[Marxism] Labor Efficiency in Productivity

Chris Brady cdbrady at sbcglobal.net
Tue Feb 10 13:17:17 MST 2004

With off-sourcing a labor from the capitalist metropole to the cheaper
periphery, we see workers in the center forced to accept lesser-paying
work but also work that demands less of their capacities.  Thus we see
laid off high-tech workers flipping burgers, ex-mid-managers selling
retail or repping from their homes, otherwise unemployed PhDs driving
cabs (I hesitate to call it “hacking” these days), programmers digging
ditches, et hoc genus omne.  Some of us may remember capitalist critics
scoffing at the Cultural Revolution in Communist China for sending
highly educated professors to the countryside to shovel manure on an
agrarian collective.  I’m sure some in the so-called Third World are
happy for the First World's labor force come-uppance as some sort of
poetic justice for them brushing off global impoverishment for all these

That’s beside my point, though:  Can the increasingly unrealized
potential of the underemployed be charted as a decrease in
productivity?  Whether it can be quantified or not may also be beside
the point.  The fact that many workers with the potential to contribute
higher quality to their society are underutilized or not utilized at all
in the way they are best suited seems to be yet another idiocy of
capitalism, the economic system its promoters proudly publicize for its
productivity and maximal efficiency.

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