Read & Download Work Consumerism and the New Poor (Issues in Society) 107

review ↠ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB Ï Zygmunt Bauman

review ↠ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB Ï Zygmunt Bauman Bauman reconstruye en esta obra el cambio de la condición de la pobreza desde la revolución industrial y su ética del trabajo hasta la sociedad del consumo y su estética y muestra en la situac. Bauman died yesterday the point is not to mourn for him but to learn from himI think you should consider reading this book – I have to say I found it a remarkably worthwhile Before capitalism there wasn’t really something called a ‘work ethic’ And this was for a fairly interesting reason – because before capitalism there wasn’t a particularly good reason for having such an ethic People were either peasants where the motivation to work was driven by their desire to eat and so this meant that their work was constrained by need much than work is under capitalism or one worked as an artisan of one sort or other As an artisan people had a natural pride in their work that is very difficult to sustain under capitalism As Marx explains in Wage Labour and Capital one of the fundamental issues that workers face under capitalism is the very new idea of the alienation of their labour By that he means that where say a blacksmith had the satisfaction of working on every part of what they produced of expending not only their labour but also their skills on what they produced so as to bring something into existence a wage labourer under capitalism is mostly de skilled The point of capitalist production is the division of labour to such an extent that labourers possess virtually no skills at all as such In fact as we see today the ideal of capitalist production is a society of robots spitting out products without labourers at all Labourers were always meant to be merely cogs in a machine that spits out commodities The mindless and routine the work they performed the better for capitalism the benefits being that each labourer would be easily replaced and therefore easier to regulate according to the pace and consistency of their effort because their labour could be measured monitored and increased by the speed of the factory process itself rather than the skill needed to perform various tasks It is almost by definition almost impossible for labourers to feel all that motivated to perform ‘over and above’ or to have all that much ‘pride’ in their work in such circumstances Also being bored out of your mind a conseuence of doing the same boringly mindless task over and over again could hardly inspire a desire to work at the peak of your capacity for long periods of time But capitalism in its early phase as a ‘production’ society needed two things – lots of workers who were working at full capacity and a reserve army of workers the unemployed who could be brought in at a moment’s notice to replace ‘uppity’ workers who were demanding pay or better conditionsSo because the work was crap and the wages also crap there was a need to invent ‘the work ethic’ to make people feel it as their moral obligation to bust a gut for their boss There was also an expectation on the part of those who benefited most from this system to view workers as essentially children that needed to be cajoled no not the right word – as we’ll see to do what is in their best interests the workers’ best interests that is – that is give their all in the work they provided to their employer so that they became fully human Since workers are lazy they need to be paid as little as possible to make sure they need to come back the next day to work again The uantity of work needs to be disassociated from the ‘needs’ of the worker their effort needs to be ever increasing Those who ‘chose’ not to work had the work house to look forward to – a place so hideous that the threat of it alone ought to motivate people towards the benefits of working for starvation wages As Bauman explains this was mostly the case in Europe – in the US employees were encouraged by the promise of one day being rewarded for their hard work by becoming a capitalist one’s self or later by the dangling carrot that scientific management provided to the high value manThe promoted moral benefits of working were not limited to the apologists of horrible right wing types – the maxim of Marxism was ‘he who does not work does not eat’ work was the agreed condition of being worthy of living True enough but particularly with the early Marx there is a lot of ambivalence around the whole idea of the division of labour – it is clear that he sees this as one of the chief causes of the dehumanisation he associated with capitalism His vision splendid of communism – where one can be a hunter in the morning a philosopher at tea time and so on – hardly explains how we are to ensure that stuff gets done Nevertheless ‘not working’ was not an optionSo in the early days capitalism was a production society and the point of capitalism was to extract as much labour out of people as possible – this was something else Marx explained The source of profit for capital came from exploiting labour This is because you only need to pay the labourer enough for them to be able to reproduce their labour power – in simple terms enough for them to be still alive to come to the factory tomorrow Labourers may be able to achieve that after a couple of hours of work But the capitalist then has them for the rest of the day making stuff the capitalist can then sell for profit If the capitalist can increase the rate at which the labourer works or can increase the amount of time the labourer works – then the capitalist gets to keep this ‘surplus’ as profit The fight between labour and capital then is about either side gaining access to of this surplus or what amounts to the same thing the worker seeking to reduce the amount of work they do over and above that reuired for reproducing their labour power Think eight hour day movements It was in the interests of the capitalist to extend the time of labour in all ways – so children were forced to work old people were forced to work people had to work 16 hour days they had to work on Saturdays and so onExcept today in advanced capitalist countries we are no longer ‘production’ societies in this sense Production has moved to parts of the world where labour is cheapest This has meant a fundamental change in the nature of employment in advanced capitalist countries One of the main changes has been a movement away from our defining ourselves on the basis of where we stand in relation to the production process and towards what we consume – what Bauman calls ‘the aesthetic of consumption’ The poor are no longer those who do not have a job per se but rather are those who are identified as ‘failed consumers’ People are no longer ‘unemployed’ – the ‘un’ implying that they have joined the reserve army needed to keep the price of labour down but rather they have become ‘redundant’ – that is there is little or no chance of them ever becoming employed again unless they can ‘renovate’ their skills in