The future of work 2 – working long and hard

Wednesday, 22 June 2022 — michael roberts

In the first post of my Future of Work series, I looked at the impact of working from home and remote work which has mushroomed since the COVID pandemic.

In this second part, I want to consider the impact of work on people’s lives and health and how that will pan out over the next few decades. Marx once said “The less you eat, drink and buy books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save—the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor rust will devour—your capital. The less you are, the less you express your own life, the more you have, i.e., the greater is your alienated life, the greater is the store of your estranged being.” —Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts 1844.

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Mike Healy: ‘Marx and Digital Machines: Alienation, Technology, Capitalism’

8 October 2021 — Marx and Philosophy

by Thomas Klikauer (October 12, 2021 ) |

Ever since German philosopher Hegel discussed alienation and Karl Marx converted it into the sensible framework of the economics of capitalism, alienation isn’t really a new subject–many might even think all has been said. Yet, Healy’s exquisite book applies several recent frameworks of alienation to two groups of workers–IT workers and academics. His book delivers surprising insights and results. Healy has divided his book into eight short and very readable chapters starting with a conceptual chapter on “alienation”. The book’s key empirical chapters are on IT professionals.

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Does Capitalism Make Us Crazy?

1 October 2021 — Susan Rosenthal

Life under capitalist rule is perilous. We can’t survive on our own, and we can’t rely on society to support us. We live with perpetual uncertainty: Can I pay my bills? Will I lose my home, my job? What happens if I’m sick or injured? Add the constant threat of racism, war, and climate change disasters.

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The Call for “Social Distancing” Pursues Hidden Goals

20 July 2020 — Global Research

Citizens worldwide are still being urged to avoid direct contact with other people in order to protect themselves from infection with the corona virus, even though this virus does not pose any particular danger and “social distancing” has not been proven to be an effective protection.

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Alienation in Karl Marx’s early writing By Daniel Lopez

October 15, 2013 — Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal

Marx 3

Young Marx

As Karl Korsh noted in Marxism and Philosophy, the philosophical foundation of Marx’s works has often been neglected. The Second International had, in Korsch’s view, pushed aside philosophy as an ideology, preferring “science”. This, he charged, tended to reduce Marxism to a positivistic sociology, and in so doing, it internalised and replicated the theoretical logic of capitalism. [1] In place of this, Korsch called for a revitalisation of Marxism that would view philosophy not simply as false consciousness but as a necessary part of the social totality.[2]

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Transcending Pessimism: Rekindling Socialist Imagination By Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin

28 July, 2009 — The   B u l l e t Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 242


“We’re free… we’re free.” The last words of Arthur Miller’s masterpiece, Death of a Salesman, are uttered, sobbing, by Linda Loman over her husband Willy’s grave. Weary and penniless after a life of selling “a smile and a shoeshine,” overwhelmed by feelings of emptiness and failure, yet mesmerized by the thought that his life insurance will provide his estranged son with the stake that might induce him to compete and ‘succeed,’ Willy Loman’s suicide famously symbolises the tragic dimension of the relentless competitiveness at the heart of the American capitalist dream. “He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong,” this son laments at the grave side, even as his other son dedicates himself to “beat this racket” so that “Willy Loman didn’t die in vain…. It’s the only dream you can have – to come out number-one man.” At the end Linda stands over the grave alone. Telling Willy that she had just made the last payment on their mortgage, a sob rises in her throat: “We’re free and clear…. We’re free…. We’re free…”[1]

When first uttered on stage in 1949, at the start of the Cold War, these words spoke to the ambiguity of the freedom represented by the ‘free world.’ Fifty years later, when Linda sobbed “we’re free” at the end of Death of a Salesman‘s sesquicentennial revival on Broadway, she seemed to embody the angst of an entire world enveloped by the American dream at the end of the 20th century. One could everywhere sense the anxiety – an anxiety as omnipresent as ‘globalization’ itself – that had emerged with accumulating awareness of the enormous odds against actually “beating this racket” and escalating doubts about the worth of a life defined by the freedom to compete. What made the tragedy of Willie Loman so universal as the 20th century drew to a close was that even people who wondered whether the capitalist dream wasn’t the wrong dream could yet see no way of realizing a life beyond capitalism, or still feared that any attempt to do so can only result in another nightmare. Overcoming this debilitating political pessimism is the most important question anyone seriously interested in social change must confront.

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A Commodity Called Misery By Joe Bageant

Our authorized sanities are so many Nembutals. “Normal” citizens with store-dummy smiles stand apart from each other like cotton-packed capsules in a bottle. Perpetual mental out-patients. Maddeningly sterile jobs for strait-jackets, love scrubbed into an insipid “functional personal relationship” and Art as a fantasy pacifier… And we all know this… Slowly, very slowly we are led nowhere. — San Francisco Digger Papers, 1965

HOPKINS VILLAGE, BELIZE — Sitting down here in Central America happily abusing my health, occasionally, between the hangovers and the bouts with sand fleas and mosquitoes comes an insight or two, or at least what passes for insight in my lowbrow take on life. One of these is just how damned lucky the Third World is that it cannot afford a sophisticated mental health system. By that I mean the kind in the “developed countries,” where murder and suicide rates are quintuple what they are here in this village. Not that we are without own village resources. My Garifuna buddy Eljay, was in what we would call a depressed state a few months ago, and went to a local “spirit doctor.” The wizened old spirit mojo man cured Eljay with a single utterance: “Quit smokin da ganja for one month.” It worked. Total cost: About $2.50 and a pound of red beans. They say the old spirit doctor also treats such things as sexual dysfunction, though I sure as hell cannot detect much evidence of dysfunction, judging from the noises in the village cabanas and under beachside palms at night.

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Caught in the glare of history’s headlights By William Bowles

23 January, 2008

The spirit of graft and lawlessness is the American Spirit. — Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities, 1902

Last night’s late night news on BBC2 (22/1/08) had five ‘experts’ pontificating on about the ‘business cycle’ and they spent around twenty minutes trying avoid explaining where Capitalism was headed and whether anybody or institution had any control over it. They failed miserably, talk about empty heads talking, it was an embarrassing display of denial, something the BBC is really good at,

“Stock indexes are set to be highly volatile in coming weeks, they warned.”BBC News Website

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Welcome to Perception Central By William Bowles

29 March 2005

Stop and search figures showed the numbers of Asians targeted by the police has risen by 300% since the introduction of ‘anti-terror’ laws.

The threat is most likely to come from those people associated with an extreme form of Islam, or who are falsely hiding behind Islam.

If a threat is from a particular place then our action is going to be targeted at that area.

It means that some of our counter-terrorism powers will be disproportionately experienced by the Muslim community.

It was a reality that should be recognized. – Home Office minister Hazel Blears

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