RE: [OPE] Workers of the World, by Marcel van der Linden

Date: Tue May 27 2008 - 07:57:26 EDT

> (Here's the blurb for a new book by Marcel van der Linden in English which I edited (as well as translating a few parts of it) - I have to say I think > it is astonishingly expensive to buy; I assume this is the only way in which it is commercially viable to publish, but I can only hope that a cheap > paperback edition will follow. It is not published in the HM series - JB).
Hi Jurriaan;
It makes one wonder how HM comes to a determination about the prices of its books.
It obviously isn't working that great since they are heavily discounting (by 50%) 
some recent volumes (including one by Chris A).  I wonder whether their marketing
is in tune with price: i.e. they have priced recent volumes at an amount so great that 
only institutional libraries can afford. That being the case, they should aim their
sales directly at libraries themselves (or in a roundabout way by encouraging
scholars to ask their libraries to purchase copies).  But, there is another 'tuning'
issue as well: have they priced what could be volumes which could significantly
shape thought among radicals, scholars and workers so high that only a very marginal 
effect can be anticipated? In other words, the _political_ price of  selling books
at such a high price may be too high.
These are transitional problems, I think, since non-electronic publishing of scholarly
volumes is going the way of the dinosaur.
>  The studies offered in this volume contribute to a Global Labor History freed from Eurocentrism and methodological nationalism. Using literature 
> from diverse regions, epochs and disciplines, the book provides arguments and conceptual tools for a different interpretation of history – a labor 
> history which integrates the history of slavery and indentured labor, and which pays serious attention to diverging yet interconnected 
> developments in different parts of the world. 
> Three questions are central: 
> ▪ What is the nature of the world working class, on which Global Labor History focuses? How can we define and demarcate that class, and 
> which factors determine its composition? 
> ▪ Which forms of collective action did this working class develop in the course of time, and what is the logic in that development? 
> ▪ What can we learn from adjacent disciplines? Which insights from anthropologists, sociologists and other social scientists are useful in the 
> development of Global Labor History? 
For about twenty years I taught courses in a labor studies program at 
Empire State College, SUNY.  There are courses in the curriculum where
this book could have fit in very well and thus it _could_  possibly be assigned
as a text and hence placed directly in the hands of working-class students
and trade union members _except_  for the fact that the price is way too 
high to justify assigning the book.
In solidarity, Jerry
PS: were credit unions covered in the book?  I wonder how the sub-prime
housing crisis has effected those banks? 

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