[OPE] My Lecture on the Economic Crisis

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Sun Nov 23 2008 - 12:53:28 EST

Thanks Michael I had a listen. It was interesting. As you correctly point out, mercantile and finance capitalism in the Netherlands preceded industrial capitalism by about two centuries (and if fact Dutch financiers financed a considerable portion of the British slave trade - the crashes of speculative markets were overcome at that time relatively quickly, because they were not directly connected to much of the national economy - the rentiers did not control much of the productive base of the country).

However it is not really clear to me what I should conclude from your analysis, or what one should do. The main theme of what you say seems to be that modern capitalism generated an allocation and use of resources which is actually bad for people's lives, eroding the provision of health, welfare and education, the environment, the conditions of work, earnings from labour etc. You seem to argue that Keynesian prescriptions will not work, on the ground that the productive base of the US has been whittled away, so that a large amount of products are imported. But even if one accepts this kind of analysis, I am not really sure what follows from it, politically or otherwise.

Most people would accept that capitalism contains both creative and destructive forces, that it contains both human progress and regress. If that wasn't the case, capitalism would have been abolished long ago. The question is then how we could go about preserving the progressive gains from capitalism while annulling its destructive aspects, and this is presumably what socialism or communism in the Marxian sense is about.


Incidentally, about five years ago I computed BLS data on the US division of labour, as follows (meantime the distributions have changed somewhat):

First, we can derive the basic employment categories in the USA in 2002 in approximate figures from BLS data, as follows (working our way down from the total population):

American total resident population 288 million
population (16+) 224 million
economically active population 218 million
total civilian non-institutional population (16+) 215 million
population 16-65 years old 188 million
civilian labour force 145 million
employed civilian labour force 137 million
Unpaid family workers 0.03 million
employers 10 million (4.9 million distinct firms, 7 million establishments)
self-employed (farm) 1 million
self-employed (non-farm) 9 million
wage & salary earners 136 million
employees 127 million
government employees 20 million
private sector workforce 105 million
Part time workers non-farm 27 million
Part time workers farm 0.5 million
private sector waged employees 95 million
unionised wage earners 18 million

We can then look at the proportions of what the total American population actually did in 2002, in approximate figures and broad categories:

Children (under 16, not working for pay) 64 million
Retired (over 65, not in the labour force) 28 million
Full time housewives, house-husbands and idle not working for pay circa 22 million
Industrial production workers 26.2 million
Managers and executives 15.8 million
Clerical and administrative workers 15.3 million
Sales workers 15 million
Reserve army of unemployed 13 million
Engineers, architects, technicians, programmers and scientists 10.5 million
Employers of workers, all kinds 9.8 million
Supervisors of workers, all kinds 9.1 million
Teachers, professional childcare workers and paid childcare assistants 8 million
Transport workers 5 million
Unskilled labourers, handlers and helpers 4.8 million
Aides, ushers, guides, orderlies, and attendants 4.8 million
Personal care, health and medical workers 4.3 million
Cleaners, janitors, private cooks, maids & housekeepers 3.7 million
Accountants, auditors, underwriters, and financial officers 2.6 million
Adults in institutional care n.e.c. 2.5 million
Specialists & consultants in human resources, PR and labour relations 2.1 million
Prison & jail inmates 2 million
Artists, entertainers & designers, photographers, professional athletes, recreational services 1.6 million
Nursing home residents 1.6 million
Full time criminals and lumpenised, not in corrective institutions 1.5 million
Lawyers, judges and legal assistants 1.3 million
Therapists, counsellors, social workers and welfare service aides 1.2 million
Police, detective, and law enforcement officers 1.2 million
Medical doctors, dentists, veterinarians, optometrists, and podiatrists 1.1 million
Military personnel, domestic 1.1 million
Groundskeepers, gardeners, animal caretakers (non-farm) 1.1 million
Security guards 1 million
Farmers 1 million
Prostitutes 1 million
Working children (under 16) 1 million
Inspectors (construction, production and compliance) 0.9 million
Editors, writers, reporters, proofreaders, librarians, archivists, and curators 0.6 million
Adult hospital patients 0.5 million
Religious clergy, and employees of religious institutions 0.4 million
Corrective institution & prison officers 0.3 million
Firefighting, fire prevention and pest control workers 0.3 million
Water, sewage and electricity workers 0.2 million
Hospice inpatients 0.1 million
Adult psychiatric patients 0.2 million

