domingo, 17 de janeiro de 2016

Who Pays For The Reproduction Of The Labor Force

"in the developed world a minority of workers are directly involved in production. A large percentage are employed in areas that relate to the reproduction of the labor force—its education, health care, and welfare. While these workers are very much part of the working class and subject to oppression and exploitation, their conditions are not determined directly by their relation to the production process. [...] the labor market has to be seen as responding both to changes in production, and, primarily, to the needs of the reproduction of labor.

From its inception, capitalism has faced a contradiction: the end of unfree labor released the exploiting class from the requirements of maintaining their labor force, but provided no clear means for reproducing future generations of laborers. Slaveowners had to feed and clothe their slaves and support children until they were old enough to work (although slaveowners managed to reduce all those things to the very bare minimum). Capitalists, on the other hand, are not responsible for the maintenance of their workforce; they simply pay wages in return for labor. As individual capitalists, the reproduction of that labor force is of no concern to them, but for the system as whole it is, and there has been a consistent struggle from the early days of capitalism about who would bear the cost of that reproduction. Would it be forced onto the private sphere of the family and disproportionally onto the labor of women in the home, or would it be socialized and borne as a public service?

[...] a significant portion of the labor force is tied closely to the reproduction of the labor force, which has far more restrictions on its mobility and flexibility. Whatever the dreams of neoliberal ideologues, it is of little use to capitalism to off shore hospitals or schools to China or South Asia."

Geoff Bailey

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