line with the ever changing needs of employers Lifelong jobs have become an anachronism as have workplace ‘teams’ – we are much likely to talk today of ‘networks’ the key feature of which is the individual who is always at the centre of their very own network diagram and that any and all of the links the individual has with those around them are provisional and liable to be broken at a moment’s noticeToday hours of work depend much on the ‘job at hand’ People either work ridiculous hours – often with smug satisfaction they work in precarious jobs in the ‘service’ industry reuiring very few skills and are employed as casuals or ‘self employed’ – or they do not work at all You don’t start work when you are 8 years old but rather when you are 25 and might only be employable until you are 50 Not only have the hours of work reduced but the years of work also Even in that ‘window’ of employability you may need to take time out of the workforce to update your skills to ‘re credential’ – generally at your own expense – so as to remain or to become again employable The problem is that late modern capitalism in advanced capitalist countries is no longer a ‘production society’ and has moved to being a consumption society –as Baudrillard made clear in his The Consumer Society a book and thinker Bauman owes a huge debt to The ethic of a consumer society is uite different from that of a production society – where a production society needs people to be constantly reminded of their moral obligation to work a consumer society is much obsessed with the need of them to shop This was evident at 911 when George Bush the younger encouraged Americans to sate their horror by going to the mall As Bauman repeatedly says we live in a world of the credit card not the savings book there is never a time when you should not be buying everything is focused on increasing your desire for products you didn’t even know existed yesterday and that you will want to throw away tomorrow so you can purchase the latest and newest thing The distance between the showroom and the rubbish bin is diminishing and ideally should be instantaneous As it can be with the purchase of ‘services’Consumption defines us – and those who cannot meet the call of our created desires have become failed consumers and also virtually by definition also failed humans – whether they work or not – think of those in fulltime jobs in Walmart who are told how to apply for food stamps In a world where work is increasingly precarious where there is a growing underclass of people who are defined by their inability to consume or to get a job that would allow them to consume then our role models also change We are no longer attracted to the ‘self made men’ of old but rather to ‘celebrities’ – people known for being famous rather than for anything they have actually done Our identities are defined by what we purchase rather than what we do and therefore our identities are constantly in need of being redefined and renewed To truly be is to becomeThe problem is that advanced capitalist societies don’t need mass employment in the same way that early capitalist society did As such ‘the work ethic’ is now used in a way that is at best disingenuous And this will increasingly be the case The need for labour and for very large parts of society to work is increasingly diminishing But the function of the ‘work ethic’ today is to lay the blame for the plight of people excluded from the consumer society at the feet of those who have been excluded rather than at the feet of society itselfWhere in previous societies this excess could be dumped – think of Australia where the wasted humans convicts were dumped as far away from ‘proper society’ as was possible As Robert Hughes said – further than the moon as at least you could sometimes see the moon from England Now the world is full and there remains nowhere to dump this human waste So instead they need to be contained – witness the growth of the prison industrial complex where the US now has 25% of the world’s prisoners Such is our future The failed consumers need to be kept apart from society They have failed because of their own ‘poor choices’ – it is society that needs protection from themAll of this is also linked to the decline of the welfare state There was a time when it was inconceivable that the welfare state could decline particularly not in a ‘democracy’ It seemed clear that under the Christian maxim – ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ – that even if you were unlikely to ever ‘need’ to access welfare the fact it provided a safety net was a kind of insurance policy most people were happy to pay Even capitalists saw the benefits of this as the people on welfare were seen as temporarily ‘unemployed’ and potentially – when the system was finally working properly – would be brought back at work at some future time of full employment That society rather than capital itself provided food and training for these ‘future employees’ in the meantime was recognised by capital as a benefit But when the hope of full employment stopped being likely even as something to aspire to when the most likely outcome was that these people would never be reuired to work again then providing for them became contrary to good sense and conseuently of good morality too A consumer society is one of ‘choice’ These people welfare dependant people are such because of their own poor choices But also and much importantly as a moral imperative welfare itself is about receiving a kind of standardised product – and this too is anathema in a consumer society Such a view of the virtues and wonders of ‘choice’ flows through to all aspects of the consumer society – particularly with reference to ‘state provided’ services Education is ‘liberalised’ so that ‘parental choice’ becomes the essential consideration Healthcare too becomes privatised so that one can ‘choose their own doctor’ – as if anyone has the technical expertise to make such a ‘choice’ The point is that freedom is defined as being identical with ‘the ability to choose’ and as such being a ‘consumer’ in a consumer society is the epitome of being a free citizen Although citizenship is barely a relevant category any – we are really all individuals created by our own individual choicesPrecariousness is not a side feature of late modern capitalism but fundamental to it just as choice involves risk so life itself involves being precarious due to our life choices In fact it is via precariousness that those excluded from the society of consumers are denied a means to resist or organise against their alienation Without a firm footing on the present it is as Bauman uotes Bourdieu impossible to affect change in the future Society is not to blame society does not even exist uoting Thatcher – the individual exists and the measure of one’s success as an individual is apparent to all because it is shown in your identity which in turn is defined by the products and increasingly experiences you can afford to purchase and display As I said this really is an interesting book – the chapter on the welfare state particularly so

