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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  January 2012

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE January 2012

Subject:

Re: Labor Practices of Apple's Suppliers Come to Light

From:

herb fox <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 14 Jan 2012 19:49:53 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (133 lines)

Let us pursue this subject.

This issue brings up some key issues 
of definite relevance to the 
constructive use of science and 
technology in the global economy

The excellent expose on Ira Glass' 
show on NPR is my source.

What impressed me from the 
perspective of political economy is 
how regressive is Chinese Capitalism 
in this instance.  The contribution 
of capitalism that is of central 
relevance to preparing for socialism 
is its development of the means of 
production, in particular the 
increase in the capital/labor ratio 
by virtue of the use of dead labor 
(improved, labor saving 
technology).  In the facility there 
was no noise of machinery because 
there is none; all the work is done 
by hand.  I judge from experience in 
factories that the development of 
technology that could result in a 
highly automated production is 
entirely within the reach of present 
knowledge and experience among the 
technical/engineering stratum.

The present situation is that the 
suppression of workers' 
organizations in the global economy 
in order to maintain super 
exploitation also attenuates the 
capitalist role to "continually 
revolutionize the means of 
production."  For it is the pressure 
of the organized working class for 
better wages and working conditions 
as well as competition among the 
capitalists to reduce costs that 
stimulates the development of new 
labor saving methods of production

Were there developed in the US 
capital equipment that would make 
production at US wage rates 
competitive w/ Chinese 
labor-intenisve production, what 
would happen? One outcome could be 
attempts at even greater 
exploitation in China.  Another 
could be the development of 
competing tachnology in China, which 
would put Chinese workers on the 
street.  In the short run, there 
would be a rise in employment in the 
US; but in a highly automated 
production process the increase 
would be fewer but more highly 
trained US workers

One related issue that is not part 
of the present national discourse is 
"what is a job?"  For about 120 
years (since introduction of the 
8-hr day & 5-day work week) a job 
has been defined in the US asa 40 
hour week.  Yet it is obvious that 
by reducing the work week by 9 % all 
but structural unemployment would be 
ended.  (Take note that this would 
also require public funded skills 
training for the work force.)

Amother related issue is that the 
working conditions of the 
interantional proletariat are 
tightly coupled; for the development 
of more capital intensive production 
in the US would increase employment 
in the US while reducing it in such 
places as China.  The lack of deep 
solidarity among the international 
proletariat has and can continue to 
develop internecine conflict within 
the working class.

Finally comes the key question for 
us: what is the role of the 
technical strata?  Do we encourage 
and participate in the development 
of more capital intensive labor 
savings production equipment?  Or do 
we take a neo-luddite stand?   What 
other alternatives do we have?  One 
would like to believe that Science 
for the People includes the 
development of less labor intensive 
porduction through innovative 
technology; but without being 
coupled to demands for the shorter 
work week and reduced hours/day . . 
.what then?

This conundrum is the sad 
consequence of the separation of the 
movement for a science for the 
people and the struggles of the 
industrial (and perhaps service) 
sectors of the proletariat, in 
particular for a shorter work week.

*What do y'all think about this?* 
*Let us have some discussion*.

herb

On 1/14/2012 1:48 PM, Kamran Nayeri 
wrote:
> This was in today's New York Times 
> business section...in case you did 
> not see it. Kamran
>
>
>       Labor Practices of Apple's
>       Suppliers Come to Light
>       <http://forhumanliberation.blogspot.com/2012/01/658-labor-practices-of-apples-suppliers.html>
>

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