Finally, we can look at the occupational structure of the employed labour force (including salaried and self-employed) in the USA in 2002, in broad categories, as follows:

Managers and executives 15,800,000
Supervisors 9,100,000
Teaching staff, all kinds 6,600,000
Machine operating and assembly workers 6,400,000
Food & beverage preparing and service workers 6,100,000
Administrative support clerks n.e.c. 5,800,000
Construction trade workers 5,300,000
Aides, ushers, guides, orderlies, and attendants 4,800,000
Mechanics and repairs workers 4,500,000
Technicians 4,300,000
Cleaners, janitors, private cooks, maids & housekeepers 3,700,000
Retail sales workers 3,400,000
Truck drivers 3,200,000
Secretaries, stenographers, and typists 3,000,000
Scientists 3,000,000
Sales representatives in finance and business services 2,900,000
Cashiers 2,900,000
Accountants, auditors, underwriters, and other financial officers 2,600,000
Engineers, architects, and surveyors 2,600,000
Freight & stock handlers, baggers & packers, machine feeders 2,400,000
Labourers & helpers 2,400,000
Registered nurses 2,300,000
Financial records processing clerks 2,200,000
Management analysts, specialists & consultants in human resources, PR and labour relations 2,100,000
Materials recording, scheduling, and distributing clerks 1,900,000
Sales representatives in mining, manufacturing, and wholesale 1,500,000
Childcare workers and childcare assistants 1,400,000
Lawyers, judges and legal assistants 1,300,000
Barbers, hairdressers, cosmeticians, pharmacists, dietitians 1,300,000
Therapists, counsellors, social workers and welfare service aides 1,200,000
Artists, entertainers & designers 1,200,000
Police, detective, and law enforcement officers 1,200,000
Military personnel 1,100,000
Medical doctors, dentists, veterinarians, optometrists, and podiatrists 1,100,000
Receptionists 1,000,000
Security guards 1,000,000
Working children under 16 1,000,000
Prostitutes 1,000,000
Farmers 968,000
Non-financial records processing clerks, 995,000
Inspectors (construction, production and compliance) 955,000
Groundskeepers and gardeners (non-farm) 940,000
Earthmoving equipment, crane, industrial truck, forklift, lorry and tractor operators 898,000
Metal workers 826,000
Farm workers 726,000
Computer programmers 605,000
Bus drivers 605,000
Bank tellers 477,000
Postal delivery workers, messengers & couriers 468,000
Editors, writers, reporters and proofreaders 417,000
Religious clergy, and employees of religious institutions 393,000
Personal services n.e.c. 348,000
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs 340,000
Street and door-to-door sales workers 334,000
Corrective institution & prison officers 328,000
Doctor's and dental assistants 318,000
Firefighting and fire prevention workers 262,000
Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers 237,000
Librarians, archivists, and curators 231,000
Butchers and meat cutters 229,000
Dressmakers, tailors and shoe repairers 189,000
Professional photographers 178,000
Animal caretakers (non-farm) 170,000
Interviewers 169,000
Aircraft pilots, aircraft staff, air traffic controllers 152,000
Bakers and baking workers 148,000
Recreational services workers 129,000
Telephone operators 119,000
Oil & mining extraction workers 115,000
Railway workers 111,000
Cabinet makers, furniture & wood finishers, and other woodworkers 104,000
Newspaper vendors 103,000
Ship captains, sailors, mates & deckhands, fishermen 98,000
Professional athletes 95,000
Social welfare eligibility clerks 86,000
Sales demonstrators, promoters, and models 77,000
Water and sewage treatment plant operators 77,000
Forestry & logging workers 77,000
Optical goods workers 72,000
Other precision production workers n.e.c 72,000
Pest control workers 63,000
Food batch makers 54,000
Other plant & system operators 45,000
Electric power plant operators 35,000
Bookbinding workers 35,000
Nursery workers 33,000
Hand moulders & shapers 21,000
Pattern makers, layout workers, & cutters 12,000
Bridge, lock, & lighthouse tenders 3,000
Hunters & trappers 2,000

ope mailing list
Received on Sun Nov 23 13:01:49 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Dec 03 2008 - 15:07:39 EST