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Class, State and Ideology an Introduction to Marxist Social Science

by: Deron Effertz

Class, State and Ideology an Introduction to Marxist Social Science SOC 621

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Deron Effertz
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Erik Wright

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Erik Wright
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Berkeley Sociology Lecture 4 Class Exploitation Oppression Tuesday March 5 2002 The location of Class within the Broad Theory Class gures centrally Within almost every aspect of Marxism For this reason I like to think of the core of Marxism as being Class Analysis the study of class and its consequences Class is central to the normative vision of radical egalitarianism as classlessness or less classness class is central to the problems of social reproduction class is central to the dynamics of change I A couple of preliminary terminological notes 1 Class as noun and as adjective Generally I think the word class is better used as an adjective than as a noun Rather than ask how many classes are there I think it is better to ask how many different kinds of class lomtions are there Within a speci c class structure Sometimes it is ne to use the noun but often it is misleading and confusing 2 The basic inventory The concept of class is really a repertoire or cluster of concepts It will help clarify the agenda for the class to brie y run through these class relations the social relations Within which class locations are determined class locations the locations lled by individuals Within class relations class structure the total set of class relations Within some unit of analysis one can speak of the class structure of a rm a city a country maybe the world class interests the interests of individuals derived om the lomtions Within class structures class formation the organization of class locations into some kind of collective social force capable of collective action class consciousness the forms of understanding individuals have of class interests class practices the actions individuals take in pursuit of class interests class struggle the con ontation of class practices of classes with opposing interests 11 Understanding class relations 1 Relations relations relations There are many different kinds of social relations in a society gender relations race relations iendship relations class relations The distinctive thing in a relation is that the meaning of the entities bound together in a relation can only be understood via the character of the relation Thus try de ning the category husband Without invoking the category Wife bound together in a relation called marriage Class in the Marxist tradition and some other traditions is a relational concept That is the rst critical point Sociology 298 Lecture 4 Class 39 39 39 Oppression 2 2 What kind of relation is a class relation Class relations within Marxist class analysis de ne the rights and powers people have with respect to the various resources that are used in production When we say that a capitalist owns a factory we are specifying a set of rights and powers of the mpitalist over this complex set of resources When we say workers own their labor power we mean that they have the rights and powers over this resource and can therefore sell it on a labor market Rights and powers de ne relations among people not simply a relation between a person and a thing if I own land Ihave the power to exclude you from access to it As a short hand Marxists often say that class relations are de ned by the social relations of production but this really means by the social relations that de ne the rights and powers people have with respect to the system of production 3 What is it that people in a common location within the social relations of production have in common Or what do people in a class location have in common There are two principle ideas here 1 lived experiences 2 material interests Both matter They are discussed in some detail in The Debate on Classes I will emphasize material interests but let me brie y mention lived experiences 31 Lived Experiences By virtue of a persons rights and powers over production resources they are likely to have certain kinds of experiences If you are propertyless and must sell your labor power to a capitalist you will have the experiences of looking for a job being subject to the control of others being told what to do by a boss being vulnerable to losing ones job Ifyou are a capitalist you have to boss people around you face competitive threats from rivals you take risks in investments you have to deal with shirking workers and so on Each of these defines a pro le of experiences tied to locations 32 Material Interests This is a contentious idea Many people reject the whole concept of objective material interests but I think it is not so problematic The key idea is this by virtue of the assets you own your rights amp powers you face particular kinds of opportunities dilemmas and trade offs in trying to optimize your material welfare Consider the tradeoffs among toil leisure and consumption It is better to be in a position to have a more favorable trade off between consumption and leisure than a less favorable one Your interests are in improving these trade offs what you have to do to accomplish this depends upon your class That is why it makes sense to say that people in a common class location share common material interests Sociology 298 Lecture 4 Class 39 39 39 Oppression 3 So people in a class location by virtue of their relationship to the means of production share common material interests in this sense Ending the analysis here however would not quite get to the core idea of the speci cally Marxist understanding of class For this we must move from material interests to the problem of exploitation III Exploitation Exploitation is a hotly contested concept Most sociologists either ignore it or reject it as a meaning il idea In a footnote in a recent article in the American Journal of Sociology John Goldthorpe says of the concept of exploitation that it is a word I would myself gladly see disappear from the sociological lexicon He adds by way of clari cation Its mction in Marxist thought was to allow a fusion of normative and positive claims in a way that I would find unacceptable And he concludes If invoking exploitation is no more than a way of agging the presence of structurally opposed class interests that lead to zerosum con icts then its use is innocuous but scarcely necessary Goldthorpe 2000 1574 Many people I think would agree with this judgment Talk of exploitation seems more like a heavyhanded piece of antiquated radical rhetoric than a conceptual tool for understanding the inner workings of contemporary societies I hope to show here that this judgement is wrong I will argue contra Goldthorpe that exploitation is not simply a way of agging generic zerosum con icts of interest but a way of identifying a specific kind of zerosum con ict and further Iwill argue that one of the virtues of the concept is the way it brings normative considerations into the core of the explanatory project of social science This concept of course has its strongest pedigree within the Marxist tradition of class analysis but as I hope to show its explanatory relevance is not restricted to the L problem of class nor does it F if an 1 of the framework of Marxism 1 The Shmoo story The setting Ozarks nuclear tests etc powers of the shmoo The shmoo taps a deep fantasy in Western culture Garden of Eden Destruction of garden A sweat of brow shmoos are thus a threat to both class relations and gender relations The gender story is especially remarkable Sociology 298 Lecture 4 Class 39 39 39 Oppression 2 Preference ordering for fate of shmoo Table of preferences for the fate of the shmoo this preference ordering is simply a statement of material interests not moral commitments the material interests of workers correspond to principles of justice These are the Rawlsian preferences This is a sense in which workers a universal class their selfish interests universal human interests The interests of capital destroy garden of Eden interests of workers preserve it 3 Meaning ofAntagonism ofinterests The shmoo test indicates the sense in which there is a deep inherent antagonism of interests of workers and capitalists an antagonism that impels them to pursue strategies against each other This is not simply a zerosum con ict over the distribution of some xed quantity the shmoo is of unlimited quantity everyone can have them Exploiters not only have a material interest in protecting their own property from redistribution they have a positive material interest in preventing the exploited from gaining resources which would make them less dependent upon the exploiter This is really the fundamental point here The capitalist has an active interest in reducing the feasible set of choices available to the worker or in other words an active interest in reducing their real freedom Why The capitalist wails that if workers have shmoos greater freedom workers would no longer have to work hard any more that is they would not expend sufficient effort for the employer Digression A curious little aside here The dogpatch resident says Nobody that has a shmoo has to work any more whereas the capitalist emphasizes that workers would not work hard any more In sociological terms the dogpatcher is a Weberian who sees the shmoo as simply affecting exchange relations whereas the mpitalist is a Marxist and realizes that the shmoo will undermine exploitation As I will explain in more technical terms in a moment the manager understands that the real threat posed by the shmoo is the extraction of labor effort exploitation not simply getting people to show up for work The Dogpatchian only identifies an effect in the labor market the manager identifies an effect in the labor process Sociology 298 Lecture 4 Class 39 39 39 Oppression 5 4 Core intuition about Exploitation This is what exploitation is all about a set of interconnected practices that are deeply offensive morally one group of people have a positive interest in harm to others 5 Shmoo like situations in real history hut taxes to get subsistence peasants off the land opposition of rich to redistribution even if it does not redistribute from them capitalist opposition to things which raise the reservation wage of workers egalitarian proposals for a universal basic income as a quasishmoogrant implications partial deproletartianization of labor IV More formal discussion of exploitation 1 Three criteria for exploitation chart inverse interdependent welfare principle exclusion principle appropriation principle 2 oppression vs exploitation 3 Illustration South Africa vs US only good Indian is a dead Indian but not Only good worker is a dead worker obedient work docile slave but not dead 4 Implication in simple oppression the oppressor would welcome shmoos in exploitation they would not Nonexploitative Oppression is thus both more benign and more harm il than exploitation on the one hand the nonexploitative oppressor would not object to the oppressed simply leaving moving away Native Americans were allowed and often forced to ee West in the US whereas slaves could not As long as they don t ght back the nonexploited oppressed can be ignored On the other hand in the face ofresistence in conditions of pure oppression the privileged may be tempted to adopt a strictly repressive solution to con ict in the extreme mse adopting genocidal strategies It is therefore not a simple matter to say whether oppression or exploitation is worse Still in general it is probably true that it is better to be exploited than to not be exploited in a situation where the alternative is nonexploitative oppression Joan Robinson is reported to have said the one thing worse than being exploited in capitalism is not being exploited Workers would rather be exploited than unemployed 5 The Underclass Relevance of this contrast today The problem of the marginalized underclass people who have been excluded from access to crucial economic resources but are not exploited The crucial resource in contemporary highly developed capitalism is human capitalskills Solution to con icts generated by this exclusion purely repressive this re ects the dispensability of this segment of the population If one could snap one s ngers and have the underclass disappear the interests of people of privilege and power would be advanced Sociology 298 Lecture 4 Class Oppression 6 V Extension of the concept of exploitation outside of class contexts Sexual exploitation The contrast between nonexploitative oppression and exploitation applies not simply in the context of class relations Consider for example the problem of sexual exploitation vs nonexploitative sexual oppression In some societies today one might say that women are sexually exploited by men whereas homosexuals are sexually oppressed sexual exploitation of women means that men control female sexuality but still depend upon female sexuality activity for their own sexual interests One might say that men appropriate female sexual effort sexual oppression of homosexuals means than heterosexuals wish to repress homosexual practices which to exclude homosexuals from access to the means of sexual expression If heterosexists in this relation could snap their ngers and make homosexuality disappear then their sexual interests as they experience those interests would be advanced One might also make a similar argument about cultural oppression vs cultural exploitation In the US and many other settler societies there was a period in which the relationship to indigenous cultures was one of strict cultural oppression matching the economic oppression The goals was to eliminate the cultures Indian boarding schools language policies Now more commonly there is a process of cultural exploitation the appropriation of native American cultural forms for purposes of serving the cultural interests of the dominant culture New Age appropriation of native American culture would be an example Berkeley Sociology 298 Lectures 1 3 The Broad structure of Marxist Theory January 2931 The Problem Many Marxisms Why Marxism There are four broad stances that people typically take with respect to Marxism First Propagating Marxism Marxism is a comprehensive worldview for understanding the social world It provides the theoretical weapons needed to attack the mysti cations of capitalism and the vision needed to mobilize the masses for struggle The central task for Marxist intellectuals is to articulate the revolutionary core of Marxism in such a way that its in uence increases particularly within oppressed classes The central issue is that Marxism must be made accessible and internalized as a subjectively salient belief system Then second there is Burying Marxism this is an antiquated outmoded ideology at most a curiosity of the intellectual history of the West at worse a pernicious doctrine that has poisoned the minds of people especially youth for 150 years It survived for so long because it was backed by political parties not because it ever had any scienti c merit It is time to bury it once and for all Third there is the stance of most sociologists Using Marxism Marxism is a source of interesting and suggestive ideas many of which remain use il for contemporary social scientific analysis Some Marxist ideas may have been deeply awed from the beginning and others may have lost relevance for understanding contemporary societies but still the Marxist tradition contains many use il insights and arguments and these should be preserved as an enduring legacy Finally there is Building Marxism Marxism is an analytimlly power il tradition of social theory of vital importance for scientifimlly understanding the dilemmas and possibilities of social change and social reproduction in contemporary society Particularly if one wants to change the world in egalitarian and emancipatory ways Marxism is indispensable This does not mean however that every element within Marxism as it currently exists is sustainable If Marxism aspires to be a social scientific theory it must be continually subjected to challenge and transformation Buildin Marxism also means reconstructing Marxism Marxism is not a doctrine a definitively established body of truths But neither is Marxism simply a catalogue of interesting insights If the goal is to enhance our ability to understand the world in order to change it building Marxism is a pivotal task In this course I will approach the Marxist tradition in this third way We will not treat Marxism as a nished body of thought as a bounded doctrine but as a theoretical tradition of ideas and debate that in order to remain relevant and power il continually needs to be challenged and reconstructed Now any effort at reconstructing Marxism must start with some kind of account of what it is that is to be reconstructed what are the core ideas of this theoretiml tradition that provide the raw Sociology 6298 Lectures 1 3 Contours of Marxism 2 materials for this theoretical enterprise This turns out to be not such an easy task because there are many Marxisms and much dispute over what indeed constitutes its central core It is for this reason that I will generally use the expression The Marxist Tradition rather than Marxism Parenthetical note on the term Marxism and why this is unfortunate cf creationism and Darwinism In this lecture and the next I want to lay out a series of theses which I think de ne the core ideas of classical Marxism and the basic contours of the kind of reconstruction I will be developing in this course Mo st of these theses we will revisit later in the course where we will elaborate the ideas to a much greater extent Here my main goal is to give you an overarching view of the argument 1 Diagnostic Theses What is Wrong with Capitalism First there are a series of theses that can be called diagnostic theses these which attempt to specify what is wrong with capitalism We look around the world in which we live and we immediately con quotont the juxtaposition of extraordinary wealth and prosperity along with continuing human misery particularly when we look at the world as a whole but also when we look at conditions within our country In significant ways this misery revolves around material conditions of life but it also extends to what might be termed spiritual misery the loss of meaning in people s life loneliness alienation So we see a range of ills symptoms of some underlying disease The diagnostic theses of Marxism attempt to provide an account of the underlying process which generates these problems Thesis 1 The conditions for Human Flourishing thesis Human ourishing for the broad masses of people would be broadly enhanced if they lived a in conditions of a radically egalitarian distribution of the material conditions of life and b within solidaristic communities of mutual support and reciprocity This thesis is captured by the classical distributional slogan advocated by Marx To each accong to need quotom each according to ability and by the ideal of a classless society This is the way material resources are distributed within egalitarian families children with greater needs receive more resources and everyone is expected to contribute as best they can to the tasks needed by the family This is also the way books are distributed in public libraries under conditions of pro gressive taxation you check out what you need not what you can afford and you contribute to the support of the library through taxes based on ability to pay This distributional principle also a irms an ideal of community and reciprocity I serve you because of your needs not because of what I can get out of it The radical egalitarianism of the Marxist tradition affirms that human ourishing in general would be enhanced if these principles could be generalized to the society as a whole The radial egalitarian claim in the conditions for human ourishing thesis as stated here is not in and of itself a thesis about justice The claim is that human beings will generally ourish better under such egalitarian conditions than under conditions of inequality and hierarchy and Sociology 121 Lectures 1 amp 2 3 therefore it is in the interests of most people to support moves towards egalitarianism but this need not imply that it is a requirement of justice that such ourishing be promoted Marx himself and many Marxists have been quite skeptical of arguments about social justice seeing these as inevitably embedded in various class ideologies and therefore preferred to ground their arguments in starker claims about interests I believe that this is a question of social justice but that belief is not necessary in the present context Clari cations The meaning of human ourishing The problem of the relationship of the distribution of the material conditions of life to human ourishing obviously depends on precisely what is included under the rubric ourishing In the Marxist tradition the notion of ourishing is fairly limited centering on the problem of the realization of the potential for human creativity This could be extended somewhat to the idea of selfactualization in a more psychological sense as well but generally above all what is unleashed under radically egalitarian conditions is the cultivation of talents and creative activity the realization of each person s creative potentials Other dimensions of human welfare contentment a sense of meaning ilness love perhaps even a sense of spirituality might also be enhanced by radically egalitarian material conditions of life but these have not been as central to the Marxist tradition Mechanisms through which radical egalitarianism promotes ourishing A variety of mechanisms linked to a radical egalitarian distribution of the material conditions of life can be seen as promoting this kind of human ourishing 1 Elimination of poverty material misery The creative potential of people is enhanced when people are not preoccupied with mere survival where they are well fed housed etc To the extent that egalitarianism itself reduces deprivation it promotes ourishing Of course the elimination of absolute deprivations is consistent with relatively high levels of inequality so logically it need not be the case that povertyelimination is contingent on radical egalitarianism Nevertheless sociologically it is the case that more egalitarian conditions will tend to foster more stable reductions in human misery 2 Minimization of necessary labor of tail High productivity with egalitarian distribution makes it possible in principle for everyone to toil very few hours a week to engage in labor strictly for the purpose of providing the wherewithal to live High productivity liberates time for creative activity Inequality under conditions of high productivity means that some people must toil much more than others and thus are deprived of the time for such activity 3 Dealienation Egalitarian distributions of the material conditions of life include egalitarian distribution of control over the process of pro duction This means empowering people by giving them a direct say in a central aspect of their lives both as individuals and as members of communities The claim here is that human beings will ourish better when they are empowered in this way than when they are under the control of others or of impersonal forces Sociology 121 Lectures 1 amp 2 4 4 Reduction of competitiveness A more subtle argument about the ways a radical egalitarian distribution of material conditions of life promotes human ourishing centers on the problem of individualistic competition Within capitalism a good argument can be made that competition does spur creativity innovation etc for those people who triumph and perhaps for those who fail but were realistically in the race But it is also clearly the case that many people do not realize anything close to their creative potential because of a belief in the itility of trying Particularly when inequalities generate winnertakeall outcomes competition as the basis for realization of one s goals will tend to underreward all but a few The empirical issue is thus whether the extent to which most people can live lives in which they realize their potentials to the illest extent would be greater in a much less competitive setting where people are less concerned about beating out others than simply achieving their best The radical egalitarian argument is that taking the material conditions of life out of competition having these conditions distributed in a radically egalitarian way will have the net effect of enhancing the realization of human potential across the relevant population whatever loss in motivationforachievement that occurs because of the reduction in the pay offs for being the best will be more than compensated by the encouragement to the masses of people who are marginalized quotom the hierarchies of success under inegalitarian conditions 5 Community A nal and perhaps more problematic mechanism through which equality promotes ourishing concerns the ways in which the possibility of living within solidaristic communities of reciprocity and helping is enhanced under egalitarian compared to inegalitarian conditions Community is a value in itself but it also underwrites the kind of ourishing we are talking about here The claim here is that human creativity and the realization of individual potentials is spurred by living in a supportive nurturant environments nuruirance and support rather than living in an atomized environment of fragmented communities and weak reciprocities and further that such vibrant community is fostered by radical egalitarianism But of course strong community can also enforce conformity and sti e creativity and thus it is important to think through the speci c institutions through which community is built on egalitarian foundations Thesis 2 Material possibility thesis Under conditions of a highly productive economy it becomes materially possible to organize society in such a way that there is a sustainable radically egalitarian distribution of the material conditions of life Egalitarian normative principles within the Marxist tradition are thought not to simply re ect some kind of timeless human value although they may be that as well but are also meant to be embodied in a practical political project Central to the Marxist theoretical project is thus the attempt to understand the conditions under which these moral ideals mn feasrbly be translated into social practice Here the basic idea is that radical egalitarianism becomes increasingly feasible as a practical principle of social organization as the productive capacity of a society increases and absolute scarcity is reduced The basic thinking behind this idea is two fold First under conditions of low productivity the average amount of necessary labor toilsome activity engaged in simply to produce the basic necessities of life is high and thus even if such toil were Sociology 121 Lectures 1 amp 2 5 distributed equally to everyone there would not be much scope for the lll realization of human creativity and potential It is even possible although this is not obvious by any means that under conditions of relatively low productivity the real choice is between some people ourishing in the required sense and no one ourishing rather than everyone ourishing Second under conditions of relatively low productivity the advantages a person can gain by success illy defending a privileged position within an inegalitarian distribution are huge and this means that the incentives for people to seek such advantages will be high This in turn would make it institutionally more dif cult and perhaps costly to block such e orts Low productivity therefore makes egalitarian distributions of material conditions of life vulnerable to challenge and thus in the long run less easily sustained In the strongest version of this thesis the egalitarian ideals are strictly impossible to implement and sustain until material scarcity is largely overcome in weaker versions all that is claimed is that high productivity makes a basic egalitarianism of material conditions of life more feasible Clari cations Scarcity and needs The concept of scarcity is not a simple one and as many people have observed what counts as a necessity is not given by nature but develops with human productivity The extent to which high productivity makes radical egalitarianism more sustainable therefore may be vulnerable to the escalation of needs problem for two reasons First if needs rise more rapidly that productivity then it is not the case that an equal distribution of toil would give everyone a great deal of time for the realization of creative capacities Second the stakes for the privileged for defending highly inegalitarian distributions of material conditions of life may not decline very much and thus equality may continue to be vulnerable to subversion Incentives productivity and sustainable equality One of the standard criticisms of any form of radical egalitarianism is that it fails because of incentive problems regardless of the level of productivity of the society This is an empirical issue and it may depend on the nature of the surrounding institutions of the egalitarian distribution of material conditions of life Marxists have generally recognized the importance of capitalist institutions for providing the right kind of incentives to massively increase the level of productivity quotom preindustrial levels to the levels of highly developed postindustrial economies but once that level is achieved it is much less obvious that the same kind of incentives are needed to sustain that level of productivity and advance it further if at a slower rate Thesis 3 Capitalism s Progressiveness thesis Capitalism spurs the development of the forces of production in ways that systematically increase the productivity of the economy In the more teleological versions of Marxism this was characterized as the historical mission of capitalism to revolutionize the forces of production to such an extent that it brings humanity to the point where superabundance is materially feasible Even if one rejects this kind of thinking nevertheless the internal dynamics of capitalism competition the drive for accumulation the Sociology 121 Lectures 1 amp 2 6 extension of markets the engine of innovation etc result in a tremendous rise in the level of human productivity Thesis 4 Capitalism s Inegalitarianism thesis Capitalism massively fosters material inequality and supports institutions which block thepossibility ofachieving a radically egalitarian distribution of the material conditions of li e One of the great achievements of capitalism is to develop human productive capacity to such an extent that it makes the radical egalitarianism needed for human ourishing materially feasible yet mpitalism also continuale generates and deepens inequality and perhaps even more signi cantly creates institutions and power relations that block the actual achievement of egalitarianism This sets the stage for the great drama and tragedy of capitalist development it is a process which continually enhances the material conditions for an expanded scope of human ourishing while simultaneously blocking the creation of the social conditions for realizing this potential Capitalism perpetuates materially unnecessary forms and levels of inequality Much Marxist research focuses on the ways in which capitalism blocks the realization of radical egalitarian possibilities It does so in two primary ways First much of the analysis of capitalism centers on the way capitalism itselfis a massive machine for generating inequality The core analysis of class relations as relations of exploitation and of capital accumulation as a process of amassing surplus under the control of concentrated centers of capitalist agency is an account of inequalitygenerating processes Second the Marxist analysis of the elaboration of economic social and political institutions in capitalism focuses on the ways these institutions prevent challenges to these mechanisms of inequality This is the core of the theory of the state and ideology or what used to be called the superstructure but it is also more broadly a central theme of Marxist analyses of such things as consumerism the ways in which market competition erodes worker solidarity the transition costs for processes of radical change and so on Thesis 5 The contradictory relation of capitalism to community thesis Capitalism simultaneously erodes and stimulates the formation of solidaristic community market competition erodes community but resistence to capitalist exploitation fosters solidarity The central logic of capitalism as a system of production and distribution is that economic ef ciency is enhanced when people are motivated by greed maximizing their own material welfare and not worrying about the welfare of others This is what is meant by competition and pro t maximization under conditions of market competition and private property Of course as every economic sociologist will tell you this greed driven search for personal gain is tempered by normative constraints and in many contexts forms of trust and interdependence continue to play an important role but they are always under threat quotom capitalism qua capitalism This is the sense in which capitalism erodes community it erodes the patterns of reciprocity and what some people call conditional altruism that constitute community Sociology 121 Lectures 1 amp 2 7 But this is only part of the story for capitalism also fosters resistence to its own processes competition breeds individualism but it also breeds collection resistence and these foster solidarity and community Conclusion to diagnositic theses Thesis 6 Anticapitalism thesis To achieve radical egalitarianism and community of solidaristic reciprocity requires challenging and transforming capitalism The distinctive conclusion to the Marxist diagnosis of the ills of capitalism is that capitalism itself needs to be challenged 11 Historical Possibility Theses framing the problem of strategies for social change If capitalism blocks the conditions for human ourishing and also if it blocks the conditions for social justice which Marxists have not traditionally argued but socialists more generally have then the core of the political project of egalitarians should directed against the central principles of capitalism This need not mean that the political project should pragmatically aim to destroy capitalism since that would depend on a host of other considerations the feasibility of destroying capitalism the costs of destroying capitalism the conditions for creating a sustainable alternative and so on Theses 15 stipulate a politics that is normatively anti capitalist but the practical political program depends on additional theoretiml and empirical claims about the real historical possibilities The political conclusion of classiml Marxism is that these obstacles can only be overcome by destroying capitalism through a revolutionary rupture More social democratic currents within the Marxist tradition accept the idea that capitalism is the enemy of equality but reject the ruptural vision of change capitalism an be transformed quotom within in ways which gradually move in the direction of a more profoundly egalitarian social order The lll realization of the radical egalitarian ideal may of course be a utopian fantasy But even if classlessness is unachievable less classness can be a central political objective and this still requires challenging capitalism Such a challenge is socialist insofar as it aims at maximizing democratically imposed collective constraints on capital and the market in order to reduce inequalities in the distributions of power over production and consumption Where socialists de ned in this way disagree is in their beliefs about ultimate limits on this process In order to gure out the strategic implications of the diagnostic theses of socialist theory we need additional theoretical propositions about the contradictions within capitalist systems and the iture possibilities posed by those contradictions Classical Marxism had a clear and powerful Sociology 121 Lectures 1 amp 2 8 set of arguments on these issues arguments that had compelling implications for longterm strategic thinking The validity of the diagnostic theses of Marxism however does not ride on the cogency of the strategic theses of classical Marxism We will rst examine the classical Marxist response embodied in Marx s theory of history historical materialism and the accompanying theory of capitalist development This will be followed by an alternative way of thinking about the strategic response to the diagnostic theses what we will call sociological Marxism Alternative 1 Historical Materialism as a Theory of the Future Thesis 7 The longterm nonsustainability of capitalism thesis In the long run capitalism is an unsustainable social order Its internal dynamics laws of motion will eventually destroy the conditions of its own reproducibility This means that capitalism is not merely characterized by episodes of crisis and decay but that these episodes have an inherent tendency to intensify over time in ways that make the survival of capitalism increasingly problematic Understanding this trajectory of capital accumulation and crisis tendencies was the central objective of Marx s political economic theory of capitalist development Thesis 8 The intensi cation of anticapitalist class struggle thesis The dynamics of capitalist development systematically tend to a increase the proportion of the population the working class whose interests are pervasively hurt by capitalism while at the same time b increase the collective capacity of the working class to challenge capitalism The result is an intensification of class struggle directed against capitalism This intensi cation of struggle thesis depends upon a speci c theory of the longterm trajectory of transformations of capitalist class structures GA Cohen expresses this very well Let us de ne four categories of people 1 the exploited 2 the poor 3 the producers of the wealth of society 4 The vast majority of the population What Marx argued was that over time these four categories increasingly correspond The rst two provide the motivations for struggles the interests against capitalism The last two explain the mpacity to challenge capitalism Sociology 121 Lectures 1 amp 2 9 Thesis 9 The revolutionary transformation thesis Since capitalism becomes increasingly unsustainable thesis 7 while the class forces arrayed against capitalism become increasingly numerous and capable of challenging capitalism thesis 8 eventually the social forces arrayed against capitalism will be sufficiently strong and capitalism itself su iciently weak that capitalism can be overthrown There is no time horizon on this thesis It is simply a derivation from the claims about two temporal trajectories the long term trajectory of increasingly problematic capitalist sustainability and the trajectory of increasingly power Jl opposition At some point this means that capitalism is not merely weak because of its internal crises and contradictions but it is vulnerable Two additional claims are often attached to this thesis Thesis 91 The necessity of rupture thesis the destruction of capitalism must be ruptural rather than incremental ie that the destruction takes place in a temporally condensed historical episode Thesis 92 Revolutionary violence thesis Because of the institutional power of the defenders of capitalism any radical rupture with capitalist social relations requires violent overthrow of the state rather than democratic capture Marxism as embodied in revolutionary movements especially after it was joined with Leninism came to be strongly identi ed with the theses of violent ruptural change but this does not really follow quotom the logic of the theory that generates the revolutionary transformation thesis Marx himself at times believed that the transformation of capitalism might be possible through democratic means In any case these propositions about the actual process of transformation should be regarded as historically contextual propositions rather than mdamental theses of Marxism Thesis 10 The transition to socialism thesis Given the ultimate non sustainability of capitalism thesis 7 and the interests and capacities of the social actors arrayed against capitalism thesis 8 in the aftermath of the destruction of capitalism through intensified class struggle thesis 9 socialism defined as a society in which the working class collectively controls the system of production is its most likely successor or in an even stronger version of the thesis its inevitable successor Marx never really provided a theory of socialism as such of the institutional properties of the successor society to capitalism Basically he felt that under conditions in which thesis 9 would be il lled socialism would be what he called an historical necessity There were would be power il co llectively organized agents with an interest in constructing a society within which the system of production was organized and controlled by the direct producers and they would have Sociology 121 Lectures 1 amp 2 10 the capacity to begin the construction Through some kind of trialanderror process of what is now called democratic experimentalism the design of socialist institutions would be creatively discovered Where there is a Will there is a Way and Necessity is the Parent of Invention would be the watchwords Thesis 11 The Communism Destination Thesis The dynamics of socialist development will lead to a strengthening of community solidarity and a progressive erosion of material inequalities so that eventually classes and the state will wither away resulting in the emergence of a communist society to each according to need from each according to ability The nal thesis of the classical Marxist theoryofthe iture speci es communism as the ultimate destination This is the thesis which gave revolutionary socialist parties their name Communist Parties It should be regarded as a visionary speculation rooted in a utopian imagination rather than a truly scienti c proposition for unlike the overthrow of mpitalism thesis it is not really grounded in arguments about causal processes that generate actual possibilities and tendencies Nevertheless it is important as de ning some of the central normative principles of the goals of antimpitalist struggle Assessment Taking these arguments together generates the fundamental predictions of classical Marxism about the destiny of capitalism capitalism has an inherent tendency to create the conditions both for its own destruction and for the triumph of socialism as an alternative As the economic reproduction of capitalism becomes more and more problematic and precarious agents with an interest in transforming capitalism increasingly have the capacity to effectively struggle against capitalism Eventually these curves cross capitalism becomes suf ciently weak and the challengers sufficiently strong that it can be transformed When this happens socialism is the predicted outcome because of the creative capacity and interests of the challengers This theoretical argument has a strongly deterministic quality to it the transition to socialism is a genuine prediction about the iture not just a speculation or a fond wish It is meant to be a scienti c prediction of the form given these tendencies which are generated by the inner workings of this kind of society we can predict with a fairly high level of con dence that capitalism will lead to socialism This determinism provided Marx with a solution to a very knotty problem how to render credible the idea of a radical emancipatory alternative to the existing structure of society The idea that the world could be fundamentally di erent than the way we experience it and above all that it could be eed of the oppressions and miseries of the world in which we now live is a fantastic thought To most people it will seem fantastically implausible How to make this idea of alternative credible One way is to build a careful positive argument for the institutional design of the alternative explaining how it would work and how it would alleviate various problems But given the magnitudes of the changes and the uncertainties of the Sociology 121 Lectures 1 amp 2 11 consequences of any speci c institutional arrangement in the absence of empirical observation this is a very problematic task The alternative is to develop a convincing deterministic theory of the longrun nonviability of capitalism and then postulate a kind of wherethereisawillthereisa way and neeecityisthemotherofinvention theory of building socialism If the theory of the demise of capitalism is compelling then there would be little need to speculate on the institutional design of this alternative Given the interests and capacities of the relevant social actors socialism would be invented through a process of pragmatic creative collective experiment alism when it became an historical necessity Note the contrast with feminism and the theory of the radical egalitarian alternative to male domination In the lived experience of women once consciousness has been raised about the nature of gender inequalities and oppression within male dominated societies there is little worry about the credibility of the alternative Whereas many Marxists and socialists wonder whether or not a society without class domination is really feasible few feminists believe that male domination is necessary for social life The egalitarian alternative may be dif cult to achieve but its feasibility is generally viewed as unproblematic As a result feminism doesn t need a deterministic theory of the demise of patriarchy as a way of rendering the alternative credible This is an elegant social theory enormously attractive to people committed to the moral and political agenda of an egalitarian democratic socialist iture Since struggles for social change are always arduous affairs particularly if one aspires to mdamental transformations of social structures having the con dence that the forces of history are on one s side and that eventually the system against which one is ghting will be unsustainable provides enormous encouragement The belief in the truth of this classical theory arguably is one the things which helped sustain communist struggles in the face of such overwhelming obstacles Unfortunately there is little evidence for the scienti c validity of the theory of the destiny of mpitalism as formulated While Marx s theory of capitalist dynamics and development contain many penetrating insights about the inner workings of capitalism in the period of unregulated early industrial capitalism with its sharp polarizations and chaotic crisis tendencies the actual trajectory of capitalism in the 20Lb century does not support the pivotal claims of the theory First the non sustainability of capitalism thesis While capitalism does contain inherent crisis tendencies there is no empirical evidence that these crises have any longterm tendency for intensi cation Furthermore there are serious aws in the principle theoretical arguments advanced by Marx that capitalism has inherent limits to its own sustainability In particular the most systematic argument for his predictions the theory of the tendency of the falling rate of pro t is unsatisfactory Marx believed on the basis of the labor theory of value that aggregate pro ts are generated exclusively by the labor of workers currently using the means of production what he called living labor Since capital intensity or what Marx called the organic composition of capital tends to increase with the development of capitalism and thus the costs of capital relative to labor increases over time the profitgenerating capacity of capitalism declines as a proportion of total costs and thus the rate of pro t will tend to decline This theoretical argument has been shown repeatedly to be unsatisfactory both because of aws in the Sociology 121 Lectures 1 amp 2 12 labor theory of value on which it is based and because of speci c aws in its argument about the impact of capital intensity on the rate of pro t The other main idea within classical Marxism for a tendency for crises to intensify in capitalism the problem of overproduction also does not yield any inherent intensi cation of crisis once it is recognized that the state and other innovative institutions are capable of generating increased demand to absorb excess production The rst mdamental thesis of the classical Marxist theory of the trajectory of capitalism the thesis that there is an inherent tendency for capitalism to eventually become unreproducible cannot therefore be sustained Second the intensification of anticaptial ist class struggles thesis and the revolutionary transformation thesis The theory of class formation and class struggle that underpins the arguments that socialism is the iture of capitalism is also problematic There is little evidence to support the classical Marxist view of an overriding tendency for structurallydetermined classes to become organized as collective actors around class interests and for the articulated class interests of workers so organized to become increasingly anticapitalist Instead of becoming simpli ed and more polarized class structures in capitalist societies are becoming more complex and differentiated Even within the working class instead of material conditions of life becoming more precarious