- Capitalism and Alternatives -

long week

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on October 27, 1999 at 10:41:43:

In Reply to: The 'war on drugs' & the increase in work hours posted by Barry Stoller on October 26, 1999 at 18:42:43:

: Wait a minute. Let's not arbitrarily separate the 'drug war' from 'theft/robbery' as if the latter alone signified the ruling class' control of the poor.

I wouldnt pretend the latter was any kind of control of the poor - lest we suggest that theft is a legitimate means to alleviate any problem we decide requires solution.

: The drug trade is a problem of capitalism. Is not selling drugs a crude, incunabular form of capitalism? Is not the lack of accessible, legal means for poor and uneducated people a strong inducement to deal drugs? Is not drug trade the most accessible path to independent entrepreneurship for the poor and uneducated?

And your proposal is that the banning of drugs is a clampdown on 'poor man' entreprenuership? I would say that drug dealers get rich because they can charge very high prices in a market pressured by it illegitimate status.

: To control the traffic of drugs to to control the poor. I stand by my above statement.

Your view on this basically covers anything - anything is a tool to control the poor, if you decide it might possible be construed that way. fair enough - its an opinion worth discussing.

: Let's consider another, perhaps more informative way of measuring the standard of living for working people.


: In the last twenty years the amount of time Americans have spent at their jobs has risen steadily. Each year the change is small, amounting to about nine hours, or slightly more than one additional day of work. In any given year, such a small increment has probably been imperceptible. But the accumulated increase over two decades is substantial. When surveyed, Americans report that they have only sixteen and a half hours of leisure a week, after the obligations of job and household are taken care of. Working hours are already longer than they were forty years ago. If present trends continue, by the end of the century American will be spending as much time as they did back in the nineteen twenties.(1)

Thats probably more useful - and attempt and mixing quantititative and presumed quantitative analysis - The best way to get a perception is to compare a similar study from, say the 50's, with one now and see how people rate their quality of of life.

: Now let us consider that in the 1950s and 1960s many women were not working (directly for the capitalists). In addition to the recent trend of increased work hours has been the addition of many millions of women to the workforce---during the early 1970s when the recession engendered the 'two paycheck' family. Here we see that work hours---if measured by the family---have skyrocketed.*

On this second method - absolutely. Women are no longer financially dependant upon their husbands, nor are families tied to one income stream, but have two - more resilient to one job loss, but more hours for the adults. Ask women whether they would rather stay at home as per the 50s though - and consider whether this situation is forced upon them or taken on.

Even as the overall U.S. employment numbers have risen substantially, millions of jobs have been lost each year to corporate and government restructuring. A common perception is that those spared such job loss, particularly those in managerial and professional jobs, have been compelled to work longer workweeks to protect their own positions. As for the quality of jobs, newly created jobs often have been stereotyped (incorrectly) as part-time, low-wage, poor-quality jobs. (See Randy E. Ilg, "The nature of employment growth, 198995," Monthly Labor Review, June 1996, pp. 2936, for a discussion of the industries and occupations that experienced job growth in recent years.)

I would also point out a study "Changes in hours worked since 1950" by McGratten & Rogerson (In the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis research department - Quarterly Review Vol. 22 No. 1) which states;

"The number of weekly hours of work per person in the united states has been roughly constant since WW2. At the same time, the amount of real compensation per hour worked has more than doubled."

It goes on to describe the changes in demographics of hours worked - basically supporting the fact that married couples work more as a family, as stated above, but that other groups - especially older folk - work far less. So it looks like the focus of economic activity is the variable, rather than the amount of hours worked as an average.

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