Labour And Monopoly Capitalism

1137 Words5 Pages
Most of the time, the direction of society is in the hands of the elite — political authorities and the wealthy. But sometimes, those who are excluded or exploited by the existing system are able to act together to try to change or overthrow it. Describe one or more examples of this kind of challenge to the existing order. How and why did those at the bottom of society organize themselves to challenge those at the top? History, at first glance, may indicate that the direction in which society is headed is always in the hands of those who are powerful, and/or wealthy. However, time and again, there have been examples of those who are exploited by the system being able to unify and challenge it. The adivasi movement in India, typically in the…show more content…
Society began to be divided into two classes – the capitalists and the working class. Capitalists sought to maximize their profit, and would often subject the workers to harsh working conditions and deny them wages in their venture to do so. Capitalism resulted in the stripping away of the particularity of a human being, to a mere resource. Harry Braverman 's book titled “Labour and Monopoly Capital” has an interesting subtitle: “The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century”. This choice of words indicates how the nature of labour was changed to a point where workers were treated in a disrespectful, and humiliating manner. The introduction of Taylorism and Taylor 's principles of scientific management contributed immensely to the degradation of work. The thought process behind Taylorism was that capitalists paid the workers for their labour hours, and therefore had the control over the time they paid for. Thus, the role of the capitalists was to control every labour activity (Braverman, 62). “Taylor concluded that the management should have complete control over labour and dictate each step of the labour process. If control were in the hands of the workers, they would fail to reach the full potential of their labour power” (Rohan Antony, Response to Braverman). With the adoption of such principles, the working conditions of the labourers in the 19th century became pitiable. The carrot-and-stick…show more content…
It is common understanding that productivity and wages are divergent because profit is appropriated by the capitalists. However, during this period, productivity was increasing, but not the profit rate. This meant that the gains from production were going to the workers. When the Golden Age is closely studied, it is understood that there were a set of institutions that allowed workers to benefit from a boom. The central argument of the chapter on “The Golden Age”, as described by Armstrong, Glyn and Harris is that between 1945 and 1973, the world witnessed the development of certain institutions that facilitated labourers getting a share in productivity. During this time, the real wages rose at 3% per year (Glyn et al, 122). The above mentioned institutions are mostly trade unions, and other mechanisms through which capitalism can be managed. At a point where workers were not able to fully reap the gains from the boom, Europe witnessed “a wave of strikes between 1968 and 1970” (Glyn et al, 190). In the United Kingdom, the protests had reached a level where the winter of 1969-70 began to be known as the “winter of discontent” (Glyn et al, 190). Almost all the unions that were formed, and protests that were conducted were successful in achieving their aim. In Europe, as a result of the strikes, “wages increased to around twice of that of the
Open Document