much over time and place. Moreover, the workers themselves are people with many different faces; they are men and women, their skin colour varies across the human spectrum, they speak many different languages, possess different skills, hold different political views, and believe in different gods or no god at all. As different as they are, they also have certain things in common. For example, they work to make a living for themselves and to enrich somebody else, usually the employer who hires them or exploits their labour power in any other way. Making sense of diversities and commonalities among workers at different times and places requires thorough theoretical groundwork. In writing this course, I [Ingo Schmidt] needed criteria that helped me to determine what information would go into the course and what would not. I also needed criteria to sort the information that passed this first selection, and then finally, I needed some arguments that would allow me to establish causal relationships between different factors or pieces of information. As a matter of fact, the preceding paragraph is already laden with theoretical ideas although the language does not sound very theoretical. However, distinguishing workers by their gender or skin colour, to pick just two of the above distinctions, implies that sexism and racism play important roles in differentiating the workers of the world and, of course, sexism and racism are concepts built on social theories. The claim that all workers, beyond working to make their own ends meet, enrich capitalist employers is also built on theoretical reasoning. The point here is not to go into the different theories about gender, race, and capitalism, but to show that even plain language expresses theoretical ideas. Seen from this angle, everyone who says something is a theoretician or an intellectual, no matter whether he or she is aware of this or not. In the world of science, though, it is seen as standard practice that everyone states the theoretical ideas that drive their research. This first unit of the course is about meeting that standard. Beverly Silver's Forces of Labor offers a theoretical framework that helped me to select further materials for the course and also to make sense of the selected labour histories. Applying this framework to the assigned readings in the subsequent units of the course makes it possible to arrive at a coherent global labour history. Silver's approach is not the only possible approach to writing such a history. It is just one that I found highly convincing, and the whole point of stating the theoretical ideas used in scholarly work is to open them up for debate. You may actually take this proposition as a piece of advice for the papers you will have to write in this course. State your own theoretical position openly and use this, where applicable, as the basis for discussing and criticizing the work of others, including the assigned readings. Learning Objectives When you have completed Unit 1, you should be able to achieve the following learning objectives. Explain why a theoretical framework is crucial in navigating through global labour history. Discuss the ways in which the relocation of capital impacted the ability of labour movements to pursue their interests over time. Describe the effect of technological changes on the composition of workforces and labour organizing strategies. Discuss the relationships between world politics and labour and their changes over time. Section 1.1: Labour Movements and Capital Mobility Key Terms and Concepts associational power auto industry crisis of legitimacy crisis of profitability ecological crisis free trade male-breadwinner model relocation, structural power Reading Assignment Textbook Forces of Labor, by Beverly J. Silver Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Labor Movements and Capital Mobility Commentary Silver begins her book with a discussion of two key arguments that shaped debates about past and future developments of labour at the time of writing, and that still have some currency in any such debates. Starting a book with the discussion of theses that were developed in other books or journal articles is a common practice. After all, scholars need to explain what makes their work different from already-existing works, and the most straightforward way to do this is by using a brief discussion of other works as a starting point for one's own work. Accordingly, Silver discusses the thesis that labour has a past but no future. Labour scholars and other social scientists have developed two arguments in support of this key point: Technological development, particularly the rise of computer-based information technology, has transformed industrial capitalism into one kind of post-industrial society or another (Castells 1996). Globalization, defined as unlimited flows of capital and information across borders, has produced a race-to-the-bottom in which workers in the North have to compete with workers in the South by accepting lower wages (Greider 1998). Note that the second argument does not necessarily imply a terminal crisis for labour movements. Such an interpretation is only possible if one assumes, which much of the globalization literature does (e.g., Glyn 2006), that the South is an unlimited source of cheap labour power. However, some scholars argue that the integration of the South into global capitalism renders the North-South divide and power competition among nation-states obsolete, and that it would lead to a global confrontation between labour and capital (Robinson 2004). This latter interpretation of globalization obviously