[OPE] Guard Labor

From: michael perelman <michael@ecst.csuchico.edu>
Date: Sat Jan 23 2010 - 20:52:07 EST

My article on Guard Labor is in the new issue of Dollars and Sense. It
is extracted from my forthcoming book, The Invisible Handcuffs.

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0110toc.html

The article begins:

Guards are everywhere in a capitalist economy. A few are dressed up in
uniforms, so they are easy to spot. But most do not look like guards at
all. Some sit in comfortable offices; others work on assembly lines in
factories. James OíConnor, a prolific sociologist from UC Santa Cruz,
describes one familiar set of guards whom we do not usually think of as
guards:

Consider the labor of the ticket seller at a movie house. The sellerís
task is merely to transfer the right to sit in the theater to the
movie-goer in exchange for the price of a ticket. But it may not be
immediately obvious that it is not the lack of a ticket that keeps you
out of the theater ... The ticket is actually torn up and discarded by a
husky young man who stands between the box office and the seat that I want.

These guards are a central feature of capitalism. Capitalists depend
upon guard labor to protect their commodities, including the goods and
premises they own, but especially the labor-power in their employ.
Capitalismís reliance on guard labor deforms the entire productive
process, not only wasting labor, but also snuffing out badly needed
creativity.

-- 
Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA
95929
530 898 5321
fax 530 898 5901
http://michaelperelman.wordpress.com
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Received on Sat Jan 23 20:54:35 2010

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