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85

The Future Isn’t Working

3
terms
1
notes

Williams, A. and Srnicek, N. (2016). The Future Isn’t Working. In Williams, A. and Srnicek, N. Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work. Verso, pp. 85-106

a economic theory relating to the origin of capital (Adam Smith saw it as a peaceful process with natural imbalances in wealth distribution; Karl Marx saw it as a violent enclosure of the commons etc etc)

87

Through the process called primitive accumulation, pre-capitalist workers were uprooted from their land and dispossessed of their means of subsistence.4 Peasants struggled against this and continued to survive on the margins of the emerging capitalist world, and it eventually took violent force and harsh new legal systems to impose wage labour on the population. Peasants, in other words, had to be made into a proletariat.

—p.87 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
notable
4 years, 5 months ago

Through the process called primitive accumulation, pre-capitalist workers were uprooted from their land and dispossessed of their means of subsistence.4 Peasants struggled against this and continued to survive on the margins of the emerging capitalist world, and it eventually took violent force and harsh new legal systems to impose wage labour on the population. Peasants, in other words, had to be made into a proletariat.

—p.87 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
notable
4 years, 5 months ago
89

Another mechanism that actively changes the size of the surplus is one we have already noted: primitive accumulation. This is not just an origin story of capitalism, but also an ongoing process that involves the transformation of pre-capitalist subsistence economies into capitalist economies.

—p.89 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
notable
4 years, 5 months ago

Another mechanism that actively changes the size of the surplus is one we have already noted: primitive accumulation. This is not just an origin story of capitalism, but also an ongoing process that involves the transformation of pre-capitalist subsistence economies into capitalist economies.

—p.89 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
notable
4 years, 5 months ago
95

In addition to precarity, surplus populations and technological automation help to make sense of a recent labour market phenomenon: the emergence of ‘jobless recoveries’, in which economic growth returns after a crisis but job growth remains anaemic. [...] While their cause is ultimately still a mystery, jobless recoveries appear to be closely related to automation. In fact, the only occupations that have experienced jobless recoveries are those that have been under threat from automation in recent decades – semi-skilled, routine jobs. Moreover, these job losses have occurred almost entirely during and in the wake of recessions. In other words, crisis periods are when automatable jobs disappear, never to be heard from again. If automation accelerates over the coming decades, these problems are likely to intensify – with capital using periods of crisis to permanently eliminate such jobs. [...] These extended periods of unemployment suggest that a structural problem is responsible – that is to say, a problem that takes longer for unemployed workers to adapt to, such as retraining for an entirely new skill set. Workers laid off from an area like retail will find it difficult to immediately step into a job in growth sectors like programming. Meanwhile, when the long-term unemployed do find a job, they are more likely to enter at the margins of the labour market, with lower pay and more temporary work.85 Jobless recoveries, in other words, exacerbate the problems of precarity, and increasingly segregate out a portion of the population as permanently underemployed.

—p.95 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 4 years, 5 months ago

In addition to precarity, surplus populations and technological automation help to make sense of a recent labour market phenomenon: the emergence of ‘jobless recoveries’, in which economic growth returns after a crisis but job growth remains anaemic. [...] While their cause is ultimately still a mystery, jobless recoveries appear to be closely related to automation. In fact, the only occupations that have experienced jobless recoveries are those that have been under threat from automation in recent decades – semi-skilled, routine jobs. Moreover, these job losses have occurred almost entirely during and in the wake of recessions. In other words, crisis periods are when automatable jobs disappear, never to be heard from again. If automation accelerates over the coming decades, these problems are likely to intensify – with capital using periods of crisis to permanently eliminate such jobs. [...] These extended periods of unemployment suggest that a structural problem is responsible – that is to say, a problem that takes longer for unemployed workers to adapt to, such as retraining for an entirely new skill set. Workers laid off from an area like retail will find it difficult to immediately step into a job in growth sectors like programming. Meanwhile, when the long-term unemployed do find a job, they are more likely to enter at the margins of the labour market, with lower pay and more temporary work.85 Jobless recoveries, in other words, exacerbate the problems of precarity, and increasingly segregate out a portion of the population as permanently underemployed.

—p.95 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 4 years, 5 months ago

(noun) the point in the orbit of an object (as a satellite) orbiting the earth that is at the greatest distance from the center of the earth / (noun) the point farthest from a planet or a satellite (as the moon) reached by an object orbiting it / (noun) the farthest or highest point; culmination

98

One of the principal ways to manage the unruly surplus has been to champion the social democratic ideal of full employment, whereby every physically capable (male) worker has a job. In support of this ideal, economic policies aim to reincorporate the surplus into capitalism as disciplined and waged workers, secured by a hegemonic consensus between the representatives of labour and capital. The apogee of this approach was the postwar period, when working-class struggle and conservative concern with social order positioned full employment as a necessary economic goal.

—p.98 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
notable
4 years, 5 months ago

One of the principal ways to manage the unruly surplus has been to champion the social democratic ideal of full employment, whereby every physically capable (male) worker has a job. In support of this ideal, economic policies aim to reincorporate the surplus into capitalism as disciplined and waged workers, secured by a hegemonic consensus between the representatives of labour and capital. The apogee of this approach was the postwar period, when working-class struggle and conservative concern with social order positioned full employment as a necessary economic goal.

—p.98 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
notable
4 years, 5 months ago