rejects the above-mentioned claim that labour movements have no future. Silver also rejects that claim but pursues a different argument. Globalization in the sense of equalizing wages across all countries, she argues, is just not happening because, among other factors, most international capital flows are concentrated in the rich countries of the global North. The claim that capital flows to the South would lead to an equal, though low-level, playing field for labour is empirically not valid; capitalism may be global but it still entails sharp North-South divisions. Silver's critique of the no-future-for-labour argument shifts the focus from international capital flows to the forces of labour, hence the title of her book. More precisely, she argues that the relocation of economic activity and technological developments, the two factors used to support the end-of-labour-movements-argument, are actually reactions to such movements. Whenever capital owners see their profits threatened by labour movements they seek to bypass or evade these movements through relocation, the introduction of labour-saving technology, or both. Yet, says Silver in a later chapter, “where capital goes, conflict goes” (2003, 74). Workers will always, regardless of geographical location or the technologies they work with, seek, and eventually find, ways to struggle for the improvement of their working and living conditions. In Chapters 2 to 4 of the textbook, Silver traces these cycles of labour struggles, relocations, and technological developments from 1870 through to the present. She also looks at the role of world politics to show the continuing impact that states—and their competition for power—have on the forces of labour. In the introductory chapter, Silver develops the theoretical framework that guides the analysis in later chapters. This framework identifies the source of potential power as much as actual power that workers may wield with respect to their employers and in society at large. In this regard, Silver distinguishes associational and structural power. Associational power stems from workers' ability to band together in pursuit of common interests, be it in unions or political parties. Such organizations aim at reducing the competitive pressure that individual workers face. Collective bargaining and improved legal standards can, to some degree, alleviate such pressures. Silver calls the respective use of associational power “Polanyi-type labor unrest” (2003, 20) because Karl Polanyi's work deals with the question of commodification and de-commodification of labour power (Polanyi 1944). Structural power, in turn, stems from workers' position in the labour process, which allows them to interrupt or slow down the production process. This can happen individually, because a worker is not satisfied with his or her conditions of employment, or collectively through strike action, which Silver calls “Marx-type labor unrest” (2003, 20) because Marx devoted significant parts of volume one of Capital to the analysis of the capitalist production process (Marx 1867, Part 4: The Production of Relative Surplus-Value). To complete her theoretical framework, Silver distinguishes between crises of profitability and crises of legitimacy. These two kinds of crises drive the development of the allocation and reallocation of capital, changes in technology, and political conflicts over the aforementioned changes. A crisis of profitability occurs when workers are successful in their efforts and win higher wages, shorter hours, and so on at the expense of capitalists' profits. In reaction to lower profits, capitalists will try to weaken workers' power through relocation into regions where workers are not organized, the introduction of labour-saving technologies, or both. To the degree that capitalists are successful it will become obvious to workers that capitalist claims about equal opportunity, good money for hard work, and rising tides supposedly lifting all boats are nothing but shallow propaganda. A crisis of legitimacy will ensue that entices disgruntled workers to find new ways of organizing and fighting back the capitalists' onslaughts on workers' working and living conditions. Chapter 1 also includes a description of the empirical database that Silver uses to measure labour unrest. In fact, Silver's book includes three substantive appendices that present data definition, collection, and interpretation. For the purposes of this course, we need not go into any of these details; however, you may consider these appendices as good examples of the proper use of empirical evidence in the Social Sciences. “Where Capital Goes, Conflict Goes” The idea that conflict follows capital wherever the latter might go is the key point developed in Chapter 2 of Forces of Labor. The example Silver uses to prove her point is the auto industry, tracing the development of the industry and subsequent labour disputes from North America to Western Europe, Latin America, Asia, and South Africa. Thus, while her scope is truly global the focus is rather narrow, looking at just one industry and its development in the twentieth century. As was argued in the introduction to the course, a truly global labour history must begin much earlier and include all kinds of labour, not just auto workers. That said, Forces of Labor is an attempt to understand the development of conflict between labour and capital on a global scale. The book presents historical data to support theoretical arguments and, at this point in the course, it is crucial to understand these theoretical ideas since they are the skeleton that will carry the flesh of