productivity/growth

Patrick Patterson ppatt at tiac.net
Sun Apr 28 19:41:08 MDT 1996


Rekesh,

Thank you for the information about Finn Bowring's article on Gorz. It
looks interesting and I intend to get it. It seems to ring true. It would
appear, and Bowring probably makes this point within the article, that
Gorz's Critique is a self criticism of his earlier work. Bowring's
criticism is the same one that Gorz makes of the French Left's
interpretation of Marx in the Critique.

The Husserialian attack on the mathematization of the life-world revives an
important idea which Marx's developed in the Theses on Feuerbach. The
worker has a physical originary relation with nature in the process of
labor. Talorism and even flexible specialization have changed the situation
and it is for this reason that Gorz says adieu to the proletariat.

I think that Gorz probably overstates the case here. Whether or not labor
organized by the marketplace can ever be part of the realm of freedom is an
open question. Where he is right on the mark though is in his analysis of
labor as it exists. This is one of the reasons why he invests so much
importance to an increase in time independent of capitalistically organized
labor. It does not mean absence of work during this time, only that it will
be a realm of labor independent of the logic of the marketplace, where a
culture can come into existence that remember the originary relation to
nature.

As anyone knows who follows the situation in Europe, unemployment is a
record levels. Some, have used the level of job creation in the US to draw
the conclusion that there is no need to rethink the model of full
employment. It should be obvious that the exact opposite is the case when
one observes the IMF and the World Bank recommending economic policies of
the US for Europe. The social welfare state in Europe has limited the reach
of the market. Mandatory vacation time, maternity-paternity leave and
limiting the hours worked have prevented the transfer of various forms of
human activity into the marketplace. The US has been able to avoid the
European problem of unemployment to a large extent by transfering work that
was previously performed gratis and thus remained outside the marketplace
into the marketplace. In the process the basis of human solidarity,
sympathy and caring that is sustained by the time consuming relation of
face to face relations have been torn up and in their place  products of
the culture industry are offered as a substitute.

Patrick Patterson
Ipswich, MA
ppatt at tiac.net




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