and more homogeneous heterogeneity has increased on many dimensions in many parts of the world Furthermore even apart om the failures in its predictions about how the trajectory of capitalist development would affect the class structure classical Marxism did not anticipate that the various institutions of social reproduction that develop within capitalism would be so robust exible and e ective As a result there appears to be much more contingency and indeterminacy in the relationship between class structure class formation and class struggle even in the long run then was countenanced in the classical theory If capitalism has no inherent tendency to become progressively weakened and eventually unsustainable and if the class forces arrayed against mpitalism have no inherent tendency to become collectively stronger and more able to challenge capitalism then there are no solid grounds for predicting even in the long run that socialism is the probable iture of capitalism and posited in the transition to socialism thesis This does not of course imply the converse that socialism is not a possible future for capitalism or even that it is an improbable iture but simply that the traditional theory provides no rm basis for any predictions about the likelihood of this outcome If one rejects the historical destiny theses of classical Marxist theory one might well ask what s left of Marxism Perhaps all that is left are some scattered if still valuable insights of a Marxist legacy as suggested by the Using Marxism stance I will argue to the contrary that there remains a conceptual core to Marxism which can provide the foundation upon which Marxism can be rebuilt This reconstruction also builds on some ideas found in the classical Marxist tradition but ideas that were less illy elaborated than the theory of the destiny of capitalism With Michael Burawoy I call this the theory of the contradictory reproduction of capitalist class relations We are trying to build a sociological Marxism on this basis The strategy for reconstructing Marxism on thesis basis involves identifying salient causal processes within capitalist society which have broad rami cations for the nature of institutions in such societies and the prospects for emancipatory social change but it will not identify an inherent Sociology 121 Lectures 1 amp 2 13 dynamic process which propels such societies towards a speci c emancipatory destination The problem of challenging capitalism will remain a central anchor to this proposed sociological Marxism but socialism will no longer be viewed as an historiml necessity but as the potential outcome of strategy constraint and contingency Alternative 11 Sociological Marxism as a theory of the contradictory reproduction of capitalism Thesis 12 The social reproduction of class relations thesis By virtue of their exploitative con ict generating character class structures are inherently unstable forms of social relations and require active institutional arrangements for their reproduction This thesis leads to a specific kinds of prediction Where class relations exist it is predicted that various forms of politiml and ideological institutions will develop to defend and reproduce them In classical Marxism these were typically referred to as political and ideological superstructures which reproduced the economic base The standard argument was that superstructures particularly the state and ideology existed to protect the economic base quotom challenge This is one of the central ideas in thesis 4 how capitalism blocks egalitarianism Typically this argument in classical Marxism took the form of a strong functional explanation in which the form of the superstructure was explained by mctional requirement of reproducing the base I generally avoid the use of the term superstructure because of the tendency for this term to suggest too high a level of integration and coherence among those institutions involved in social reproduction as well as an image of mctional efficiency which I believe is unjusti ed Thesis 13 The contradictions of capitalism thesis By virtue of the dynamics of capitalist society the institutional solutions to the problems of social reproduction of capitalist class relations at any point in time have a systematic tendency to erode and become less functional over t39ane This is so for two principle reasons First the dynamics of capitalist development generate changes in technology the labor process class structure markets and other aspects of capitalist relations and these changes continually pose new problems of social reproduction In general earlier institutional solutions will cease to be optimal under such changed conditions Second class actors adapt their strategies in order to take advantages of weaknesses in existing institutional arrangements Over time these adaptive strategies tend to erode the ability of institutions of social reproduction to effectively regulate and contain class struggles Thesis 14 Institutional Crisis and Renovation thesis Because of the continual need for institutions of social reproduction thesis 1 and the tendency for the reproductive capacity of given institutional arrangements to erode over time thesis 12 institutions of social reproduction in capitalist societies will tend to be periodically renovated Sociology 121 Lectures 1 amp 2 14 The typical circumstance for such renovation will be institutional crisis a situation in which organized social actors particularly class actors come to experience the institutional supports as unsatisfactory often because they cease to be able to contain class con icts within tolerable limits These institutional renovations can be piecemeal or may involve dramatic institutional recon gurations There is no implication here either that the new institutional solutions will be optimal or that capitalism will collapse in the face of suboptimal arrangements What is claimed is that capitalist development will be marked by a sequence of institutional renovation episodes in response to the contradictions in the reproduction of capitalist relations Thesis 15 Nonevitability of Functional Optimality thesis The institutions of social reproduction that are constructed out of contradictions and crises need not be optimal for the functioning of capitalism or the interests of capital The actual form of these institutional solutions and the extent to which they intensify or mute the inegalitarian exploitative and oppressive logics of capitalism depends upon the balance of class and other social forces Thesis 16 The Real Utopias Thesis The historical trajectory of capitalist development does not create an immanent necessity of emancipatory transformation but nevertheless the contradictory functioning of capitalism opens up the possibility for emancipatory futures The realization of that possibility depends upon struggles within capitalism to create and advance institutional spaces for radical egalitarian redistributions of material conditions deepened democratic forms of governance and solidaristic communities Lecture 9 Sociology 621 WHAT IS CLASS October 5 2005 I ALTERNATIVE CLASS CONCEPTS If class is the answer what is the question 1 Class as Subjective location How do people classify themselves in the system of social stratification 2 Class as Distributional Location How are people located objectively in distributions of material inequality 3 Class as Empirical Summary of Stratification To what extent do the different empirical dimensions of social inequality coincide in ways which constitute empirically distinguishable groups 4 Class as Market Opportunity structure What determines the basic life chances of individuals in a market society 5 Class as the basis for economic con ict What forms of con ict are most systematically linked to the social organization of production 6 Class as Historical Variation How should we characterize and explain the variations across history in the social organization of inequalities 7 Class and social emancipation What sorts of transformations are needed to eliminate economic oppression and exploitation within capitalist societies II THE CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATIONS OF MARXIST COINCEPT OF CLASS A Step by step guide Step 1 Relational vs gradational concepts 0 explain what a relation is Step 2 What kind of relations constitute class relations Step 2a The concept of relations of production 0 Assets have to be deployed in production tools raw materials deployment can be described in technical terms a production function relational terms lights and powers of actors note power and rights over things relations between people Sociology 621 Lecture 9 What Is Class Step 2b Class relations as a form of production relations when these rights and powers are unequally distributed Step 3 Variations in class relations 0 key idea qualitatively different kinds of relations 0 of course also quantitative variation gap between rich amp poor can be big or little 0 qualitative variation is more crucial what can be owned 0 consider slavery people can be owned 0 pure slavery absolute property rights in people feudalism joint ownership in the labor resource of the peasant by lord and sef Step 4 Class locations within class relations 0 the places occupied by people 0 simple polarization 9 two categories within every relation 0 we will see that there are lots of complications Step 5 Micro and Macro class analysis 0 macro concept class structure the totality of all the class relations within some unit of analysis its class structure 7 class structures of countries of cities of corporations of the world 0 micro impact on the lives of persons within relations via two primary processes iexperiences amp interests Experiences refers to things that happen to you because you are in a class location interests to what you have to do to meet your material needs because of your class position Step 6 The Explanatory Claims The fundamental theses of class analysis 0 What you have determines what you get and o What you have determines what you have to do to get what you get Step 7 Marxist class analysis the speci city of class mechanisms Exploitation a way of talking about how the interests of people within class relations are antagonist Domination a way of talking about control over activities You can have domination without exploitation but exploitation always entails at least indirect domination Sociology 621 Lecture 9 What Is Class 3 III CLASS AS A CRITICAL CONCEPT Within Marxism the analysis of the e ects of class in capitalism is always from the point of View of the abolition of capitalist class relations IV A REPERTOIRE OF CLASS CONCEPTS 1 Class structure 2 Class Interests 3 C lass formation 4 Class capacities 5 Class practices 6 Class struggle 7 Class consciousness Lecture 16 Sociology 621 November 9 2005 RATIONALITY SOLIDARITY AND CLASS STRUGGLE Solidarity As An Element In Class Formation Solidarity is one of the pivotal aspects of class formation particularly for subordinate classes As I will de ne it solidarity refers to the willingness of individual members of a class to support the collective struggles of the class This includes both active participation such as joining a strike and what could be termed passive support such as not crossing a picket line In both cases solidarity implies a willingness on the part of individuals to bear certain kinds of individual costs in order to achieve some kind of collectively desirable goal The capacity for workers to struggle for their class interests against capitalists hinges centrally on their ability to maintain solidarity As Claus Offe argues the central resource of working class organizations engaged in struggle is people their time their energy their ability to labor and withhold labor While nancial resources of working class parties and unions may also be important the fundamental basis of working class power is the ability to mobilize people for collective action and this depends to a signi cant degree on solidarity Understanding more systematically exactly what solidarity is and what conditions sustain or undermine it therefore is one of the central problems in the study of class formation I Solidarity and the free rider problem Jon Elster argues that solidarity should be understood as a particular solution to what is generally called the free rider problem Collective action is problematic whenever for each potential participant there is a cost in participating in the collective action and the result of the collective action is a public good which can be enjoyed by participants and nonparticipants alike In these circumstances every rational agent is tempted to be a free rider Thus workers in a rm may have an acknowledged interest in the successful outcome of a strike but in View of the costs of participation none may have an interest in personally contributing to a successful outcome particularly since no one person s participation will make a difference in the outcome If all individuals reason in this way then all will free ride and the public good will not be produced In these circumstances individual utility maximizing will have produced an outcome worse in terms of each agent s interests than could have come about had individuals not individually maximized utility This kind of situation is a speci c example applied to the problem of collective action of the prisoner s dilemma game we discussed in the last lecture Lecture 16 Rationality Solidarity amp Class Struggle 2 Examples of these sorts of dilemmas occur constantly in history The tragedy of the commons where each individual abuses a commonly held resource in pursuit of individual advantage with the result that everyone s ability to bene t from the resource is reduced is not just a theoretical story told to illustrate a point but a pervasive historical experience as well Social movements are constantly faced with difficulties in getting potential participants to accept the sacri ces of struggle given that each individuals participation is unlikely to make a decisive difference in the outcome and if the movement succeeds the benefits will accrue to nonparticipants as well Yet class struggles and other popular social movements involving considerable sacrifce on the part of participants occur throughout history People do not universally choose to free ride on other people s efforts Understanding how this occurs Elster argues is the heart of understanding solidarity 1 The formal structure of the free rider problem To see how Elster develops this analysis of solidarity it will be helpful to lay out the details of the free rider problem somewhat more formally Imagine a strategic game involving two actors me and everyone else Each of these actors faces a simple strategic choice whether to participate in a collective action or to abstain For any pair of choices there is a specific payoff to each of the actors The payoffs faced by me are represented in the matrix below EVERYONE ELSE Cooperates Defects Cooperates A C ME Defects B D 2 Three quantities defined by this table are particularly important in Elster s analysis AD the gain from cooperation ie the difference between what the individual gets if everyone including the single individual cooperates versus everyone abstains B A the gain from free riding ie the difference between what the individual gets by abstaining while everyone else cooperates versus what that individuals gets if heshe participates along with everyone else Note if my individual participation significantly affects the probability of success BA could be negative Lecture 16 Rationality Solidarity amp Class Struggle 3 DC the loss from unilateralism ie the loss the individual experiences by being the only person to participate in the struggle sometimes also called the sucker penalty 3 The PD preference ordering If individuals are sel sh and rational then their preference ordering for these strategic pairs is BADC ie Me prefers B over A A over D and D over C This preference ordering represents the classic freerider problem Clearly Elster writes whatever anyone else does it is in my interest to abstain If all others engage in collective action I can get the free rider benefit by abstaining and if everyone else abstains I can avoid the loss from unilateralism by abstaining too Since the reasoning applies to each agent all will decide to abstain and no collective action will be forthcoming Making Sense of Marx p360 The strategic action dilemma arises because while every individual actor prefers alternative A to D universal cooperation to universal abstension they end up with cell D since they all prefer B to A But working class solidarity conceived as a generalized disposition of workers to cooperate as a class has existed in varying degrees in different times and places and it is of paramount importance to Marxian theory and practice to comprehend this phenomenon and so far as possible to determine the conditions for its fuller realization 4 A false solution It might seem that this problem of freeriding in collective struggles can be avoided by trying to explain class struggle in terms of the strictly collective bene t to the group that accures from the struggle without reference to individuals Working class struggle occurs and takes the forms it does it might be thought because it is in the collective interests of the working class as such This kind of answer is unsatisfactory for two reaons First and most importantly it basically begs the question since individuals do make choices to participate or not participate in struggles and this needs explaining Secondly if specifying the collective interests in an outcome were sufficient to explain individual participation then the theoretical problem becomes why collective actions so often do not occur even though the group as a whole would benefit from them The task then is to explain why individuals choose to participate in struggles in spite of the material payoffs illustrated in the above matrix Elster argues that such explanations should proceed through the following steps first assume that behaviour is both rational and self interested if this does not work assume at least rationality only if this is unsuccessful too should one assume that individual participation in collective action is irrational Making Sense ofMarx p359 This order is not meant to prejudge the substantive question of which kind of explanation is best It could well be that individual participations in collective actions are Lecture 16 Rationality Solidarity amp Class Struggle 4 generally deeply irrational As I argued in section 61 however heuristically the best strategy in general for producing explanations of strategic interactions is to move through these steps 11 Solutions to the free rider problem in collective actions 1 Collective Action with Rational Selfish Actors Given the payoff matrix above how is collective action possible if each individual is sel sh and rational The solution Elster discusses under these assumptions is to treat the game as an inde nite sequence of games or what is called an iterative game rather than a oneshot affair When the game is played many times actors begin to take into consideration the likely response of other actors in future moves in the game to their present choices Strategies in short begin to have a temporal dimension to them For example each actor may adopt the metastrategy of tit for ta always choosing the same strategy as the opponent did in the previous game It is known that when the game is continually replayed players who employ cooperative strategies at least some of the time generally do better than those who do not It has therefore been suggested by some theorists eg Robert Axelrod in The Evolution of C ooperation New York Basic Books 1984 that cooperative strategies will tend to evolve through selection in much the way that Darwin hypothesized evolution through selection for tness Elster is skeptical about the prospects for stably overcoming the freerider problem through this route so long as selfinterest remains preemiment and defection is an overriding temptation It is apparently for this reason that in explaining class formation he privileges changes in consciousness which alter the preferences of the actors 2 Collective Action with Rational Nonselfish Agents conditional altruism amp assurance game The premise of the freerider problem was that the preference ordering of individuals facing the payoff matrix above was BADC that is that they would prefer to reap the benefits of struggle without paying the costs There is no reason however for people necessarily to have radically selfish preference orderings of this kind People may derive positive utility from gains that accure to others not simply from their own individual gains Where such altrusitic values are in place the freerider gain B A in the payoff matrix could completely disappear and thus the overall preference ordering may be ABDC rather than BADC One way of seeing how altruistic values would shift the payoff matrix is by imposing a guiltfine for being a freerider Simply valuing the welfare of others would not be sufficient to induce participation since one s own participation would still make such a little difference in the likely outcome of the struggle compared to the individual cost of participation What altruism genuinely valuing the welfare of others does however is make people feel guilty for being a Lecture 16 Rationality Solidarity amp Class Struggle 5 freerider and this changes the relative magnitude of the payoffs In such situations cooperation may appear as a solution to the game This change of preference ordering however does not reduce the loss from unilateralism the costs an individual faces by being a sucker and engaging in struggle when everyone else abstains Even without the freerider gains therefore individuals will not individually choose to engage in collective action because of the losses from unilateralism unless they are confident that others will cooperate as well ie they prefer D universal abstension to C being a sucker and suffering the loss of unilateralism This implies even where people hold genuinely altruistic values collective action requires significant information about what other people will do Nonselfish rational behavior will therefore generally take the form of conditional altruism rather than unconditional altruism each individual prefers to cooperate if and only if the others can be expected to do likewise This is called an Assurance Game you cooperate if you have assurance that others will do so as well Elster s Punchline Conditional altruism constitutes the essential content of class solidarity Class solidarity will be high when two conditions are met a the preference ordering of conditional altruism is deeply held by most workers and b the information conditions are present such that each worker has reasonable confidence that other workers will participate in the struggle 3 Collective Action with Irrational Agents There are many ways in which irrationality may enter into an explanation of collective action Individuals may decide to participate in collective actions because of the irrational belief that their personal participation will actually make an important difference in the probability of success Or they may participate out of rage in which they make no calculations at all of the consequences or the effectiveness of their action Or they may participate because of wishful thinking about the likely personal costs of participation eg subjectively underestimating the probability of being killed or wounded in a battle Whether these kinds of irrational beliefs and motivations play a large or small role in explaining actual class formation and class struggle is an empirical question They are not needed however to de ne solidarity itself Solidarity is not a willingness to make personal sacrifices for the common good based on irrational beliefs or motivations but rather a rational strategy for realizing certain values given rational expectations of the behavior of others Lecture 16 Rationality Solidarity amp Class Struggle 6 111 Social Conditions for Solidarity The reason for elaborating the concept of solidarity as a particular kind of solution to the free rider problem is not simply for the sake of a more rigorous de nition Rather this characterization of the strategic action problem of class solidarity is important because it helps to focus our attention on the likely factors that could explain the variability across time and place in solidarity The claim that conditional altruism is the essential content of solidarity implies that the determinants of solidarity can be broken down into two primary categories those determinants which directly shape the preference orderings of workers and those which affect the information conditions necessary for conditional altruistic 1 f to be 39 J into quot quot action The various social factors commonly treated as important determinants of solidarity can be analyzed in these terms Let us look brie y at three of these the concentration and interdependence of workers in production the stability of working class communities and the role of leadership and organization 1 Concentration and Interdependence of Workers Marx emphasized the importance of the increasing concentration of workers in large factories and their growing interdependence within the labor process for increasing the likelihood of solidaristic struggles How do these social structural changes work through the mechanisms discussed above Increasing interdependence it can be argued is likely to have a particularly important effect on the preference orderings of workers increasing the extent to which workers care about each other Interdependence acts as a counterforce to the competitive pressures of the labor market pressures which underwrite selfrsh preference orderings Marx certainly felt that competition undermined solidarity of workers In a passage from the German Ideology quoted by Elster Marx writes Competition separated individuals from one another not only the bourgeoisie but still more the workers in spite of the fact that it brings them together quoted on p355 in Making Sense of Marx The division of labor within production and the accompanying interdependence of workers in what Marx sometimes calls the Collective Worker would tend to produce preferences in which the welfare of coworkers became important Increasing concentration in large factories on the other hand is an important determinant of solidarity not simply because it may change workers preferences but also because of its impact on the information conditions for struggle In contrast to small holding peasants dispersed throughout the countryside or workers in small shops the concentration of workers in large factories facilitates communication among them and increases each worker s ability to predict the behavior of others Since conditional altruism will lead to active solidarity only when workers are reasonably confident that other workers will join the struggle concentration facilitates solidarity by increasing the knowledge workers have of each other Lecture 16 Rationality Solidarity amp Class Struggle 7 2 Community The stability of working class communities bears strongly on both conditions for solidarity Conditional altruistic preferences do not fall from heaven they are created and reproduced through the lived experience of reciprocities of helping and sharing in times of distress and need Such experiences are likely to be more pervasive in communities which are basically class homogeneous than communities which have deep cleavages within them They are also likely to be more pervasive when there is a long time horizon in which people experience such reciprocities particularly where individual experiences are extended intergenerationally and become part of historical memory Suburbanization fragmentation of communities high residence turnover and geographical mobility are likely to atomize preferences and reinforce egoism by breaking this historical memory of past reciprocities and reducing the individual experiences of helping and sharing Community structures also affect the information conditions of struggle It takes time for people to get to know their neighbors to be able to predict their responses to particular conditions Newcomers to communities are often hesitant to be active participants in struggles not just because they may care less for their neighbors but because they have less reason to trust them and be trusted If there is high levels of mobility in communities therefore it will be harder for people to have the necessary confidence in the good faith of others to decide to participate in collective struggles 3 Leadership activists and organization Marxists particularly since Lenin have always argued for the importance of formal organization and leadership in class struggle The spontaneous collective actions of workers can never by themselves achieve sufficient coherence and capacity to transform capitalism leadership and organization must be added to those struggles to make them effective In addition to the obvious importance of leadership for sheer coordination of struggle Elster emphasizes two other roles for leadership which bear directly on our analysis of solidarity first the effects of leadership and organization on the information conditions for collective struggle and second the potential importance of a core of unconditional altruists within a social movement for the movement to reach the necessary threshhold for wider participation Leadership and organization play a particularly vital role in facilitating predictability and knowledge among potential participants in collective struggle Elster writes If one individual knows and is trusted by one hundred people he can create the information conditions by two hundred transactions first asking each of them about their willingness to join the collective action and then telling each about the willingness of everyone else By contrast bilateral communication between the hundred will require about five thousand acts Lecture 16 Rationality Solidarity amp Class Struggle 8 of communication The information gains from leadership can be quite substantial Making Sense ofMarx p366367 Leadership and organization thus provides potential participants with an indirect communication network essential to convincing them that they will not be suckers in a collective action struggle A second important role for leaders or perhaps what could more generally be called activists revolves around the preference orderings needed for class formation In our discussion so far we have characterized solidarity as conditional altruism in which individuals are willing to cooperate in collective struggles so long as they are assured that others are willing to participate as well The conditionality of conditional altruism however should be regarded as a variable rather than an absolute The threshold level of expectation of other people s participation therefore may vary considerably across a population of potential participants Some individual s will only participate if they are confident virtually everyone else will participate others will participate so long as they know they would at least have a small group of comrades in struggle Unconditional altruists are then the limiting case people who are willing to participate in the collective action regardless of anyone else s participation This variability of participation threshold creates the possibility for activists to create snowball effects in collective struggles a hard core of unconditional cooperators may make it easier for others to join One may imagine a snowball effect where a hard core of 5 per cent unconditional cooperators attract another 10 per cent who need at least 5 per cent already participating thus making it possible to attract another 30 per cent who need at least 15 per cent cooperators etc Making Sense ofMarx p364 Leadership and organization thus not only coordinate action and facilitate communication but may provide the necessary motivations to allow a process of solidarity activation to occur Imagine concentric circles of participation thresholds leadership core cadre active masses passive masses Cadre are pivotal in this process they are the bridge between leadership and masses in a movement Lecture 17 Sociology 621 November 14 2005 THE DILEMMAS OF WORKING CLASS COLLECTIVE ACTION Classes are not simply formed or unformed organized or disorganized They are organized in particular manners with historically speci c interrelationships with the class formation of other classes One of the important tasks of a Marxist analysis of class formation is to understand the variability in types of class formation and the central determinants of this variability In the last weeks of the semester we will examine the various ways in which the state and ideology help to shape the specific forms of class struggle and class formation In this session our focus will be more on the material basis which underlies different class formations I Stating the Problem 1 Why is reformism the universal form of working class politics in developed capitalism Marxists traditionally distinguish broadly two ideal types of class struggle revolutionary class struggle in which the struggle is over the fundamental rules of the game socialism vs capitalism and reformist class struggles in which struggle is over interests within a given set of basic rules of the game Corresponding to these forms of class struggle is a distinction in class formations class formations organized around the tasks of revolutionary transformation and class formations oriented towards reformist struggle This distinction poses a basic puzzle for Marxism If Marxists are correct and the interests of the working class are fundamentally opposed to those of the bourgeoisie if these are intrinsically polarized classes why is it the case that in no advanced capitalist country is the working class a revolutionary class How can the theoretical claim of antagonistic class relations be reconciled with the pervasive empirical fact that in the most developed capitalist countries class struggles overwhelmingly take the basic rules of the game for granted This is not to say of course that all reformisms are identical There are deep and important differences among the various types of reformism that have characterized the history of the advanced capitalist nations from full incorporation and class quot 39 quot to criti a1 Fr quot 39 r 39 reformism But the fact remains that no Western working class is struggling for a rupture in capitalism How is this to be explained In the next lecture on class compromise we will explore one kind of answer to this question the dynamic of struggle between workers and capitalists opens a space within which class compromise may be possible Here we will explore a quite different answer offered by Claus Offe and Helmut Weisenthal in their analysis of the intra organizational dilemmas of working class formation 2 Two rejected explanations misleadership amp false consciousness Both Przeworski and 0ampW reject two common explanations of reformism or what Offe and Weisenthal term opportunism First the reformism of working class associations both unions and parties is often attributed to misleadership Leaders are accused of being sellouts and corrupt or at best misguided The absence of revolutionary struggle re ects a failure of will on the part of the leadership of the working class andor working class organizations Lecture 17 Dilemmas of Class Formation 2 Alternatively the failure is attributed to the subjectivity of workers false consciousness Workers are the victims of ideological indoctrination from above deception by bourgeois media propaganda anticommunist mystification In the absence of such ideological manipulation workers would engage in revolutionary struggle Both OffeWeisenthal and Przeworski reject these subjectivist explanations While they do allow an important role for ideology in their respective explanations of class compromise the central mechanisms are not to be found in duplicity on the part of leaders or ideological susceptibility on the part of workers Rather the central mechanisms are rooted in the dilemmas of collective action imposed on the working class by the logic of capitalism Offe and Weisenthal analyze these dilemmas in terms of their effects on the associational practices of Opportunism within working class organizations Przeworski analyses them in terms of their effects on the terms of struggle between workers and capitalists Both analyses share a common overarching claim that the basic mechanism which explains reformism centers on the constraints and dilemmas faced by rational strategically acting workers 3 Opportunism and Associational Practices Offe and Weisenthal s analysis revolves around the concept of Opportunism Needless to say this is a highly pejorative label used in political debates as a way of impugning the integrity of particular political positions Offe and Weisenthal are less interested in condemnation however than in understanding the material basis for the kinds of associational practices that are typically linked with the accusation What then is Opportunism Offe and Weisenthal identify three primary attributes 1 an inversion of means over ends in which maintenance of the organization has higher priority than the pursuit of the goals of the organization 2 a preoccupation with shortterm gains and losses rather than longterm possibilities 3 primacy of tactics over strategy The task is to explain the pervasive fact that to a greater or lesser extent these three attributes have generally characterized the working class formation in advanced capitalist societies Offe and Weisenthal make three very interesting propositions about underlying logic of Opportunism 1 Structural logic Opportunism is an organizational response to the structural logic of collective action faced by workers Lecture 17 Dilemmas of Class Formation 3 2 Dynamic logic Opportunism is a selflimiting phenomenon it erodes the conditions for its own rationality and thus there is a tendency for a cycle to exist between opportunism and militancy 3 Historical logic Because a kind of historical learning process occurs across cycles each cycle occurs at a higher level of potential mobilization the historical trajectory thus has a tendency to be a spiral rather than a simple cycle Let us begin by looking at the nature of the structural logic of the problem 11 The structural logic Dilemmas of Strategic Action The basic assumption of most political sociologists who write about collective action is that all potentially organized groups face fundamentally similar dilemmas of collective action While groups may differ dramatically in the content of their demands and the resources they have available to pursue their demands they all face a similar agenda of tasks in becoming effective collective actors Above all prisoner s dilemmas and free rider problems pose logically equivalent problems of mobilization and action for all potential interest groups 1 Contrast of logics of collective action of workers amp capitalists In an important essay on the problem of class formation Two Logics of Collective Action see readings for reference Claus Offe and Helmut Weisenthall argue that this basic assumption of pluralist theory is incorrect Different groups they argue may differ profoundly in the very logics of collective action which they face In particular such differences in logics of collective action are important in understanding the problem of class formation for workers and capitalists The differences in these logics they argue is rooted in the qualitatively different natures of the class interests and inherent class capacities of workers and capitalists 1 Interests Capitalists and workers face different problems in knowing or discovering their true interests ie in eliminating distortions in their understandings of their interests Interests are transparent to capitalists but are discoverable only through dialogue for workers 2 Capacities Workers and capitalists have different inherent capacities for struggle for the realization of their interests and thus must do qualitatively different things in order to act strategically In particular capitalists only have to mobilize financial resources whereas workers have to mobilize people This creates a profound difference in the dilemmas of collective action which they face In the rest of this lecture we will look in detail at the arguments developed by Offe and Weisenthal to sustain this contrast in the logic of collective action of workers and capitalists In Lecture 17 Dilemmas of Class Formation 4 particular we will discuss three aspects of what Offe and Weisental call the problem of associational practices of labor and capital inputs what has to be organized internal processes the dynamics within organizations created to realize the interests of members and outputs the conditions for strategic success imposed by the environment of the association 2 INPUTS what do different associations organize The starting point for understanding the speci city of different logics of collective action for different classes is to ask what do different associations organize In particular we want to ask what do associations of workers and associations of capitalists organize Following Offe and Weisenthal we will focus our attention on trade unions for the working class and on employers associations for the capitalist class rather than on political parties What then do unions organize In Offe and Weisenthal s view the crucial fact about unions is not simply that they organize workers but that they organize workers who are already members of capitalist organizations that is workers who are already employees in capitalist firms Unions are thus secondary organizers whose task is to reorganize workers already organized by capital 21 The insuperable individuality of workers The central property of this input according to Offe and Weisenthal is what they call the insuperable individuality of workers You can merge units of capital into everlarger and more powerful integral units but you cannot merge living labor it remains intractably discrete Individual workers own their individual labor power but confront an integrated capital capital can grow in its individual power by capital accumulation workers always remain weak as individual labor powers The power of workers to confront capital therefore requires their organized association This insuperable individuality of workers has pervasive consequences for the interests pursued by workers associations and for power of those associations In terms of interests the implication of the inseparability of workers from their labor power is that the interests bound up with the sale of labor power are vastly more complex and heterogeneous than those bound up with the ownership of capital In terms of power the implication is that working class power cannot be enhanced simply by adding together more and more labor power it must be built on forging solidarities among the owners of that labor power Let s look at each of these issues a bit more closely 22 INTEREST AGGREGATION Because the full scope of workers lives are linked to their role in exchange workers associations therefore face the problem of somehow or other aggregating the heterogeneous interests workers bring to their class positions In contrast for Lecture 17 Dilemmas of Class Formation 5 employers associations there is a simple readymade criterion for all interestcalculations pro t monetary costs and returns The interests of capitalists in their role as owners of capital are xed pregiven by the nature of the market The only issue facing employers associations is the best means for realizing these interests The interests of workers even in their role as sellers of labor power are not xed not fully de ned by the market precisely because the worker cannot separate himherself as a living human being from labor power The result of this difference in the nature of interests of workers and capitalists is that the process of representing those interests organizationally is much simpler for capitalists This as we will see below has important consequences for the internal processes within capitalist and working class organizations Capitalist interests are transparent and thus are capable of being articulated by experts in what Offe and Weisenthal following Habermas call a mtmologic process ie a process of top down one way communication between leadership and members Workers associations must somehow or other discover what constitutes the interests of their members and thus need much more dialogic processes of communication and interaction ie forms of communication that are symmetrical participatory and open between leadership and members 23 POWER ACCUMULATION The problem of power accumulation is just as dif cult for workers associations as interest aggregation Working class power cannot be aggregated in a simple additive way the atomization of workers is an inherent problem not just a result of external manipulation by capitalists It is intrinsic to the asymmetry between capital and labor since the worker cannot be separated from the labor power heshe sells on the labor market the power of workers cannot be enhanced by literally accumulating labor power it must be continually constituted by forging solidarity among workers as persons Workers power depends fundamentally on solidaritieS39a capitalist power does not In attempting to forge such solidarity individual workers face a deep dilemma in terms of the interests which working class associations pursue So long as individual workers calculate the costs and bene ts of participation in collective organizations and collective action strictly in terms of individual material bene ts such participation will always be problematic Because capitalists are individually so much more powerful than workers they are in a much stronger position to punish individual workers for such participation than workers are individually able to punish capitalists ie in general being red is a bigger threat to individual workers than quitting is a threat to capitalists If the only value which unions pursue are the atomized interests of workers the interests of workers taken individually then such organizations will be permanently vulnerable to the disintegrative effects of prisoners dilemmas and free riders Indeed this is one of defining what it means to describe a class as dominant it has a capacity to impose prisoners dilemmas on challenging class to intensify free riding problems These observations lead Offe and Weisenthal to an important conclusion Lecture 17 Dilemmas of Class Formation 5 Those in inferior power positions can increase their potential for change only by overcoming the comparatively higher costs of collective action by changing the standards according to which these costs are subjectively estimated within their own collectivityThe logic of collective action of the relatively powerless differs from that of the relatively powerful in that the former implies a paradox absent from the latter the paradox that interests can only be met to the extent that they are partly rede ned Therefore the organizations of the relatively powerless must always simultaneously express and define the interests of their members Offe and Weisenthal p7879 Or to use Elster s terms working class associations must try to create the conditions for conditional altruism if they are to be able to shift the balance of power with capital Solidarity community common fate these must become part of the subjective calculus of workers if collective action is able to shift the balance of power Capitalist associations need not rely on such deep commitments These arguments suggest that in the case of working class formations there is a deep causal interconnection between the interests pursued by working class organizations and the power of those organizations In all instances of class formation the power of classbased associations helps to explain the extent to which different class interests can be realized This is true for both the working class formation and the capitalist class formation In the case of working class formation however they reverse causal relation also exists the transformation of the interests that are represented within working class organizations helps to explain the power of those organization This dialectical relationship between interests and power within the working class defines its distinctive logic of class formation 3 ORGANIZATIONAL PROCESSES The above comments on the interests and power of workers and capitalists has direct implications for the kinds of organizations they need to create in order to effectively pursue their interests More specifically employers and workers associations differ fundamentally on what it is that determines the power base and this in turn affects their internal processes For employers associations the power base depends essentially on the sanctioning abilities of individual members not the organization as such Business associations are powerful because their members are individually powerful and can individually impose sanctions on workers in con ict situations The result of this is that the activities of the organization depend primarily on the willingness of members to provide funds to the organization and the direction of those activities can be broadly delegated to a monologz39c leadership that is a leadership which relates to the associational membership primarily