Global Labour History in Units 2 through 4, widening the focus to include the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and work, workers, and workers' movements of very different kinds. The reason that Silver chose the auto industry to illustrate her argument that relocation cannot avoid conflict between labour and capital, at least not permanently, is that it arguably has been the lead industry of the twentieth century in terms of the numbers of workers it has employed, either directly or indirectly, in related economic sectors from resource extraction through steel-making and road construction to such service industries as repair shops, car insurance, motels, and shopping malls. The auto industry, with its internal divisions of labour, was also a model for other industries and represented a way of life. The automobile carried the promise of individual freedom, expressed by the mobility of car owners, and it symbolized the overcoming of class divisions, such as those between downtrodden proletarians and fat, cigar-smoking capitalists in the nineteenth century. Yet, as Silver illustrates, forms of ownership and organization of work in the auto industry also caused severe labour unrest and, in turn, capitalists' attempts to bypass workers' discontent through relocation. Capital mobility was dearer to capitalists' hearts than was the individual mobility of car owners. An important aspect of bypassing discontented workers through relocations is free trade. To pursue such a strategy, company owners must be free to both move their capital across borders and ship cars to different markets. Relocating production does not imply the relocation of customers. Thus, to produce cars in country B and continue to sell them in country A, unhindered shipment from B to A is a necessity. Not surprisingly, then, relocations of production beyond domestic borders went hand in hand with capitalists' quest for global free trade (Tabb 2004). The irony of this is, as Silver convincingly shows, that labour unrest followed the auto industry pretty much everywhere it went; yet, at no time did workers succeed in breaking the “relocation of production/relocation of conflict” cycle. Under capitalist relations of production, the forces of labour obviously never reached the point where workers could have taken possession of industries to stop further relocations. Soviet-style communism (Lewin 2005), where no capitalists existed that could have relocated production facilities, lies outside the scope of Silver's book. Unit 3 will examine the Soviet Union to assess if (and if so, in which ways) the working and living conditions of Soviet workers changed under the reign of Soviet communism compared to capitalism. Two other aspects related to the development of the auto industry are also not relevant for Silver's “where capital goes, conflict goes” argument, but they are important in terms of the more encompassing goal of understanding global labour history. One is that the way of life the automobile represents, and which is commonly associated with the “American Way of Life” that people in other countries “ought” to adopt, also has implications for life outside the factory gates. The mass use of cars went hand in hand with the consumption of other mass-produced durables, such as refrigerators, washing machines, stereos, and televisions. The norms of mass consumption (Aglietta 1979, Part 1, Chapter 3) that developed under US capitalism and became role models in pretty much the rest of the world from the 1920s onward also shaped the division of labour between paid work, which was predominantly performed by men, and unpaid work, which was predominantly performed by women in private households. This male-breadwinner model, which had its heyday during the post-war prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s, and was later challenged by the new women's movement of the 1970s, is as important for working-class formation in the twentieth century as workers' organizing efforts and struggles at the point of production. Household work is as much part of working-class existence as is paid work in factories, offices, and shops (Brenner 2000). The other important aspect is the environmental impact of the ways of production and consumption that are associated with the auto and other mass-production industries (Foster 2009). Fossil fuels proved to be cheap for producers and consumers and thus spurred economic growth since the early days of the Industrial Revolution. Early on, technological developments based on ecological destruction had their critics, yet it was not until the 1970s that mass ecological movements burst onto the political scene. These movements challenged the dedication to economic growth, and the visions of a good life derived from such growth and mass consumption, to which most currents in labour movements around the world were subscribed. On the other hand, labour and community activists knew perfectly well about the detrimental effects of certain production technologies on workers inside and outside the workplace. Some of them undertook the effort to build alliances between labour and environmental movements. Considering today's environmental challenges, such as loss of bio-diversity, soil degradation, resource depletion, and climate change, it is difficult to conceive successful labour movements that do not also address the global ecological crisis. Again, Silver's book neither discusses the women's question nor the ecological crisis. However, the theoretical framework she provides can be extended to include these two factors that, without a doubt, are part of global labour's