Contradictions of the Labour Process, Worker-Empowerment and Capitalist Inefficiency

Historical Materialism:1-35 (forthcoming)

I articulate a classical-Marxist theory of technical change in the capitalist labour process, highlighting two contradictions. The management contradiction is the conflict managers experience between coordination and discipline. The workforce contradiction is the tension workers experience between productive socialisation and alienation. I submit that both contradictions were substantially muted from the earliest stages of capitalism through the Fordist stage but have become intensified in the postfordist period. Under postfordism, the basis of efficiency is economies of scope and flexibility, and thus there is a real efficiency advantage to empowering workers, via both multiskilling and employee involvement in problem-solving and decision-making. Postfordist capitalism has thus initiated an intensification of the management and workforce contradictions. In response, capitalist management is increasingly impeding the growth of the productive forces by failing to empower workers.
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DOI 10.1163/1569206x-00001792
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–Ίδ–. [REVIEW]Elizabeth Tucker - 1977 - The Classical Review 27 (2):205-206.

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