in oneway topdown communication Lecture 17 Dilemmas of Class Formation 7 In sharp contrast the power base of workers association depends almost entirely upon the sanctioning ability of the association not the individual members and this sanctioning ability depends in turn upon the willingness to act of the members especially their willingness to strike The power of even the most bureaucratic union thus ultimately rests on the reality of membership support This contrast between power based on the willingness to pay vs willingness to act generates very different leadership tasks and dilemmas for employers and workers associations Labor unions unlike employer associations face a basic contradiction between the conditions for the accumulation of power and the exercise of power In order to accumulate power unions must do two things first they must attempt to increase their membership anal the financial resources controlled by the union and second they must increase the bureaucratic control over these resources in order to ensure that these resources will be effectively used and coordinated in struggles In order to exercise power on the other hand unions depend upon the degree to which the association is able reinforce solialarities anal commitments among members This in turn depends to a signi cant extent upon the degree to which the internal structure of the union organization is governed by dialogic forms of communication interactions which are fundamentally participatory and help to forge collective identities that shield the organization from free rider problems All things being equal increasing size and centralization undermine such solidaristic interaction and in this sense unions typically face a trade off between the accumulation anal exercise of power The history of the labor movement is rife with examples of rich unions that cannot mobilize to strike vs militant small unions that cannot afford to strike Working class formation thus generally faces a range of organizational antinomies that are absent from capitalist class formation mobilization of resources vs mobilization of activity increasing the size of the organization vs increasing the strength of collective identity building the bureaucracatic efficiency of the organization vs deepening democratic participation within the organization These are deep tradeoffs inherent in the nature of working class interests and conditions of struggle Because these antinomies cannot be eliminated they result as we shall see below in tendencies within working class associations for internal organizational practices to oscillate between dialogic and monologic forms punctuated by periods of organizational crisis and reconstruction Employer associations lack these dilemmas and thus tend to have more continuous less crisisridden organizational histories Lecture 17 Dilemmas of Class Formation 8 4 OUT PUT S The criteria and mechanisms of success for workers and employers associations are entirely different Capitalist association is not the basis of capitalist power it merely serves to rationalize that power Employers associations are largely devoted to improving the functioning of the market to reducing uncertainties and providing information to members and other constituencies Basic capitalist interests are reproduced by mechanisms that are independent of the activities of any associated action of capitalists Workers associations on the other hand do constitute the essential basis of working class power The mechanisms for success depend crucially upon the nature of the con ict environment in which working class association operate Where such 39 quot lack 39 quot quot 39 39 quot39 J by employers success depends upon the ability of the association to actually mobilize collective action to impose sanctions on capitalists Under conditions of stable bargaining relations in contrast success depends upon the ability to threaten mobilization and restrain actual collective action in the face of agreements with employers This again reinforces the internal tensions within working class associations for the ability to restrain mobilization depends upon the extent of bureaucratic control within the association while the ability to actually mobilize collective action depends upon the degree of active participation and involvement by members 5 CONCLUSION Working class associations face deep and at least within capitalist society unresolvable tensions These tensions can be summarized in a series of interconnected propositions 1 Workers material interests can be collectively advanced only through association 2 The ability of workers associations to realize these interests depends upon the willingness of members to act to make real sacrifices for collective goals 3 The willingness of members to act depends upon the extent to which workers feel high levels of solidarity and commitment 4 High levels of solidarity depend upon the transformation of interests from purely individual material interests to interests bound up with collective identity 5 This transformation depends upon the existence of dialogic reciprocal forms of interaction within associations engaged in struggle 6 But the ability to actually succeed in struggles with employers to forge bargains and win concessions depends upon the ability of the leadership of workers association to contain militancy to restrain mobilization to live up to the promises made in a bargaining Lecture 17 Dilemmas of Class Formation 9 arrangement And this ability to control membership is enhanced by monologic forms of organization 7 Such monologic forms of organization ultimately undermine the basis of power of working class associations 8 Taken together these processes generate a contradiction between two models of working class class formation a dialogic model of associational representation through struggle and a monologic model of the dissociation of representation anal struggle These propositions suggest that there is a fundamental divergence between two organizational models which characterize working class formation Following Offe and Weisenthal these can be referred to as a dialogic model of associational representation through struggle and a monologic model of the dissociation of representation anal struggle Corporatism and other forms of modern representation of working class can be thought of as attempts at institutionalizing the latter and thus undermining the possibilities for dialogic organizational practices Specific examples of this would include legal restrictions on legitimate union demands industrial citizenship rights grievance committees and procedures formal plant rights codermination elections etc which dissociate representation from struggle and various mechanisms which generate organizational fragmentation of communication eg postal ballots for strike votes 111 The Historical Trajectory of Working Class Formation Offe amp Weisenthal s analysis The result of this structural logic and the dynamics it sets in motion is a particular kind of historical trajectory a theory of a spiraling cycle of opportunism anal militancy that can be decomposed into five general stages Stage I This is the initial period of class formation in which a small tightly knit group of militants engage in primary organizing activities The associational practices are highly dialogic and participatory the effectiveness of the association is almost entirely based on the willingness to act Stage I This is the phase of consolidation The organization has gained sufficient strength and public recognition that part of its power comes from its ability to make threats rather than simply its ability actually impose sanctions on adversaries In the case of unions this means that the threat of strikes becomes more important than actual strikes While this clearly augments the power of the association it also imposes two contradictory imperatives On the one hand there is what can be termed a survival imperative the organization must maintain the credibility of the threats if it is to survive This requires mobilization continual recruitment sustained militancy On the other hand the organization faces a success imperative it must show that it can control the threats it makes and be capable of Lecture 17 Dilemmas of Class Formation 1 delivering on promises made in response to these threats This requires that the leadership be in a position to control the organization and restrain the militancy of members These coexistence of these two imperatives creates a maximum tension between monologic and dialogic forms of associational practice the need for mobilization requires dialogic forms the need for control requires monologic forms Offe and Weisenthal argue that there are two basic ways in which this tenstion can be resolved either the organization can return to stage I or it can attempt to create external guarantees for the survival of the organization This ushers in stage III Stage III This is the stage of full edged opportunism the triumph of monologic over dialogic forms of associational practice In order to resolve the tensions of stage II the leadership of the organization seeks external guarantees for the survival of the organization most importantly external legal guarantees from the state The objective of these guarantees is in Offe and Weisenthal s words to make the organization s survival as independent as possible of the motivation the solidarity and the willingness to act of the members p 107 Of particular importance is labor legislation which legally protects union rights and survivability both by making unions less vulnerable to attack by employers and by making it possible for unions to recruit members and thus obtain nancial resources in the form of membership dues without having to mobilize workers in active atruggles To obtain these external guarantees of course the union has to give something up in return What they give up is militancy They promise to be responsible to institutionalize internal controls within the union over militants in exchange for security In short they agree to adopt the organizational practices described as Opportunism above Opportunism is thus institutionalized as a rational strategy of insuring organizational continuity In Offe and Weisenthal s words this secures the chances for success while escaping the threats to survival p107 Stage IV The creation of monologic institutional forms and opportunistic practices within working class organizations may be a rational strategy on the part of leadership but it does not eliminate the fundamental antagonism of interests between workers and capitalists This means that capitalists will always have an inherent interest in undermining the power of workers if this is politically possible Periodically therefore capitalists launch offensives against working class organizations sometimes tentatively to see how vulnerable those organizations are sometimes aggresively with the hope of seriously undermining their power So long as the state provides the external guarantees for unions these offensives are unlikely seriously to jeopardize their power and viability But of course these guarantees can be withdrawn and indeed one of the objectives of antiunion offensives is often to erode or even to eliminate these legal protections In such circumstances unions may become extremely vulnerable The monologic form of the organization will have eroded the solidarities among members and weakened the leadership s ability to mobilize members for collective action while the assault on the organization makes such mobilization imperative Lecture 17 Dilemmas of Class Formation 11 Such situations are likely to provoke a general organizational crisis in which the established monologic associational practices confront reemergent dialogic tendencies Such crises form the basis for the next stage of the historical trajectory Stage V The nal stage is marked by a period of renewed militancy and mobilization by a re formation of the associational practices This looks like the first stage of the process but with certain important differences First this reemergence of militancy and mobilization usually takes the form of divisions and splits within existing unions This means that the new militancy typically operates within a very different organizational environment from the initial militancy an environment in which there are more organizational resources available and in which the contest is between between different factions of workers not simply between workers and capitalists Secondly the renewal of militany action takes places at a potentially higher level of ideological awareness than the initial phase or militancy Workers have lived through the historical cycle of militancy and opportunism and thus potentially have learned lessons which will inform the subsequent struggles over class formations The overall result of these interconnected processes is that the longterm historical trajectory is not necessarily an endless cycle of militancy leading to the organizational strategies of opportunism which ultimately undermines the power base of the organization thus leading to a renewed period of militancy Rather the process is potentially one of an historical spiral in which periods of militancy oscillates with periods of opportunism but at ever more politicized and radical levels of consciousness Offe and Weisenthal view this spirallike quality of the historical learning curve of working class formations as inherent in the logic of collective action This is perhaps an overly optimistic view Whether or not historical experiences produce a cumulative learning process depends upon the strength of historical memory within the working class and on the ability of workers to draw the correct lessons from the victories and defeats in class struggles Historical forgetting however is as pervasive a fact of social life as historical memory and the lessons to be learned from struggles are often opaque and highly contested Ruling classes have a deep interest in erasing historical memory and of interrupting the learning process embedded in such cycles Whether or not such lessons are learned and cyles are transformed into spirals therefore cannot be read off of the logic class formation itself Sociology 298 Lecture 6 Thursday March 7 2002 CLASS STRUGGLE CLASS FORMATION AND CLASS COMPROMISE I Stating the Problem 1 Structures and People It is sometimes thought that the study of class structure revolves strictly around positions whereas the analysis of class formation and class struggle centers on people on the actual practices of real individuals confronting the world This is not an adequate way of drawing the distinction Both analyses revolve around people but viewed from different vantage points The analysis of class structures views individuals as incumbents of relationally defined positions or to say the same thing analyzes individuals in terms of their relational interactions generated by their ownership and control over productive resources The analysis of class formation views individuals as participants in collective actions oriented around the interests generated by class relations One of the central objectives of class analysis then is to understand is how individualsasincumbents in positions are or ani Pd di or ani Pd and remquot ani Pd into individualsasparticipants in struggle This is the process of class formation 2 Class Structure as a terrain for constructing potential class formations So far our main preoccupation has centered on the class structure side of this process As Ihave argued in various places the crucial way in which class structure bears on the problem of class formation is by de ning a terrain of material interests upon which collective actors are formed More specifically for every person the objective material interests defined by the class structure determines three potential categories of actors a actors who share the same classbased material interests as oneself ie who face the same tradeoffs and strategies have to do the same things to improve material welfare b actors who have antagonistic material interests to one s own and c actors whose class interests may not be identical to one s own but whom nevertheless may have sufficiently overlapping interests to form the basis of class coalitions Class structures determine one s potential friends potential enemies and potential allies Class consciousness is knowing what side of the fence you are on Class analysis is knowing who s there with you The process of class formation as we shall see in future lectures on this involvemuch more than an account of class interests Issues such as class identities forged through class experiences are also of great importance in understanding the ways in which solidarities are formed and collective actions accomplished But we will begin in a simple way here by focusing on interests Lecture 6 Class formation amp Class Compromise 2 3 The two primary problems in the analysis of class formation The study of class formation and class struggle engages two primary theoretical and empirical problems 1 Explaining why and how individuals located in various ways in the class structure come to engage in solidaristic struggles This is basically the collective action problem explaining how it comes to pass that individuals cooperate in collective struggles which impose sacri ces often considerable sacri ces on them 2 Explaining the form of struggle that results from such collective solidarity Class formations can take many different forms there can be sharply polarized class formations in which workers are engaged in revolutionary struggles to overthrow capitalism there can be sharply polarized struggles in which workers are trying to secure a more favorable realization of their interests within mpitalism but not attempting to destroy mpitalism itself there can highly unified class formations in which working class organizations unions and parties engage in bargaining with the capitalist class as a whole there can be highly fragmented forms of class formations in which particular segments of the working class engage in struggle with particular fractions of capital So there is much variation A good theory of class formation will attempt a conceptual map of this variation and provide explanations for the conditions conducive to one form or another These two problems are of course connected how you explain participation of individuals in collective action contributes to explaining the types of collective action that are possible and the conditions under which different possibilities are likely to occur But also the theory of strategic possibilities of different kinds of collective formation may also help explain important features of the process of mobilization When we return to the problem of class formation in a month or so we will look primarily at the first of these issues the problem of solidarity and individual participation in collective action Here we will focus on the form of class formation in particular at the problem of what is called class compromise Lecture 6 Class formation amp Class Compromise 3 II A Stylized Classical Marxist View of class formation tendential polarization Classical Marxism did not really have a fully worked out theory of class formation in the sense of an adequate theory both of individual participation in collective action and a theory of variation of forms of collective formation Nevertheless there were some core ideas ideas which had considerable in uence on Marxist thinking throughout the 20Lb century of these matters The basic thinking was as follows Class formations represent the translation of the class interests determined by the class structure into collective organizations engaged in struggle In the long run therefore there should be a fairly tight correspondence between these two conceptual fields In the long run within capitalism at least the fundamentally antagonistic class interests determined by class relations should generate fundamentally antagonistic class formations engaged in collective struggle This prediction can be called the classforitself hypothesis There will be a systematic tendency within capitalism for the working class as a classin itself defined by its antagonistic interests to capital to become a classforitself engaged in struggles for the realization of its interests against capital Collective organization of the working class which falls short of this challenge to capitalism should therefore be thought of as incomplete or partial or perhaps even worse as an obstacle to the full realization of the collective organizational potential of the working class It was because of this kind of thinking that communists in the labor movement often attacked reformism while it might be the case that reformism did advance certain interests of the working class it fell far short of a polarized challenge to capitalism as a whole and by improving conditions for workers if only marginally it reinforced illusions about the potential for workers within capitalism thus delaying this nal struggle of the working class as a class for itself Lecture 6 Class formation amp Class Compromise 4 III The Concept of Class Compromise This traditional view in short denies the possibility of any sort of stable class compromise that could be genuinely in the interests of workers Class compromises the argument goes are always a sham really a form of class capitulation in which the leadership of working class formations may bene t they are opportuni sts who sellout and collaborate with the bosses and perhaps even an elite stratum of workers may do fairly well economically the aristocracy of labor but the working class as a whole is screwed and its revolutionary potential shortcircuited Here I would like to present an alternative view of class compromise a view which opens up the possibility for there being real possibilities for material compromise and cooperation among classes with fundamentally antagonistic class interests The theoretiml work most relevant to this problem was done by the Political Scientist Adam Przeworski in a series of papers written in the 1980s and published in his book Capitalism and Social Democracy 1 Przeworski s core theses Przeworski s analysis of class compromise focuses much less on the internal logic of organizationbuilding or on the problem of getting rational individuals to join a collective action and more on the dynamic relation between already collectively formed classes which defines the terrain on which class formation takes We will therefore take it for granted that workers and capitalists are both organized into collective associations for the pursuit of their interests The question he poses are a under what conditions will workers struggle for socialism for the overthrow of capitalism and b if they do not struggle to overthrow capitalism under what conditions will a class compromise be possible The answers to these questions are interconnected he argues for a stable class compromise helps creates conditions under which workers will not struggle for socialism He arrives at two fundamental theses which can be termed the class compromise thesis and the transition cost thesis 1 Class compromise thesis Under certain conditions if workers and capitalists act rationally in the pursuit of economic interests then they will converge on a class compromise form of class con ict in which a capitalists agree to return part of the fruits of accumulation to workers in the form of productivitybased wage increases and b workers agree to moderate their wage demands to a level which does not threaten the rate of profit and to cooperate with capital within the labor process Understood in this way a class compromise is not simply a stalemate a balance of forces on a battleground This might be called a negative class compromise rather it is a situation where the possibility exists for some gains from cooperation between workers and capitalists or what can be called positive class compromise 2 v Transition costs thesis Once a class compromise is reached then the transition costs involved in a socialist rupture will always be suf ciently high to make it economically irrational for workers individually and collectively to struggle for socialism If a the struggle for socialism is to occur therefore it can only be based on noneconomic criteria Lecture 6 Class formation amp Class Compromise 2 Conditions for Class Compromise 21 Foundational Fact about capitalism Przeworski s basic argument for the possibility of class compromise is this It is a fundamental fact of capitalism that economic growth and innovation comes out of private profits This has profound implications for working class class formation Workers present welfare depends upon two central variables 1 level of productivity of the forces of production 2 workers ability to resist exploitation capture part of the surplus produced with the productivity Workers future welfare also depends upon two processes 3 capitalists present investments out of the surplus they appropriate 4 workers capacity to appropriate future stream of wages from productivity growth BUT this generates a dilemma workers cannot maximize both 2 and 3 This generates a deep tension within working class struggles since workers face a potential tradeoff between present and iture income in their struggles with capitalists This is like the perpetual tradeoff inherent in every act of balancing present consumption against iture consumption you save from present consumption in order to consume more in the future with the crucial added problem of stniggle and uncertainty workers do not control investments and thus they do not control the conditions for the iture earnings Let us suppose that workers are insufficiently power il to overthrow capitalism in their lifetime but they are powerful enough that they could win very large wage increases through their struggles Would it be rational for them to do so Przeworski s answer is that the rationality of particular wagestrategies of workers depends upon the likely response of capitalists to different levels of working class militancy 22 Levels of Militancy amp class compromise Optimal militancy that level of militancy which generates the maximum sustainable positive trajectory in wages over time assuming continuation of capitalism Maximal Militancy the maximum achievable level of antagonistic struggle against capital Let us suppose that no class compromise is possible either because the economic conditions do not allow it or because the capitalist class is so shortsighted and sel sh that they re ise to make any deal with workers They prefer allout class war Under such conditions Przeowrski argues workers will do better by being maximally militant by trying to obtain maximum wage increases at every point in time Lecture 6 Class formation amp Class Compromise 6 Hyperradicalism thesis optimal militancy maximal militancy class compromise is always a sham Class Compromise Thesis under certain conditions optimal militancy is less intense than maximal militancy A class compromise means that in exchange for workers moderating their militancy capitalists agree to reinvest part of the surplus pro ts and to give workers some of the fruits of this reinvestment in the form of productivity based wage increases Under such conditions Przeworski argues the optimal strategy for workers is to be moderately militant sufficiently militant to ensure that capitalists abide to their side of the bargain but not so militant as to threaten the compromise by squeezing the rate of profit 23 Conditions for sustainable class compromise The critical issue is then what determines the feasibility of class compromise Three issues are especially important time horizons trust associational power 1 Time horizons The problem of time horizons basically concerns how far in the iture workers and capitalists make strategic calculations The higher the degree of uncertainty about iture states of the economy the shorter will be the time horizons of all actors The more confident actors are about the predictability of the lture at least in terms of basic material conditions the longer into the iture they are willing to make strategic calculations In advanced industrial capitalism Przeworski argues there is generally a relatively long time horizon based on the historical experience of stable accumulation 2 Trust Trust is in some ways even more important than time horizons Even if workers believe that they can predict the iture state of the economy pretty well they are unlikely to agree to a class compromise if they feel that they cannot trust capitalists to follow through with their promises The same of course applies to the willingness of capitalists to believe the promises of workers The historical memory of betrayals therefore an be a serious obstacle to forging stable class compromises Because of the antagonistic interests of workers and capitalists and the generally depersonalized character of the capitallabor relation it is unlikely that this kind of trust can be built exclusively on beliefs of good faith It is therefore important that an institutional framework exist in which trust is reinforced and perhaps even guaranteed Przeworski argues that the institutions of bourgeois democracy especially under the guidance of social democratic parties provides the institutional setting for the necessary reciprocity and trust to develop We will discuss the specific issue of the role of parliamentary democracy in class compromises in the next block of the course Lecture 6 Class formation amp Class Compromise 7 If these arguments are correct then in advanced industrial capitalist democracies there will in general be both a sufficient time horizon and the institutional conditions of trust for class compromises to be forged between workers and capitalists Under these conditions then workers will be better off opting for moderate militancy and capitalists for productivitybased wage increases both benefit quotom this arrangement relative to historically feasible alternatives 3 Associational Power of workers amp Form of Class Compromise Up tp this point the form of class compromise we have been discussing could be termed a negative class compromise The key issue is that workers have sufficient power to appropriate too much surplus from the point of view of capital accumulation or to in other ways disrupt the accumulation process Capitalists respond to this credible threat by granting some of the demands of workers thus agreeing to a compromise But the compromise is strictly negative workers agree to abstain from punishing capitalists in exchange for a wageproductivity bargain I think that there is also a possibility of what might be termed positive class compromise Przeworski discusses this as well although not as systematically as he does negative compromise Positive class compromise depends upon a specific relationship between the associational strength of the working class and the material interests of capital The conventional Marxist wisdom is that these are inversely related increasing working class organizational strength is monotonically more disadvantageous to capitalists The class compromise thesis indicates that the relationship is more like an inverseJ relationship Capitalists prefer a disorganized working class but if working class associational power moves beyond the trough in the curve then capitalists individually have interests in nther increasing union density because this makes their labor supply predictable increases market coordination and potentially increases worker discipline within production below that threshold capitalists have interests in reducing density US to the left of the trough Sweden to the right of the trough My work on class compromise tries to lay out more precisely the underlying mechanisms which make a positive class compromise stable The core of my argument is that in various ways workers associative power can help capitalists solve various kinds of collective action problems problems which they have difficulty solving on their own Two of these have been especially important 1 Underconsumption This is a classic problem identified by Marx Each capitalist tries to minimize wages of worekrsasemployees for in doing so he maximizes his own profits But in reducing the wage bill this means that in the aggregate workersasconsumers have less money to spend in the market and this makes it more difficult for capitalists to seel what they produce This is the classic problem identified by Keynes as insufficient aggregate demand generated by the individual strategies of capitalists There are a variety of solutions to this problem They state can increase spending for example to absorb some of this over production But class compromise can also help solve this problem by constraining the wage cutting capacity of individual capitalists and thus increasing aggregate wages Lecture 6 Class formation amp Class Compromise 8 2 Wage restraint There is a complementary problem somewhat less familiar which is the tendency for capitalists to push up wages too fast in periods of tight labor markets Why do wages tend to rise when there is a labor shortage What happens is this individual capitalists find that they have di iculty hiring labor and therefore start poaching the workers of other capitalists by offering higher wages Now this might seem good for workers but in the long run it is not this ultimately puts a squeeze on profits and results in slower investment and economic downturns unemployment etc For workers it is better if capitalists are constrained from bidding up wages and respond to labor shortages by seeking labor saving innovations Strong collectively organized unions can do this as well enforce wage restraint on capitalists and convince workers that this is a good thing bemuse of the long term stability of productivitylinked wage increases with low unemployment Again this is workers solving a capitalist collective action problem 2 Transition Costs The fact that a class compromise is better for workers than hypermilitancy within the capitalist rules of the game does not mean of course that those rules of the game are optimal for workers Why don t workers simply opt for socialism Why don t they engage in revolutionary struggles to transform the rules of the game themselves The reason why this alternative is not chosen Przeworski argues is that so long as workers are motivated out of material interests and a class compromise within capitalism is possible it is highly unlikely that the struggle for socialism would be in their interests Being in socialism might be in their interests but struggling for socialism would not The basic argument behind this thesis is that there are significant transition costs to moving from capitalism to socialism The capacity of capitalists to disinvest means that they can cause tremendous economic dislocation in any attempted rupture with capitalism this is quite apart from the issue of armed counterrevolution etc This means that even if we assume that socialism is unambiguously more productive than capitalism and that levels of living would improve more rapidly for all workers under socialism it would in general still be irrational for workers to struggle for socialism because of the depth of the transition trough as illustrated below Where a class compromise is not possible of course this picture looks very different Particularly if the longrun welfare trajectory of capitalism is declining then the transition trough may be quite shallow and thus even in purely economic terms the struggle for socialism could be rational However It should be noted that even under the conditions of a shallow transition trough the transition could still involve pervasive sacrifices and the upward trajectory of socialism could be much less certain because of unfavorable technical conditions Furthermore a transition trough always implies uncertainty about the future The claim that things must get worse before they get better involves a huge prediction that things will get better and better soon enough to make the Lecture 6 Class formation amp Class Compromise 9 decline of the initial part of the transition tolerable This is one of the reasons why believing fervently in the predictions of historical materials may be important if one feels very confident that the revolution will ultimate succeed and that when it does it will usher in a new era of prosperity and emancipation then one may be willing to tolerate a quite severe even cataclysmic trough This is a bit like suicide bombers believe that their sacri ce guarantees immediate entrance into Paradise But if one lacks this confidence and especially if masses lack this confidence then the commitment to the transition may falter and the transition itself unravel The upshot of Przeworski s analysis is that both because class compromise optimizes workers welfare trajectory within capitalism and because the costs of a rupture with capitalism are so large it is unlikely that under conditions of stable capitalist accumulation workers would ever struggle for socialism primarily out of material interests alone But it is their material interests ie their interests determined by the relations of exploitation which define them as a class and which define their specific class interests in socialism as opposed to their human interests in socialism This creates a deep irony within the Marxist theory of class formation it is only by moving beyond thenquot interests as a class that workers as a class can struggle for socialism Lecture 10 Class AnalEis of the State Sociology 298 Lecture 10 What Makes the Capitalist State a Capitalist State What Makes the Patriarchal State a Patriarchal State March 19 2002 I INTRODUCTION 1 Pivotal Contrast State in Capitalist Society versus a Capitalist State Instrumentalist approaches see the state as institutionally neutral but manipulated by powerful actors especially classes The state is a state in capitalist society A the political task is to seize this apparatus and wield it for other purposes Structuralist approaches see the very form of the state as embodying class principles The state is a distinctively capitalist type of state A it cannot just be seized it s form must be transformed or in a more extreme version smashed This may seem like a weird question but imagine if we asked about the feudal state 7 a state ruled by hereditary monarchs and administrative structures based on personal dependency Would it make sense to say if only the king were a capitalist the state could effectively serve capitalist interests Note on Patriarchal State The same question can be asked about patriarchy does the state serve the interests of men primarily because a it is controlled by men or b it s very form is inscribed with patriarchal elements 2 Central question for which instrumentalist and structuralist approaches are answers QUESTION Both of these approaches observe that broadly speaking the policies and actions of the state in capitalist societies generally contribute to the reproduction of capitalism in one way or another While there may be policies from time to time that disrupt capitalism these are rare and almost always quickly reversed The question is why How do we explain the fact that the state broadly functions to serve the interests of the capitalist class and reproduce capitalism Instrumentalists answer the state fulfills this function by being controlled by capitalists or their direct agents who act in the interests of capital The state acts at the behest of capital Structuralist s critique the ruling class is often too divided and too myopic to guarantee its own interests The basic mechanism through which capitalism is sustained by the state therefore must be institutionally embodied in the very organization of the state not in general its external manipulation We have several tasks here 1 Examine methodological problem of establishing the class character of properties of the state 2 discuss some of the candidates for properties of the state which have a distinctively bourgeois character 3 discuss some of the candidates for properties of the state which have a distinctively patriarchal character Lecture 10 Class AnalEis of the State 2 II METHODOLOGICAL PROBLEMS Claus Offe Offe explores two issues 1 what do we mean precisely when we say that the state has a class character 2 how do we empirically demonstrate or discover these properties 1 The meaning of class character 1 1 Negative Selectivity Offe argues that the pivotal concept for understanding the class character of the state is the negative selectivity of state institutions The structure of the state is such that it makes certain state actions impossible anal others improbable ie it quot imposes biases into the process ofpolicv formation The thesis that the state has a class character is then treated as a proposition about the content of this selectivity the state is organized in such a way that it excludes certain possibilities on a class basis the selectivity has a systematic class bias to it EXAMPLES l explanation for the agenda of political debate exclusion of issues from the table 2 explanation for the range of political choices in an election 12 Nested Filter Mechanisms Offe elaborates this notion of selectivity in terms of four nested selective lter mechanisms built into the state 1 structuralconstitutional properties eg publicprivate spheres electoral institutions 2 ideological lters 3 processprocedures of policy formation bargaining etc 4 repression 2 How to demonstrate class bias the logic of nonevents Offe s approach to the problem of the class character of the state is similar in certain critical ways to what is sometimes called the analysis of nonevents or nondecisionmaking explaining what does not happen This is important because if nonevents are systematically produced then the methodological decision to restrict empirical research to variations among actual events necessarily gives a distorted picture of the process It could for example be the case that conventional pluralist theory could completely explain the choice of a policy alternative by the state among the range of altematives on the table while class theory could explain why some alternatives were excluded from the table altogether Lecture 10 Class AnalEis of the State 3 3 Methodological problem there is an in nity of things that do not happen Problem is to distinguish the systematically excluded from two other categories 1 Contingently excluded Some nonevents are just potential events that have not yet happened they are only contingently or accidentally excluded There was no course in the Sociology of Art in this department two years ago now there is This did not re ect a systematic exclusion but just the fact that we had not hired anyone interested in teaching it 2 some nonevents are epochally excluded because no social category could conceivably support them the practice of sacri ce of animals by the state at harvest time is not systematically excluded in an interesting way 4 Strategies for identifying systematically excluded possibilities and the mechanisms which accomplish this exclusion Possible strategies include 1 normative criteria problem arbitrariness 2 objective interests problem dif culty in specifying what is in the objective interests of actors 3 empirical comparisons eg Crenson on the unpolitics of air pollution Problem exclusions may be common to all cases 4 voiced claims if exclusions are strong enough then excluded altematives may not be even voiced 5 CRUCIAL METHODOLOGICAL SOLUTION the limits of possibility created by negative selections are observable under those special historical situations in which they are challenged and transformed Upshot there may not be historically ripe opportunities for testing certain classexclusion hypotheses All of the approaches discussed abovee may give some insight into class biases amp mechanisms of exclusionselectivity but it may be impossible to fully investigate class selectivity except under conditions where the selectivity is systematically challenged Implication for research crisis as the empirical setting for studying normal functioning cf psychoanalysis pathology as the empirical setting for the normal Lecture 10 Class AnalEis of the State 4 III WHAT MAKES THE CAPITALIST STATE A CAPITALIST STATE It is not enough to believe that the institutional form of the state imparts to the state a class bias it is also necessary to decode that institutional structure in order to establish precisely which characteristics generate such class effects Above all it is essential to establish a typology of the variability in institutional forms corresponding to variability in class character This is an arduous task which has not been llly explore theoretically or empirically The most sophisticated attempt so far has been that of Goran Therbom in his study What Does the Ruling Class Do When it Rules In this section we will examine some of the key elements in his analysis 1 State Apparatus The core concept in Therbom s analysis of the form of the capitalist state is the concept of state apparatus STATE APPARATUS the institutional structure through which state power is exercised What then is state power Therbom has sme fairly complex 7 and at times a bit obscure 7 things to say about the concept of state power and I don t want to get into this here Basically the idea is that state power is the capacity of the state to produce effects in the world These effects are generated through institutions of the state or apparatuses Therbom s central thesis like Offe s is that these apparatuses have a distinctive class character in the sense that they impart to state power distinctive classrelevant effects strong version these apparatuses are structured in such a way as to insure the production of effects which reproduce capitalism and the class power of capitalists weak version they simply exclude radically nonreproductive effects Therbom discusses this thesis with respect to 11 aspects of the organization of state apparatuses To illustrate the point let s look at four of these For each of them the class content of the exclusion mechanisms is demonstrated by constrasts with feudalism and socialism 2 Illustration of some class attributes 1 The Selection of Tasks Key issue distinction between the public and private spheres as it is institutionalized in constitutions legal procedures bourgeois rights etc The institutionalization of a depoliticized private sphere which is in principle nonconestable is essential to the reproduction of capitalist interests insulating them from the possible assault by the working class Lecture 10 Class AnalEis of the State 5 Contrasts in feudalism the public is absorbed into the private in capitalism the two are institutionally distinct although the boundary shi s over time and may be contested in socialism the private is in some sense absorbed into the public the personal is the political Two comments a The line of demarcation between public and private is called into question in advanced capitalism because of intervention This necessitates new forms of insulation of production accumulation from politics rise of technocratic legitimations etc b Salience of this distinction to feminist issues the family as private sphere insulated from state intervention But note in terms of sexuality and reproductive rights feminist demands also include the essentially liberal demand for the absolute right of women over their own bodies abortion sexual preference etc extension of private sphere Important issue for feminism is there an inherently patriarchal character to the form of the publicprivate distinction in these kinds of states 2 Resource Acquisition feudalism state revenues from royal estates capitalism from taxation of private accumulation socialism from state enterprises Two implications of taxation in capitalism l The capitalist form makes the state dependent upon its tax base for revenues gt the state will avoid policies that undermines that base Note competition between cities and states for business investments debates over how good is the business climate Comment this is a variable constraint not an invariant Variability comes from a forms of taxation b degree of centralization of taxation higher the level of tenitorial centralization of taxation gt weaker constraint on taxation capacity c sunk costs of capitalist investment and infrastructural dependency of capital on state 2 Capacity for taxation is one measure of the democratic potential of a capitalist state defines the limits of democratic allocation of the social surplus Lecture 10 Class AnalEis of the State 6 3 Transformation of tasks Weberiantype Bureaucracy a speci c way of organizing the internal procedures for executing policies transforming tasks Pivotal issue the way this insulates the operations of the state from popular pressures Contrast citizen boards clientcentered administration deliberative administrative institutions etc The PTA goes against the bureaucratic power of the state and represents an alternative logic 4 Leadership feudalism personal dependents capitalist professional bureaucratic socialist cadre Each of these forms of leadership establishes dilTerent patterns of accountability recruitment change etc IV The Problem of the Patriarchal State How can we make sense of the parallel question to the question is the state a distinctively capitalist state that might be asked by feminists is the state a distinctively patriarchal state What if anything is patriarchal about the form of the state The central issue it is not