history—and future. Study Questions These study questions are intended for private study purposes and are designed to assist you in understanding the key points presented in Section 1.1. You may find it helpful to write your responses to these questions in full sentences or a brief paragraph after you have completed the assigned readings. Contact your tutor for assistance if you have difficulty answering any of these questions. What does the “race to the bottom” thesis say? Why does Silver reject it? Why does Silver put so much emphasis on the North-South division of the world? Can you explain the cycle that leads from crisis of profitability to crisis of legitimacy? How does this cycle relate to the relocation of production and the introduction of new technologies? What does the “where capital goes, conflict goes” argument say? Can you describe the shift of twentieth-century labour unrest in the auto industry from North America to Western Europe, Latin America, Asia, and South Africa? What were the driving factors behind these regional shifts? What distinguishes the lean production methods of the Japanese from the organization of work in other countries of the world? Why did attempts to implement lean production outside Japan fail? Section 1.2: Labour Movements and Product Cycles Key Terms and Concepts auto industry innovation product cycle service industries standardization textile industry transportation sector Reading Assignment Textbook Chapter 3: Labor Movements and Product Cycles, in Forces of Labor, by Beverly J. Silver Commentary Chapter 3 of Forces of Labor extends the analysis from the previous chapter in two ways. First, Silver looks at nineteenth-century textile mills and the cycle of relocations and labour struggles that happened in that sector. She does this to show that her “where capital goes, conflict goes” thesis not only applies to the twentieth-century auto industry, but also to the lead sector of the previous century. Second, she establishes a connection between product cycles and the gains that labour could win from its struggles in different places at different times. Workers in nineteenth-century Britain and twentieth-century America could win larger wage increases and other improvements than could their counterparts in other countries, particularly those in the Global South, which is where the auto and textile industries migrated during the standardization phase of the product cycle. At the beginning of the cycle—the innovation phase—a handful of companies that introduce new products and technologies are in a position to charge monopoly prices, which leads to windfall profits as long as labour power remains cheap. However, low wages and brutal working conditions in burgeoning industries stir up workers' discontent, which leads to a crisis of legitimacy, and eventually to labour struggles. Extremely high rates of profit put company owners in a position to make concessions so that profit rates tend more toward economy-wide averages, which are determined by all industries in a country (not just innovating industries) and by higher wages. Even so, such concessions also lead owners and managers to introduce labour-saving technologies, which move the industry from the innovation phase on to maturity, and eventually to standardization. Relocation to areas where workers are less organized, and labour power is therefore cheaper, goes hand in hand with technological changes (Vernon 1966). In the end, the low-wage/high-profit conditions that marked the innovation phase of the product cycle are restored in the standardization phase, based on a different technology and located somewhere in the Global South (as an example of such shifts, see Chomsky 2008). Monopoly prices and windfall profits of the innovation phase cannot be restored in the standardization phase, in which other companies can fairly easily enter the market, precisely because production methods are highly standardized and thus ready to be adopted at low costs by other firms. In short, competition in the standardization phase is stiffer, and prices and profits are therefore lower, than during the innovation phase. Company owners' willingness to give in to workers' demands for higher pay, shorter hours, and better working conditions will thus be very limited. Since innovation is geographically concentrated in the rich countries of the North, workers in those countries have better chances to win concessions from capital than do their counterparts in the South, where companies do not earn windfall profits and are ready to move somewhere else at any time. To put this another way: the concentration of innovative activity in the North is a key reason for the persistent inequality of wage levels between the North and the South, even in the face of wage restraints and the explosion of low-wage employment in the North since the 1980s. After comparing patterns of technological and geographical developments and labour unrest in the auto and textile industries, Silver turns her attention to the transportation sector, semiconductor production, and various service industries. Changing methods of production have a common history with changes in transportation. As we will see in greater detail in Unit 2, the rise of industrial capitalism in eighteenth-century England would have been unthinkable without the ships that brought cotton, a key resource for England's textile industry, across the Atlantic to the ports of Bristol, Blackpool, and Liverpool. At the same time, new technologies and industries—such as steam engines and their various applications in the nineteenth century, and combustion engines, electric