Re: re comments on my Rethinking labor process theory

From: Andy Blunden (
Date: Thu Jan 22 2004 - 20:53:04 PST

At 08:29 AM 22/01/2004 -0800, you wrote:
>** Andy Blunden (1/10/04) pointed out that socialization is not just a
>matter of relations woven among workers in production: commerce (market
>exchange) also brings together people previously isolated (albeit in a way
>mediated by the 'cash nexus')
> I think this is a terrific point that my paper missed entirely.
> I've been struck by how much sympathy (empathy is the better word
> perhaps) for workers in developing countries was created by the
> anti-sweatshop campaign. The fact that our t-shirts are produced in China
> or Thailand -- even if they make their way to us via long supply-chains
> of (sometimes more and sometimes less) independent firms -- does indeed
> create the possibility of a genuine human, ideational connection between
> the producers there and the consumers here in the US. The anti-sweatshop
> movement's successes in turning this business/material connection into a
> human/empathic one is testimony to the socializing effects of the world market.
> I'm assuming Andy would agree that this socialization reaches a
> qualitatively new level when it enters the sphere of production as
> distinct from the sphere of circulation. I need to do a better job of
> positioning the socialization 'trope' relative to the basic concepts of
> marxist theory.
The point is that the commodity relation does not *just* create a relation
where there previously was no relation (though this it does and that is
very significant), but it creates what I call an "external" relation. Thus
workers who have a job are able to gain self-respect and self-esteem by
being able to sell their labour to the highest bidder and get well paid for
it, but this relation does not engender *humanity*. Trade connects those
who were formerly connected, but it isolates those who were formerly
connected. There is nothing more destructive of social solidarity than

The fact that the production process itself is being increasingly shattered
into relations of exchange then, must have very negative effects.


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