enough to demonstrate a systematic empirical bias in state policies as such the task is to demonstrate that this bias is generated by distinctive patriarchal properties of the form of apparatus as such 1 Some possible candidates for patriarchal form a Familialism as an espect of defining the private sphere b Professionalism full time careerism in hierarchal bureaucracies as male form c abstract universalism in formal rationality of the law as male rationality contrasted to more experiential or affective rationality 2 Familialism The issue does the publicprivate distinction have a gendered character as well as a class character Can one construct a gendered structuralism of the state alongside a class structuralism a Capitalist vs patriarchal dimensions of publicprivate spheres Capitalist dimension of publicprivate establishment of distinctive sphere of private property Lecture 10 Class AnalEis of the State Patriarchal dimension of publicprivate privatized personal relations establishment of distinctive sphere of private personal relations family outside of direct state regulation b Note the leakinesspermeability of boundary State Occupational safety amp health regulation politicization of private property rights State regulatrion of interpersonal behavior within families politicization of private interpersonal behavior eg marital rape wife beating child abuse state regulation of sexuality amp the body reproductive rights especially politicization of the personal Some Additional Comments 1 The issues of the class character of the state apparatuses can be related to the AlfordFriedland three fold distinction in levels at which power and politics can be analyzed Systemic power concerns power over what game is to be played 39 revolutionary v counterrevolutionary politics Organizational power concerns power over the rules of the game 39 reformist v reactionary politics Situational power concerns power over plays within a given set of rules 39 liberal vs conservative politics We can think of the contrast between a stateincapitalist society and the capitaliststate views as re ecting diiTerent claims about the class analysis of the state at the systemic amp organizational levels state in capitalist society 39 at the systemic level power can be understood as having a capitalist character but the organizational level power is just organizational power 39 the state as an organization is basically neutral capitalist state 39 at the organizational level itself the state has a class character as well organizational proprties of the state are embedded with class effects Implication Lenin s famous edict smash the state If the very form of the state has a class character then it cannot simply be wielded by oppressed groups its class nature must be transformed Similr to the point that workers being on the board of directors of capitalist firms and owning stock will not make those firms socialist 2 Recognizing that the apparatuses of the state have a class character does not imply that they have a unitary class character Result possibility of intemal class contradictions within the state some apparatuses may have to a greater or lesser extent a noncapitalist character to them Examples Juries PTNPTO boards in schools Maximum Feasible Participation in the 1960s OEO War on Poverty agencies 68 assemblies estates and parliamentS and in their relationship to the king57 The feudal monarch and the representative assembly dealt typically with appeals for protection and assistance The assembly would request that the king remedy speci c grievances settle dis putes answer demands for exemption from burdens and so on while he would demand nancial aid and armed levies for his house hold and administration and for his military exploits He would also ask his subjects to countersign or simply register their assent to new obligations and prescriptions This system of personal of cial bargaining persisted sub rota even in the epoch of feudal absolutism and the eclipse of the representative assemblies On the very eve of the French Revolution the king had to summon the Estates General to ask them to bail out the bankrupt royal ad ministration If we look not just at the apex but at the feudal polity as a whole then it is clear that the system outlined above led to the compart mentalization of issues dealt with by the state The relevance of a particular matter did not depend on whether it had a general public character but on whether it tted into the hierarchical relation in which it was raised However the most detailed questions concern ing work property or marriage might come up there for considera tion and the area of discretion was so large that it was often not possible to calculate the acceptability of an issue in advance The king kept a fairly free hand to decide whether or not it was his task to settle an appeal that came before him We should now turn to an examination of the characteristic tasks of the socialist state These are broadly determined by the fact that the collective workers or the class bloc led by the proletariat have replaced the individual market agent and the lordpeasant relation 57 See for example F Carsten Primes and Parliaments in Germany Oxford 1959 R Holtzmann Franzo39sisrhe Verfassungsgetehichte Munich and Berlin 1910 part II chs 2 3 part III chs 1 4 An extremely valuable overview of the feudal system of protection and aid may be found in O Brunner Land una Herrstha BriinnMunichVienna 1943 The English Parliament soon showed a marked difference from the assemblies ofother feudal states even though it had a similar origin The original reason for calling Parliaments was that the king wanted assistance in the tasks of government The purposes of the sitting were produced by him to consider the nation s affairs to consent to aids and tallages to see justice done G R Elton Studies in Tudor and Stuart Polilics and Government Cambridge 1974 vol II pp 30 1 Inputs into the State 69 ship It is not only in the effective elimination of private enterprise that the bourgeois distinction between private and public is transcended The collective character of proletarian rule makes necessary a continual struggle against any form of individual sub ordination of this previously exploited and downtrodden class in particular against the form that is reproduced in the sphere of per sonal choice where formal equality conceals the practical inequality of individuals The divisions between manual and mental labour between town and country and between the labours of the two sexes can also only be overcome by a conscious collective struggle against their reproduction Asserting a fundamental principle of Soviet law Lenin wrote during the NEP period in a letter to the People s Commissar for Justice We do not recognize anything private and regard everything in the economic sphere as falling under public and not private law Hence the task is to extend the application of state intervention in private legal relations to extend the right of the state to annul private contracts 53 The class rule of the proletariat supersedes not only the individual market agent but also the anonymous market itself that decides the success or failure of men and women Moreover the expression of workingclass rule by the state is not equivalent to the absorption of the private sphere by a public bureaucracy In a socialist society private life is made public by a number of proletarian and popular mass organizations apart from the state apparatus itself In this way the sharp delimitation of the state as an apparatus with Special tasks and personnel tends to be eroded which is essentially what is in volved in the notion of the withering away of the state The existing socialist states would seem to be ourishing rather than withering away nevertheless they incorporate mechanisms and institutions which in widely varying degrees display the characteristic organization and relationship to society of the socialist state Administratively the individual is connected with the state apparatus prOper by a whole network of non professional elected bodies at a house street neighbourhood or village level in Europe this structure is probably most developed in the GDR Besides the repressive forces of the state voluntary militias and public order bodies operate at the workplace and in the USSR for 53 V I Lenin Letter to Kursky Collected Works vol 36 p 562 7o instance a system of nonstate comrades courts deals with minor offences The eld of competence of the state may also be formally shared with other organizations In Eastern Europe for example prob lems of labour safety and work hygiene are the responsibility of the trade unions but the enforcement of trade union action is a state task the Soviet Komsomol plays a direct role in the running of state schools and in East Germany the Workers and Peasants Inspec torate combines state party and mass forms of control over the state administration In contrast to the atomization and privatization of capitalist society the pattern of personal relations is the concern of the party and of the mass organiZations trade unions youth organizations etc But how this functions in practice needs to be carefully in vestigated to what extent is it primarily an authoritarian pre occupation with external ideological conformity and to what extent does it serve to foster solidarity egalitarianism and democratic popular participation Another problem concerns the mass organizations independence of the state organs of administration and repression The degree to which the former possess a speci c dynamic in the postStalinist socialist states is of enormous importance to the position of the pro letariat as the ruling class For the state apparatus per se is never strictly speaking a workers state except during its brief and partial fusion with the councils of armed revolutionary workers It is 21 workers state in so far as its specialized apparatuses are controlled and subordinated 39om the outside by the working class collectivity But for this to take place the latter must have an independent organized existence The leading role of the party is equally dependent on its differen tiation from the state apparatus To a varying extent all socialist countries do in fact maintain a line of demarcation between party and state both at the local level in the separation of the of ces of managerial head and party secretary and at central level in the different composition of the supreme organs of party and state Thus managers of the economic administrative and repressive apparatuses of the state make up only a minority albeit the very large one of 5quot See for example P G lard Lts organisations It masse en Union Sovic lique Paris 1965 G Brunner Kontrolle in Deutsthland Cologne 1972 pp 413 ff Inputs into the State 71 45 of the Central Committee of the CPSU60 Since the time of Stalin the Politbureau and the Council of Ministers have been more clearly delimited from each other whereas in 1951 ten out of eleven members of the former were also in the latter in 1971 only three out of fteen Politbureau members served on the Council of Ministers61 However one consequence of the lingering system of institutionalized authoritarianism is the confusion between the leading role of the party and the coercive powers of the repressive and other state apparatuses The tasks of the state are patterned not only by the predominant social relations but also by the speci c dynamics of the mode of production Under feudalism where landed property incorporating a number of tied peasants was the principal means of production and where consumption was oriented towards noble consumption the characteristic social dynamic was the urge to acquire and sub jugate more land and to extract a greater surplus from what was already possessed62 Since land could not normally be bought and sold on the market armed conquest was the chief means to expand the property and sources of consumption of the nobility Military pro ciency was the only specific skill of the ruling class and the preparation and waging of war was a major preoccupation of the state in both its medieval and absolutist forms Of course the raising of production levels on existing land was always an important alternative or supplementary means of in creasing consumption However the productive forces developed very slowly within the hierarchical system and were not directly propelled by the feudal relations of production since the landlords were external to the production process proper Any substantial increase could be obtained only by the rede nition of the services and obligations of the exploited classes Another important task of the feudal polity was accordingly adjudication of claims concerning the traditional rules governing relations between the nobility and the peasantry 5 The gure is calculated from B Meissner Parteifiihrung Parteiorganisation und soziale Struktur der KPdSU Osteuropa No 89 1976 pp 607 8 It refers to the CC elected by the 25th Congress in 1976 The composition of the CC elected in 1971 is described by P G lard in Les syste mes politiqucs do tats socialism 2 vols Paris 1975 vol 1 pp 124 ff 6 T Rigby The Soviet Politburo A Comparative Pro le 1951 1971 Soviet Studies vol 24 no 1 july 1972 6quot Cf Anderson op cit pp 31 2 72 In contrast the accelerated tempo of the capitalist mode of pro duction constantly demanded new and clearly de ned legislation on which individual agents could depend in the uctuating conditions of the market Capital is essentially mobile and is based on a form of exploitation that resembles a nonzerosum game Both wages and pro ts can rise if there is an expansion of the productive forces and a growth of relative surplus value The defence of capital accumulation by the state is thus not reducible to its tasks of violent repression and ideological indoctrination It also has the following important func tions economic penetration of other countries and restriction of access to the national territory stimulation of economic develop ment and management of cyclical uctuations Although their armed might has grown enormously the capitalist states are today less concerned with military affairs and as two world wars have shown productive capacity is now of great strategic importance in any con ict among them As regards their internal structure state intervention in the eld of social welfare is not necessarily an obstacle to capital accumulation as Bismarck already understood it can even strengthen the capitalist regime against challenge and revolt In early bourgeois society the term police covered nearly every kind of internal non judicial and non scal administration Today in spite of the erection of a formidable repressive apparatus it is the stimulation of economic growth and the provision of social security that constitute the most signi cant policing tasks of the advanced capitalist state The defence of socialism and workers power invests the state with new politicoideological tasks rendering certain functions of organization and ideological orientation much more central than they were in previous types of state Thus the state has not merely to manage the production of usevalues but must draw up a political plan for the economy whereby work relations will be developed in the direction of classless society Defence of the socialist mode of production involves above all maintenance of the collective supre macy of the working class and elimination of the reproduction of individual subordination We can express this best by the following distinction the pro letariat state is by its very essence politicized and ideologized39 whereas the bourgeois state is eronomized and the feudal militarized Where collective ownership and planning have replaced private property the market and the hierarchical feudal contract the func Inputs into the State 73 tions of rulemaking and ruleapplication tend to be fused the latter diminishing in importance It is true however that greater atten tion has been given to the judiciary since the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU raised the serious problem of socialist legality after the experience of Stalinism63 The character of the statesociety relation and the forms of state organization are so dissimilar that it would be of little use to make a quantitative comparison of the tasks of the general types of class state Within each type however an important distinCtion must be drawn according to the extent that the state apparatus concentrates class rule or to put it another way according to the extent of diffusion of that rule throughout society as a whole In this respect there are important differences between medieval and absolutist feudalism between parliamentary and dictatorial forms of capitalist rule and between the earlier soviet and the later state and party socialism Of course these are themselves very broad categories which all contain signi cant variations Nor by the way should a nonutopian view of socialism assume a priori that the possible forms of socialist state are fewer than those of bourgeois rule Personnel Birth and kinship played a critical role in the recruitment of per sonnel to the feudal state Nevertheless it would be rather mislead ing to employ the conventional sociological jargon of ascription versus attainment to locate the distinction between feudal and bourgeois recruitment criteria Indeed from one important view point it is the feudal personnel who are recruited on the basis of achievement and the bourgeois on the grounds of ascription If a single formula could express the nature of the feudal hierarchy it would be personal service rendered or promised to a superior This principle pervaded the whole feudal system and within the polity characterized both lord vassal and lord retainer relations It governed also the contractual relationship between the king and his subjects although in the era of absolutism the Christian prince was considered responsible only to his own conscience and to God The factor of royal or noble blood operated rather in the manner of an intervening variable personal services were transmuted into services 3 The Chinese have retained a more informal political judicial system see J A Cohen The Criminal Process in China in D Treadgold ed Soviet and Chinese Communism Seattle 1967 74 rendered by prior generations and into the collective service to the realm of the nobility as a whole Under the absolutist monarchies this tendency of closure was counteracted by the growth in number and importance of nonnoble administrative servants of the crown who might subsequently be rewarded by ennoblement It was also possible to enter the state machine by the quite unique service of buying a post In 17th century France for instance this practice was of cially encouraged on a large scale in order to bolster the nances of the royal administration This recruitment criterion was one of the distinctive political aspects of feudal class rule It created a common bond between the king and the aristocracy and between the nonnoble state personnel and the monarch the first among the aristocrats It was thus thoroughly incompatible with bourgeois rule For the feudal principle of personal service to a superior the capitalist state was to substitute two interrelated criteria personal intellectual abilities and personal qualities of representativeness of the national puhlic The latter refers to the personnel of the legislature and of the govern ment the former to that of other state functions The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen I789 proclaimed that all honours posts and employment should be open to all according to their different abilities without any distinction other than that created by their virtues and talent The language is unambiguous there is here no mention of achievement only references to the attributes of individuals Even if virtue is regarded as an achieved property it is nonetheless secondary to ability and talent Competition among gifted individuals thus re places the pledge of personal service as the mechanism of entry into the state apparatus The qualities required of the personnel of the capitalist state have always been of a special kind as can be seen from the ltering pro cesses of education selection and training Two particular aspects stand out clearly In the first place experience of manual labour has never played any role in recruitment only certain intellectual talents of an openly elitist character have entered into the selection procedure For example it was in order to deepen this exclusivist basis that the teaching of Latin and Greek was reintroduced or given renewed emphasis in r9th century secondary schools Such con siderations also underlie the German juristenmonopol the require ment of extensive legal training the more literary Oxbridge educa tion of gentlemen and the more straightforwardly bourgeois Inputs into the State 75 grandes coles in France The in uence of this educational system over the patterning of careers is asserted by the informal criteria of entry into the state machine by the operation of elaborate old boys networks including the very special esprit tie corps of the special corps that groups upper civil servants in France and by the very important principle that the road to high of ce is normally opened by these educational channels rather than by promotion from the lower rungs of the administrative ladder Another selection mechanism which has been especially well developed in Germany is the payment of extremely low salaries during the early stages of a higher administrative career Secondly the training of state personnel has focussed on the systematic inculcation of one particular leadership quality This is not the capacity to weld together a collective organizational team but the ability to exercise authority over and ensure the respect of subordinate members of the staff Boardingschools and the student fraternities of elite universities are devoted to the development of selfdiscipline and selfcon dence in such leadership cadres64 The formal equality proclaimed by the French Declaration of Rights has thus been combined with a defacto bourgeois monopoly and with the power of command of intellectual management over manual labour This recruitment policy has been remarkably successful for the bourgeoisie in terms of ef ciency loyalty and class representativeness of the state apparatus As regards social origin one or two centuries of equality have resulted in a level of nonworking class recruitment to the higher civil bureaucracy of between 80 and 95 Proportion of upper civil servants having a manual working class father and proportion of same belonging to female sex as percentages oftotal Circa 1970 Working class fathers Female sex Britain 18 2 Italy 9 0 Sweden 1 5 3 USA 18 2 West Germany 8 i M An American scholar John Armstrong has written a fascinating comparative historical account of the selection and induction proceSSes of higher state per sonnel in Russia PrussiaWest Germany Britain and France see The European Administrative Elite Princeton 1973 F5 3 7 ii a 76 Source R Putnam The Political Attitudes of Senior Civil Ser vants in Britain Germany and Italy in M Dogan ed The Mandarin of Western Europe New York 1975 pp 96 7 The gures refer to comparable representative samples of top civil servants Italy West Germany and probably Francequot5 make up one sub variant of the overall pattern Another is formed by aristocratic Britain Sweden as it was after forty years of Social Democratic government and the United States a country with neither a feudal past nor a signi cant political labour movement and With a sup posedly high labour mobility 39What little variation there is in the grim uniformity of sexism points in the same direction as do the gures on class Membership of the governmental apparatus of the capitalist state is regulated by the criterion of national representativeness This was the new principle of legitimacy proclaimed by the bourgems revolu tions in the struggle against the dynastic authority of the Christian prince who protected rather than represented his people However the mechanisms of representation have varied considerably from the mystical bond of ein Volk ein Reich ein Fiihrer one people one state one leader to the parliamentary vote of con dence or the support given to an elected president Similarly the national public has been de ned in diverse ways ranging from a tiny minority of large propertyholders to the whole adult population One interesting and important feature is common to electoral and nonelectoral modes In neither case is bourgeois national repre sentativeness institutionalized by binding politicians to a speci c mandate from their constituency This is made very explicit in classical parliamentary theory and procedure as well as in that of dictatorships The representativeness of the politician is invested rather in his personal ability his individual conscience and presumed commitment to the public good Bourgeois democracy the rule of a tiny minority through institutions of universal suffrage and free elections is a very signi cant and intriguing aspect of the advanced capitalist states However as I have shown empirically elsewhere it is a late 55 From Ezra Suleiman s ne study Politirs Power and Bureaucracy in Frame Princeton 1974 p 88 it may be calculated that between i953 and i968 persons with manual working class backgrounds composed only six per cent of the total of 1017 entrants to the Grand Corps and Corps d Admmistrateurs 11th coming from the Ecole Nationale d Administration 6quot G Therborn The Rule of Capital and the Rise of Democracy op Cit Inputs into the State 77 phenomenon accomplished after long and bitter struggles of the working class against the bourgeoisie The latter s resistance was so strong that the labour movement never succeeded without the help of allies be they foreign armies as in Germany Italy and Japan the petty bourgeoisie Australia Denmark and other countries or sections of a divided but powerful bourgeoisie Britain France the United States Indeed the most important single factor in the rise of bourgeois democracy has been external war Although universal suffrage was initially conceived outside the narrow circles of the bourgeoisie it would nevertheless be a mistake to regard it as related in a purely external and contingent manner to the dictatorship of that class As Bismarck quite consciously under stood the popular vote advances one of the central aims of the bourgeois revolution the integration of all social layers into the political and ideological framework of the national but not neces sarily liberal state Particularly in the epoch of monopoly capitalism franchise restrictions have given way to new and more subtle ways of excluding the working class from decisive control over political affairs If these mechanisms ultimately prove to be inadequate then the more drastic solutions of fascism military dictatorship or foreign intervention are always available and invariably employed But except in situations of acute threat particularly those of social revolution or internal disintegration due to an incompleted bour geois revolution one form or another of elected government arises in correspondence with the inherently competitive character of capitalist relations of production Bourgeois control over the formation of national public opinion together with the exclusive ritual of parliamentary activity has rigidly restricted the quali cations required by an elected deputy As a result working class representation in bourgeoisdemocratic parliaments has been successfully kept at a minimal level in the 7 From his experiences of the aftermath of 1848 Bismarck soon came to the conclusion that I do not want lawyers to be elected but loyal peasants and that to drown the liberal intelligentsia it was absolutely neceSsary to widen the circle of voters in order to obtain a legislature which was more national less dogmatic and less hostile to the legitimate prerogatives of the monarchy He had good reasons at that time If I for example could send here in Prussia 100 workers from my estate to the ballot box then they would outvote every other opinion in the village to the point of destroying it Bismarck s aim ofa national monarchy involved a twofront war against both the reactionary legitimist wing of the aristocracy and the liberal small and medium bourgeoisie See T Hamerow The Social Foundations cy German Uni tari39on 1858 71 Princeton 1972 pp 186 187 78 advanced capitalist countries it has varied between 0 and 10 Furthermore after their election this handful of workers generally become full time politicians The sexist tendency is as blatant as the antiworking class one Workers and Women elected to the legislature as a percentage of the total Workers Women Belgium 1961 9 Canada 1963 1 Finland 8 17 France 1968 3 2 Italy 1968 10 3 Norway 1969 9 9 Sweden 1961 3 12 Switzerland 1971 05 6 United Kingdom 1970 8 4 USA 1968 1 3 West Germany 1961 6 Sources For Sweden L SkoldA Halvarsson Riksdagen sociala sammansattning in Samha39lle och Rilesdag Stockholm 1966 Vol 1 pp 441 and 445 on class structure and Forteckning over Forsta Kammarens lea39amo39ter 1961 and Forteckning iiver Andra Kammarens ledamo39ter 1961 on sex structure for Switzerland J Ziegler Une suisse au dessus de tout soupton Paris 1976 pp 130 1 for the other countries J Blondel Comparative Legislatures Englewood Cliffs 1973 p 160 Note The percentage of women in the Swedish Diet which was then the highest ever rose to 21 in 1975 the proportion of workers however declined from a 1933 peak of 10 I have not included Blondel s exceptionally high gure of 22 workers for Austria in 1970 because on closer investigation it turned out to include labour movement functionaries See K Steiner Politics in Austria Boston 1972 pp 231 2 As the rigour of national statistics may vary in other respects the principal conclusion to be drawn from the table is the uniformity with which workers are absent from bourgeois legislatures rather than any international differentiation The changes that have occurred within modern capitalism should Inputs into the State 79 be seen within this general framework of sexist and antiproletarian recruitment Among of cials the percentage of persons with technical training both economic and naturalscienti c has risen at the expense of those with legal or literary backgrounds Among politicians active entrepreneurs and rentiers have except in the USA been displaced by professional hangerson of the bourgeois class Plebiscitary politics has also involved the recruitment of media personalities whose main capacity is to make a good show ing in the mass media The basic social characteristic of proletarian class rule collective supremacy combined with individual subordination is expressed in the criteria of recruitment of state personnel The dominant principle is that of class representativeness which is supplemented by the requirement of expertise These are not two distinct principles referring to different state apparatuses as are national representa tiveness and expertise under capitalism but a single combined criterion For instance the Eighth Congress of the CPSU in 1919 decided that the Red Army should have a de nite class character and that it should include military specialists who given the nature of the Tsarist army were generally of nonproletarian origin68 The application of this principle and the combination of its two elements have been realized in widely varying ways according to the country and the period Two fundamental types of enforcement mechanism may be dis tinguished One was the original soviet system under which workers and peasants councils and their various committees fused govern mental functions with administrative ones The Soviet Constitution of 1918 explicitly denied the bourgeoisie and the commercial petty bourgeoisie access to these bodies and even deprived them of the right to vote Prior to the decisions of the Eighth Party Congress the repressive forces were directed by soldiers councils under elected commanders The party operated as a guiding force within a wider structure of class rule Later the party became the decisive authority on matters of per sonnel recruitment The nomenelatura system gave the relevant party organ the power to plan and supervise recruitment to the state apparatus and this rapidly replaced the capitalist method of in R Kolkowicz The Soviet Military and the Communist Party Princeton 1967 p 41 80 dividual competition for posts Whatever the mechanism and its mode of functioning the anticapitalist revolution has effected a drastic change in the class composition of state functionaries One indication of this is the social origin of the of cer corps O icers of working class origin as a percentage of the total Soviet Union 1923 141 Soviet Union 1927 221 Czechoslovakia 1952 53 Poland 1963 49 GDR 19605 over 80 West Germany 1960 0 USA 1959 142 Sweden 1962 13 1 The peasantry accounted for 53 in 1923 and 56 in 1927 In 1926 27 the proletariat excluding employees made up about 17 of the Soviet population Calculated from E H Carr Founda tions of a Planned Economy Vol 2 Harmondsworth 1976 pp 520 1 on the assumption that employees had as many dependents as workers 2 For the ranks of naval captain and colonel upwards Sources R Garhoff The Military in Russia 1861 1965 in J Van Doom ed Armed Forces and Society The Hague 1968 p 247 for the USSR J Wiatr Military Professionalism in Poland in ibid p 235 for Poland W L Warner et al The American Federal Executive New Haven 1963 p 30 for the USA B Abrahamsson Military Professionalism and Political Power Stock holm 1971 pp 46 if for all the other countries Little is known about the operation of the nomenklatury by the party but apart from the requirement of technical competence the major criteria seem to be ones of a very diffuse political rather than formal class nature69 This immediately raises the highly contro 6quot J Hough The Soviet Prefects The Local Party Organs in Industrial Deciszon Making Cambridge Mass 1969 ch VIII Inputs into the State 81 versial question of the class representativeness of the ruling Com munist Parties themselves We cannot now enter that vast and heavily mined territory and will merely make a few observations that go beyond current factional polemics to touch on some real issues that need to be discussed One aspect that is crucial to the class representativeness of the party is of course the ideological political training of new members There would clearly be a grave danger if managerially competent individuals were coopted into the party mainly on the basis of their expert merits and were thus not educated in the history battles and ideology of the party that led the proletarian revolution Such a pattern is no doubt discernible in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe but contrary to the hopes of anti communist researchers the tendency in this direction that appeared during the Khruschev period seems to have been reversed Indeed the proportion of coopted specialists at regional party leadership level was lower in 1967 than it had been prior to the Twentieth Party Congress70 However in the formation of leaders who are representative of the class ideological training and organizational work among the masses can hardly serve as substitute for daytoday experience of workingclass life It is quite natural that capable party members should rise from the ranks of the working class to fulltime positions of cadre responsibility in the construction and running of the socialist state and society However they may after a time become distanced from the working class whereas progress towards com munism presupposes an increase of direct workers supremacy Of cial reports on the social compositions of the government Communist parties usually refer to occupation at the time of application for membership and therefore overstate their prole tarian character Nevertheless the published gures convey a number of interesting patterns and tendencies the uniquely high peasant contingent in the Chinese Communist Party CCP although the gures available are rather old the strong de proletarianization of the CPSU and the East European parties after the revolution and the re proletarianization of the CPSU and the East German SED from the 19605 onwards 7 R Blackwell The Soviet Political Elite Alternative Recruitment Policies at the Obkom Level Comparative Politics Oct 1973 pp 99 if 82 Social Composition of Communist Parties Percentages Workers Peasants 1947 8 19 56 8 19669 1947 8 19 56 8 1966 9 Bulgaria 361 342 China 135 665 Czecho slovakia 570 334 310 26 GDR 481 338 456 94 50 64 Hungary 560 346 373 87 Poland 6221 397 2821 115 USSR 4102 320 380 2802 170 160 Yugo slavia 312 494 74 I 1945 2 1921 Sources KvBeyme Oleonomie and Politik im Sozialismus Munich 197 5 p 143 M Lesage Les regimes politiques de l URSS et de l Europe de l Est Paris 1971 p 289 E Fortsch Die SED Stuttgart 1969 p 104 T Rigby Communist Party Membership in the USSR 1917 1967 Princeton 1968 p 414 A better indicator however is the composition of leading party bodies The following information has been compiled from avail able biographical material In 1967 among the members and candidates of the Central Committee of the SED only a third registered a working class occupational background Most of the remainder had gone through some kind of intellectual education and only four out of 181 currently held a working class job71 A survey of six republican Central Committees in the Soviet Union conducted in 1966 reported that only 71 out of 778 members were workers or kolkhoz and sovkhoz peasants But even this small pro portion represents a substantial increase over the 1956 level of 24 out of 64472 The present composition of the CPSU may be sum marized in the following table 71 P C Ludz Parteielite im Wandel Cologne and Opladen 1968 pp 338 ff Out of the 189 members and candidates elected to the Central Committee by the Eighth Congress of the SED in 1971 only three were then workers T Baylis The Terhniral Intelligentsia and the East German Elile Berkeley 1974 p 282 72 Hough op cit p 322 A similar change is noticeable at lower levels of the CPSU see ibid pp 20 1 In 1966 4 out of 195 members of the Central Com Inputs into the State 83 Composition ofCPSU in 1975 in percentages W oreers and peasants Party 56 Congress delegates 32 Central Committee members 4 Sourte Calculated from B Meissner Parteifuhrung Partei organisation und soziale Strukture der KPdSU Osteuropa No 89 1976 pp 607 8 643 646 It should perhaps be added that as against the ten ordinary workers and peasants on the Central Committee there were only four heads of state enterprises and two kolkhoz chairmen The upheavals of the Chinese Cultural Revolution did not lead to a signi cant proletarianization of the party leadership although a few top positions were lled by local cadres from workingclass or peasant milieux people like Wang Hung wen now expelled as one of the gang of four and Chen Yungkwei the leader of the Tachai Commune The proletarian contingent of the Central Committee of the CCP elected by the Tenth Congress in 1973 is about the same as that of the CPSU Of its 195 members only 7 that is 35 are known to be peasants or workers After making unspeci ed assumptions about those whose occupations are un known the compiler of their biographies Wolfgang Bartke has raised the gure to 12 or 6 six workers and six peasants73 As for a country which has experienced a long period of Social Demo cratic government not a single worker has sat on the Swedish Social Democratic party executive of 35 members for many decades mittee of the CPSU were categorized as workers or collective farmers see M Lesage Les regimes politiques de I39URSS el de l Europe a39e I39Est Paris 1971 p 196 73 Calculation from W Bartke The 195 members of the Tenth Central Com mittee ofthe CCP Chinese Studies in History vol IX No 1 1975 I have counted as workers all those mentioned by Bartke as being de nitely or probably workers excluding those cited as union party or state of cials but including members of revolutionary committees and brigade chairmen Another 32 or 16 would have to be added if we were to include as workers those who rose to union of ce or subnational party of ce after the Ninth Congress of 1969 Sexism has not been overcome in any of the socialist states Thus women constituted 10 or 20 members of the CC elected by the Tenth Congress of the CCP The Soviet CC of 1971 had only 6 women among 241 members ie 25 See G lard op cit 1975 p 131 84 The growing need for technically quali ed personnel has made the school system a more important factor in the functioning of the principle of class representativeness than it used to be Crucial here are both the criteria of selection and the link between schools and working class experience Education in the socialist countries is free of charge and entry into higher education usually depends on a recommendation from the party youth organization or enterprise Explicit class criteria were abolished in the Soviet Union in 193 5 but they continue to operate at varying levels of formality In the GDR Article 126 of the Constitution stipulates that the class com position of secondaryschool and university entrants should corres pond to the proportion of workers in the area From about 1930 onwards the organization and content of Soviet education had a strongly elitist and intellectually exclusive charac ter In 19 58 however important changes were introduced bringing the school into a much closer relationship with production it became a general principle that secondary education should include an element of manual labour that the school should be attached to a productive unit and that admission to university should normally require two years experience of productive work The impact of the Khruschev reforms can be gauged from the following study by M N Rutkevich Fulltime Students at S verdlovse Mining Institute Social Origin 00 Social Position at Entrance 00 W or E m Pea W or Em Pea S tu leers ployees sants leers ployees rants dents 194 334 302 364 46 59 855 1955 277 573 150 51 96 843 1961 598 250 152 628 202 30 140 Source D Lane Politics and Society in the USSR London 1970 p 413 7 R Enerstvedt To samfunn to sleoler Oslo 1973 pp 210 if In 1967 38 of university students in the GDR came from the working class and another 8 from the collectivized peasantry 75 O Anweiler K Meyer Die sochtische Bildungspolitie seit 1917 Heidelberg 1961 39 M Mathews Class and Society in Soviet Russia London 1972 pp 288 ff Inputs into the State 85 The new educational system created a number of problems both in the school and in production and after the fall of Khruschev fresh changes were made These led to an immediate and powerful reassertion of elitist tendencies Entrants to the Urals Polytechnic Social Origin 00 Position at Entrance 0o W or Em Pea W or Em Pea S tu leers ployees sants leers ployees sants dents 19623 468 384 148 400 326 03 191 19678 4211 563 161 191 129 02 678 1 In the intervening period the majority of collective farms had been transformed into state farms and their peasants reclassi ed as agricultural workers Source D Lane op cit p 508 In response to these developments an anti elitist trend has re appeared but its significance and effectiveness are still unclear76 Recruitment based on free competition of intellectual talents has a strongly antiworkingclass character To the extent that it is reproduced in the socialist countries it has to be tirelessly com batted in order to ensure adequate working class representation In this respect the Chinese Cultural Revolution was by far the most radical experience that has yet occurred The other socialist states try to tackle the problem by means of speci c institutional struc tures of varying ef ciency For instance according to a Norwegian study conducted in the early seventies nearly every school class in the GDR is connected with a workers brigade from a nearby enter prise and several months of productive labour form a normal part of a university student s education77 Energy The primary energy source of capitalist states is taxes and customs and excise duties funds needed for public purposes are provided by regular and compulsory levies on private individuals and business 7quot Mathews op cit pp 300 77 Enerstvedt op cit pp 222 237 ff 86 enterprises78 Feudal and socialist states do not usually derive their material resources in this way and thus face speci c energy prob lems and crises In all socialist countries taxes on individuals are low and of minor signi cance to the state Revenue is drawn principally from public enterprise and is directly bound up with the global planning process and the pricing of goods The two main items of budget income are deductions from enterprise surpluses a factor of growing importance and some thing usually but misleadingly called turnover tax which is equivalent to the difference between the wholesale and retail prices of consumer goods minus a trade margin The chief problem is not that of balancing budget revenue and individual incentive but organization of the prices system in such a way that it re ects real costs and corresponds to plan priorities Also involved is the oppo sition between central planning and enterprise autonomy Special problems arose in the existing socialist countries since a large industrial sector rst had to be created In the USSR socialist industrialization was initially nanced to a large extent out of excise duties above all those levied on vodka79 After collectivization vodka was replaced by a prices system geared to the extraction of agricultural surpluses whereby to take one example the kolkhoz sold grain to the state at 14 of the wholesale price charged to milling enterprises by the state80 Under feudalism the state budget depended above all on the size of the royal domain and on the degree of exploitation to which its attached peasants were subjected A further source of revenue was the fees exacted within contractual relationships such as the dis pensation of royal justice or the minting of money The solvency of the feudal polity was not corporately guaranteed but was the prob lem of the king alone Confronted by the scal crisis of the state he could only appeal to his subjects for aid and engage in protracted struggle and bargaining with other magnates over his more or less permanent demand for extraordinary levies81 7quot R Braun Taxation Sociopolitical Structure and StateBuilding Great Britain and Brandenburg Prussia in C Tilly op cit p 244 79 E H CarrR K Davies Foundations o o Planned Eronomy vol 1 Har mondsworth 1974 pp 818 1031 1032 8quot A Nove The Soviet Economy New York 1961 p 99 3 On early feudal scality see inter alia O Brunncr Land and Herrsrhafl BrunnMunichVienna 1943 pp 312 if for its later development see Braun op Cit Processes of Transformation 87 Classical writers on political economy like Smith and Ricardo as well as later theorists and politicians of the capitalist state have all been concerned with the e ects of taxation upon exploitation and capital accumulation The feudal scal system on the other hand was directly part of a mode of exploitation based on the extraction of rent from the peasantry and on the exercise of seigneurial authority over cities and commerce In feudal Sweden for instance the pea santry was divided into three groups the rst paid rent to the royal landlord the second to the nobility whilst the third section of tax peasants who owned their own land had to pay taxes to the monarchy Processes of transformation The Handling of Tasks The way in which incoming tasks are handled within the state is in general shaped by the dynamics of the given mode of production and more speci cally by the character of the organizational tech nology Under feudalism it was above all interpretation of existing laws and customs that determined the tasks of the state The estates were not legislative bodies nor did they seriously attempt to assert them selves as such only the English Parliament began to develop in that direction from quite an early date Their principal functions were to make grants of money and to provide a channel through which speci c grievances could be raised The French parlements had the authority to keep a public register of royal edicts and to ensure that they were compatible with traditional law82 Since it was accom panied by the strengthening of the aristocracy vis avis the rest of the population the development of royal absolutism in Europe did not signi cantly alter the way in which state tasks were handled they continued to be bound by the customs of the feudal mode of production whose slow movement only occasionally made new rules necessary However royal and seigneurial interpretation obviously gave considerable leeway for discretionary judgements which might gradually evolve and crystallize into new customs 2 R Holzmann Fronzo39sisehe Ver ssungsgeschichte von der Mine der 9 jahr hunderr bis zur Revolution Munich and Berlin pp 218 ff Carsten op cit Flrnn rm r it Claus Offe quotThe Crisis of Crisis Management elements FE i of a political Crisis Theoryquot in Claus Offe Contradictions C39 of the Welfare State London Hutchinson 1984 pp 35 61 O O 1 Crises of cr1s1s management 0 C 0 elements of a political crrsrs theory btldungsrejorm bme raustuate uoer neju s especially Chapters 3 and 6 where 0er discusses the systematic limits upon different forms of state planning with particular reference to unsuccessful Social Democratic Party attempts to rationalize the pro vision of vocational training 15 Jiirgen Habermas39 most recent restatement and