motors, and jet engines in the twentieth century—revolutionized methods of transportation from railways and steamships to the automobile and aviation. Workers in the transportation sector—including railway workers, longshoremen, and flight attendants—have a long history of struggle that, by and large, fits into Silver's “where capital goes, conflict goes” pattern. Based on the empirical support she found for her thesis in the past, Silver concludes this chapter with speculations about future directions of labour unrest. Her focus here is the semiconductor industry, which delivers the hardware for today's information technologies, and which is therefore sometimes considered to be the lead sector of the late-twentieth and early twenty-first century. Silver further looks at service industries, such as producer and personal services and education. Though she does find signs of labour unrest in all these sectors, she is rather sceptical whether structural and associational power in these sectors can ever reach the levels reached in the textile, automobile, and transportation industries. Yet, these latter industries still play a crucial role in today's global capitalism, and although labour struggles in the plants and ports of the South cannot win the same concession that workers in the North could win in the past, any such struggle reverberates through the world economy, North and South. Labour unrest in the South, even if it does not gain much, threatens the supply of cheap consumer goods and services to the North and challenges social integration there. Labour struggles in one part of the world could thus spark struggles elsewhere (Silver 2005; Silver & Zhang 2009). Study Questions These study questions are intended for private study purposes and are designed to assist you in understanding the key points presented in Section 1.2. You may find it helpful to write your responses to these questions in full sentences or a brief paragraph after you have completed the assigned readings. Contact your tutor for assistance if you have difficulty answering any of these questions. What is the product cycle? What are its different phases? How is it linked to labour unrest? Why do North-South divisions persist? What has the product cycle to do with this, and how does labour unrest fit into the picture? Is it possible to compare the product cycles and cycles of labour unrest in the textile, auto, and transportation industries? Give reasons for your answer. What are the obstacles to developing structural and/or associational power in producer and personal service industries, in the education sector, and in the semiconductor industry? Section 1.3: Labour Movements and World Politics Key Terms and Concepts anti-colonial struggles Cold War welfare state World War I World War II Reading Assignment Textbook Chapter 4: Labor Movements and World Politics, in Forces of Labor, by Beverly J. Silver. Commentary Our focus to this point has been almost exclusively on economics and labour. Company investments determine, among other things, the location of economic activity and the technologies used in each location. They represent the forces of capital, so to speak. Labour unrest, which is an expression of the forces of labour, is partly a response to economic activity under the rule of private capital, but it also impacts such activity. Since we followed the traces of the confrontation between the forces of capital and the forces of labour, it might appear that a global class struggle is unfolding within an integrated world economy. However, in Chapter 1 of her book Silver rejects such notions and insists on the continuing relevance of politics. Chapter 4 is about world politics and its interrelationships with labour unrest. It shows an obvious correlation between workers' struggles and war, particularly World Wars I and II (Kolko 1994). Both wars ended a rising tide of labour unrest in many European countries and in North America, but they were followed with a resurgence of even more militant struggles. In the case of World War I this resurgence had already begun during the war and helped to end it. This is most obvious in the case of the Russian revolution, in which the Bolsheviks gained mass support and, eventually, power because they promised an end to Russia's participation in the war. Moreover, both world wars were followed by massive waves of labour unrest in the colonial world that we now know as the Global South. These labour conflicts were closely entwined with struggles for national independence that often took the form of guerrilla warfare. Economic struggles over incomes and working conditions, and political struggles to end colonial rule, happened not only at the same time but they also had causal relationships. Ending colonial rule was a precondition for the improvement of the economic conditions of workers and other subordinate classes in the South (Prashad 2007). Thus, economics could not be separated from politics. The same is true for other parts of the world. The Cold War between the Soviet empire and the capitalist West, led by the United States, is another case where politics had a clear impact on economics (Saull 2007). In order to integrate working classes in the West into an anti-communist bloc, Western ruling classes were willing to compromise with labour movements. While Western welfare states, including the concomitant improvement of working and living conditions for workers, had to be won through struggle, the balance of power between labour and capital had shifted in labour's favour under the political conditions of the Cold War. However, the same ruling classes