Effects of Capitalist Production

Capitalism is a system that operates in a clear and repeatable manner. Any industry that gets fed into the capitalist machine will be affected in these ways:

The labour process

The most important impact of capitalist production is on the labour process:

  1. The labour process, previously in the hands of the craftsmen, gets taken over by the capitalist.
  2. The capitalist buys all the means to production.
  3. The labour process is deconstructed into it’s simplest steps.
  4. The cheapest possible labour is employed to fulfil each step (Babbage principle).
  5. One person only works on one step in the labour process, resulting in de-skilling/specialisation of labour.
  6. This not only makes labour cheaper, but easily replaceable, deskilled, and harder to unionise.
  7. Through management, the labour process is reorganised for maximum efficiency.
  8. The capitalist now owns the means to production, the knowledge of process, and most importantly, control over production.

Balancing pressure

The above process is known as the downward pressure of capitalism which attempts to drive down the price of labour in an attempt to increase efficiency. When this happens:

  • Workers are unorganised and attempt to rebel through anarchic means.
  • Since there is enough labour on the market, companies fire any labourer who rebels.
  • Workers unionise in an attempt to restrict the labour market and create upwards pressure.
  • This gives more power to the labourers who engage in political warfare with the companies.

Examples

  • Cotton industry – the cotton industry was the first to feel the effects of capitalism on the labour process.
  • All blue collar labour – the steel industry and all other forms of manual labour were the next effected, and the most effective at unionising to create opposing forces.
  • Food – you can see this same transformation of the labour process happen in food franchise stores as they seek scale.
  • The late capitalism of K-pop – this has happened in the pop-music industry. Best exemplified by Korean Pop music.

sebastiankade

Sebastian Kade, Founder of Sumry and Author of Living Happiness, is a software designer and full-stack engineer. He writes thought-provoking articles every now and then on sebastiankade.com

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