elaboration of this The concept of crisis subject appears in the two volumes of Theorie des kommunikau39ven Handelns Frankfurt 1981 16 cf Offe s analysis of these unintended consequences of corporatism in Die institutionalisierung des Verbandsein usses eine ordnungs politische Zwickmiihle in Ulrich von Alemann and Rolf G Heinze eds Verba39nde und Staat Opladen 1979 pp 72 91 the intro ductory remarks to Rolf G Heinzc Verbdndepolitik und Neokorpor atismus Zur politt39schen Soziologie organisierter lnteressen Opladen 1981 pp 79 WolfDieter Narr and Claus Offe Was heiBt hier Strukturpolitik Neokorporatismus als Rettung aus der Krise Technologie and Politik 6 1976 pp 526 The attribution of public status to interest groups observations on the West German case39 in Suzanne Berger ed Organizing Interests in Western Europe Cambridge 1981 pp 123 58 and with Helmut Wiesenthal Two logics of collective action theoretical notes on social class and organ izational form Political Power and Social Theory Vol 1 1980 pp 67115 While there have been numerous attempts in political science to increase the reliability of strategies of politicaladministrative inter vention through the improvement of information organizational planning and legal techniques there are hardly any studies which proceed from the opposite point of view The question of why the capacitny late capitalist societiestqrpoliticalregulation is so slight and their capacity for planned social change so defective is either not asked or implicitly dismissed by conceiving39thewellknown limitations of state regulation as due to factors of a contingent nature which may in future be brought under control through improved administration and budgetary management This point of view which dominates political science and par ticularly its new branch of policy sciences is justi ed neither by practical successes nor by theoretical reasons The following contri bution thus examines the interventionist welfare state regulatory strategies of late capitalist societies not from the standpoint of how their effectiveness could be increased but rather from that of why their effectiveness is in spite of all attempts at improvement so Klimited The object of this study is to theoretically comprehend the J limits of the policymaking capacity of the capitalist state as wel as to establish these limits through a discussion of speci c examples This kind of theoretical approach which amounts to a critique in the sense of the determination of the limits of the regulatory capacity of the capitalist state is also a legitimate continuation of 39 The following essay summarizes the theoretical approaches which guided a research project on the limits of administrative con ict management and control39 conducted during 19712 at the MaxPlancklnstitut Starnberg It originally appeared in Martin Janicke ed Herrschaft und Krise Opladen 1973 pp 197 223 An earlier translation was published in International Journal of Politics 6 no 3 Fall 1976 pp 2967 J 36 Contradictions of the Welfare State the kinds of questions asked by the Marxian critique of political economy Today its subject has undergone a peculiar change For Marx the point was to examine the laws of motion of capital in order to prove that capitalism as a social formation was contrary to the usual belief in harmony of vulgar economics in fact a dynamic historical and transitory social formation Today by contrast the tantalizing and baf ing riddle in a political as well as a theoretical sense is why capitalist systems have so far been able to survive 39 in spite of all existing contradictions and con icts even though an intact bourgeois ideology that could deny these contradictions and construct the image of a harmonious order no longer exists The usual or more precisely temporary answers to this riddle either take the form of references to the postponement of the point in time at which the internal contradictions of the system ripen and develop their transformative power or conversely of making the state responsible for the achievement of a permanent stabilization However both responses are defective They abstract from their appropriate historical contexts and erroneously ascribe absolute validity to either a traditional concept of crisis or its opposite the panacea of administrative intervention and regulation A theoret ically useful and practically relevant way out of this dilemma may lie in the attempt to see neither crises nor crisis management but rather crises of crisis management as a constant in the attempt in other words to systematically anticipate and analyse the de cien cies and limitations of the stabilizing activity of the state In a preliminary way crises can be de ned as processes in which quot the structure of a system is called into question This formulation immediately prompts the following question what are the analy tical conditiOns for structures being called into question It is possible to answer this question in two different ways Crises endanger the identity of a system According to a rst approach identity can be de ned in relation to the total range of events possible in a system Seen from this rst point of view the system would be endangered whenever events occur that lie outside the boundaries determined by the system To conceive a crisis as an event foreign to the system or destructive of that system is to rely upon a sporadic crisis concept The point of departure of a sporadic crisis concept is the notion that crises are particularly acute catastrophic surprising and unforeseeable events which consequently necessitate a decisionmaking process under the pressure of time K W Deutsch The crisis is thus seen as an event J 339 4 Crises of crisis management 37 or a chain ofevents con ned to one point in time or a short period of time This makes it dif cult to describe the tendency towards crisis or crisisproneness of a social system This type of crisis concept fails to systematically link events with the structures of the system in the sense that the crisis event or the defencelessness against it is not seen as a characteristic quality of the system A sporadic crisis concept is at best suitable for the analysis of welldemarcated subsystems for instance a business enterprise goes bankrupt because it is confronted by its environment banks customers competitors etc with data and events incompatible With its continued existence In analyses of society as a whole however any conceptual strategy which conceives of crises as events that are neither anticipated nor provided for encounters dif cult problems Logical distinctions between on the one hand events provided for and those which are not and on the other between events compatible with the system and those which are not can hardly be operationalized These dif culties indicate the need for an alternative concept of crisis The alternative approach conceives crises not at the level of quot events but rather at the superordinate level of mechanisms that generate events39 According to this second definition crises are processes that violate the grammar of social processes Such aquot de nition favours a processual concept of crisis Crises are developmental tendencies that can be confronted with counter acting tendencies which means that the outcome of crises is quite unpredictable Moreover this processual crisis concept has the advantage of making it possible to relate the crisisprone develop mental tendencies of a system to the characteristics of the system In contrast to the rst type of crisis concept such developmental tendenc1es need not be seen as catastrophic events having a con tingent origin The price that must be paid for the greater precision of this second approach to the concept of crisis is the dif culty it encounters in identifying and de ning the boundaries of such event producing mechanisms Some guidelines might be drawn from Dahl and Lmdblom2 who distinguish exchange political choice lt bureaucracy and bargaining processes as four ways social events are prOdUCed in industrial societies If one disregards the fourth type as a problematic intermediate case3 the remaining three organizational prmcrples can be reconciled with a typology devel oped by Etzrom4 for the classi cation of formal organizations This J I 38 Contradictions of the Welfare State typology differentiates social processes according to whetILer they are based on normative structures exchange relations lps or 39 relationshi s I 60ng capitaliSt sgcieties are de ned by the fact that in themf on the basis of an unequal distribution of property resulting rorlri precapitalist primitive accumulation the organizational prinlcip cf of the exchange of equivalents 8 universal This priqcrlp 0 exchange which also includes the commodi catlon o a 0 power becomes dominant because it IS freed from normativedab politicalcoercive restraints To be sure a soctety organize I y means of exchange relationships can never be orgamzked so eby through exchange relations but rather requires anlmg tsum systems even in a purely competitivecapitalist soc1a tslyls em individuals mUSt be socialized in normative structures i be established rules of social intercourse must be sanctione y iiisovereign power A society based on market exchange canno l function without the family system and the legal system f if If the dominant organizational prmcrple of the socral processes of every capitalist society is that of exchange a theory of lh crisees i capitalist society can identify those processes Wthh c a eng I quotdominance of this central principle This in turn can be done in ways I 39 I The theory of historical materialism attempts to show thlat 39 processes organized and formed through exchange lead to resu s that cannot be dealt with by the exchange process itself Economic H crisis theories in a narrow sense such as the theorem of the historicaf tendency of the rate of pro t to fall reconstruct the processes e selfnegation of the exchange princrple that potentially resu t cal revolutionary transformation of the entire ideological and po I 1 ure ZSUI sseihuiilternative to this approach antheory of the system crises of capitalist societies would examine cnsrsprone developments riisqs in the exchange sphere itself ie in the form of an econorgictcreen theory rather it would concentrate on the relationship 3 ws 8 the three fundamental organizational prmcnples of secret a 1 whole Not the selfnegation of the exchange princrple lut l s restriction and questioning by the other two organizationa prin ciples would serve as the criterion of cnsrs processes In order to consolidate this second possibility adistinction may be made between two different kinds of relationship that can ex15t Crises of crisis management 39 between the three organizational principles This distinction re ectsthepmanner in which the normative and political coercive subsystems are subordinated to the dominant organizational prin ciple of exchange in capitalist societies M One kind of relationship is that ofpositive subordination y this I mean a relationship between the eao39n omy and the normative and politicaladministrative systems in which the latter are structured in such a way that they positively contribute to and create the pre conditions for the functioning of the dominant organizational prin ciple and the sphere of the economy determined by it The distinctive feature of this type of positive subordination is the adjustment of the content of the normative and political subsystems so that they conform to economic processes This form of subordination takes place through the norms and ideologies that bring individuals into harmony with the functions within the framework of the economic system or through a politicaladministrative system that coordi nates state policies and the requirements of the economic system Thenegative subordinationmf both the subsystems outside the exchange sphere must be distinguished from the rst type of sub ordination In this second case the ideological and state power systems are related to the capitalist economic system in such a way that they are limited by and insulated from this economic system without however being able to substantively contribute to its ability to function Successful negative subordination consists of the protection of the sphere regulated by exchange against overlaps and interferences which are a possible consequence of the development of the normative and political subsystems The way in which such overlaps result from capitalist development will be discussed below The aim here is merely to contrast two types of subordination The production of complementary functions is what matters in positive subOrdination In contrast in39negative subordinationthe idomin ance of the economic system over the two subsystems depends on whether given the possibility of the partial functional irrelevance of these two subsystems for the economic system the boundaries between the respective systems can be stabilized so that the economic system is able to prevent the alternative organizational principles of the normative and state power systems from inter fering with its own domain of the production and distribution of goods In accordance with these considerations one would have to characterize processes as crisisprone if they made the demarcation of the economic system from the other two systems more dif cult 4O Contradictions of the Welfare State The growth of nonmarket organizations In order to develop these quite formal attempts at conceptual ization with a few material hypotheses I would like to describe in greater detail the process of the formation and expansion of cxtra territorial or nonmarket areas of the capitalist social structure a social structure regulated by exchange relationships In terms of the structural type of positive subordination discussed above capitalism can be described as a social structure which apart from residual feudal elements is entirely determined by the dominant structural principle of exchange relationships We can also express this cir cumstance in a different way in such a structure all elements are necessary from the standpoint of the creation of surplus value However closer examination immediately indicates that this concept of necessity mixes together two elements that must be distinguished from each other if one wants to avoid hypostatizing the concept of necessity First the relationship between the economic system and the normative or political systems can be necessary in the sense that the structures of the latter are genetically dependent on the economic system Necessity here means a genetic relationship of determin lation The concept of necessity can also acquire a completely idifferent meaning namely that the ideological and political sub isystems are necessary for the reproduction of the economic system One can speak of positive subordination in the above sense only if both elements of the concept of necessity coincide in other words only if the conditions of the ideological and political systems are not only produced in a capitalist society but are also required for the reproduction of a capitalist economy On the other hand the problems associated with negative sub ordination the interference of the logics of subsystems and their insulation from each other arise only when the genetic and functional aspects of necessity no longer coincide This non coincidence is characterized by the necessary production of phenomena and structures which are nevertheless not required by the capitalist economic structure that produces them The empirical thesis 1 would like to tentatively advance below is the following the movement of capital systematically cumulatively and irreversibly produces social phenomena and structural elements which are functionally irrelevant and of no value for the continuation of capitalist development While this thesis requires much more Crises of crisis management39 41 empirical evidence I contend that the nonintegrablebyproducts of capitalist development are systematically increasing and that these byproducts are having their effects only as impediments threats and as ballast without any longer usefully contributing to the process of the creation of surplus value The difference between this developmental pattern and the early capitalist pattern of development is obvious The development of early capitalist systems was de ned by the creation of the conditions for universal capitalist growth labour power was freed from its precapitalist agrarian bonds mobilized and made available for absorption by capitalist industry the transportation and communi cations network was rationalized by the evolution of nation states and territories and adapted to meet the requirements of the capitalist socialization of production the same was true of the legal and scal systems customs and international economic relations science and technology the family and urban development and so on While this is evident many of the social results and structural transformations of the developed capitalist economies are in a general sense destined to play only a subordinate and unimportant in any case ambivalent role as functional prerequisites of the economic process This thesis could be exempli ed in detail with respect to the crisis of the theory of imperialism That the conditions of military oppres sion and intervention of induced impoverishment and forced underdevelopment which characterize the contemporary Third World are a direct result of the strategies of the developed imperial istic nations seems to be as certain as the fact that the mctional explanatiOn of this set of circumstances has become questionable and implalisible The American war in lndo China and in general the dependence of the countries of the Third World on the indus trialized capitalist nations hardly conforms to a theoretical schema that attempts to interpret the imperialistic strategies as means for both the fulfilment of the present needs of the system and the creation of necessary preconditions for the further existence of the imperialist countries The purpose of these strategies is not to create or expand the necessary economic preconditions for the continued existence of capitalist economies by opening up raw materials labour investment and export markets5 rather their purpose is to obstruct processes of emancipation that are seen to threaten capitalist hegemony The course of development of capitalist industrial society seems K 42 Contradictions of the Welfare State to cumulatively produce phenomena and stiuctural elements that are not determined by the interest of individual capital units in the creation of surplus value and that can be linked to the interest of capital as a whole only in a highly ambivalent way These phenomena and structures contain the seeds of noncapitalist organizational forms and for this reason are of interest to capital primarily from the negative standpoint of how their independence can be restrained Consequently it is not the offensive opening up of sources of value and conditions for the creation of surplus value but rather the defensive exclusion prevention and avoidance of extraterritorial or nonmarket structures that is characteristic of the system problems of capitalist development today The development of the internal social structure of the capitalist countries is also characterized by the appearance of phenomena which are functionally irrelevant or useless for capitalist growth In order to maintain the stability of the system priority must be given to minimizing the possible disruptive effects of these phenomena on the dominant system of surplus value creation This structural transformation of capitalist development from a type of development that produces the indispensible conditions for its own continuation to one that necessarily behaves defensively towards its own outcomes can be analysed more precisely by investigating the organization of social labour power In certain phases of early capitalist development ever greater portions of social labour were rendered as free wagelabour and thereby made into the raw material of industrial exploitation Today however a different development is taking place in which an ever smaller portion of labour time and life time is directly subsumed unEiEr the capital relation In order to illustrate this developmental tend ii y quot which could also be characterized as a relative decline in the organ izing potential of the wagelabour capital relationship visavis total social labour power the following argument draws upon a sector model that represents the relative absorption of the total available labour time and of life time in the various sectors of the capitalist system see Figure 1 The model comprises the monopoly sector M the competitive sector C the state sector S and a sector of residual labour power R The monopoly sector is characterized by a high degree of organ ization of the retail and capital markets Price competition plays at least in national markets a subordinate role The organic composi tion of capital is high ie labour costs account for a relatively small Crises of crisis management 43 Monopoly sector Competitive sector State sector Residual labour power M C S R High quot0quot 0391 r t coomc Eleven g r l 0 c of 1 quoten 1 Degree or or enslbillt B gown quot3912 N0 a 09 w Commoditicntion A Decommodilication Figure 1 Four sector model of the capitalist system share of the total costs As a rule the labour power within this sector is represented by strong trade unions with a high degree of organization The fact that wage levels in the monopoly sector are relatively high is the combined result of this sector s structural ability to pass on higher labour costs through price increases the degree of trade union organization and the small share of its total costs accounted for by labour costs Within the competitive sector price competition plays a signi cantly greater role Labour power is organized to a lesser extent in trade unions and the likelihood of companies yielding to wage demands is therefore smaller The competitive sector is dependent on the monopoly sector this relationship of dependency is deter mined not by competition but rather by administrative power relationships Only super cially can this relationship be described as one between market partners enjoying equal rights because the 39room for manoeuvre of small and mediumsized businesses is determined both qualitatively and quantitatively by the degree to which they are able to function as suppliers and distributors for the large corporations for whose patronage they can only compete The characteristic feature of such a dual ecdnomic structure 44 Contradictions of the Welfare State Averitt O Connor is the fact that the small and mediumsized businesses operating on a competitivecapitalist basis are limited to an area the large capital blocs let them have for technical and organizational reasons Accordingly the cost structure and pro t ability of rms in the competitive sector are predetermined by the administratively enforced decisions of the banks and big capital Moreover the strategic variable upon which the economic survival of small and mediumsized businesses including agriculture depends is not the innovative behaviour of the creative business enterprise Schumpeter rather it is the mobilization of political administrative protection In this sector an adequate economic existence depends upon such nonmarket means as subsidies preferential tariffs and tax measures Thus for both the selfemployed businessmen and the entre preneurs of the independent middle class as well as for the wage earners working for them not all material conditions of life are determined by bodies and organizations de ned by exchange rela tionships In fact in this sector the conditions of production and the exchange of labour power are to an increasing extent determined through direct economic and political power relationships ie relationships which are no longer exchange relationships For that portion of social labour power organized in state bureau cracies and institutions either as civil servants or as salaried employees it is obvious that sovereign political organizational principles predominate over those of exchange In this sector labour power still belongs to the wagedependent category However the payment of civil servants salaries differs qualitatively from the payment of wages in private industry because of the fact that in the case of civil servants an equilibrium price between partners in an exchange transaction is not arrived at The state does not buy the labour performed by its civil servants and salaried employees just as it does not sell the products of this labour The mass of funds from which salaries are paid constitutes revenue and not capital and it is only an external consideration namely that the state must compete with the private economy for labour power that produces a tendency towards the equalization of public and private wage rates This indirect dependence of the state upon the private economy cannot however disguise the fact that the payment of state personnel with public funds is decided through sovereign power budgets and not through decisions about the investment of variable capital The regulation of the relationship Crises of crisis management 45 between the state and the public servant through labour legislation is also in accordance with the fact that obligations of loyalty and restrictions upon labour s right to strike are the counterpart of the special wage employment and social security status often enjoyed by state employees The limited degree to which labour performed in the state sector can be mechanized the correspondingly high intensity of labour as well as the impossibility of calculating the value of this labour in terms of productivity or market prices also rule out wage determination through exchange as a practical possi bility in the state sector In this sector in short the mode of allocating material resources is only indirectly determined by the exchange relation Finally in the sector of residual labour power labour power does not even in a formal sense receive its material basis of existence as compensation for some sort of work performed its existence is maintained through of cial allocations of nancial and material resources and life chances In the monopoly sector labour power is sold in the strict sense of the word in the competitive sector it is in fact sold albeit at prices determined by power relationships and politicaladministrative measures while in the public sector labour power is remunerated under conditions only indirectly dependent on the market In the realm of residual labour power life is virtually decommodi ed transfer payments to unemployed persons invalids and oldage pensioners the living conditions of school pupils college students drafted servicemen fulltime housewives and the occupants of prisons hospitals and other total institutions are determined directly by political or institutional means Here the marketmediated relationship of correspondence between work performed and remuneration plays no role as a criterion of equivalence and equity The four sector model sketched above can thus be interpreted as a way of classifying sectors according to their relative degree of commodi cation In order to measure the qualitative and changing historical relationships between these sectors it is neces sary to specify not the numbers of persons who are members of each sector but rather the proportion of the total available social labour time or life time accounted for by each sector Thus it is a matter of arriving at a twodimensional quantity by multiplying the number of individuals by the number of units of time during which their labour power is organized in one of the sectors This procedure has the additional advantage of making it possible to incorporate into 46 Contradictions of the Welfare State the calculation of the quantitative ratios those portions of free time for example time spent on travelling to and from work and on leisure vacation and further education structured not by indi vidual expenditures of earned income but rather by administra tively determined programmes which take place independently of commodity exchange Late capitalism some hypotheses This scale of the degree of commodi cation only becomes signi cant if it can be shown that there is a relationship between it and other analytically informative variables In the accompanying model Figure 1 four such possible relationships which depend on the variables of proportional growth degree of organization functional relevance and intensity of conflict are describedi I intend to brie y explain the four hypotheses that illustrate these relationships 1 will set aside the serious dif culties associated with the operationalization and empirical measurement of these hypo theses and instead advance the proposition that the four relation ships in question are steadily becoming more and more prevalent throughout the developed capitalist industrial world The hypotheses are as follows 1 In all developed industrial capitalist societies sectoral growth rates measured in terms of their share of the total fund of available social labour discussed above increase as one moves from sector M to sector R There are several reasons for this the stagnation or perhaps even absolute decline of the share of labour time absorbed in sector M the relative growth of service and distribution functions organized by private enterprise C the even greater growth of stateorganized services and infrastructures S nally sector R grows most rapidly because it includes the institutional training of labour power and thus increases in the number of pupils and the length of attendance within the school system as well as the material provision of labour power either temporarily or perma nently incapable for physical psychic institutional or economic reasons of being absorbed elsewhere 2 The functional relevance of each of the sectors measured in terms of the threats to the further existence of the whole system which would result from dysfunctions within that sector decreases as one moves from M to R The prosperity of the system as a whole 1 l l l l l l l l I I l l Crises of crisis management 47 depends quite substantially on the contributions to growth the potential for innovation and the market strategies of sector M As a result disturbances within this sector have direct and farreaching consequences for all of the other sectors The converse is not equally valid the dysfunctioning or even revolutionary transfor mation of schools and universities would not for a relatively long time endanger the monopoly capital blocs 3 The degree of organization of class and interest groups expressed as the ratio between actual and potential membership decreases as one moves from sector M to sector R The trade unions in sector M not to mention the business associations of the corres ponding large corporations are in a position to organize a greater proportion of their potential membership than is possible at the other end of the scale This means that the economic and organiz ational power and resources at the disposal of various class and interest groups are not mutually counterbalancing as has been claimed by Strachey Galbraith and others It rather means that within the framework of the given organizational paradigms of the political system of capitalist societies these resources and powers accumulate in the positive as well as the negative sense 4 The manifestation of militant conflicts measured in terms of the utilization of extralegal means andor the articulation of non integrable objectives is greater in R than in M lfone also considers the ambivalent potential of populist and Poujadist middleclass movements as well as the political strike movements among French and American public employees militant con ict most probably increases through the intermediate sectors as well This compara tive statement does not indicate anything about t e signi cance which should be attributed to the militant con cts and their strategies fought out in sector M It only suggests that the conflicts fought out in this sector have the greatest potential for disrupting the whole system and that this sector therefore possesses the most effective safeguards against endogenously produced con icts The examples of the militant Italian French May 1968 and American strikes in largescale manufacturing plants seem to con rm this assumption These strikes typically omitted the endogenous economistic phase of the development of classic strikes by drawing upon external impulses which industrial workers had applied to their own job situations either the struggles of student and intel lectual groups andor those of the subproletarian strata Italy USA provided models and stimuli MayJune 1968 or the 48 Contradictions of the Welfare State structure of domination within the plant was challenged by suddenly and abruptly appealing to antiauthoritarian motives In any case strikes exhibiting these patterns of development most probably outnumber con icts in which strikes for higher wages organically outgrow their original goals and become more and more politicized On the basis of these brief re ections I draw the paradoxical conclusion that in late capitalist societies the processes of exchange regulated capitalist accumulation are simultaneously dominant and recessive Although exchange processes are decisive for the stability of the system as a whole they have become increasingly obsolete as their potential to organize social life has been restricted 0 a small core area This leads to the creation of a new problem for the system of late capitalist societies the problem of preventing the regulatory processes of administrative power which are foreign to capital and yet upon whose permanent expansion the monopolistic sphere of the economy is dependent from becoming autonomous and controlling private exchange relationships either through paralysing them or subverting them in revolutionary ways The increasing utilization of the regulatory medium of nonmarket state power cumulatively produces weak points that facilitate intrusions into the system by noncapitalist structures The closing of these vulnerable points through mechanisms of negative sub ordination consequently becomes the main problem of late capital ist social systems7 39 The distinction between positive and negative subordination or between the substantive subsumption and formal exclusion of non exchange principles of organization can now be utilized for a phase model of capitalist development At the most abstract level the dynamic pattern of development described by this phase model contains four stages 1 The dominance of the sphere of exchange triggers processes of socialization in the Marxian sense of Vergesellschaftung the increasingly social character of privately controlled production relations that is a growing division and differentiation of labour and other functions as well as a growing interdependence between the elements of the social system Differentiation and interdepen dence are resultant problems that can no longer be dealt with adequately by the dynamics of market processes The process of socialization which is pushed forward by the dominant economic 39 z 39 39 39 L A Crises of crisis management 49 subsystem is determined by three criteria First socialization is triggered by market exchanges between the owners of commodi ties second it creates social conditions that threaten to obstruct this exchange third these conditions cannot be compensated through exchange processes themselves This tendency is charac terized by historical materialism as the contradiction between private appropriation and socialized production 2 As means which deal with the problems generated by capital ist exchange processes the anking subsystems normative structures and state power become increasingly important In order for them to be able to compensate for these problems it becomes functionally necessary for these subsystems to partially emancipate themselves from the relationship of positive subordin ation The more that steering problems result from the failure of the exchange mechanism to integrate the process of socialization the greater is the degree of independence or relative autonomy required by the politicaladministrative centre if it is to repair or compensate for these problems This relationship results from the anarchic competitively regulated movement ofcapital as a whole Since capital as a whole exists only in an ideal sense ie is incapable of articulating and perceiving a common and unified class interest it requires special guidance and supervision by a fully differentiated politicaladminis trative system Only a fully harmonious economic system that did not trigger selfdestructive processes of socialization could tolerate the complete positive subordination of the normativeideological and political systems to itself As soon as the exchange process requires compensatory regulation a process of autonomization which dissolves the positive relationship of subordination becomes indispensible To the extent that the process of market exchange between commodity owners is forced to ensure its survival by subjecting itself to state control the former relationship of sub ordination must be loosened and the regulatory medium of state power must be utilized and conceded In general the capitalist state has the responsibility of compensating for the processes of social ization triggered by capital in such a way that neither a self obstruction of marketregulated accumulation nor an abolition of the relationships of private appropriation of socialized production results The state protects the capital relation from the social con ditions it produces without being able to alter the status of this relationship as the dominant relationship To do otherwise would r t l 50 Contradictions of the Welfare State sanction such mechanisms as the investment strike which would make the therapy more harmful than the illness it was designed to cure This precarious double function of the capitalist state con tinuously demands a combination of intervention and abstention from intervention of planning and freedom in short it demands an opportunism Luhmann whose adherence to its own principles is absolutely unswerving State power subject to such contradictory demands can deter mine its own strategies neither through a general consensus of citizens nor through technocratic calculation its opportunistic actions can neither be willed nor calculated However this inter ventionist power does not draw quietly or exclusively on its own resources is constantly in danger of succumbing to the v competitivelyregulated movement of individual capital units quot Consequently it must procure for itself a basis for39overall legitima tion Thus because of the autonomization of the politicaladminis trative system the normative system must also break free from the relationship of positive subordination and become variable so that it can in turn satisfy the need of the politicaladministrative system for legitimation 3 The autonomization of non marketrcgulatetl extratcrri torial subsystems and regulatory principles induced by the failure of the exchange principle as an organizing principle for the whole society creates problems of demarcation described above through the concept of negative subordination The maintenance of the rules governing the creation of surplus value and the retention of the exchange principle as the dominant org nizing principle of society necessitate the establishment and g owth of subsidiary regulatory principles These principles must then be prevented from intruding into the domain of private production This problem of demarcation is determined by the contradictory nature of capitalist socialization In order to be able to maintain its dominant position the sphere of exchange needs to be safeguarded through external regulatory principles whose expansion especially in cases of overregulation or an overdose of therapy threatens the survival of this sphere Hence corporatist tendencies towards reprivatization continuously counteract state capitalist tendencies toward global regulation In view of this contradictory problem of demarcation all processes are crisisprone9 which call into question and impede a balance between mechanisms of positive subordin ation ie the totality of positive contributions coming from non M H vv cO vw mvvvvv v 4 Crises of crisis management 51 market subsystems and negative subordination which prevent nonmarket processes from encroaching on the dominant principle of exchange and of surplus value creation 4 in principle economic crisis theories are inadequate for the analysis of these crisis prone processes because they only examine lirst order crises in other words crises that can be described as a cumulative selfobstruction of the process of surplus value creation by means of the effects triggered by this process On the other hand the crisis tendencies related to the problem of demarcation dis cussed above take the form of second order crises which are connected with the utilization of regulatory principles external to both capital and the market In the current phase of capitalist development second order crises are more relevant than those of the rst order although they are of course produced by the latter This supposition is based on the hypothesis sketched above con cerning the general pattern of capitalist development the more the capitalist economy is forced to utilize external regulatory mechan isms the more it is faced with the dif cult problem of surviving against the inner dynamicsot these encroaching mechanisms Problems of the capitalist state If this problem henceforth serves as the frame of reference for our analysis it becomes both possible and meaningful to de ne more precisely the concept of the capitalist state The capitalist state can no longer be characterized as an instrument of the interest of capital an interest which is neither homogeneous nor generally understood rather this state is characterized by constitutional and organizational structures whose speci c selectivity is designed to reconcile and harmonize the privately regulated capitalist economy with the processes of socialization this economy triggers The more actual and problematic this attempt becomes the greater the legitimacy of a theoretical perspective that seeks to conceptual ize the objectivity of capitalist development not at the level of the inherent crisis cycles of the economy but rather at the level of those formal structures and conversion processes with which the sociology of organization and administration are concerned This important connection between politicalsociological categories and the categories of the sociology of organization has already been emphasized by Selznick and others in many fruitful studies of the organizational pathologies of the politicaladministrative system 52 Contradictions 0f the Welfare State While this connection also helps overcome the uncertainties and immense dif culties associated with the Marxian theory of value it is not merely one of convenience It is a consequence of assump tions about second order crises whose emergence is necessary and irreversible and whose signi cance can be determined only with the help of such politicaIsociologicalorganizational categories This crisis potential as well as its counteracting tendencies must be analysed in relation to the structural problem of negative sub ordination ie in relation to the problem of whether the political administrative problem can politically regulate the economic system without politicizing its substance and thus negating its identity as a capitalist economic system based on private production and appropriation The success or failure of the attempt to balance contradictory imperatives depends upon the organizational linking or mutual insulation of three subsystems Figure 2 Depending on the speci c regulatory media involved three subsystems can be dis tinguished the economic system the politicaladministrative system and the normative legitimation system The economic system depends on continuous state intervention for the elimination Organizational disjunction I I I I I Regulatory Welfare state services I services lt t 39 gt Political Normative Economw administrative legitimation sy em system system gt I lt J Fiscal inputs Mass loyalty I I I l r 1 I l Figure 2 Three subsystems and their interrelationship vw Crises of crisis management 53 of its internal malfunctions for its part the economic system transfers by means of taxation portions of the value produced in it to the politicaladministrative system The political adminis trative system is linked to the normative system by the expectations demands and claims specilie demands according to Easton with which it is confronted and to which it reacts through welfare state and organizational services On the other hand the autonomy and capacity of the politicaladministrative system to act is dependent on mass loyalty diffuse support These functional legitimation processes are determined by the political system itself namely by its welfare state ideological Poulantzas Miliband and repressive functions as well as by autonomous prepolitical changes in the system of norms ideologies and class consciousness The problem facing the politicaladministrative system is not merely that of main taining a speci cally positive balance between essential regulatory services and scal inputs left side of the diagram or between mass loyalty and welfare state or repressive policies the right side It i also consists in dealing with these two problem complexes the avoidance of economic malfunctions and political conflicts in such a way that one type of problem is not solved by aggravating the other malfunctions must not be allowed to turn into conflicts and vice versa In order to solve this problem the political administrative system must undergo an internal disjunction that allows it to achieve a relative insulation of the problems represented on the righthand side of the diagram from those on the lefthand side Given that the maintenance of the dominant capitalist organ izing principle of exchange constantly requires and is challenged by politicaladministrative regulation the following question must now be answered why cannot this dilemma be permanently pre vented from assuming true crisis proportions so that a relatively problemfree path of development lying between the necessary and dangerous levels of intervention is maintained This path would correspond to the eld between the lines AB and CD Figure 3 Any attempt to clarify the concept of crisis must be supplemented with the identi cation of empirical phenomena and processes which meet the criteria of this concept There is a need in other words to develop hypotheses that can be tested empirically and that allow us to decide whether there exists a problemfree path of development for the processes of state regulation In order to generate such hypotheses we will use a coordinate system whose xaxis indicates 54 Contradictions of the Welfare State Zone of intervention lt Level of intervention Process of socialization it Figure 3 Thresholds ofstate intervention 3 process of historical development and whose yaxis indicates the level of state intervention ie the number and scope of regulatory services performed by nonmarket bodies For each and every phase of development ie for every point along the xaxis there is a minimum and a maximum level of intervention The minimum level of intervention is de ned by the inventory of problems produced by the economic system These problems potentially endanger its existence but cannot be processed and solved by this economic system At the same time a maximum level exists for every point on the xaxis beyond this point regulatory services and initiatives cease to compensate for the defects of the marketregulated process 39of creating surplus value by in fact over compensating and thereby challenging the identity of the system regulated by exchange principles ln other words beyond this maximum point interventions stimulate interpretations of needs which are both antagonistic to the system and which potentially subject the exchange system not merely to subsidiary political control but to actual political control In the case of a level of c v e Crises of crisis management 55 intervention lying below the specilic minimum threshold in question the process of capitalist reproduction would be threat ened On the other hand in the case of a level of intervention lying above the maximum threshold the form of this process ie the form of regulation through production for pro t would be violated Drawing on the theorem of the growing socialization of capitalist production it can be argued that in the course of capitalist development the minimum threshold of the required level of inter vention rises in a longterm sense line AA This argument is well substantiated by empirical evidence the rising share of GNP pro cessed by the state etc However the important and open question is whether the development of the speci c maximum level in question also exhibits an equal or perhaps even greater rate of ascent If this were the case one could expect the zone of inter vention to remain constant CD or to expand and the crisis concept deduced above would remain empirically unveri ed Now the interesting hypothetical case is the one in which the upper threshold value of the level of intervention remains constant in the long run or and this would be the toughest hypothesis falls in the long run CC