Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Web Blog of Marginal Utility

I wonder if capitalism requires the intensification or deployment of the division of labor that is suggested as necessary by the blog Marginal Utility which writes that capital needs:

deskilled workers who are complacent about the meaningless work they must do to eat, because the deskilling makes it easier to exploit their labor and makes productive processes more efficient.

If capital finds that happy workers are more efficient it will employ methods that "fool" the worker into thinking he has meaning and control.

Plenty of workers in the the so-called information age will still be needed to toil in repetitive tasks and demeaning work ( #1 in created jobs in the next 25 years will be the bed pan changer), but the long term trend could be for less taxing , and more diversified work.

This will in no way alter the basic dichotomy of owner/worker that is at the heart of capitalism. But insisting that all work created by capitalism is devoid of meaning cannot speak to the middle classes and information workers that may enjoy some of the changes of future working conditions. Nor does the imagery lend itself to grasping the alienation of man's power from him through another's controll of the means of production.

In a sense, complaining about the dullness of manual labor or the numbness found in repetition is less radical (to the root) than focusing on the relations of production. Capital always masks it's intentions behind the improvement of working conditions.

On the other hand, I talk often about the the nightmare of the Silent Totalitarianism I believe to be coming. I can see with computer technology the ability to hyper manage and watch intimate details of individuals and for this tendancy to degenerate into an hyper-supervised workplace.

But I think Capitalism is too smart for this, it will allow for us to ask for the control we will lose -via biometrics and computer data mining- and will present a happy face of authority to this newest form of ultimate control.

Vistit the Marginal Utility Blog at

Visit my Romtex and Bathos websites for some further thoughts on the Age of the Silent Totalitarianism.

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