came to view welfare states as an impediment to their profits, just as the wage increases won through strikes and negotiated at the bargaining table also lessened their profits. Thus, they sought to replace the welfare states and, beginning in the early 1980s, began to roll back labour standards and social standards in order to boost their profits (Glyn 2001). Part of the free market offensive was, of course, the relocation of economic activity to regions that did not have organized labour movements and an overabundance of cheap labour power. It should be mentioned that Silver treats the Soviet empire as an external factor that, through the Cold War, impacted politics and economics in the capitalist world. While the conditions of working classes within the Soviet Union and other state-socialist countries are outside the scope of Silver's book, they cannot be outside a global labour history. After all, a significant share of the workers of the world lived and worked under such regimes in the twentieth century. Moreover, labour movements recurrently aimed at the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement by one kind of socialist rule or another. Where they succeeded, as in Russia in 1917 and China in 1949, the “where capital goes, conflict goes” cycle that figures so prominently was clearly broken and workers were facing new challenges. We will consider these issues in Unit 3, and will actually see that workers in the state-socialist East faced similar problems to those that their counterparts in the capitalist West were struggling with even though they lived in entirely different economic and political worlds led by leaders who were constantly at each other's throats. The last chapter of Forces of Labor draws conclusions from the analysis in previous chapters and tries to make them fruitful for a brief discussion of possible futures for labour movements around the world. We will use it for the same purpose at the very end of this course. At this point, it suffices to keep the theoretical concepts that were introduced in this unit in mind while you work through the following units. These concepts can enrich your understanding of particular aspects of global labour history and also serve as a compass to locate such aspects in the bigger picture. Study Questions These study questions are intended for private study purposes and are designed to assist you in understanding the key points presented in Section 1.3. You may find it helpful to write your responses to these questions in full sentences or a brief paragraph after you have completed the assigned readings. Contact your tutor for assistance if you have difficulty answering any of these questions. Why do wars sometimes contain labour unrest? Why do they foment it under at other times? What were the relations between anti-colonial and labour struggles in the Global South? What were the relations between the Cold War and the development of welfare states? Why did capitalists in the West turn against their welfare states in the early 1980s? Assignment 1 You are now ready to complete Assignment 1, which is worth 20% of your final grade for the course. Instructions for completing and submitting this assignment are given after this study guide on the main course page. References Aglietta, M. (1979). A theory of capitalist regulation: The US experience. New York: Verso. Allen, J., Campbell, A., & McIlroy, J. (Eds.). (2010). Histories of labour: National and international perspectives. Pontypool: Merlin Press. Brenner, J. (2000). Women and the politics of class. New York: Monthly Review Press. Castells, M. (1996). The rise of the network society. Oxford: Blackwell. Chomsky, A. (2008). Linked labor histories: New England, Colombia, and the making of a global working class. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Colletti, L. (1972). Bernstein and the Marxism of the Second International. From Rousseau to Lenin: Studies in ideology and society. New York: Monthly Review Press, 45–108. Engels, F. (1845, 1975). The condition of the working class in England. Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 4 (pp. 295–596). New York: International Publishers. Foster, J. B. (2009). The ecological revolution: Making peace with the planet. New York: Monthly Review Press. Glyn, A. (Ed.). (2001). Social democracy in neoliberal times: The left and economic policy since 1980. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Glyn, A. (2006). Capitalism unleashed: Finance, globalization, and welfare. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Greider, W. (1998). One world, ready or not: The manic logic of global capitalism. New York: Touchstone. Hunt, T. (2009). The frock-coated communist: The revolutionary life of Friedrich Engels. London: Allen Lane. Katznelson, I., & Zolberg, A. R. (1986). Working-class formation: Nineteenth-century patterns in Western Europe and the United States. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Kolko, G. (1994). Century of war: Politics, conflicts, and society since 1914. New York: The New Press. Lewin, M. (2005). The Soviet century. London, New York: Verso. Marx, K. (1867, 1990). Capital, vol. I. London: Penguin. Polanyi, K. (1944, 2001). The great transformation. Boston: Beacon Press. Prashad, V. (2007). The darker nations: A people's history of the Third World. New York: The New Press. Robinson, W. I. (2004). A theory of global capitalism: Production, class, and state in a transnational world. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Saull, R. (2007). The Cold War and after: Capitalism, revolution, and superpower politics. Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press. Silver, B. J. (2003). Forces of labor: Workers' movements and globalization since 1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Silver, B. J. (2005). Labor upsurges: From Detroit to Ulsan and beyond. Critical Sociology, 31(3): 439–451. Silver, B. J., & Zhang, L. (2009). China as an emerging epicentre of world labor unrest. In H.-F. Hung (Ed.), China and the transformation of global capitalism (pp. 174–187). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Tabb, W. K. (2004). Economic governance in the age of globalization. New York: Columbia University Press. Van der Linden, M. (2008). Workers of the world: Essays toward a global labor history. Boston: Brill. Vernon, R. (1966). International investment and international trade in the product cycle. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 80(2): 190–207. TOP Assignment 1: Book Review Weight: 20% of your final grade Length: 1000 words Due: Upon completion of Unit 1; Week 6 of the suggested study schedule Hint: Think about this assignment before you begin working through Unit 1. Instructions: Write a review of Beverly Silver's Forces of Labor. Since the review will be short you need to think carefully about what the main points of the book really are, and avoid everything that is not absolutely essential to the arguments presented in the book. This “bare bones” approach will help you to develop the theoretical tools you can use to analyse the material in subsequent course units. Online Source for Review Writing Marking Guide Content: 70% Answers the question in a clear, accurate, logical, and comprehensive manner. Where appropriate, gives examples to illustrate points being made. Format, Mechanics, and Style: 30% Where external sources are referred to, they are appropriately identified and cited according to an established academic style. Grammar, spelling, and sentence structure are used correctly. Style is appropriate for a university-level course. Submitting your assignments Use the Add submission OR Edit submission button below to upload your completed assignment file(s). Remember to click the Save changes button after uploading files The maximum upload file size is 10MB You can upload a maximum of 20 files Uploaded files will be renamed automatically to comply with AU requirements. Remember to click the Submit assignment button after you upload your assignment file(s), enter your online text or record your audio file. source..
A Review of Beverly Silver's Forces of Labor Student's Name Institution A Review of Beverly Silver's Forces of Labor Forces of Labor: Workers Movements and Globalization since 1870 by Beverly Silver provides an explanation and optimism that working class struggle will continue to influence the social order in the 21st century. Silver's narrative of the last century touches on many familiar events that shaped the dynamics of labor and capital. She describes in companies and industries responded to forces of labor through spacial, product, financial or technological/organizational fix. She is of the view that although her perspective on these events does not change history, there is a need for people to develop new outlook at the contemporary world regarding labor and capital (Silver, 2003) Silver basis her argument on a database produced by identifying every mention of labor unrest in the London Times and the New York Times since the 1890s. Three of the chapters in the book shed light on the relationship between labor and capital; when capital organizes a profitable strategy, it is accompanied by resistance, creating new forms of strategies of accumulation and therefore new forms of resistance, “where capital goes, conflict goes” (Silver, 2003). There are two main strategies of workers resistance: ‘Marxian' struggles, in this strategy workers fight to claim a greater share of profits and control at the workplace within a productive complex and ‘Polanyian' struggles in which when the livelihood of workers is threatened by being subjected to pure market forces, they struggle against being treated as a commodity (Silver, 2003). It is interesting to note how Silver deviates from taking the familiar bathetic tone of much of other authors in this subject. It is thought that the strategy of dispersing product distribution by capital to places of with low labor pools is a new strategy and one that is hard to fight, or other narratives in the same line such an unprecedented power of international financial capital weakens targeted states. According to Silver, the relocation strategy is not new and has been used for more than a hundred years or longer and is just of the several strategies capital adopts. She calls the relocation strategy spacial fix. Silver recounts the history of the struggle of the auto industry to illustrate spacial fix. The American auto productive complex was initially rooted in areas characterized by weak unions and seemed hard to challenge as it replaced skilled labor processes (controlled by workers) with un- and semi-skilled work controlled by the pace of assembly line. However, the system had a weakness as it joined production activities into a single process which a minority of militant workers sabotaged by stopping any part of the process bringing operations to a standstill. This led to workers gaining more power through unions and negotiated higher wages thereby squeezing the profits of the companies (Silver, 2003). As a result, auto companies sought to relocate to Europe and Japan after World War II. In Europe, the predicament was the same in factories...
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