According to this hypothesis there would have to be a point X at which the minimum and maximum thresholds intersect This point would have to be interpreted as one at which the inter ventions necessary for the material reproduction of capitalist society are at the same time the kind which stimulate inter pretations of needs which negate the capitalist form of social reproduction as such This vanishing point is however useful only for purposes of illustration As stated at the beginning I do not wish to use the concept of crisis to produce statements about events which are external to or which break into the system Rather my aim is to identify laws of motion that can be represented as an inverse development of the minimum and maximum thresholds of the level of intervention in the process of capitalist socialization 390 It is possible to identify ve hypotheses that describe the interaction between those interventions necessary for preventing malfunctions and those which relate to con icts maximum threshold 1 Lowi s formula policies determine politics can be interpreted as a lowering of the maximum threshold in reaction to a raising of the minimum threshold the more numerous and visible the regu latory activities of the politicaladministrative system the more intense the con icts constituted by policies The commitment of the 56 Contradictions of the Welfare State process of policy formation to giving preferential treatment to the functional problems of the capitalist economy a commitment guaranteed by objective politicalorganizational channels and mechanisms implies material social and temporal biases ie privilegegranting rules whose effects in turn play an essential role in delegitimating political con icts The analysis of these biases depends not only on empirical veri cations of the connection between the limited potential for considering problems and its resultant con icts it also requires detailed genetic accounts of the production of political conflicts by the biasstructure of policies 2 The second hypothesis refers to the overburdening of policy making capacity by political con ict As a way of pacifying and isolating centres of con ict the political system adopts strategies which either underregulate or overregulate and therefore en danger the system In this case the above mentioned relationship between policies and politics is subject to obstructive repercussions 3 The use of fiscal resources for example subsidies and transfer payments can remedy as well as exacerbate problems at the level of malfunctions 4 The use of legitimation resources can likewise be described by means of a double sided hypothesis a distinction must be made between the positive and negative results of their utilization 5 As a regulatory resource administrative rationality relates to the problem ofdisjunction ie to the possibility or Impossibility of separating and insulating developments of the minimum or maximum threshold The last three hypotheses are versions of the argument in support of the thesis of the selfobstruction of regulatory resources which will now be explained The environment of the politicaladminis trative system comprises the economic subsystem which is deter mined by the developmental processes of the capitalist economy and the normative or legitimau39on subsystem which is determined by the dynamics of con ict and consensus processes It is not neces sary here to secure the concept of an organized system of action against misunderstandings by referring to theories of action and decisionmaking Rather the concept of regulatory resources must 39 at this point be examined more closely The hypothesis that all three of the resources discussed below are subject to a process of cumula tive self obstruction will also be defended and illustrated Finally 1 shall try to characterize more precisely those de cit phenomena lt Crises of crisis management 57 which result from the relative failure of regulatory resources in an environment that is characterized by self contradictory processes of capitalist socialization The three resources mentioned in Figure 2 include the scal means of the politicaIadministrative system administrative ration ality and mass loyalty Fiscal resources The socialization of production organized by the state apparatus depends upon the conversion of large and generally increasing portions of the gross national product into revenue by withdrawing it from the process of surplus value creation This is acco mplished through direct and indirect taxation tariffs and state borrowing Facing this conversion process on the side of expenditures are a great number of economicallyrelevant functions of the state which can be divided into 1 activities that create the preconditions for capitalist production for example the socialization of private costs through infrastruc ture investments the mobilization of capital 2 the absorption of the side effects and costs of capitalist pro duction 3 the absorption of surplus capital as de ned by Baran and Sweezy and the organization of surplus labour power through transfer payments or institutions The crisis prone de cits of this regulatory resource can in agreement with James O Connor be conceptualized in the follow ing way Budgetary decisions concerning revenues and expendi tures have the double function of creating the conditions for maintaining the accumulation process as well as partially hampering this accumulation process by diverting value from the sphere of production and utilizing it unproductively in the capitalist sense There can be discrepancies between these two functions dis crepancies that appear to be of a systematic nature Apart from the numerous and complex reallocation processes which are evidently the result of budgetary strategies and aside from the consequences these reallocations have for the problem of mass loyalty the follow ing types of discrepancies can already be discerned in the areas of economic regulation and programming 58 Contradictions of the Welfare State 1 It is possible that the statefunded infrastructural investments required to guarantee the viability of national capital at the inter national level grow to an extent which is incompatible with the shortterm stabilization of economic growth This can be explained With reference to the anarchy thesis capital is itself incapable of perceivmg and realizing its longterm and collective conditions of exrstence 2 Another discrepancy is manifested in the inability of the state to achieve a synchronization of decisions in the areas of economic policy and scal planning 3 Finally the universal subsidization and regulation of economic processes via the state budget has a contradictory effect while these subsidies become irreversible their contribution to stabilization decreases through time The liberal assumption that social policy is a temporary aid to selfhelp is no longer valid today Similar views in the areas of economic policy and structural policy are equally unconvincing for stabilization policy organized via state budgets produces ever more farreaching demands and claims This contradictory process can be seenas analogous to that of physiological addiction the addict requrres ever larger drug doses at the same time as the potential Withdrawal phenomena that would follow a reduction of these doses become more and more crucial Administrative rationality Administrative rationality the second category of regulatory resources is the ability or inability of the politicaladministrative system to achieve a stabilization of its internal disjunctions There are ve preconditions for a system policy that is rational in this sense h 1 Distance the political administrative system must be suf ciently isolated from its environment the economic system and the process in which political demands and support is formed in order to be relatively independent of its functional requirements or specific political demands 2 In addition to this external differentiation the political administrative system must exhibit an internal differentiation which prevents interference between those institutions responsible for its legitimation and steering functions Crises of crisis management 59 3 In spite of this necessary twosided differentiation the political system requires coordination which prevents its various agencies and departments from acting in mutually contradictory ways particular policies must not be allowed to cancel each other out 4 The political system must have at its disposal suf cient informa tion about the processes that take place in its environment and which are relevant both for safeguarding the system and for avoid ing con icts 5 Finally the state must exhibit a forecasting capacity whose chronological range is congruent with its own planning horizon All these conditions seem to be systematically undermined by the expansion of state functions The external differentiation or distance requirement is impeded by the fact that the administration is compelled to enter into a symbiotic relationship of dependency with specific groups in order to be able to implement its policies at all As a result the distance required at the level of the formulation of policies is forfeited at the level of their implementation The need for internal differentiation is given the expansion of state functions limited by the fact that the uncoupling of the administrative system from the political system is continuously blocked by the administration s need for support or by the governing political parties strategies for retaining power It is obvious that co ordination problems are multiplied by the expansion of the scope of state activity Scharpf s suggestion that mutual noninterference could be guaranteed by delimiting only certain spheres of life as political is implausible because it would in practice merely amount to the selective nonconsideration of already existing relations of interdependence While the capacity for processing information can in a purely technical sense be readily increased the reliability of information is reduced by the unpredictable strategic counter reactions of coparticipants within the environment of the state administration Finally these strategic counterreactions seem to produce a wide gap between the expanding chronological planning horizons and the actual forecasting capacity of the state These considerations can be summed up in the following hypothesis the substantive temporal and social expansion of administrative action is necessarily accompanied by an internal irrationalization of the organizational structure of the state administration 60 Contradictions of the Welfare State Mass loyalty The third regulatory resource mass loyalty can be described as the ability of the administrative system to win genuine acceptance for its structures processes and actual policy outcomes This ability is ultimately dependent on the cultural norms symbols and sell understandings that the political system is capable of mobilizing Of the mechanisms which can be assumed to reduce this ability the following are important 1 The politicaladministrative system must not only factually but also avowedly and programmatically assume the task of regulating and guiding the living conditions and actual life chances of the mass of the population in accordance with accepted and acknowledged norms and expectations This necessity leads to pretensions and to the assumption of responsibilities whose39nonful lment is much more clearly visible and attributable than was the case in phases of social development in which the state actually assumed tasks of regulation and stabilization that were not in fact part of an avowed programme Thus it is not the reduced level of success but the increased level of pretension of say social democratic social policy which subjects this policy to a permanent reality test at the hands of the voting public Accordingly the level of articulated disappointments and public suits39 rises 2 In developed capitalist societies it is to be expected that preindustrial and primary group norms and symbols will be in creasingly eroded For this reason the recourse to such norms and symbols for the purpose of political socialization and integration is in postfascist societies less probable or at least less successful The reservoir of integrative symbolism evaporates The extent to which it can be replenished by a growth and prosperityoriented substitute programme seems to be limited by some of the following considerations 3 Drawing upon the thesis of the tendency of capitalist societies towards anomie Bruckner it can be expected that the formal inconsistencies between simultaneously held expectations and norms will lead to the destabilization of the political culture While one would have to refer to studies of political socialization and political culture for example those of Free and Cantril it appears that the coexistence of the Protestant ethic and hedonism of indi vidualism and norms of solidarity and of acquired and ascribed Crises of crisis management 61 criteria can no longer be accommodated within the boundaries of social identity 4 One further consideration which is emphasized particularly by conservative authors concerns the commercialization of the production of meaning The decisive structural element of norms is their possession of counterfactual validity This is suspended by the process of commercialization The validity of symbols and Olthll39 corresponding lifestyles comes to depend on their actual ability to establish themselves in markets As a result it might also be expected that politically integrative symbols become super cial and subject to constant recall 5 Finally the growing decommodi cation ie the wrth drawal and uncoupling of an increasing number of soc1al areas and social groups surplus labour power from market relations might be expected to affect the discipline of the population by the com modity form of industrial labour The somalizing effects of exchange relations and capitalist structures of domination undergo a relative decline in importance Towards a political crisis theory While the hypothesis that state regulation has a self obstructing character clearly requires more empirical evidence to be plauSIble it does provide a conceptual framework for a political cr15is theory This theory enlarges the field of vision of traditional economic cnsrs theories in so far as it no longer traces the origins of crises exclu sively to the dynamics of the sphere of production instead it explains erises with reference to the inability of the political system to prevent and compensate for economic crises In summary form this inability results from the selfcontradictory imperatives of state policy while it must organize the dysfunctional social consequences of private production state policy is not supposed to infringe on the primacy of private production 1f state policy is to be adequate however it is forced to rely on means which either Violate the dominant capital relation or undermine the functional require ments the legitimacy and administrative competence of state regulation itself 62 Contradictions of the Welfare State Crises of crisis management 63 Notes and references principal objects and victims of the coercive apparatus of the state and For the de nition of this concept see the introduction to WD Narr and Claus Offe Wohlfahrtsstaat and Massenloyaliu39it Cologne I975 Robert Dahl and Charles E Lindblom Politics Economics and Welfare Planning and PoliticoEconomic Systems Resolved into Basic Social Processes New York 1971 see also I Stohler Wirtschafts wachstum und Wohlfahrtsstaat Zeitschrift fur Nationalokonomie 24 no 4 1964 The type of activity encountered in bargaining processes contains normative exchangebased and hierarchical elements Because it lies on a different logical level it can be neglected here and not because of any wish to ignore its signi cance as a heterogeneous type The question of whether this triad of social regulatory media is complete could be answered negatively by referring to the category of know ledge or truth as is well known this category plays a central role not only in the works of the theorists of post industrial society Bell Etzioni Touraine but also in sociological systems theory such as that of Luhmann Here however instead of granting this category a measure of analytical autonomy I prefer to deal with knowledgc as an element within the selfobjecti cation or selfprogramming process through which social systems generate a practical contingency39 over themselves A Etzioni A Comparative Analysis of Complex Organizations New York 1961 pp 23 40 See the elaboration of this thesis in S M Miller etal Neoimperialism critique do the rich nations need the poor New York University Center for International Studies Policy Papers 4 no 5 1971 This can be illustrated by a thought experiment if a strangely selective natural catastrophe were to suddenly strike and physically destroy India lndochina large parts of Latin America and Africa and even if such a catastrophe were also to extend to the ghettoes of the large American cities and the poverty areas of the USA itself or comparable areas of Europe for example Naples and southern Italy American imperialism would be confronted with mediumsized and intermediaterange problems of adaptation and adjustment Obviously the same was not true of colonialism in its classic form This fact alone makes conceivable policies of unrestrained genocide such as those pursued by the USA in lndoChina This conclusion is suggested by the following question since the Second World War which groups and social strata have been the its domestic protection and defence functions Certainly neither the organized working class nor the trade unions whose disciplining functions often resemble those of the police The industrial working class as such has not been the object of the majority of acts of direct repression and even the radical workers parties have certainly not been the focal point of such repressive measures Rather the more groups are irrelevant for the maintenance or expansion of the material production process the more systematically and frequently have they been the object of direct repression cf the student revolts and other institutional rebellions the combating and control of ghetto resistance and citizens action groups who deviate from the rules of the game As is also shown by the incidence pro le39 of acts of state repression the problem of preserving the system is a problem of warding off nonintegrable elements on the periphery of the capitalist social structure This concept of interdependence is itself in need of elucidation It is normally taken to mean that the execution of every action including the labour process is not selfsuf cient but rather presupposes the execution of other superordinate coordinatc or subordinate actions It follows that the disruption of the execution of one action produces a chain of resultant disruptions whose range increases as the amount of interdependence within the system increases the system becomes more fragile and susceptible to disruption These implications of the concept of interdependence are common to organic mechanical and social systems However a socialscienti c concept of inter dependence must take into consideration the fact that social systems can make their own interdependence the subject of further develop ment and full differentiation through the development of re exive mechanisms Luhmann Through such mechanisms they acquire the ability to control their own susceptibility to internal disruption This control is achieved for example through the temporary suspension of certain relations of interdependence and the utilization of functional equivalents for a precarious function This dimension of the concept of interdependence is applicable only to social systems and it is important only in so far as social systems acquire a practical contingency over themselves in other words they must possess elements suf ciently autonomous to be able to exercise control over other elements and their mutual disruption These formal considerations have an inter esting consequence for the relationship between interdependence and autonomy the larger thenetwork of relations of interdependence 64 Contradictions of the Welfani State I which is developed in the process of capitalist socialization and the more susceptible to disruption the system formed by these relations consequently becomes the greater the need for autonomous elements which manipulate and reflexiver control the amount of disruption within the system 9 At this point the type of crisis concept being utilized here should be recalled The capitalist state which can neither let the dominant economic system take care of itself nor seriously restrict or impinge on that system exhibits a tendency to stray from the path of balance39 de ned by those contradictory conditions This tendency is indicative of and conducive to crisis The same logical con guration of simul taneously valid but contradictory functional imperatives serves as the basis of the theory of the historical tendency of the rate of profit to fall ie individual units of capital can only accumulate by increasing their organic composition but this is precisely what they must avoid doing in the interest ofmaintaining their rates of profit and thus their accumu lation In both cases the use of this crisis concept does not pre judge questions about either the availability and effectiveness of counter acting tendencies or the If and When of the breakdown Of course just as little can be said conclusively about the quality of the social results of this crisis tendency for instance whether it will result in the establishment of a socialist society or in a continuing process of his torically unproductive decay This depends upon political practice which although it can draw upon knowledge of crisis tendencies cannot hide lying in wait as it were behind knowledge Of the certainty of the collapse of the system 10 There is an obvious connection betwe n on the one hand the inverse development of the thresholds deeiermining the minimum and maximUm possible levels of state intervention and on the other the crisis concept explained above capital utilizes state organizations and regulations whose own inner dynamics which are of course dependent on legitimation cumulatively exacerbate the demarcation problem of negative subordination 2 Ungovernability the renaissance of conservative theories of crisis A number of structural similarities exist between neo conservative theories of the ungovernability of the state and society and the socialist critique of latecapitalist social formations For obvious reasons these similarities are inot emphasized by either sude Such parallels become clearer when we compare the theoretical and practical constellations that determined the debate in 1968 with those ten years later The comparison indicates that in both macro sociology and political science theories of crisis have undergone a radical change in their sociopolitical base or clientele In 1968 9 Leftists were the ones who advanced the theoretical arguments and held the practical conviction that things cannot go on like this They assumed that class contradictions in however modi ed a form and the ensuing struggles must result in the disso lution of the basic structure of capitalism together with its corres ponding political constitution and cultural ideological system In a perhaps overly enthusiastic dismantling of the corr sponding basic assumptions Koch and Narr have shown that the Left today lacks a solid foundation in crisis theory something they claim can be found at most in the efforts of a few manipulators of scholastic concepts2 At the same time the theoretical positions employed to defend the existing order which was so strenuously af rmed in 1968 have been almost totally silenced Today bourgeois consciousness is everywhere engaged in doomsday ruminations over its fate The limits of growth and of the welfare state the world economic nancial and environmental crisis including the crisis of legiti mation or the crisis of the authority of the state have become standard topics presented in every conservative or liberal news paper to characterize the national and international condition of society The conviction that things cannot go on like this today This essay first appeared in Jiirgen llabcrmas ed Stichlvorte zur Geistigen Situation der Zeit Frankfurt 1979 pp 291111 818 Lecture 15 Sociology 621 November 7 2005 BASIC CONCEPTS OF CLASS FORMATION I Stating the Problem 1 Structures and People It is sometimes thought that the study of class structure revolves strictly around positions whereas the analysis of class formation and class struggle centers on people on the actual practices of real individuals confronting the world This is not an adequate way of drawing the distinction Both analyses revolve around people but viewed from different vantage points The analysis of class structures views 39 J39 39 39 as 39 39 s of I 39 de ned positions the analysis of class formation views them as participants in collective actions One of the central objectives of class analysis then is to understand is how individualsasincumbents in positions are organized disorganized and reorganized into individualsasparticipants in struggle This is the process of class formation 2 Potentials for constructing class formations So far our main preoccupation has centered on the class structure side of this process The crucial way in which class structure bears on the problem of class formation is by de ning a terrain of material interests upon which collective actors are formed More specifically for every person the objective material interests defined by the class structure determines three potential categories of actors a actors who share the same classbased material interests as oneself ie who face the same tradeoffs and strategies have to do the same things to improve material welfare b actors who have antagonistic material interests to one s own and c actors whose class interests may not be identical to one s own but whom nevertheless may have sufficiently overlapping interests to form the basis of class coalitions Class structures thus determine one s potential friends one s potential enemies and one s potential allies Class consciousness is knowing what side of the fence you are on Class analysis is knowing who s there with you Lecture 15 Class Formation Basic Concepts 2 3 The Interest Logics of class formation Most discussions of class formation of oppressed classes and groups have overwhelming stressed two kinds of determinants of class formation 1 the interests of the oppressed in collectively organizing Basically the thesis is something like the more oppressed is a group the more likely it is that it will organize for collective resistance 2 the interests of the oppressor in preventing collective organizing by the oppressed The core thesis is something like this the more the interests of oppressors are threatened by challenges the more they will attempt to repress collective organization Two foundational causal relations The interests of oppressedexploited classes A oppositional class formation The interests of dominantexploiting classes A repression of class formation While this is a simpli cation this does capture the central thrust of most historical arguments about class struggles and class formation Now these aspects are in a way the transparent issues no one can doubt that interests amp J 39 s ape r f quotJ quot action The map of interests in the class structure analysis thus generates a map of potential collective formations and these potential class formations in turn help explain potentials for struggles This causal process can be represented as follows transforms class struggle llmltS quot x class structure class formation Lecture 15 Class Formation Basic Concepts 3 II Why Interests alone cannot explain class formations If knowing such potentials was sufficient to predict the patterns of actual struggles then the analysis of class formation would be a simple affair This is not however the case The diagram we have just looked at indicates that class structures imposes limits on class formations and struggles 7 ie it makes some more likely than others but it does not determine specific class formations or struggles An analysis of interests no matter how refined is never adequate to explain struggle Several reasons for this are particularly important 1 Consciousness 2 Contradictory Interests 3 Multidimensionality of Interests classnonclass interests 4 Collective Action Dilemmas 5 The Problem of Class Capacitiespower 1 Consciousness Actors may not have clear understandings of their interests As we shall see in our discussion of ideology the relationship between subjectively understood interests and objectively determined interests is always problematic Even if we can unambiguously define objective class interests therefore they will at best explain tendencies towards particular forms of struggle not actual struggles 2 Contradictory Interests Even if all actors had perfectly clear understandings of their interests the existence of contradictory locations within class relations means that many people in class structures have objectively contradictory or inconsistent class interests This in turn implies that quite apart from any subjective factors there is an objective indeterminacy in the direction of participation of people from such locations in class struggles This indeterminacy comes from the fact that the role of the middle classes in class struggle necessarily involves the formation of class alliances in which the coalitional parties make certain compromises of class interests in order to cooperate with each other Given the complexity of the configurations of interests involved there are nearly always multiple possible formable alliances of this sort Which if any of these possible alliance in fact gets formed therefore is not ordained by the class structure itself but depends upon a variety of political and ideological factors This again means that it is impossible to read off class struggles and class formation from class structure 3 M ultidimensionality of Interests classnonclass interests The interests of individuals whether we understand those as objective or simply subjective interests are generally not restricted to class interests Individuals may have ethnic interests national interests regional interests occupational interests gender interests and so on all of which can potentially become the motivational basis for collective action To the extent that such nonclass bases for collective indentity and action compete with class formations then the relationship between class structure and class formation become less determinate Lecture 15 Class Formation Basic Concepts 4 4 Collective Action Dilemmas For reasons we will explore when we discuss the problem of solidarity in the next lecture even if these first three problems did not exist people had a clear understanding of their objective class interests those interests were consistent with a unique class formation and they had no competing interests it is still problematic that they would decide to participate in any class formation Classes can remain largely disorganized and unformed collectively because of the dilemmas of collective action 5 The Problem of Class Capacitiespower Finally participation in struggles is always at least partially contingent upon the predicted outcomes of struggle and those outcomes themselves depend upon the relative power of the contending forces Many factors shape the relative power of contending classes their ability to recruit participants in collective actions and the degree of solidarity among members of the class their ability to forge alliances the material resources at the disposal of the organizations representing the class the institutionalized rules of con ict under which struggle takes place and so on But whatever the explanations of relative power class struggles crucially depend upon class capacities as well as class interests This is where class formations play such a crucial role Key conceptual point Class structures can be seen as de ning the terrain of obstacles anal opportunities for the creation of potential class formations Some of the formations are relatively easy to create in a given class structure others are difficult some may even be close to impossible A good general theory of class formation would attempt to map out the relative probabilities of different kinds of class formations on a given class structure Such probabilistic maps of class formations then would provide the conceptual framework for the empirical study of the creation of historically specific class formations Contemporary Marxism is far from being able to specify such a general theory What we will do in this section then is discuss a range of narrower issues that bear on this broader enterprise In particular we will explore some of the important microfoundations for understanding the process by which collectively organized social actors are formed and how on the basis of such microfoundations one can begin to understand a variety of patterns of class formation in capitalist society III A GENERAL APPROACH TO MICROFOUNDATIONS OF CLASS FORMATION In this section I will elaborate a general approach to the study of class formation I will argue following the work of Jon Elster and others that the theory of class formation should be formulated within a general analysis of processes of strategic interaction The most developed conceptual framework for doing this is provided by what is generally called game theory In Lecture 15 Class Formation Basic Concepts 5 what follows we will examine the essential logic of game theory and show how it is relevant to the problem of class formation 1 Game theory as a way of thinking about class struggle and class formation To many radicals it is outrageous to consider game theory as an appropriate basis for studying class formation Game theory is closely 39 A with 39 39 39 39 and conveys an image of rational selfish actors pursuing their own interests in an atomistic world Furthermore the simplifying assumptions needed to construct the formal mathematical models that are the preoccupation of game theorists are seen as so unrealistic as to render the resulting models useless for social analysis This result is that game theory is seen as involving both an ideologicallytainted view of human action and a radically impoverished method for studying class formation and class struggle and anything else for that matter 2 An Example the Prisoner s Dilemma We will discuss the prisoner s dilemma game a bit more in the next lecture since it is bound up with the analysis of solidarity but let me illustrate it here just to tell you what game theory look like The story two actors confronting each other in a setting in which each makes a choice with consequences for both of them They cannot communicate with each other they just have to make a choice Here is the story if prisoner l defects ie rats on the other and prisoner 2 does not prisoner 1 goes free prisoner 2 gets ten years If they both defect they get 5 years prisoner If neither defects they each get 2 years They are only interested in their own welfare What choice do they make Answer the both confess and thus both get 5 years which is clearly suboptimal since they both would prefer 2 years neither defects to five years Reason for this outcome whatever the other person does it is always rational for prisoner l to defect If prisoner 2 defects prisoner 1 gets ten years if he does not defect and five if he does if prisoner 2 does not defect prisoner 1 gets 2 years if he does not defect and zero years if he does This is a simple game with a powerful solution which turns out to have quite a lot of relevance for many explanatory situations 3 Radical Theorists Objections to Game Theory The hostility of many Marxists to game theory rational choice theory and related approaches comes in part as was suggested above from its close 39 quot with 39 39 39 This association leads many people to believe that game theory implies that actors are egoists that they are hyperrational and that actions must be explained primarily in terms of intentions In fact game theory need not imply any of these things for actual explanations of social phenomena 1 Egoz39sm There is no assumption in game theory that people are factually selfish that they are motivated only out of personal material interests While it may be a methodological postulate that the sensible place to begin analysing a system of strategic interaction is with assumptions of egoism this is strictly a simplifying heuristic device Strategic action models can be developed Lecture 15 Class Formation Basic Concepts 6 with any kinds of preferences on the part of actors but it is easier to understand the nature of those nonegoistic models against a background of pure egoism 2 Rationality There is also no assumption in game theory that people in fact act rationally that nonrational and irrational cognitive processes of various sorts are empirically unimportant The claim is merely that in order to understand the actual explanatory importance of irrationalities it is necessary to begin with models of rational strategic action As in the case of egoism rationality serves as a simplifying assumption to make formal model building tractable These models do not prejudge the question of the causal importance of irrationalities they simply facilitate our ability to specify their effects 3 Choice vs constraint Finally game theory does not imply that the most important explanations for variations across time and place in class formation and class struggle or anything else for that matter are variations in the choices intentions and strategies of actors rather than variations in the social structural constraints within which they they make these chices It is even possible that in specific cases the objective constraints determining the feasible set of possibilities faced by actors is so narrow that choosing becomes virtually irrelevant The postulate is merely that strategic choicewithinconstraint is the framework within which specific explanations must be generated It is only through the development of theoreticl models of such strategic action that it becomes possible to sort out in an effective way the relative importance of constraint and strategy in explaining particular historical outcomes The use of strategic action models to understand class formation therefore does not imply a commitment to egoism rationality or voluntarism in social explanations What it does imply is a particular logic of theory construction in which we begin with simple models built around assumptions of egoism and rationality and then gradually relax the assumptions of the model in order to generate more powerful explanations of specific phenomena 4 Modes of Explaining social action To understand the value of a game theoretic approach to class formation it is useful to contrast three ways of understanding human action in general and the participation of individuals in class struggles in particular 1 Action is scripted People are socialized in ways which deeply instill various norms and values With these inculcated norms people frll roles in society in which their actions are essentially dictated by the nature of the norms that govern the roles Once properly programmed through socialization people basically act through habit ritual routine convention Our experience of making choices is thus largely an illusion Participation in collective struggles therefore must be explained by the ways different kinds of norms and values govern people s behavior not by the process by which people deliberate and consciously make choices Lecture 15 Class Formation Basic Concepts 7 2 Action is intentional People make choices under constraints and their actions must be viewed as at least partially explained by their intentions These choices may be normdriven or goaldriven but the action that occurs is consciously chosen rather than programmed as ritual or habit By goaldriven I mean that the choice of action is made instrumentally to accomplish some goal by normdriven I mean that the choice of action is made to conform to some normative condition For our present purposes the crucial thing about models of simple intentional action is that the constraints under which people act can in general be viewed as parameters of choice they are objectively given and fixed Action is thus intentional and rational but not strategic 3 Action is strategic People make choices under constraints in a world in which they know that other actors make choices under constraints Our choices therefore take into conscious consideration in one way or another the likely choices of others That is we are strategic actors not just rational actors Game theory or perhaps what might more appropriately be called strategic action theory adopts the third of these views If one believes that actions are the result at least in part of the intentions of actors in which the mental processes of deliberation are more or less rational and if one believes that in such deliberations people take into consideration the likely choices of other actors then game theory is a natural idiom for studying class struggle and class formation 5 The essential logic of strategic action Game theory then is based on the view of human social practice as radically interdependent strategic actions The object of analysis is to study this interdependency and its consequences Jon Elster has elaborated the logic of these interdependencies in a particularly clear way in his essay Marxism Functionalism and Game Theory reference in readings Imagine a strategic interaction a game in which people make choices and as a result of the resulting interactions they receive various kinds of rewards These rewards can be anything material welfare feelings of pride good feelings towards others or whatever Three kinds of interdependencies among these choices and rewards Elster argues are particularly important in such strategic interactions 1 The reward of each is dependent upon the choice of all This re ects the diverse ways in which the welfare of each player in the game depends not simply upon his or her own choices but upon the choices of all others The tragedy of the commons in which each person abuses resources held in common thinking that this will bene t them but because everyone makes the same choice the commons are destroyed and everyone suffers is a vivid example of this kind of interdependency 2 The reward of each depends upon the reward of all In many situations each individual s welfare depends in part upon the welfare of others not simply their own condition taken separately This is true for example in the case of altruism where one s own well being Lecture 15 Class Formation Basic Concepts 8 depends upon positively on the well being of others or alternatively in the case of envy where one s well being is undermined by the welfare of others 3 The choice of each depends upon the anticipation of the choice of all For many purposes this is the most important aspect of interdependency at least for the kinds of substantive problems we will be considering This is an interdependence of choices in the act of choosing itself not just in the effects of choices as in the first interdependency As we shall see this interdependency is central to understanding problems of solidarity in working class formation This interdependency of decisions and consequences leads Elster to characterize game theory as the theory of strategic action or strategic choice actors are making decisions in which complex calculations occur both about the decisions of others and about the payoffs of combinations of decisions The point of game theory is to understand the structure of these strategic interdependencies especially the patterns of strategic choices that emerge given certain initial conditions and the patterns of consequences that follow from these strategic choices 6 Types of games not discussed in the lecture Within game theory as a formal conceptual apparatus a variety of general types of games have been elaborated In order to clarify the particular way we will use ideas from game theory to discuss class formation it will be helpful to discuss very brie y some of the principle dimensions on which games vary Three of these are particularly important nperson vs two person games zerosum vs variablesum games cooperative vs noncooperative games 1 N person vs two person Most games studied by game theorists are two person games Games involving more than two actors become mathematically exceedingly complex Given that in most strategic interactions in the world there are many actors making choices the emphasis on two person games might seem to seriously undermine the potential insights from game theory In fact for many purposes the simplification involved in two person games is not as implausible as it might first seem For example if we want to study in strategic action terms the problem of why individual workers do or do not decide to participate in union struggles one approach is to treat this as a two person game involving an individual worker and everybody else 2 Zero sum vs variable sum Zerosum games are games in which the total reward available to the players is fixed so that anyone s gain is someone else s loss Conventional competitive sports in which for every winner there is a looser are good examples Variable sum games in contrast are games in which the total reward available for distribution among the players depends upon the strategies chosen Under certain strategic combinations everyone can receive a positive gain even if some may receive a greater positive gain than others under other combinations everyone may suffer In the analysis of class formation and class struggle it is of great importance whether the various games one might analyse are viewed as zerosum or variable sum If the struggle Lecture 15 Class Formation Basic Concepts 9 between workers and capitalists is strictly zerosum then it is hard to imagine how class compromises can be forged between them Every gain in the interests of one class is a loss in the interests of the other If however the game is a variablesum game then compromise may be possible 3 Cooperative vs noncooperative games In noncooperative games the players make their choices in isolation from each other While they may certainly take into account their anticipations of the choices of other actors they do not enter into overt bargaining and discussion with other actors Decisions are therefore individually rather than jointly made In cooperative games on the other hand the solution to the game the strategies that are nally adopted are forged through explicit bargaining processes One of the basic findings of game theory is that certain kinds of noncooperative games do not have solutions That is there is no stable or equilibrium set of strategies that will be adopted by the actors under the rules of the game In such situations solutions only emerge through the active cooperation of agents In spite of this most game theory discussions emphasize noncoperative games The central justification for this is that the logic of r quot 39 quot quot the background for bargaining between players in games what options each actor faces in the absence of cooperation defines the terrain for their cooperative but still strategic interactions Game theory has explored these various types of games through highly sophisticated mathematical procedures and specialized language In the discussions of class formation in the next several sections we will not examine these mathematical models While we will use some of the conclusions from the formal mathematical analyses of game theorists we will deploy them in the theory of class formation a much more informal way 7 Digression 0n the status of formal models skipped in lecture Even if one accepts the importance of strategic action in social theory the objection can still be raised that the extreme simplification of the complexities of real social practices needed to forge the mathematical models of game theory renders the models useless for explanatory purposes This raises the perenniel methodological problem of the role of abstract formal models in social theory whether those formal models take explicitly mathematical form as in game theory or more qualitative form as in Max Weber s famous use of ideal types Without going into great detail on these issues I believe that whether one likes it or not abstract simple models of this sort are inevitable in the production of social explanations Every explanation even by the most concrete empiricallyminded scholar involves simplifred models of the interconnections and consequences of various phenomena Every explanation presupposes a host of ceteris paribus conditions These models may be implicit they may remain unspecifred but it is impossible to offer an explanation of anything without some kind of simplified model for how the world works The issue then is not whether or not theorists should work with simple models but rather whether or not such models should be formalized and made explicit or left unformalized and implicit Lecture 15 Class Formation Basic Concepts 10 Stated in these terms there are considerable gains to be made in social theory by explicitly formalizing explanatory models For one thing formalization forces people to make their background assumptions explicit thus opening them up for criticism and reformulation More