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Re: [xmca] Jones on 'value' of Learning and intensified/enhanced labour under capitalism

Julian and Andy,

To return to a week old post, as to the question of why critical
consciousness of business-folk (technocracy) hasn't been turned back onto
society, I'd like to add the matters of methods and of application. I see a
great tendency among the masses in the U.S. to see/think very
atomistically, reductionistically, and individualistically. When seen from
this perspective, Marx's concerns seem like idiocy, or at best, banal
critiquest. If I am an individual sui generis, then the idea that I have
any connection, much less obligation, to anyone else is a total non
starter. What matters is for me (and for individuals like me) to find ways
to flourish in my (our) own right. [and, of course, Marx gets you to this
point but only if you accept the holism of Self-in-Society].

What is needed is Marx's whole method or the method of the whole and holism
that sees a whole as not merely the sum of the parts but as an emergent
more than the parts that makes the parts more than they would otherwise be
(please feel free to substitute "society" for "whole" and "individual" for
"parts" - this is, after all, one of Marx's greatest interventions, imho).

But there is also a question of application. In management-speak (and
thought) in the U.S., there is an understanding of something called
"Systems Theory" (see, e.g, Peter Senge's The Fifth Dimension). This is a
step in the direction of Marx and notions of structure and system, but the
applications are to business thinking, they seldom go to society and they
certainly don't have a dialectical or even a structuralist understanding of
systems. They are piecemeal systems that are meant to be applied to
business models and the ways that businesses confron the world. And they
certainly aren't intended to be applied to understanding human
consciousness or ethical realms.

At least those are my thoughts on the limits of critical consciousness in
the U.S. - not sure how well this applies elsewhere.


On Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 5:01 AM, Julian Williams <
julian.williams@manchester.ac.uk> wrote:

> Andy
> Exactly - so we are in Gramscian territory: there is a struggle over
> values in education that has its roots in class struggle, but is
> 'refracted' by layers of cultural-ideological-political mediation, in which
> ultimately the State (and the political field) plays a key role.
> A key question then for education seems to be - how is it possible for the
> technocracy to stay 'uncritical' about social questions while exercising
> 'problem solving skills' in their 'labour' of evaluation, design and
> development, e.g. of: software; traffic systems; hospital management
> systems that don't kill people unnecessarily often; and derivatives etc
> that don't meltdown the financial system...? Especially at the present
> (Greece, Occupations, etc) ...
> I venture several factors that seem relevant, especially to the orderly
> middle classes: fear (many have still a long way down to go),
> compartmentalisation (I can be critical on weekends...), alienation from
> others in trouble (I don't feel like the sort of person who 'riots' or
> strikes), etc.
> Julian
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
> Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> Sent: 04 November 2011 10:35
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Cc: P.E.Jones@shu.ac.uk
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Jones on 'value' of Learning and intensified/enhanced
> labour under capitalism
> I think this is a contradiction of development for capitalism, Julian,
> one of those instances where capitalism acts as a brake on the
> development of the forces of production. In general the contradiction is
> solved by differentiation in the schooling system. In the Olden Days the
> sons of the ruling class were Educated at Eton and Harrow, while the
> sons and daughters of the workign class were beaten into shape in
> Bethnal Green Primary School. As I recall, even the post-WW2 Labour
> government took care to maintain a differentiated system of public
> schooling. Nowadays, maintaining that differentiation becomes more and
> more contested and difficult, with the kind of moving goal posts that
> Bourdiueu describes so well.
> But one thing that capitalism does not want in its education system is
> *critique*, so the training of artists, software dewsignes and managers
> is a delicate matter, the arena for much struggle.
> Andy
> Julian Williams wrote: ...
> > But I also had in mind that labourers skills and knowledge might be
> enhanced for other purposes than merely the exchange value of their labour
> in the labour market /wages... in particular that of 'literacy' and the
> power of critique. This raises other dimension of 'the values' of labour
> power more widely: now the issue becomes largely ideological, and the
> educational field becomes a site for contesting educational values of
> 'compliance' versus 'critique'.  There seems to be a contradiction here:
> while the State would like to ensure 'compliance' in general (for the
> majority) still there is a (perhaps growing?) role for 'creatives',
> critical thinkers and problem solvers in production....?
> >
> > What does anyone think?
> >
> > Julian__________________________________________
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> >
> >
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857
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Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Sanford I. Berman Post-Doctoral Scholar
Department of Communication
University of California, San Diego
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