File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 9

Date: Sun, 03 Jun 2001 20:22:26 +0100
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Weeping in a Rolls-Royce]

Hugh etc

Interesting notes but they seem to me to be from a place outside of the world I

The following points towards that place....

The status of working people, refugees and associated immigrants is no different
than in previous periods. Perhaps in some ways it may be considered better –
think of the late 19th C or early 20th C and the obligatory racism of the
dominant cultures which culminated in the mass exterminations of the 1940s, how
many popular novels written at that time considered the complete extermination,
mass murder of the non-white races? (a genre that reappears in US science
fiction writers and in British conservative thriller writers) I suspect that in
the Anglo-Saxon world alone its closer to hundreds rather than dozens. The
eugenic manipulation of people according to theories around gender, class, race
etc was accepted as a normal discourse. The theories of supremacy were not
simply espoused by right wing fascists and pro-capitalists but also by liberal
humanists and the occasional misguided leftist. What was an acceptable discourse
has changed. The mass experiments on the bodies of the working class, women,
soldiers, criminals and race etc has become much more difficult to justify and
carry out. Except of course on US popular tv shows that endlessly appear on
cable tv and serve as popular warnings on the excesses of global corporations
and their problematic relations to the state. Being US/American individuals may
fight back but they may not fight back collectively. With regard to the
refugee/immigrant issue, working hours and the problematic relations to the new
host culture I’d suggest that the issues referred to below are similar to
Sennett and Cobb’s Hidden injuries of class (66 and 72) – what is especially
interesting in the book is the number of working class first generation
immigrants into the USA that are interviewed and used as representatives of a
discontinuous working class. (Odd how they failed to recognise the now commonly
recognised shift to right of the immigrent). In these post-modern days we’d be
more suspicious of the notion that a potentially unified class could ever have
possibly existed given the evidence for difference and discontinuity that is
produced. The issue that surfaces however is that the nature of the ‘work’ that
the characters carried out is as manual, brutish, repetitious and occupies as
many hours of their lives as the contemporary equivalents, the
refugees/immigrants of the 21st C, except of course the nature of the work has

Additionally I believe it is important to recognise the impact of feminism on
the discussions of status – the question posed was effectively ‘how is it
possible to be equal without your own income…’  In effect the post-war efforts
to send women back into the home were accepted during the 50s and early 60s to
be soundly rejected during the subsequent periods. Only in US TV shows and
Hollywood movies are women continuously chained to the home, as if the logical
statement of ‘get married, have children’ must result in ‘don’t have any
economic independence and stay at home to be isolated with the kids’ (personally
I’d like them censored as forms of kitchen sink pornography). Actually what
always happened to working class women (in Europe) was ‘get married, have
children return to work’ because they had to if they were to survive at all
reasonably, there has been a growth in women’s average income – but of course
not sufficient but significant. It will require ongoing state interference,
which will be led in Europe from the left parties for this to be radically
improved. An additional goalwill be the lowering of the allowable working time
to 30 hours a week. Real wages have changed and risen in the last 100 years in
Europe, but of course insufficiently, this is the result of the existence of
higher expectations of the state in the post war years, resulting from the
existence of socialist governments, Western Marxist parties, general economic
growth and of course feminism and gay politics.

The free entry of refugees into the western states is the ideal to aim for…

enough and regards


hugh bone wrote:

> Steve and All,
> This link takes you to an excerpt from Barbara Ehrenreich's book,
> "Nickled and Dimed".  She is a nationally recognized writer,  a woman in her
> sixties, who took various low-paid jobs a few years ago, and relates her
> experiences in this book.
> Couples who both work, and earn average or better than average pay, and have
> children in school, or pre-school, must often work more than 80 hrs. per
> week to hold their jobs.  Real wages have changed little in 20 years, but
> the cost of living has increased a great deal.
> Parents of today's baby boomers, in the post-WWII era of strong unions,
> could often live on a single income, get medical care without the
> obstruction and costs of HMO's.  However,
> nuclear families have dwindled to 23.5% according to the 2000 census, and
> they may fare better than the majority of families of single moms and single
> pops.
> An influx of millions of illegal aliens who work "off-the-books", and the
> export of most U.S clothing factories to $1 a day, countries of the third
> world, are factors which increase the competition for decent jobs, and keep
> wages low.
> HB
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Steve wrote:
> > All
> >
> > I was interested in this email (from sciene as culture list) because of
> the
> > extraordinay claims that we are working more now than in the 1960s. I feel
> deeply
> > suspicious of this claim. My suspicions are founded on the distrust I feel
> for
> > people who suggest things are worse now than they were for our parents and
> > grandparents - this level of pessimism always makes me want to scrutinise
> their
> > evidence. On a personal basis however I remember my father working
> standard 6 day
> > weeks and occasionally 7 days - in addition he only had two weeks holiday.
> His
> > father worked the same regime but only one weeks unpaid holiday a year. To
> claim
> > that a 21st worker is working longer hours than our forefathers is I
> suspect to
> > massage the evidence in unacceptable ways.
> >
> > Compare these hours to myself - I never work weekends without days off in
> leiu-
> > 25days holiday a year, have a standard 37.5 hours working week and work
> probably 45
> > hours and sometimes 50 hrs a week if travelling to the USA on business..
> These are
> > not unsual working hours -
> >
> > It is true however that working time directives are essential - standard
> 30 hour
> > weeks - preferably over 4 days... are a desirable and achievable goal.
> >
> > regards
> >
> > sdv
> >
> > Ian Pitchford wrote:
> >
> > > Book Reviews - Weeping in a Rolls-Royce
> > >
> > > Book Reviews
> > > Christopher Gasson Monday 28th May 2001
> > >
> > > Blood, Sweat and Tears: the evolution of work
> > > Richard Donkin Texere, 400pp, 18.99
> > > ISBN 1587990768
> > >
> > > It is difficult not to feel a sense of betrayal about technological
> progress.
> > > We have invented machines to do work for us, but the more ingenious our
> > > inventions, the harder we find ourselves working. We have exchanged 40
> hours of
> > > slavery in a soot-covered factory for a 70-hour week chained within the
> > > granite-faced confines of the giants of the new global service economy.
> The
> > > average American now works one month a year longer than he or she did in
> the
> > > 1960s. Britons, similarly, seem to be increasingly choosing work over
> leisure.
> > >
> > > As Richard Donkin makes clear in his broad history of work, Blood, Sweat
> and
> > > Tears, we have only ourselves to blame for so readily giving up our
> lives to
> > > our employers. It is a combination of our desires always staying one
> step ahead
> > > of our ability to afford them, our psychological need to define
> ourselves by
> > > our work, and an immutable work ethic, that continues to drive us long
> after
> > > the religion that spawned it ceased to be relevant.
> > >
> > > Full text:
> > >
> > >
> > > To view archive/subscribe/unsubscribe/select DIGEST go to
> > >
> > >
> > > Read The Human Nature Daily Review every day
> > >
> > >
> > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
> >
> >


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005