[OPE-L:2354] Re: Re: Carpe diem!

From: riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Sat Feb 12 2000 - 03:05:59 EST

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        in your discussion of globalization do not forget the book edited
by R. Bellofiore (!), Global Money, Capital Restructuring, and the Changing
Patterns of Labour, Edward Elgar, 1999, to which you and others on the list
have contributed, and in which labour is at the heart of the debate...


At 15:56 +0100 11-02-2000, H.K. Radice wrote:
>Having joined the list several weeks ago when a number of strands
>were in full flow, I found it hard to get involved: so thanks, Gerry,
>for your intervention in organising a search for new strands.
>It seems to me that Ernesto's proposal AND the recent mailing on
>LTV versus VTL could form part of a broader focus on labour, not
>just as object of theoretical analysis, but as potential agent of
>social change. My own interest in this (apart from obviously a
>continuing desire for social change) arises from working on/in two
>areas of debate in recent years: first, 'globalization'; and second,
>'comparative capitalisms'. Both these subjects should be of great
>interest to Marxists, but at the moment they are very much
>dominated by more-or-less progressive, but non-Marxist, social
>In the debates on globalization, the predominant 'sceptical'
>tendency - e.g. Hirst & Thompson, Robert Wade, Linda Weiss -
>ignore labour pretty much entirely, focusing instead on whether 'the
>state' retains any powers to manage the national economy, and
>usually assuming that no progressive agenda can be pursued
>unless this is the case. I have tried in a couple of papers to offer a
>critique of these writers, proposing instead a Marxian approach to
>the state and the world economy (that is, based on the analysis of
>accumulation and class relations); some of you may have seen
>my contribution "Taking globalization seriously" in Socialist
>Register 1999.
>The debates on comparative capitalisms (e.g. recent volumes
>edited by Berger & Dore, Crouch & Streeck, and Hollingsworth &
>Boyer) also provide a good arena for us to develop more concrete
>analyses of contemporary capitalism. Mostly this literature
>examines the institutional particularities of the different national
>capitalisms, and is rooted in orthodox sociological theory and
>method. Among the institutional 'sub-systems' much studied are
>those that surround labour: education and training; internal versus
>external labour markets; the labour process (a subject of study
>now dominated by 'progressive' specialists in 'human resource
>management'; and industrial relations. For the most part, these
>comparative institutional writings abstract from the 'political
>economy' context: indeed, they often explicitly start by rejecting
>the 'determinism' and 'economism' which they say characterized
>the old-fashioned Marxist writings on labour. At the same time,
>these writings have difficulty in locating the sources of institutional
>change, tending to claim that particular institutional configurations
>are deeply 'embedded', creating 'path-dependence', and so on.
>Speaking for myself, I take it for granted that the socialist critique
>of capitalism centres on labour. I have an unpublished paper on
>"Globalization, labour and socialist renewal" which I wrote for a
>recent workshop in Moscow and which I would be happy to send to
>the list. It is pretty tentative, very much written on the spur of the
>moment (I still have trouble with deadlines...), but might stimulate
>A second and related possible topic could be a discussion of the
>recent volume on "Globalization and Progressive Economic
>Policy", edited by Dean Baker, Gerald Epstein and Robert Pollin.
>Crudely: does this volume represent a big step forward in
>constructing a realistic left alternative economic strategy; or is it
>just a re-hash of left-Keynesian thinking that (as before) assumes a
>'space' for reformism that no longer exists?
>Hugo Radice
>Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy,
>Institute for Politics and International Studies,
>University of Leeds,
>Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.
>tel: 44-113-233-4507
>fax: 44-113-233-4400

        Riccardo Bellofiore
Office: Department of Economics
        Piazza Rosate, 2
        I-24129 Bergamo, Italy
Home: Via Massena, 51
        I-10128 Torino, Italy
e-mail bellofio@cisi.unito.it, bellofio@unibg.it
tel: +39 035 277545 (direct)
        +39 035 277501 (dept. secr.)
        +39 011 5819619 (home)
fax: +39 035 249975

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