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via keryx

"The Politics of Consumption: an Interview with Juliet Schor" in Aurora Online Magazine


Basically, the market sector has been cannibalizing the domestic sphere, sucking huge flows of labour out of the unpaid sector - labour that is absolutely essential to the preservation and reproduction of the social fabric.

I was thinking about this while I was visiting the OH's aunt at the hospital yesterday. There weren't enough staff there to give patients attention they could use. At the same time, there are lots of people out of work and people working in dead-end, minimum-wage-or-less jobs and kinda pointless jobs. (Technical editing, which is what I usually do for money, seems kinda pointless to me when I'm visiting a patient in a hospital.)

I know it's not a matter of snapping your fingers and reassigning people where they can be more useful, but I kind of wish it were. Or something.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 10th, 2004 06:33 am (UTC)
many problems... you probably don't know but this is where I work www.nysna.org. We had the same experience with my father's hospitalization, and I shudder to think about people that don't have family to help out. I'd say more but the issues are very complicated, and it's difficult to do a short post.
Apr. 10th, 2004 07:46 am (UTC)
I worked for many years with Center for Popular Economics, where Julie Schor was an early active member. Another longtime member, the great feminist economist Nancy Folbre, wrote a book,The Invisible Heart, which also takes a serious look at these issues. You might like it.
Apr. 10th, 2004 09:07 am (UTC)
Thank you; I will.
Apr. 10th, 2004 10:42 am (UTC)
Thanks. It's on my book list.
Apr. 10th, 2004 10:42 am (UTC)
I'd like to hear your thoughts about it sometime.
Apr. 10th, 2004 07:45 am (UTC)
It is a really complicated issue, and part of me just wants to put something like the WPA back in place - so there was a system by which people could be redistributed into the gaps in the workforce, and be provided for in the process. It may be overly idealistic, but it just seems so simple in concept.
Apr. 10th, 2004 10:45 am (UTC)
Yeah. It may be too idealistic to expect it to happen any time soon, but it is something a government is capable of doing, if the people want it to.
Apr. 10th, 2004 10:13 am (UTC)
I haven't read the Schor article yet, so this may be repeating (or off the mark) ...

In this specific instance, one huge factor is our national unwillingness to pay the costs of health care. In every sector, employees are the big "cost center." We treat health care like a market commodity, and we aren't willing to pay for it. We act as if individuals like the OH's aunt are somehow either part of the problem or at least not part of a pattern. Thus, when it happens in us or our families, we take the brunt of it instead of demanding that the system pay attention to real needs.

I certainly know people who completely milk the system for aid and support, complain at how little is available, and get completely enraged and infuriated at how much tax they pay.

And I could go on and on and on.
Apr. 10th, 2004 10:44 am (UTC)
So true. (The Schor article doesn't talk about health care per se. It talks about how our time and energy and money tend not to be spent on what we say our values are.)
Apr. 10th, 2004 12:39 pm (UTC)
I'm going to echo a bit of what wild_irises said. In my experience with customer service jobs, they are almost always viewed as "cost centers" and when the time comes for "cost containment" they get sliced and diced to the bone, because many companies see little if any value-added to maintaining good customer relations beyond the next sale.

On the taxation front, I'm always amazed that people who I know would never think it proper to simply walk into a grocery store and, without paying, walk out with an armload of food, have no problem driving on public roads (one example of using public infrastructure) while complaining that
taxation of any sort is unfair.

Yeah, maybe I'm a bit bitter
Apr. 10th, 2004 06:27 pm (UTC)
many companies see little if any value-added to maintaining good customer relations beyond the next sale.

this is kind of a catch-22 in a country in which a lot of people (if not most) value a bargain or "great deal" over loyalty to somebody who has previously served them well.
Apr. 11th, 2004 12:23 pm (UTC)
Social Architecture

A Canadian Think Tank, investigating Social Architecture. Download the most recent research report _Catching up with Reality: Building a Case for a New Social Model_.

From the foreword:
In every society, there are four sources of well-being for citizens: market income, non-market care and support within the family, state-sponsored services and income transfers, and community services and supports. The roles and responsibilities of actors in markets, states, communities and families vary considerably from one country to another, and they can change over time. Certainly all four sources of well-being have been transformed by economic, demographic, political and social trend both within and beyond Canada's borders in recent years.

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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