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Read & Download Work, Consumerism and the New Poor (Issues in Society) 107 Ç Bauman reconstruye en esta obra el cambio de la condición de la pobreza desde la revolución industrial y su ética del trabajo hasta la sociedad del consumo y su estética y muestra en la situación actual todas las consecuencias de esta e Ión final Bauman considera el futuro de los pobres y plantea la posibilidad de dar un nuevo significado a la ética del trabajo más conforme a la condición actual de las sociedades desarrollada. La evolución de la ética del trabajo hasta el punto actual en poco más de 100 páginas Una maravilla de libro

Zygmunt Bauman Ï 7 Read & Download

Work Consumerism and the New Poor Issues in SocietyIón actual todas las consecuencias de esta evolución Además analiza hasta ué punto son adecuados o no los viejos métodos para detener la pobreza creciente y mitigar sus penurias En una reflex. ‘reality is full like an egg To the point of making it virtually impossible to escape its constraints We believe them to be eternal – until they are effaced by history’ And he Droit goes on pointing out that in Pericles’ Greece or Caesar’s Rome it would be a tall order to think of a world without slave labour much like it would be all but impossible to think of a world without monarchy in the times of Bossuet How can we be sure therefore that an economy which is not a slave of markets is an incongruity and that rising ineuality cannot be stopped Droit concludes ‘Instead of arresting the progress of utopia our times prepare perhaps the ground for its return The we repeat that politics has no room for dreams the the desire of a radically different world worms in’