generally when models are formalized it is often easier to understand their conditions of possibility the specific social and cultural conditions which make those explanations plausible Formal models are often criticized for being ahistorical abstracted from the specificities of particular times and places This criticism is generally misplaced What a formal model does is make its assumptions explicit assumptions about rationality preferences information resources The claim is not that these conditions universally hold in the world but that when they do then the model potentially has explanatory power This does not imply of course that the only goal of social theory is to generate abstract formal models Social science in general and Marxist social science in particular is also committed to generating explanations of specific events eg the Russian Revolution or the empirical variability of outcomes across cases eg the variations in welfare state policies across advanced capitalist countries The abstract formal models of game theory and other frameworks are useful in this context not because they necessarily provide readymade explanations for these empirical problems but because they help to define the questions that need to be asked the variables that need to be observed and the kinds of answers that need to be investigated They do not therefore constitute an alternative to empirical investigation but a way of organizing the explanatory objectives of such investigations Sociology 621 Lecture 2 amp 3 September 12 amp 14 2005 The Tasks and Structure of Marxism as an Emancipatory Theory In the last lecture I explained what distinguishes critical social science from empiricist social science In this lecture and the next I will provide an overarching picture of how the Marxist tradition meets the central tasks of building an emancipatory critical social science I would like to make two preliminary comments on how I approach this task 1 Preliminary Remarks 1 Three strategies for exploringstudying a theoretical tradition There are three broad ways that people approach the task of teaching theoretical frameworks for social analysis 1 Development of ideas history of thought In this approach you begin with precursors then explore the origins of a specific body of ideas and the chart the subsequent development The exposition of the ideas therefore follows the historical sequence of their elaboration In a way this is the approach that to the greatest extent possible takes the theoretical tradition on its own terms For Marxism this would mean beginning with the Early AIanu539c391 ipls and then moving forward through the German Ideolog the C017mmnist Manifesto Marx s great historical essays and then Capilal and related works followed by subsequent Marxist work 2 Sociology of Knowledge Here the animating principle is less the sequence of ideas as such than the social context of their production Earlier ideas are only one relevant factor here as important is exploring the institutional social and political settings within which ideas and arguments are forged 3 Analytical Reconstruction of the structure of a framework This is a very different approach It begins at the end of the historical process examines the full range of theoretical arguments and breaks them down in various ways a an inventory of theoretical tasks the framework attempts to solve o a menu of basic concepts used to pose questions build arguments construct specific theories 0 theoretical modules w systematically integrated explanatory theories This is the approach I will use This approach is inherently the most controversial since there are many different ways of reconstructing a theoretical terrain as complex as Marxism Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 2 September 12 amp 14 2 Marxism as a Modular system of concepts and theories I regard Marxism as a kind of modular theoretical framework rather than a unitary fully integrated and comprehensive capital T Theory in which the entire edi ce rises or falls together To call it a modular theoretical framework means that it has a variety of agendas and conceptual clusters some of which are more robust than others I personally think for example that the overarching theory of history in the Marxist tradition historical materialism is a less defendable part of this framework than is the speci c class analysis of capitalism One can accept Marxist class analysis and critique of capitalism as powerful theoretical tools without also accepting the specific theory of historical trajectory in classical historical materialism which attempts to chart the destiny of capitalism One way of capturing this is to use the expression sociological materialism as a contrast to historical materialism II The Five Tasks of Emancipatory Critical Social Science 1 Normative principles Clarifying the normative principles that underlie the idea of human emancipation 2 Critique Diagnosing the ways in which existing institutions obstruct the realization of those normative principles 3 Alternative Elaborating a credible compelling alternative to existing social structures and institutions which is capable of remedying the normative deficits 4 Contradictozy reprodzwtion Understanding the obstacles posed by the mechanisms of social reproduction to realizing this alternative as well as the contradictions within a system of reproduction which open up possibilities for fundamental transformation 5 Strategy Developing a strategic theory of social transformation how to get from here to there given the possibilities opened up by contradictory reproduction What I will do in this lecture and the next is sketch the central ideas within the Marxist tradition with respect to each of these tasks This is not the usual way of framing Marxist theory Usually it begins with a discussion of basic assumptions about the nature of human beings and the material conditions for social life to be possible and from this is developed an explanatory theory about the trajectory human history and so on We will get to those themes to be sure but I will offer a different way of laying out the central elements of the theoretical tradition we call Marxism which I think Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 3 September 12 amp 14 Task 1 Normative Foundations Very broadly speaking the Marxist tradition of emancipatory theory revolves around two basic normative ideas a radical egalitarian view of social justice and a radical democratic view of political power These can be stated as follows 1 Radical Egalitarianism 1n ajust society all people would have broadly equal access to the necessary material and social means to live flourishing lives 2 Radical Democracy The political complement to the radical egalitarian view ojustice is radical democracy the idea that people should be empowered to collectively control those decisions which affect their Cnunnfate Democracy should be deepened and extended to make this possible Let me brie y explain each of these principles 1 Radical egalitarianism The radical egalitarian view ofjustice has three key components first the idea of human ourishing second the problem of the social and material means needed to live a ourishing life and third the idea of equal access to those means The idea of ourishing is a broad multidimensional umbrella concept covering a variety of aspects of human well being It is like the idea of health which has both a restrictive meaning as the absence of diseases that interfere with ordinary bodily functioning and an expansive meaning as robust physical vitality The restrictive meaning of human ourishing concerns harms that undermine ordinary human functioning This includes things like hunger and other material deprivations ill health social isolation and the psychological harms of social stigma This is a heterogeneous list some elements refer to bodily impairments others to social and cultural impairments But they all through different mechanisms undermine basic human functioning A just society is one in which all people have unconditional access to the means to ourish in this sense of satisfaction of needs for basic human functioning The expansive idea of ourishing refers to the various ways in which people are able to develop and exercise their talents and capacities or to use another expression to realize their individual potentials This does not imply that within each person there is some unique latent natural essence that will grow and become fully realized if only it is not blocked The expansive idea individual ourishing is not the equivalent of saying that within every acorn lies a mighty oak with proper soil sun and rain the oak will ourish and the potential within the acorn will be realized as the mature tree Human talents and capacities are multidimensional there are many possible lines of development many different ourishing mature humans that can deveIOp from the raw material of the infant These capacities are intellectual artistic physical social and perhaps moral and spiritual as well They involve creativity as well as mastery The idea of expansive human ourishing is neutral with respect to the various ways of life that can be constructed around particular ways of ourishing and there is also no supposition that in order to ourish human beings must develop all of their capacities Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 4 September 12 amp 14 Crucially to develop and exercise these potentials requires material resources and appropriate social conditions The importance of material resources for human ourishing is obvious Certainly without things like adequate nutrition housing clothing and personal security it is difficult for most people to ourish But the development of intellectual physical and social capacities requires much more than simple material necessities It requires access to educational settings within which learning takes place and talents are cultivated not just in childhood but throughout life It requires access to work settings where skills can be developed and exercised and activity is to a substantial extent self directed It requires communities which provide opportunities for active participation in civic affairs and cultural activities A just society is one in which everyone has broadly equal access to these conditions This does not imply that everyone should receive the same income or have identical material standards of living both because the necessary means to ourish will vary across people and because some amount of inequality is consistent with everyone still having access to the necessary means to live flourishing lives Nor does the radical egalitarian view imply that everyone would in fact flourish in ajust society but simply that any failures to do so would not be due to inequalities in access to the necessary social and material resources needed to ourish 2 Radical Democracy Mostly in contemporary society people hold a fairly restrictive view of democracy On the one hand many issues of crucial public importance are not seen as legitimately subjected to democratic decision making In particular many economic decisions which have massive affects on our collective fate are seen as private matters to be made by executives and owners of large corporations The demarcation between public and private is anchored in a relatively strong conception of private property which significantly insulates decisions over private property from intrusive democratic control On the other hand even for those issues which are seen as legitimate objects of public control popular empowerment is quite limited Electoral politics are heavily dominated by elites thus violating democratic principles of political equality and other venues for popular participation are generally of largely symbolic character Ordinary citizens have few opportunities for meaningfully exercising the democratic ideal of rule by the people Radical democracy in contrast argues for an expansive understanding of democracy The ideal of political equality of citizens requires strong institutional mechanisms for blocking the translation of private economic power into political power The scope of democratic decision should be enlarged to all domains with important public consequences And the arenas for empowered citizen participation should be greatly enlarged beyond casting ballots in periodic elections Radical democracy is both an ideal in its own right people have the right to participate meaningfully in decisions which affect their lives and an instrumental value the realization of the radical egalitarian principle of social justice in terms of human ourishing would be facilitated by radical democratic institutions of political power The combination of the radical egalitarian view of justice and the radical democratic view of Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 5 September 12 amp 14 political power can be called democratic egaliarianism This de nes the broad normative foundation for envisioning real utopias Task 2 Critique of Capitalism At the center of Marxism is the claim that capitalism systematically obstructs the realization of the two normative ideals This does not imply that capitalism is the only social structure which obstructs the realization of these values Nor does it imply that if capitalism is transformed all other obstacles to the realization ofthe emancipatory values would wither away although sometimes Marxists have suggested this What it asserts is that through a variety of ways capitalism harms human ourishing and democracy A Definition of Capitalism Before examining this critique we need a working de nition of capitalism We will come back to this numerous times during the semester but we need an initial de nition to frame the critique in the Marxist tradition capitalism is de ned by two principle features These can be understood as the class relations through which production is organized and the mechanism of39economic coordinaion through which factors of production and products are allocated 1 Class relations Class relations are the social relations through which the means of production are owned and power is exercised over their use In capitalism the means of production are privately owned and the use of those means of production is controlled by those owners or their surrogates The means of production by themselves of course cannot produce anything they have to be set in motion by human laboring activity of one sort or another In capitalism this labor is provided by workers who do not own the means of production and who in order to acquire an income are hired by capitalist rms to use the means of production The fundamental class relation of capitalism therefore is the social relation between capitalists and workers 2 Economic Coordination Economic coordination in capitalism is accomplished primarily through mechanisms of voluntary exchange by privately contracting parties or what is generally called free markets through which the prices and quantities of the things produced are determined Market coordination is conventionally contrasted with authoritative state coordination in which the power of the state is used to command the allocations of resources to different purposes The famous metaphor of the invisible hand captures the basic idea each individual and rm simply pursuing their own private interests engages in bargaining and exchanges with other individuals and rms and out of this uncoordinated set of micro interactions comes a more or less coherent economic system which is quite coordinated at the aggregate level The combination of these two features of capitalism class relations de ned by private ownership and propertyless workers and coordination organized through decentralized market exchanges generates the characteristic competitive drive for pro ts and capital accumulation of capitalist rms Each rm in order to reproduce itself over time must Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory September 12 amp 14 compete successfully with other firms Firms that innovate lower their costs of production and increase their productivity can under cut their rivals and thus expand at the expense of other firms Each firm faces these competitive pressures and thus in general all firms are forced to seek innovations of one sort or another in order to survive The resulting relentless drive for pro ts generates the striking dynamism of capitalism relative to all earlier forms of economic organization B Ten Criticisms of Capitalism The central criticisms of capitalism as an economic system can be organized into ten basic propositions Capitalist class relations perpetuate eliminable forms ofhuman suffering 2 Capitalism blocks the universalization of39conclitions for expansive human ourishing 3 Capitalism perpetuates eliminable deficits in individual freedom and autonomy 4 Capitalism violates liberal egalitarian principles of39social justice 5 Capitalism is inefficient in certain crucial respects 6 Capitalism is environmentally destructive 7 Capitalism has a systematic bias towards consumerism 8 Capitalist commodi cation threatens important values 9 Capitalism corrodes community 0 Capitalism limits democracy Let us brie y look at each ofthese Proposition 1 Capitalist class relations perpetuate eliminable forms of human sujj erin g Let us begin with a simple indisputable observation The world in which we live involves a juxtaposition of extraordinary productivity af uence and enhanced opportunities for human creativity and fulfillment along with continuing human misery and thwarted lives This can really be considered the foundational empirical observation of critical theory Now there are many possible explanations for these facts It is possible that poverty in the midst of plenty constitutes simply a sad fact of life the poor will always be with us Or perhaps this might simply be a temporary state of affairs which further economic development will eradicate capitalism if given enough time especially if it is unfettered from the harmful effects of state regulations will eradicate poverty Or perhaps suffering and unfulfilling lives are simply the fault of the individuals whose lives go badly contemporary capitalism generates an abundance of opportunities but some people squander their lives because are too lazy or irresponsible or impulsive to take advantage of them But it is also possible that poverty in the midst of plenty is a symptom of certain fundamental properties of the socioeconomic system This is the central claim of the socialist critique of capitalism capitalism systematically generates Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 7 September 12 amp 14 unnecessary human suffering unnecessary in the speci c sense that with an appropriate change in socioeconomic relations these de cits could be eliminated It is quite important to really understand this critique It is certainly the case if one takes a long term view ofthe matter that capitalism has generated dramatic technological and scienti c progress over the last two centuries or so which has resulted in improved nutrition reduced illness and increased life expectancy for a signi cant preportion of the population in many places on earth The claim in this rst criticism of capitalism however is not that capitalism has not in certain ways contributed to a reduction of human suffering relative to prior states of the world but that it perpetuates eliminable sources ofszt ering This implies a counterfactual that signi cant reductions in human suffering would be possible with appropriate noncapitalist institutions in place This counterfactual is not shown to be false by simply citing the empirical observation that improvements in material conditions have occurred under existing capitalism What then is the argument behind the claim that capitalism has an inherent tendency to perpetuate eliminable suffering Three mechanisms are especially important here exploitation the uncontrolled negative social externalities of technological change particularly the tendency for technical change to destroy skills and generate marginalization and competition under capitalist conditions especially tendency for the mobility of capital to impose costs on people I won t discuss these issues further here Proposition 2 Capitalism blocks the universalization of conditions for expansive human ourishing When Socialists especially those speaking from the Marxist tradition indict capitalism a litany of harms is usually invoked poverty blighted lives unnecessary toil blocked opportunities oppression and perhaps more theoretically dense ideas like alienation and exploitation However when the vision of an alternative to capitalism is sketched the image is not simply a consumer paradise without poverty and material deprivations but rather a social order in which individuals thrive where their talents and creative potentials are realized and freely exercised to the fullest extent The elimination of material deprivation and poverty are of course essential conditions for the full realization and exercise of human potentials but it is the realization of such potentials that is core of the emancipatory ideal for sooialists This then is what I mean by the expansive sense of human flourishing the realization and exerciSe of the talents and potentials of individuals The second proposition asserts that while capitalism may have significantly contributed to enlarging the potential for human flourishing especially through the enormous advances in human productivity which capitalism has generated and it certainly has created conditions under which a segment of the population has access to the conditions to live flourishing lives it blocks the extension ofthose conditions to all people even within developed capitalist countries let alone the entire world Three issues are especially salient here rst the large inequalities generated by capitalism in access to the material conditions for living ourishing lives second inequalities in access to interesting and challenging work and third the destructive effects on the possibilities of flourishing generated by hyper competition Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 8 September 12 amp 14 Proposition 3 Capitalism perpetuates eliminable de cits in individual freedom and autonomy If there is one value that capitalism claims to achieve to the highest possible extent it is individual freedom and autonomy Freedom to choose rooted in strong individual pi Operty rights is as Milton Friedman has argued the central moral virtue claimed by defenders of capitalism Capitalism generates stores filled with countless varieties of products and consumers are free to buy whatever they want subject only to their budget constraint Investors are free to choose where to invest Workers are free to quit jobs All exchanges in the market are voluntary Individual freedom of choice certainly seems to be at the very heart of how capitalism works This market and property based freedom of choice is not an illusion but it is not a complete account of the relationship of individual freedom and autonomy to capitalism There are two reasons why capitalism signi cantly obstructs rather than fully realizes this ideal First the relations of domination within capitalist workplaces constitute pervasive restrictions on individual autonomy and selfdirection Second massive inequalities of wealth and income which capitalism generates a signi cant inequality in real freedom across persons Real Freedom consists in the effective capacity of people to act on their life plans to be in a position to actually make the choices which matter to them Large inequalities of wealth and income mean some people have a much greater freedom in this sense than others Proposition 4 Capitalism violates liberal egalitarian principles of social justice Liberal egalitarian conceptions ofjustice revolve around the idea of equality of opportunity Basically the idea is that a system of distribution is just if it is the case all inequalities are the result of a combination of individual choice and what is called option luck Option luck is like a freely chosen lottery a person knows the risks and probabilities of success in advance and then decides to gamble If they win they are rich If they lose they have nothing to complain about This is contrasted with brute luck These are risks over which one has no control and therefore over which one bears no moral responsibility The genetic lottery which determines a person s underlying genetic endowments is the most often discussed example but most illnesses and accidents would also have this character For the liberal egalitarian people must be compensated for any deficits in their welfare that occur because of brute luck but not option luck Once this has been done then everyone effectively has the same opportunity and all remaining inequalities are the result of choices Capitalism is fundamentally incompatible with this strong notion of equality of opportunity The private accumulation of wealth and large disparities in earnings in capitalism give some people inherent unfair advantages over others Particularly with respect to children the huge inequalities in the material conditions under which children grow up violates principles of equality of opportunity both because it gives some children large advantages in the acquisition of human capital and because it give some young adults access to large amounts of capital and others none Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 9 September 12 amp 14 Capitalism also violates ordinary liberal ideals ofjustice not just the strong views of equality of opportunity of liberal egalitarians One of the core ideas of liberal notions of justice is that in the pursuit ofone s self interest it is unjust to impose unchosen burdens on others This is why theft is illegitimate stealing coercively imposes a cost on the victim The private pro tmaximizing logic of capitalism means that capitalist rms have an inherent tendency to try to displace costs on others all things being equal pro ts will be higher if some of the costs of production are born by people other than the owners ie if unchosen burdens are imposed on others The classic example is pollution it is generally cheaper for capitalist rms to dump waste products in the environment than to pay the costs of preventing the pollution But even more fundamentally since many of the negative externalities of pro tmaximizing behaviors are imposed on future generations the actual people who bear the unchosen burdens cannot be party to voluntary exchange There is simply no way that future generations can participate in a market bargaining process where the costs to them of resource depletion are given a price to be born by resources users today Because of the ways in which capitalism promotes narrow self interest shortens time horizons and organizes economic decisions through decentralized markets such problems of intergenerational negative externalities are intensi ed relative to more democratic alteratives Proposition 5 Capitalism is inefficient in certain crucial respects If the ideals of freedom and autonomy are thought to be the central moral virtues of capitalism ef ciency is generally thought to be its core practical virtue Whatever one might think about the enduring inequalities of capitalism and its injustices at least its defenders claim it promotes ef ciency The market and competition the argument goes impose a severe discipline on rms in ways which promote both static ef ciency and dynamic ef ciency Static ef ciency sometimes also called allocative ef ciency refers to the ef ciency in the allocations of resources to produce different sorts of things Capitalism promotes allocative ef ciency through the standard mechanism of supply and demand in markets where prices are determined through competition and decentralized decisionmaking Dynamic ef ciency refers to technological and organizational innovation that increases productivity over time Under the threat that other capitalist rms will innovate and lower costs or innovate and improve quality each rm feels pressures to innovate in order to maintain their pro ts This increases ef ciency in the sense that fewer inputs are needed to produce the same output These are indeed sources of ef ciency in capitalism In these respects compared to earlier forms of economic organization as well as to centralized authoritarian state organized production capitalism seems to be more ef cient This does not mean however that capitalism does not itself contain certain important sources of inef ciency Whether or not on balance capitalism is more or less ef cient than alternatives thus becomes a dif cult empirical question since all of these forms of ef ciency and inef ciency would have to be included in the equation not just ef ciency de ned within the narrow metric of the market Four sources of inef ciency in capitalism are especially important 1 the underproduction of public goods 2 the underpricing of natural resources 3 negative externalities 4 monitoring and enforcing market contracts Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 10 September 12 amp 14 Proposition 6 Capitalism has a systematic bias towards consumerism One of the virtues of capitalism is that it contains a core dynamic which tends to increase productivity over time When productivity increases there are two sorts of things that in principle can happen we could produce the same amount of things with fewer inputs or we could produce more things with the same amount ofinputs The criticism of capitalism is that it contains a systematic bias towards turning increasing productivity into increased consumption rather than increasing free time There are times of course when the best way of improving the conditions oflife of people is to increase output When an economy does not produce enough to provide adequate nutrition housing and other amenities for people economic growth in the sense of an increase in total output would generally be a good thing But when a society is already extremely rich there is no longer any intrinsic reason why growth in aggregate consumption is desirable A defender of capitalism might reply to the criticism of consumerism by arguing that the basic reason capitalism generates growth in output instead of growth in leisure is because this is what people want Consumerism simply reflects the real preferences of people for more stuff It is arrogant for leftwing intellectuals to disparage the consumption references of ordinary people If people really preferred leisure to more consumption then they would work less hard This reply rests on the incorrect assumption that the preferences of people for consumption and leisure are formed in an autonomous manner unaffected by the strategies of capitalist firms What people feel they need in order to live well is heavily shaped by cultural messages and socially diffused expectations To imagine that preferences for consumption are formed autonomously is to claim that advertising marketing and the promotion of consumerist life styles in the mass media have no effects on people Furthermore if somehow it were to come to pass that large numbers of people in a capitalist society were able to resist the preferences shaped by consumerist culture and opt for voluntary simplicity with lower consumption and much more leisure this would precipitate severe economic crisis for if demand in the market were to signi cantly decline the profits of many capitalists firms would collapse In the absence of an expanding market competition among firms would become much more intense since any firm s gain would be another firm s loss and more broadly social con icts would intensify For these reasons the state in capitalist economies would adopt policies to counteract anti consumerist movements if they were to gain sufficient strength to significantly impact on the market This bias towards consumerism is a problem of course only if there are negative consequences of ever increasing consumption Four issues are especially important here 1 consumerism is environmentally damaging 2 many people in highly productive societies feel enormous time binds in their lives which are intensified by consumerism 3 a good case can be made that capitalist consumerism leads to less fulfilling and meaningful lives than do less manically consumption oriented ways of life 4 even if one takes a culturally relativist stance on the good life and argues that consumerism is just as good a way of life as well less consumerist alternatives it is still the case that capitalism Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 11 September 12 amp 14 is not neutral with respect to this choice but erects systematic obstacles to less consumption oriented ways of life It is this bias rather than consumerism per se that is the central problem Proposition 7 Capitalism is environmentally destructive Capitalism signi cantly contributes to environmental problems in three principle ways 1 pro t generated negative externalities 2 nonrenewable natural resources are systematically under priced in the market since their value to people in the future is not registered in the dynamics of supply and demand in the present 3 consumerist bias Proposition 8 Capitalist commodl eation threatens important values Commodi cation refers to the process by which new spheres of human activity become organized through markets Historically this mainly concerns the shift in production from the household where goods and services were produced for the direct consumption of family members to production by capitalist rms for the market but in the contemporary period commodi cation can also refer to the shift of production from the state to the market The classic example of the commodi cation of household production is food there was a time in which most people grew most of their own food processed it for storage and transformed it into meals By the 20m century most people in developed capitalist societies purchased all food ingredients in the market but still transformed it into meals within the home Increasingly in the second half of the twentieth century the food purchased in the market became closer and closer to a nal meal frozen pizzas micro wave meals etc and fully cominodi ed meals in restaurants became an increasingly important part of food consumption for most people Markets may be an economically ef cient way of organizing the production and distribution of many things yet most people feel that there are certain aspects of human activity which should not be organized by markets even if it would be ef cient in a technical economic sense to do so Virtually everyone except for a few extreme libertarians believes that it would be a wrong to create a capitalist market for the adoption of babies for example Even if it were the case that the exchanges on such a market were entirely voluntary the idea of turning a baby into a commodity with a market price and selling the baby to the highest bidder is seen by most people as a monstrous violation of the moral value of human beings There is a fairly broad range of activities for which commodi cation raises salient normative issues I will just mention a few here without any elaboration 0 Child care and other forms of mn tui ingcaregiving activity 0 Product safety 0 The Arts 0 Religion and Spirituality 119111111 13119 110111131100 1128890911 19101110 12 81 1111113 701210011191 101 c110111131100 111910111118 1011 11111 A198890911 9 811111 81 11181191111123 39891191008181191111120 111 8911218 1191191110111111210 8911111112119 A119111 919 919111 1012100111913 991119112118 1011 89013 1118119111190 91118 911 01 11011119111000 11201111011 01112100111913 p119 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3x81219111 399 9 z am109391 Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 13 September 12 amp 14 combined with economic development which capitalism also generates eventually makes democracy almost inevitable Even if one rejects the strong version ofFreidman s argument that without capitalism democracy is impossible there is no doubt that capitalism under conditions of high levels of economic development is strongly associated with democratic forms of the state As Adam Przeworski has shown in 100 of the cases capitalist societies in which the per capita income is above 6000 have stable forms of representative democracy Nevertheless if we take the idea of democracy seriously as rule by the people there are three important ways in which capitalism limits democracy 1 By de nition private ownership of means of production means that signi cant domains of decisions that have broad collective effects are simply removed from collective decision making 2 even apart from the direct effects of the exclusion of democratic bodies from control over the behavior of capitalist firms the inability of democratic bodies to control the movement of capital undermines the ability of democracy to set collective priorities over even those activities which capitalist firms themselves do not directly organize 3 The high concentrations of wealth and economic power generated by capitalist dynamics subvert principles ofdemocratic political equality Task 3 Specifying an alternative 1 Marx s approach Marx had an intellectually brilliant if ultimately unsatisfactory solution to the problem of specifying the alternative to capitalism in a credible way Rather than develop a systematic theoretical model which could demonstrate the possibility of an emancipatory alternative to capitalism he proposed a theory of the long term i177possibiliy 0f capilalism His arguments are I think familiar because of its inner dynamics and contradictions capitalism destroys its own conditions of possibility This is a deterministic theory in the long run capitalism will become an impossible social order so some alternative will of necessity have to occur The trick is then to make a credible case that a democratic egalitarian organization of economic and society is plausible form of such an alternative Here is where Marx s theory gets especially elegant for the contradictions which propel capitalism along its trajectory of selferosion also create historical agents the working class with both an interest in a democratic egalitarian society and with an increasing capacity to translate their interests into action Given all of these elements Marx s actual theory of socialism itself is a kind of pragmatist theory of where there is a will there is a way problem solving by creative solidaristic workers That theory was an extraordinary intellectual achievement and as we know it helped animate social and political movements for radical social change for over a century However in certain crucial respects it is awed and I believe cannot serve as the basis for the on going radical egalitarian project I won t go through the criticisms here because we will be reviewing these in the next couple of weeks Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 14 September 12 amp 14 2 Towards a SOCialist compass The classical Marxist theory of alternatives to capitalism is deeply anchored in a deterministic theory of key properties of the trajectory capitalism by predicting the basic contours of the future of capitalism Marx hoped to contribute to the realization of a emancipatory alternative to capitalism In the absence of a compelling dynamic theory of the destiny of capitalism an alternative strategy is to shift our efforts from building a theory of dynamic trajectory to a theory of structural possibility Let me explain this contrast A theory of dynamic trajectory attempts to predict certain features of the future course of social change on the basis of an understanding of causal mechanisms that push society in a particular direction By charting certain developments which we know will happen assuming the theory is accurate such a theory helps define the conditions for exploring things which can happen Capitalism will eventually destroy itself so socialism could be the alternative A theory of structural possibility does not attempt to predict the course of development over time but simply chart the range of possibilities for institutional changes under different social conditions The strongest version of such a theory would be like having a comprehensive road map before embarking on a journey The road map would tell you all of the possible destinations from your current location and all of the alternative routes that will take you there A really good map would inform you about the road conditions on the different routes indicating which require all terrain vehicles and which might be either temporarily or permanently impassable at least until some better mode of transportation is invented With such a map the only question you face in actually making a trip to a particular destination is whether or not you have the proper vehicle for the journey It may turn out of course that you are unable to divert sufficient resources to the purchase of the required vehicle to get to the most desirable destination but at least you would have a realistic understanding of this constraint before leaving for the trip and could therefore change your plans No social theory is suf ciently powerful to even begin to construct such a comprehensive road map of possible social destinations It may well be that such a theory is impossible even in principle the process of social change is too complex and too deeply affected by contingent concatenations of causal processes to be represented in the form of detailed road maps for change In any case we don t have a map available And yet we want to leave the place where we are because of its harms and injustices What is to be done Instead of the metaphor of a road map guiding us to a known destination the best we can probably do is to think of the project of emancipatory social change more like a voyage of exploration We leave the well known world with a compass that tells us the direction we are moving and an odometer which tells us how far from our point of departure we have traveled but without a road map which lays out the entire route from the point of departure to the final destination This has perils of course we may encounter chasms which we cannot cross unforeseen obstacles which force us to move in a direction we had not planned We may have to backtrack and try a new route There will be moments when we reach high ground with clear views towards the horizon and this will greatly facilitate our navigation for a while But other times we must pick our way through confusing terrain and dense forests with little ability to see where we are Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 15 September 12 amp 14 going Perhaps with technologies we invent along the way we can create some high ground and see somewhat into the distance And in the end we may discover that there are limits to how far we can move in the hope for direction While we cannot know in advance how far we can go we can know if we are moving in the right direction 3 Principles of the socialist compass There are many possible principles defining the socialist compass Here I will focus on two a Decommodijing labor poivein This is a familiar theme in discussions of socialism To the extent that workers are able to have their needs met outside of the market through some process of social provision their labor power is decommodified Commoditication is thus a variable and one can speak of the degree ofcommoditication and decommodi cation of labor power If socialism is an economy directly oriented to the universalizing access to the means of human ourishing rather than the maximization of profit then such decommodi cation of labor power can be thought of as a movement in the direction of socialism b Strengthening the importance ofsocial power in shapingr the priorities for the use ofthe social surplus and the organization ofeconomic activity This principle is less familiar and perhaps more controversial It implies a contrast between what I would call Statism and Social ism Both are forms of non capitalist economic organization In Statism state power plays the primary role in allocating the social surplus to alternative priorities and directing the process of production The clearest example would be the highly centralized bureaucratic systems of command economy in places like the Soviet Union In contrast in socialism what might be termed social power plays this role Social power is rooted in the capacity to mobilize people for cooperative voluntary collective actions of various sorts in civil society Social power is contrasted to economic power based on the ownership and control of economic resources and state power based on the control of rule making and rule enforcing capacity over territory The idea of democracy in these terms can be thought of as a speci c way of linking social power and state power in the ideal of democracy state power is fully subordinated to and accountable to social power Democracy is thus inherently a deeply socialist principle If Democracy is the label for the subordination of state power to social power socialism is the term for the subordination of economic power to social power I will leave until later in the semester elaborating what this means in terms of the design of institutions but it in includes a wide range of things like works councils within workplaces selfmanaged workers cooperatives participatory urban budgeting community provided caring services to mention only a few examples Task 4 Contradictory Reproduction This is what we will discuss for much of the semester class compromise the state ideology In classical Marxism the theory of social reproduction was framed in terms of what came to be known as the Base superstructure model As we will see this comes very close to a functional explanation of the state and ideology More recently the idea Lecture 2 amp 3 The tasks and structure of Marxist emancipatory theory 16 September 12 amp 14 that class struggles and social conflicts generate contradictions rather than just reflect them h has become important solutions to struggles always involve contradictory conditions of reproduction This is the guts of a great deal of what I call sociological Marxism the theory about how the solutions to the problem of social reproduction in capitalism that is the institutional arrangements that help sustain capitalism over time have a tendency to be contradictory in the sense that they unleash processes which destabilize capitalism Task 5 Strategy Given the normative ideals we want to accomplish our critique of existing institutions and our vision of an alternative then the analysis of contradictory reproduction provides the context for formulating theories of strategy theories ofwhat kinds of practical strategies are likely to advance the project of constructing the alternative Classical Marxism mainly what can be termed a ruptural strategy often also called revolutionary I prefer ruptural to revolutionary since the goals can be revolutionary in the sense of a deep and fundamental transformation of capitalism without necessarily the strategy being ruptural The basic image was that the construction of a radical alternative requires a sharp time condensed destruction of existing relations of power and and domination and their rapid replacement with the core of new institutional arrangements The plausibility ofa ruptural strategy depends on two things a one s beliefin the vulnerability of existing institutions to assault and b how difficult one imagines the task of building the right kind of alternative in the aftermath ofa rupture with existing institutions The theory of the destiny of capitalism provided the main grounds for believing that capitalist institutions would become more and more vulnerable destroyable over time That theoretical argument is no longer very compelling I also don t think the historical evidence supports the optimistic where there is awill thereis a way view of democratic experimentalism under conditions of revolutionary rupture So a theory of strategy remains a big problem Sociology 621 Lecture 14 CLASS AND RACE October 31 2005 I The problem of laundry list oppressions There is a tendency in some currents of radical theory to want to treat all forms of oppression symmetrically One therefore frequently encounters lists of various sorts sexism racism classism ageism In one sense this is a legitimate move in terms of the lived experience and identity of people there is no a priori reason to regard any form of oppression as intrinsically worse than others as more harmful than another The oppression of people with handicaps can create harms as deep as class or gender When middle class kids asked in a survey whether they would prefer to be poor or be grossly obese without the possibility of losing weight they say poor Nevertheless if the implication of the laundry list is that the specificities of the mechanisms of oppression are of secondary importance or that all oppressions have the same explanatory importance for all problems then I think this is a mistake The task of a critical theory of class and race then is to understand the specificity of the causal interactions of these social relations 11 Understanding the Theoretical Speci city of Racial Oppression racial domination racial inequality 1 Methodological point what do we mean by theoretical speci city In the 2003 UN conference on Racism there was a resolution proposed by a number of delegations that Zionism is a form of racism Many people regard this as an absurd statement others regard it as capturing some underlying deep theoretical