[OPE-L:5109] Re: the creation of labour-power

Michael Williams (mwilliam@compuserve.com)
Sat, 24 May 1997 15:33:54 -0700 (PDT)

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> another question, i.e. can patriarchal oppression be
> surpassed _under capitalism_ or is it systematically required for the
> reproduction of capitalist social relations? Thus, the "political point"
> of my question didn't focus on whether patriarchy would end after a
> socialist revolution but whether it could end _before_.

Michael W:
As I thought I had already made clear, IMO there is nothing necessary to
the cmp that would in principle prevent the overcoming of patriarchy. Of
course, whether and when this is more or less likely requires more concrete
investigation of particular social formations.

> Michael W:
> > Contemporary 'advanced'
> > societies are *both* capitalist and patriarchal, and their
> > conceptualisation requires the articulation of these two oppressive
> > structures.
> Jerry
> That, in a nutshell, is the question that I find most challenging.

Michael W
Me too - but it is not, perforce, currently on my research agenda ... .
> > I have I have already mentioned the embeddedness of the 'household'
> > Capitalist Commodity circulation.)
> Yes, you have. But, _how_ is the "household" embedded within capitalist
> commodity circulation? For instance, _what kind of household_ is
> "embedded" and is that the only form of household that is consistent with

> the maintenance and reproduction of capitalist social relations?

Michael W:
Again, I thought I had made it clear that, IMO, the nuclear family is not a
necessary form for the bourgeois private sphere. The answer to how it is,
nevertheless, embedded in the capitalist system is that its income comes
from selling labour power, and its subsistence from buying commodities.
This does not constrain the 'household' to being a nuclear one.
> > Having said that, it is clear that Capital grasps non-class modes of
> > oppression (racist as well as male-chauvinist) and attempts to use them
> > its own ends, by a whole variety of tactics (divide and rule etc.,
> > We can also tackle the question from a more narrowly economic
> > Take, for example, gender discrimination in labour markets. The pure
> > of market forces would in general imply that it would be irrational for
> > capitalist employers to discriminate on the basis of gender, or indeed
> > any characteristic of workers not correlated with workers' (expected)
> > value-productivity. The 'screening' and 'signalling' literature then
> > complicates this basic view somewhat. Of course, we know that real
> > capitalist markets are not 'perfect', which makes space for strategic
> > manipulation by capital of existing structures of subordination
> > (above).
> The "above" sounds very similar to the presentation in Bowles & Edwards
> (1993):

Michael W:
Yes it does - although I have not read this book

Dr Michael Williams
"Books are Weapons"

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