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1 Romantic Heretic  Sun, May 6, 2012 6:23:01am

It's Obama's fault!

Wait. That didn't quite come out right.

2 Bob Levin  Sun, May 6, 2012 11:49:46am

Xfinity On Demand, right now--America Revealed, about manufacturing. The picture is quite surprising and fascinating. The upshot is that all of the critiques from the Left, regarding the manufacturing process, legitimate histories such as Harry Braverman's Labor and Monopoly Capital, have been taken to heart by the capitalists. America has changed the manufacturing process, and is now able to produce much more with fewer and fewer workers.

I am not sure the education system is in synch with these changes, and the media, again, are clueless about the present, sort of wallowing in a concept of the world that is outdated.

3 Obdicut  Sun, May 6, 2012 12:18:15pm

re: #2 Bob Levin

Are you just being faceitious about 'capitalists' taking the critiques to heart? Obviously, nothing about the change in the manufacturing process is due to concern for the safety of workers. The key is 'fewer'.

I am not sure the education system is in synch with these changes, and the media, again, are clueless about the present, sort of wallowing in a concept of the world that is outdated.

In what way?

4 HappyWarrior  Sun, May 6, 2012 12:37:33pm

But but Obama.

5 Bob Levin  Sun, May 6, 2012 1:44:43pm

re: #3 Obdicut

I don't know that Labor and Monopoly Capital was widely read in business schools, but the problems with the Ford type of assembly line were widely known. Harry Braverman just did a very good job of bringing it all together. Worker safety wasn't the main issue in the early days. The issue was who is controlling the process of labor and manufacturing itself, and the issue of making a human being into an extension of the machine was considered to be dehumanizing.

Before the battles became focused on benefits, the focus was on which group had the expertise to understand and make decisions over the production process--labor or management. According to the documentary, management is now empowering workers to analyze the manufacturing process--because someone has to tell the robots what to do. And it became clear that those closest to the process, the workers, had the viewpoint needed. All that was needed was to train workers to think analytically, to make them experts in the process. The relationship is no longer antagonistic. And there is trouble in the industries where this antagonism remains.

Now, do schools help students to become critical analysts of the process in which they are engaged? I don't think so--or the students would analyze the schools right out of existence.

The media paints a bleak picture of American manufacturing, which is why I was so interested in the documentary. They also paint an outdated picture of the relationship between labor and management. Things are rapidly changing.

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