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WES-Lecture1-Part1

A short history of work in timeline form
by

Kevin Gillan

on 2 February 2015

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Transcript of WES-Lecture1-Part1

A simple timeline
|..................................................................................................................................................................|..................................................................................................................................................................|.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................|..................................................................................................................................................................|..................................................................................................................................................................
(not to scale!)
c.40,000 years BCE
c.10,000 years BCE
c. 4,000 years BCE
c. 1770 CE
c. 1975 CE
Nomadic Societies
Agrarian Societies
Horticultural Societies
Informational Capitalism?
Industrial Capitalism
11,000 BCE
First farming
Hunting, gathering
Making rudimentary clothes etc for own use
Little division of labour (perhaps gender?)
No surplus product
Some settlements
Working at growing crops, some domestication of animals etc.
Some surplus product
Some division of labour (warriors and priests)
The production of a ‘margin worth fighting for, above the subsistence of those engaged in getting a living’, led Veblen to label this stage the first predatory era.
(Edgell, 2006: 3).
Use of animal power in farming
Some surplus product used for trading
Some urban centres with money exchange
Increasing social differentiation
Development of expansionist empires
5,000 BCE
Bronze Age
begins
650 BCE
First coins
(Ancient Greece)
700 CE
First banknotes
(China)
So.
Money, trade and property all developing, but we still don't have all the features that distinguish capitalism from other systems...
...as we'll see next week
Manufacturing based economies
Wage labour predominant for manual workers
Increasing international trade
Varying levels of government intervention in economy
Bureaucratic division of labour
Service based economies
Wage labour predominant for ‘knowledge workers’
Global trade and communications
Varying levels of government intervention in economy
Bureaucratic division of labour with ‘flexible’ career structures
‘In pre-industrial societies labour was typically unfree to a greater or lesser extent in the form of slavery, serfdom and bonded service, and … useful work tended not to be highly valued as an economic activity, despite its indispensability for the survival of everyone. Hence, it has been shown that in pre-modern societies as different as ancient Greece and medieval Europe, work was regarded negatively, as a necessary evil or as an expiation of sins committed by others in the past’
(Edgell 2006: 5)
This is our subject
a truly astonishing transformation of people's life chances, the world over...
(Excerpt from The Joy of Stats, by Hans Rosling on BBC Four.)
1930, Lowry depicts Manchester in Coming from the Mill
1776, Adam Smith publishes
The Wealth of Nations
1848, Marx & Engles publish The Communist Manifesto and then, in 1867, Marx publishes the first volume of Das Kapital
1904, Max Weber publishes The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
The metaphor:
imagine the history of human societies compressed into a 9 til 5 working day
1914, Ford introduces the moving assembly line; 'mass production' led to cars becoming objecets of 'mass consumption' for the first time
Smith was inspired by the growing textile mills in Manchester, which marked the early development of mass production and, therefore, industrial capitalism
(Image:Ancoats, Manchester, 1820)
Today, many mills are still standing, often converted to fancy residential flats for young professionals working in the service, finance and information sectors or to shopping outlets.
(Image:Ancoats, Manchester, 2011 via Google Streetview)
By the 1960s this was the dominant form of mass production; note continued reliance on large numbers of workers rather than machines.
Source: Milwauke Public Library (http://www.mpl.org/file/digital_historicphoto_index.htm)
via Hemmings Blog (http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/category/locations/factories/)
Source: Literary Digest, 1928, via WikiMedia Commons
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ford_Motor_Company_assembly_line.jpg)
Work
1989, The Berlin Wall comes down, signaling the collapse of communism. Capitalism becomes much more global.
Full transcript