unity between Zionism and other more generally accepted forms of racism The methodological problem of specificity involves providing a theoretical understanding of a particular form of social interaction so that we know when specific empirical cases should be treated as similar or different as falling under the same broad category or not This can be an arbitrary exercise in wordplay for political purposes but can also be a more rigorous matter of figuring out how concepts fit together within theories This is basically the task laid out in the Old Sesame Street ditty one of these things are not like the others one of these things just isn t the same There was a funny version of this I heard on BBC Radio 4 in a spoof about Bush Bush was given four things a mouse a turtle rabbit and a waf e iron and was asked which of these was not like the other He called up the Sesame Street hotline to discuss the matter Bush Well Ithink it is the turtle It s not like the others Lecture 14 Race amp Class 2 Kermit Mr President Ithink it is the waf e iron Bush No I don t think it is the waf e iron A waf e iron s got atail just like the bunny and the mouse But the turtle doesn t have a tail Kermit I think it is the waf e iron because it isn t alive The other three are alive Bush A waf e iron is alive It smokes You have to breathe to smoke Kermit Mr President It doesn t really have a tail That is called an electric cord with a plug on the end You put it in the wall socket Bush Well you can put a little mouse s tail in a wall socket to I bet it would smoke then also Kermit Anyway a turtle also has a tail you just can t see it under the shell Bush You re joking a little turtle really has a tail Kermit Yes under the shell Bush Well then that doesn t count because you can t put it in a socket Defining the theoretical specificity of racial oppression involves three sorts of tasks 1 Specifying what is the abstract category within which racism would count as one specific type This requires developing a real theory of this more abstract category 2 Within this abstract category specifying what distinguishes racism as a specific sub type 3 Figuring out which historically concrete forms of oppression are instances of racial oppression which are not which have some aspects of racial oppression etc 2 The problem of Essentialz39sm There is one more important methodological complication in this sort of classification exercise the theoretical specificity of a particular concept or category depends upon how it figures in some theoretical problem or question To argue that a particular category has a particular definition irrespective of its theoretical purpose is for some people the sin of essentialism but more often it is just sloppy thinking Two things should be classified together if it is the case that they identify the same kind of casual process within some social phenomenon under investigation It may turn out when you push this that some commonsense everyday distinctions dissolve and other things which look very similar on the surface may in fact be very different This also means that for different theoretical purposes different kinds of conceptual lines of demarcation and aggregation need to be drawn Ultimately the issue of course is not so much which of these get the tag racial oppression 7 there may be historical and linguistic if not theoretical reasons to use this label quite narrowly 7 but rather how we understand the conceptual space within which racial dominationoppression is located This is tough work and fraught with political passion in the case of racism and racial oppression Lecture 14 Race amp Class 3 The Abstract Category within which race is an instance Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel have an interesting proposal for how we should think of the conceptual category within which racial division is a speci c example The more abstract category is communal identity The basic idea is this at the very core of social life is the idea of community 7 the circle of people with which one regularly cooperates and feels bonds of trust and solidarity the circle of people that provide the basic building blocks of social interaction and reciprocity Communal identity refers to the criteria one uses to decide what sorts of people fall into this category of community and what sorts do not One can have multiple communal identities in this sense and the various kinds of community in which one s life is embedded can have a shifting uid and potentially contradictory character De ned in this way community and communal identity need not imply anything about oppression just trust cooperation and sociability Communal identity becomes the basis for oppression when it gets combined with mechanisms of domination and exclusion One might want to call this an alienated form of community Just as class can be thought of as an alienated form of the division of labor 7 ie an economic relation which gets linked to mechanisms of domination exclusion and exploitation 7 and male domination is a form of alienated gender relations Ie the gender division of labor gets linked to mechanisms of domination so to can communal identity become a form of alienated solidarity Ethnicity religion language nationality tribe and other forms of communal identity all can in certain situations be alienated in this way and become sources of communal division antagonism and oppression Racial division is one speci c form of such communal division 4 The specificity of Racial Oppression Consider the following list of social divisions each of which in various times and places is a source ofboth con ict and 7 arguably 7 oppression black and white in the US jew and muslim in IsraelPalestine antisemitism in Europe catholicprotestant in Northern Ireland Huttu and Tutsi in Rawanda untouchable castes in India Which of these constitute instances of racial oppression You see that in the absence of a theoretical agenda and some explanatory purpose the question is very hard to resolve Now I will give a provisional de nition of racial oppression but it is one whose boundary conditions 7 the criteria for what is included or not 7 may shift depending upon explanatory contexts But here is a provisional de nition Lecture 14 Race amp Class 4 i Racial division is a socially recognized distinction between people based on biological lineage you are born into a racial category by virtue of the racial category of your parents It is an ascriptive category although in some special cases there are socially validated ways of escaping a racial classi cation ii Typically the biological lineage is linked to some socially recognized and symbolically salient visible physical attribute technically phenotypic differences but this need not be the case AntiSemitism in Europe was not linked to any consistent visible phenotypic characteristics You could be blonde and blue eyed and be a Jew iii Racial division becomes racial oppression when it corresponds to some form of sociallysigni cant exclusion typically with an economic dimension but also political and cultural iv When racial division takes the form of racial oppression the oppressed group is also invariably stigmatized given an inferior social status in the extreme case regarded as an inferior type of human beings in the biological not just social sense and sometimes even subhuman It is possible that the stigmatization and status denigration can continue even if the exclusions have largely disappeared The most striking example was antiSemitism in Germany Now this provisional de nition of the distinctively racialized form of oppression did not directly make any reference to class But a classrelevant idea enters in criterion iii exclusion Remember that in the de nition of exploitation one of the three principles was the exclusion principle and the idea of social relations of production centers on rights and powers over resources which are fundamental powers of exclusion III A Class Analysis of Racial Oppression 1 Two Questions In thinking about racial oppressions and their link to class structure the important question to ask is less What are the origins of racial inequality but rather What explains the durability of racial divisions and the dif culty in eliminating racial inequality This second question in turn has two dimensions of answers 1 what are the processes which actively reproduce racial cleavage 2 what are the processes that block challenges to eliminating racial cleavages The rst of these concerns various mechanisms which actively reinforce or reproduce racial inequality This would include propaganda stereotyping in the media direct legal discriminations informal discriminatory practices and norms and so on The second concerns the mechanisms that undermine attempts to mobilize against racial inequality This may involve Lecture 14 Race amp Class 5 the same processes involved in active reproduction but it may also involve more indirect processes The central claim of class analysis is that the interactions of class and race helps to answer both of these questions This does not mean that class and class alone is sufficient to explain the durability of racial inequality and oppression but that it is one of the central processes involved 2 Who Bene ts from Racism A useful way of approaching these questions is to begin by asking what seems like a simple question and then seeing what make this question more complex and more interesting The simplesounding question is this Who bene ts from racial inequality Let us try to answer this question with an initially quite simple model of the relevant actors about whom we ask the who benefits question White capitalists White workers Black workers There are four traditional answers to the questions of who benefits from the overall patterns of racial disadvantage of blacks 1 white workers exploit black workers there is actually a transfer of surplus from black workers to white workers A they are really in distinct classes This is the strong version of internal colonialism arguments theories of superexploitation White workers and white capitalists form a racial alliance because they share common interests in the exploitation of blacks White workers would be worse o ifblack workers simply disappeared 2 white workers oppress black workers but do not exploit them they benefit from exclusionary practices but do not receive direct transfers split labor market theories White workers would not be worse off if black workers disappeared 3 white workers neither oppress nor exploit black workers capitalists differentially exploit different categories of workers but all workers suffer from the differential exploitation traditional Marxist class analysis Capitalists alone bene t from racism 4 The di erential exploitation of black and white workers is of decreasing relevance The key issue the marginalization of segments of the black population from the system of exploitation altogether the theory of the underclass The underclass oppressed but not consistently exploited eg welfare mothers permanently unemployed criminal underclass Racial con ict therefore centers on the State s intervention to deal with underclass phenomena not directly on class antagonismscompetition between black and Lecture 14 Race amp Class 6 white workers Different theorists have different answers William Wilson historical transition from preindustrial slave relations white ruling class exploits black slaves to industrial period white workers oppress black workers through job competition and exclusion to contemporary period differential exploitation disappearing where class inequalities among blacks matter more than between blacks and whites Edna Bonacich white workers oppress black workers through exclusions segmented labor markets classic divide and conquer dynamic by structuring the labor market in particular ways capitalists can pit the real interests of different groups of workers against each other Michael Reich capitalists exploit workers of different races differentially Racial divisions hurt both black and white workers The econometric data on this are quite compelling white workers are worse off under conditions where black workers are most oppressed The wages of white workers are highest where the inequalities between black and white workers are least At different times and places each of these views may be correct There is no particular reason to believe that there is a single overarching profile of interests that link class and race One problem with all of these views however is that they fail to pay much attention to the real specificity of racialization as a dimension of cleavage about why this specific form of cleavage has such staying power such bite through its interconnection with class I would like to propose a way of looking at this issue that may help clarify this 3 Why racialized inequality is especially robust 31 The problem of rational material interests of privileged white workers Let us consider two dimension of stratification within the working class I Race I Strata I Black workers I High paid skilled workers good jobs I I White workers I Low paid unskilled workers bad jobs I What I want to explore is why there are real material obstacles to solidarity between black and white workers The traditional claim of Marxists has always been that racism hurts white workers as well as black workers unite and ight Sometimes this may be true solidarity pays Workers untied are stronger and as a united force they can win a better deal from capital for all workers But I think in general the practical situation is more complex Lecture 14 Race amp Class 7 What I want to compare is two situations Situation 1 there is a signi cant economic gap between high paid and low paid workers and this corresponds to a racial division between white and black workers Racial strati cation is linked to strati cation within the working class Situation 2 there is a signi cant economic gap between high paid and low paid workers but there is only one race or there is in any case no racial correspondence to the class division Situation 1 Here is the problem so long as signi cant inequality between skilled and unskilled workers exists if the racial division between blacks and whites is overcome then some white workers will be worse off than they would otherwise have been even if the average white worker improves his position Solidarity among privileged workers therefore would face a tradeoff between gains for the average person in that group if they were solidaristic with black workers and potentially signi cant losses to some members of the privileged group as they lose good jobs to black workers This is a complex calculus and it may often be very unclear how sharp this tradeoff will be since it depends upon how much the average conditions of the advantaged worker improves Here is a simple numerical example Suppose 80 of the working class is white and 20 black Suppose all the white workers are in higher paying jobs and all the blacks in lower paying jobs 7 ie an extreme racial polarization 7 and suppose the good paying jobs pay 20hour and the bad jobs 10 Now suppose you magically get rid of racism so blacks and whites are evenly distributed in the two jobs and also suppose that because of broader solidarity the average earnings of both strata of workers improves the well paid workers now make 22hour and the poorly paid workers 15 This would mean that 20 of the white workers would have to have their wages decrease from 20 to 15 even though the average white skilled worker would have their wages increase from 20 to 22 The conclusion is simple where there is deep racial strati cation then interracial solidarity will hurt some advantaged white workers even if overall wages of both whites and blacks improve as a result of solidarity Situation 2 Suppose that the sharply divided categories of privileged and disadvantaged workers did not correspond to a racial divide Suppose that the working class was ethnically and racially homogeneous across these strata of relative privilege How would this change the equation 7 again from the point of view of strict material interests not moral concern The pivotal difference Ithink is that over time there would likely develop a relatively thick pattern of social ties across the privilege boundary especially ties of kinship but also community people would have children siblings cousins parents on the other side of this divide and certainly friends and Lecture 14 Race amp Class 8 community members Even more crucially even for people without such direct hard social ties across the privileged strata boundary they would exist in a socioeconomic space within which they had a reasonable probability of having such ties in the future or had them in the past What this means is that the concept of narrow material interests would be stretched in ways that span the privilege divide to a much greater extent than when this divide corresponds in signi cant ways to race or ethnicity This is an important point to really understand the notion of sel sh material interests is ambiguous about the category of people subsumed under the self the individual One s immediate family One s extended family Friends Market relations continually push for an atomization of the definition of the relevant unit for selfinterest kinship and community relations push for a stretching of this unit And since interests have a temporal dimension 7 one has material interests in the material wellbeing of one s children in the future not just instantaneously in the present 7 the probability of such ties across privilegedunderprivileged strata matter for the definition of interests In Sweden for fifty years skilled workers strongly supported a labor movement which systematically worked to atten out wage differentials between highly skilled and unskilled workers 7 the famous solidarity wage of Sweden Arguably the ethnic and racial homogeneity of the working class was very important for this 32 Racial Division and cross strata class solidarity Back to the problem of Race The key issue here is the way race especially and ethnicity usually to a somewhat lesser extent define communities of deep interpersonal relations especially kinship Racialized social division especially is a powerful obstacle to intermarriage anal this blocks the proliferation of the kinds of ties that stretch interests The problem of intermarriage across racial divisions has always been one of the most salient biting features of racism and is fundamental to cementing the social mechanisms of racial oppression Now here is the kicker when a cleavage between privileged and underprivileged categories within the class structure corresponds to a racial division this means that crossstrata solidarities are likely to be significantly weakened 7 especially because of the intergenerational and kinship structure of such solidarities 7 and this means that the collective basis for solidaristic struggle against the exclusions that generate the division are also likely to be weaker It also means that the issue raised in situation 1 above are also likely to be much stronger the fate of one s friends children kin within the privileged category would matter more than the fate of the average person in that category Lecture 14 Race amp Class 9 33 Two Hypotheses This reasoning suggests the following hypothesis Hypothesis 1 The greater the correspondence between strata within the working class and racial division the weaker will be the potential for class solidarity across these strata This weakened class solidarity will in turn reinforce the distinctively racial form of inequality What this means is that even if it is the case that capitalists exploit both privileged white workers and underprivileged black workers under conditions of a strong correspondence between race and classbased privileges crossrace solidarity will be very dif cult to sustain and thus collective challenges to racial oppression will be weakened But this also suggests another hypothesis Hypothesis 2 As the correspondence between classstrata and race declines or is eroded the basis for collective challenges to racial inequality increases 34 The Speci city of Racial Oppression within class analysis To return to our starting point racial division can be seen as a particularly strong form of a more general theoretical category forms of social division that block the creation of communal ties through kinship The speci c 39 39 39 39 lineage 39 39 in 39 quot A social interaction then is particularly salient because of its close connection to familyformation and thus kinship formation When this division becomes a form of oppression through its links to forms of economic exclusion and thus class relations a selfreinforcing cycle is generated Racialized oppression then is part of a family of divisions and oppression that in different times and places can be closely linked to tribal membership ethnicity or religion if these all determine lines of communal ties and barriers to the formation of the kinds of social ties 7 especially kin but also friendships 7 which help stretch the de nition of material interests IV The Transformation of the Southern Racial State David Jaime s research on sharecropping and racial oppression is a speci c illustration of this complex problem of the interaction of class and race 1C0re thesis The Southern racial state was instituted and stabilized because it was a solution to a serious problem in the postcivil war era The problem was this how to secure the extraction of surplus labor from peasants in a liberal democracy This was an acute problem especially in cotton agriculture Solution to the labor Lecture 14 Race amp Class 10 extraction problem sharecropping Problem the need for coercive mechanisms to reproduce these relations prevent coalitions with poor whites prevent excessive labor migration keep the peasants on the land Racialized sharecropping with political disenfranchisement was the successful solution Alternative hypothesis there was a pervasive intractable culture of racism generated by slavery As soon as the North withdrew this southern racism was unleashed to restore racial domination the driving force being white racist identities prejudice hatred etc 2 Empirical claim David James if the class analysis thesis is correct then prediction a that the resiliencey or fragility of the racial state would depend signi cantly upon its correspondence to the underlying material conditions linked to the class structure b that challenges to the racial state would be both easier and more likely to be successful when the class structure no longer functionally depended upon it 3 Historical Trajectory of creation stability dissolution of the Southern Racial State 1 material conditions at creation Dissolution of Slavery manifest problems of surplus extraction stabilization of labor force 2 political conditions at creation populist threat threat of blacldwhite poor alliance H escalation of KKK 3 solution the creation of widespread sharecropping 4 Superstructural consolidation Jim Crow laws to disempower sharecroppers vagrancy laws to enforce surplus extraction etc 5 New Deal Agriculture agricultural relief programs A unintended consequence of massive incentives from above which to eliminate sharecropping H acceleration of the dissolution of this form of class relations By 1950s coercive extraction of surplus had almost disappeared 6 Cold War amp postWWII US world position A National geopolitical reasons to end racial state in the South 7 Resistence to destruction of racial state in late 19505 and 1960s greatest in those countries with the strongest legacies of sharecropping Lecture 25 Sociology 62 December 14 2005 HEGEMONY amp LEGITIMATION I HEGEMONY Hegemony is one of the most elusive concepts in Marxist discussions of ideology Sometimes it is used as almost the equivalent of ideological domination to describe a class an ideologically hegemonic or to talk about the hegemonic ideology is just to talk about the dominantdominating ideology Gramsci who made the most sustained discussions of this concept used it in a rather different way Hegemony designates the capacity of a class for what Gramsci termed moral and 39 39 39 J 391 J this notion we need to rst see what is meant by leadership and then link it to the moral and intellectual aspects of leadership 1 Leadership A leader must be distinguished from a boss A boss tells you what to do A leader induces you to do things by virtue of the assurances you have that the leader is concerned with your interests is advancing your interests In class terms a ruling class has leadership capacity if it is able to somehow link the interests of subordinate classes to its own interests in the pursuit of a social project which reproduces its own dominant position Leadership implies the capacity to give direction to social development to establish the project of the ruling class as the universal project by tying the interests of subordinate classes to that project A hegemonic class then is not just a ruling or dominant class but a ruling class that manages to organize its rule in a particular way namely by linking the interests of subordinate classes and groups to its own When the GM CEO proclaims What s good for GM is good for America he is affirming the hegemonic character of the American bourgeoisie in the 1950s for this was not a complete illusion The American capitalist class had a project of economic and social development which did in fact tie the interests of large segments of the working class to the interests of capital Michael Burawoy s analysis of the machine shop is a good example of hegemony Burawoy distinguishes between two forms of organization of the machine shop what he calls the despotic organization of work and the hegemonic organization of work In the former productivity is mainly assured through surveillance controls and discipline in the latter it is assured through a game in which competition among workers striving to increase their individual incomes and make out on the shop oor has the effect of directing their activity in ways that enhance productivity This latter game is a hegemonic form of the labor process some of the interests of Lecture 25 Legitimation amp Hegemony 2 the workers are met the possibility of higher wages but in a way that links them to the interests of the capitalist class more closely More generally in the period of stable accumulation and expansion the bourgeoisie has the possibility of generating a material basis for hegemony through redistributive policies and the Keynesian state This is Przeworski s general argument about the material basis for hegemonic politics in electoral democracies parties are forced to play by certain rules if they are to avoid being isolated from the working class but if they play by those roles then they act to tie the interests of the working class to those of the Bourgeoisie in various direct ways 2 Moral and Intellectual Leadership All of this is hegemony in general Ideological hegemony represents the speci c effects of hegemony at the ideological level and this is where the moral and intellectual elements come in corresponding to our earlier discussions of normative ideology and mystificationcognition respectively 21 Two visions of what it means to have an antagonism to oppositional normative systems a The two contending ideologies can be seen as antagonistic in terms of each element within them so that proletarian normative ideology is simply the negation pointbypoint of bourgeois ideology This is what Mouffe refers to as the view of ideological struggle as the confrontation of two paradigmatic ideologies b The two contending ideologies can be seen as containing many of the same elements but they are organized into a different matrix Thus the belief in individual freedom is an element in both bourgeois and proletarian ideology but because of its link to the belief in private property in the former and its link to collective selfdetermination in the latter the meaning of the element itself changes In this view ideological struggle is over the appropriation and reappropriation of elements into different class matrices rather than the confrontation of two polarized paradigms Ideological struggle struggle on the terrain of ideology rather than between ideologies 22 Hegemony second view The view of ideological hegemony as involving moral leadership necessarily presupposes the second of these views Aspects of normative principles which are rooted in popular struggles popular consciousness and culture are appropriated by the bourgeoisie and tied to other ideologicalmoral elements so that they serve the bourgeois project Such a hegemonic situation sets a trap for revolutionaries because it suggests that to oppose to the bourgeoisie is to oppose individual freedom civil rights etc and many revolutionaries in fact accept these terms of the struggle To the extent that the bourgeoisie is able to define the form of ideological struggle in this way it effectively isolates revolutionary ideology from the working class since many of these elements are in fact organically related to the working class itself Lecture 25 Legitimation amp Hegemony 23 Moral leadership means incorporating popularoppositional moral elements into the hegemonic ideology 24 Central elements in bourgeois ideology defending capitalism 0 freedom 0 democracy 0 private property 0 equality 0 material wellbeing How are these articulated freedom means freedom from coercion by the state this implies sanctity of private property Freedom private property Democracy depends upon private property and is the form of the state that protects freedom Democratic constraints on private property are an affront to freedom equality means equality of citizenship rights not material conditions material wellbeing is maximized by freedom private property Some of these have been incorporated from popular struggle especially democracy Socialist Rearticulation true democracy depends upon equality of material wellbeing freedom means freedom to do things not just freedom from equality means both equality of rights and conditions democracy should constrain private property in order to enhance freedom 25 Intellectual leadership A similar process occurs in intellectual leadership To be hegemonic bourgeois ideology cannot simply deny the lived experience of workers dismiss the cognitive categories generated out of daily life of people in capitalist society but rather it must appropriate these categories integrate them into an intellectual structure which is coherent and compelling but which organizes these categories around a logic which supports rather than undermines the domination of that class This is what effective propaganda does effective theoretical ideology etc Lecture 25 Legitimation amp Hegemony 4 3 Hegemony and Counterhegemony Ideological Class Struggle Classes and other social groups struggle on the terrain of ideologyto use Mouffe s formulation following Gramscinot just over ideology The challenge to the hegemony of the ruling class requires the formation of a counterhegemony a reorganization of the normative and cognitive structures in ways that support alternative practices and ways of living This is indeed a struggle and struggle implies two terms at least Counterhegemonic symbols and norms are constantly threatened by reincorporation into the hegemonic ideology itself Example women s liberation symbols in advertisement Cindy Costello s MA Thesis where liberation symbols are appropriated from the women s movement integrated with conventional symbols of bourgeois ideology and accordingly transformed by virtue of the new symbols of bourgeois ideology and accordingly transformed by virtue of the new symbols of bourgeois ideology and accordingly transformed by virtue of the new Matrix within which they are located The effect is that liberation becomes a reaffirmation of male domination and commodity production individualism etc Gramsci argued that the distinctive characteristic of Western Capitalist Societies was the vitality of the hegemony of its ruling classes This meant that a direct assault on their class power state powr in the manner of the Bolshevik revolution was impossible Instead a war on position was required a form of struggle in which the objective was the erosion of the hegemonic hold of the bourgeoisie Such struggles require counterinstitutions countermedia amp culture the creation of what is sometimes called a proletarian public sphere where working class culture can be articulated etc This is a protracted form of struggle and involves very different practical activities from the war of maneuver characteristic of Eastern societies 4 Hegemony amp Possibility I argued in an earlier section that the decisive aspect of an ideology is the way in which it defines what is possible and impossible the way in which it rules out certain alternative kinds of societies If communism is utopian if it unworkable a pipedream etcthen it matters a lot less whether or not people believe in the desirability of the existing social order People can even have a clear understanding of their own oppression and exploitation ie relatively unmystifred views and they will still see it as pointless to engage in struggles for a rupture in the society if alternatives are seen as unthinkable It is here that hegemony really matters What a hegemonic ideology accomplishes is a double subordination of oppositional elements 1 Aspects of opposition are systematically incorporated into the overall project of the ruling class and 2 oppositional projects as a whole are rendered unrealistic and utopian Lecture 25 Legitimation amp Hegemony 5 Such marginalization of opposition is not primarily the result of propaganda which explicitly declares it to be unrealistic or unthinkable rather it is primarily the result of the very effectiveness of the leadership capacity of the dominant class itself of its capacity to actually incorporate elements from the opposition itself thus undermining the overall oppositional project The marginalization is then often reinforced by the active responses of oppositional forces themselves because they are afraid of incorporationreintegration within the hegemonic matrix oppositional forces may artificially polarize their positions may polemically insulate themselves from contamination by the hegemonic ideology The effort is to make themselves unincorporatable into the hegemonic ideology but the effect may be to make them more deeply isolated from the working class itself This is precisely what makes a hegemonic system hegemonic to engage it on its own terrain is to risk absorption to refuse to engage that terrain is to deepen marginalization Ultimately this implies that a successful counterhegemonic strategy must change the conditions of possibility of the terrain itself Needless to say it is not obvious how this can be done It is because of this that hegemonic rule is associated with the concept of consent often used in Gramsci consent to the system of rule is generated by the dual operation of the marginalization of alternatives and the partial accommodation of one s own material interests and normative concerns As Therbom stresses such consent is not opposed to coercionevery hegemonic system implies a system of coercively imposed premisesrulesbut it subordinates or incorporates the individual subjectively in a different way from a directly coercive regime II LEGITIMATION IDEOLOGY amp NORMS In this section I want to explore three interconnected issues concerning normative structures 1 What is the relationship between legitimation and other aspects of ideology 2 How should we understand the process by which particular normative structures are produced and reproduced 3 What is the proper way of understanding the historical relationship between structures of power and exploitation on the one hand and systems of legitimation on the other This second problem revolves around the difference between Marxist and Weberian approaches to normslegitimation 1 The Normative Dimension of Ideology This is the commonsense notion of ideology ideology as an ism as a systematic world view containing values and norms notions of what is good and bad right and wrong Legitimation is of course very closely tied to mystification and cannot be understood apart from it The belief that the United States is a just and good society the normative judgment is closely related to the claim that there is fact opportunity for advancement and that failures are individual faults But there is some independence of the two since the belief that individual Lecture 25 Legitimation amp Hegemony 6 outcomes are what matters are what is important rather than collective outcomes is a normative premise which does not logically depend on any given account of those outcomes Mystz39fzcations thus help to support legitimations But the reverse is also true beliefs in the American way in individualism in competitiveness in manliness etc become obstacles to people seeing the real determinations at work in their social life What is often called socialization or indoctrination or propaganda depending upon the context centers on buttressing the normative ideological supports for the existing society which in turn act as blocks to struggles against mystification as well There is a frequent tendency among Marxistsand nonMarxiststo regard legitimation as the pivotal element of ideology as the decisive aspect of subjectivity which explains consensus acquiescence to the social order etc While it is important Ithink that its importance is usually overstated It seems to me that it is much more important whether or not people feel there are other alternatives than that they feel the existing society is good in explaining their political behavior In this respect I agree with Therbom s image of different aspects of ideology being lines of defense with the normative aspect being less fundamental than the cognitive ones Still legitimation and normative consensus is important so let us look at its process of determination 2 An example Individualistic competitiveness 21 Meaning three normative beliefs First what are we talking about here what is the subjective orientation in question By individualistic competitiveness I mean the belief that a it is good to compete with others to try to be better than others b one s worthstatus is defined by how well one measures up against other people s performance as opposed to simply how well one has actualized ones own capacities c that rewards that come from individual competition are justified warranted desirable All three elements are important and both of these help to legitimize capitalism as a social order 22 Explanations How can we explain the prevalence of this norm as part of the subjective structure of people in capitalist society A variety of explanations can be distinguished all of which could play some real role in the determination of this element 1 Indoctrinationsocialization children are taught through role models television schools heroworship etc that competitive individualism is an ideal to aspire to The ideas is thus implanted into the minds of people through a process of symbolic manipulation and propaganda Lecture 25 Legitimation amp Hegemony 7 2 Cognitive dissonance people see that cooperation is unattainable amp therefore devalue it 3 Character structure As psychoanalysis would stress it is not so much the inculcation of the belief as such but the formation of the necessary kind of personality structure which underpins such beliefs Norms are stable and structured because of their correspondence to a personality structure This kind of analysis has played an important part in explaining such things as Fascist norms ideology where the argument has often been made that it is the underlying structure of personalitythe authoritarian character structurewhich underwrites those normative beliefs Another example is the analysis of Racism where the distinction is sometimes made between racists who are organically racist because of their personalities and racists who are conventionally racist just because it is the norm and who can easily shed their racism if conditions change 4 Social practices Competitive individualism is reproduced as a norm because the material practices of everyday life constantly validate it make it adaptive for individuals and their families punish people who Violate it and less obtrusively structure the alterative choices people face in such a way that it would require an active practice of resistance to undermine such norms When you enter school the micropractices that are imposed on you reproduce norms of individualism regardless of ones character structure or if not regardless of at least partially independently of that structure All of these play a part and a fully developed Marxist social psychology would try to sort out the precise interconnections among these But as a first approximation I would argue that the social practices are the decisive moment in the process Such practices ultimately provide the context for the transformation of such norms But practices have their effects in the context of personality structures and one might want to argue that character structure mediates the effects of practices on norms 3 Coercion consent amp norms The problem of norms play an especially important role in disentangling the relationship between coercion and consent within systems of domination Take a simple example of trying to explain why workers perform labor effort within a capitalist labor process a fundamental problem within Marxist class analysis since the conversion of labor power into labor is essential for capitalist exploitation Bowles amp Gintis View in Contested Exchange surveillence threats effort Where do norms enter this process 1 authority norms obedience to legitimate orders as a moral principle 2 legitimacy of orders because of legitimacy of ownership 3 norms of reciprocity fairdayswork for a fairdayspay 4 solidaristic norms among workers shirking hurts other workers Lecture 25 Legitimation amp Hegemony 8 We will discuss this in some depth in the next lecture 4 Norms and History Note this discussion was skipped in the lecture because of time Here I want to examine a relatively limited issue the relationship between class relations and principles of legitimation First let s look at Weber Weber s analysis of authority relations is based on a typology of authority rooted in the normative principle that is used to legitimate that authority charismatic traditional rational legal authority These differ in their principles or logic of legitimation Of particular importance in this respect is the distinction between traditional authority and rationallegal authority the former is legitimated by the adherence of authority to tradition the latter by adherence to due process rational procedures etc The arguement Ithink is quite familiar Ivan Szelenzi has extended this basic logic into a more Marxian class analysis framework He attempts to build a typology of class systems based on their core principles of legitimation and accordingly to define ruling classes by the logic of their legitimation principle Thus capitalism is legitimated by norms concerning private property and the market rationalredistributive economies are legitimated by norms of expertise rational planning etc On this basis he argues that intellectuals should be viewed as a new class in such societies probably a new ruling class Why Because the principle which legitimates the social order is linked to their position as teleological redistributors it simultaneously legitimates their power and the social system as a whole Both the Weberian analysis of Authority and Szeleyni s analysis of the new class are thus based on a typology or periodization of history rooted in its basic principles of legitimation This contrasts with a Marxian account which argues that history should be structurally typologized by the social organization of its system of exploitation mode of production which above all implies a specification of the real mechanisms by which surplus laborproducts are appropriated and distributed Principles of legitimation are to be understood as reproducing such systems of dominationexploitation but not constituting them If a case for a new class is to be made therefore it is not that the principle of legitimation is different from capitalism but that the mechanism of exploitation is different e g coercive appropriation through state planning or something like that What is the methodological basis for these differences in periodizatintypology Why would one want to typologize history on one basis or another If the two dimensions tend to covary what difference does it make Several contrasts may help to reveal what is going on here a ialealism vs materialism If one believes that ideas have an autonomous logic of development then typologies of ideasthought systems could constitute an appropriate basis for typologizing society On the other hand if the only cumulative logic of development is rooted in material conditions development of forces of production contradictions of forcesrelations of Lecture 25 Legitimation amp Hegemony 9 production etc then periodization would not be structured around normative principles As we will see in the case of Habermas it is possible to make both arguments simultaneously b individual vs social determinism If society is J J as 39 quot of39 J39 39J 39 actors engaged in meaningful interaction and all social determinants have their effects only by virtue of the ways in which they shape meaning systems then again a typology of society based on meaning systems or norms would be appropriate Methodological individualism would support the centrality of categories of subjectivity constituting the basis for distinguishing forms of society since societies differ in their form only in that they consist of different aggregations of individual meaningactionsystems On the other hand if you believe that social relations are real and have real effects irreducible to the meaningssubjectivities of the people within those relations then a typology based directly on the form of those relations is suggested Weber it seems to me is ultimately committed to an idealist epistemology and an individualist methodology even though he often speaks about aggregate social phenomena Marxists on the other hand are generally committed to a materialist epistemology and a structural methodology or at least a dialectical methodology that allows for an autonomous logic of structured social relations These principles underwrite a different way of linking norms to history Habermas who we will not have time to discuss this semester proposes a third alternative a kind of dualsystems logic which argues for the parallel development of material conditions and normative structures and thus for a genuine symmetrical reciprocity between the two There is an endogenous historical trajectory of norms based on increasing moral complexity that parallels the dynamic trajectory of forcesrelations of production Lecture 24 Sociology 62 December 12 2005 MYSTIFICATION In the next several sections we will follow up n more detail the distinction Thereborn made between three modes of interpellation what is what is good what is possible These distinctions correspond fairly well to a more traditional set of distinctions within Marxism between three different aspects of ideology or ways in which ideologies are understood Ideology as M ystificatiori what exists Ideology as Legitimatiori or Normative Structure what is good Ideology as Hegemony what is possible 1 De nition of Mystification 11 M Y STIFI CATION Distortions of perceptions of reality that masldobscure that reality Ideological practices produce human beings as social subjects by transforming lived experiences into subjectivity Mystifrcation concerns the ways in which cognitive understandings of what exists are formed out of our lived experiences formed in such a way that they distort w mask the way the social world really works 12 M ystificatiori of nature To illustrate the idea of mystifrcation consider a nonsocial example linked to what we might call ideologies of nature We see the sun setting This is the appearance the lived experienced of our real relationship to the sun and earth No matter how hard you try you cannot see the earth rotating In medieval society with its specific social structures and ideologies the scientific understanding of the relationship between earth and sun was blocked by the natural ideology of nature that posed as science People were burned at the stake for arguing that the sun was stationary In capitalism there is no obstacle in natural ideology any longer because of the character of capitalist social relations and thus we can comfortably see the sun set experience a sun rise and yet know that it is fixed and the earth moves This does not mean that our visual perceptions have chaned but those perceptions no longer generate a subjective understanding of what exists that masks reality As is clear from this example the discussion of mystification immediately poses very murky epistemological issues If we claim that people s consciousness is false or their ideas about the world are distortedincorrect we must of necessity have some sort of standard of unfalsetrue consciousness or undistortedcorrect perception This notion of ideology thus poses a contrast of ideology vs science which ultimately depends upon a sound theory of sc1ence Lecture 24 Mystification 2 For the present I would like to suspend that discussion and just assume that somehow or another we will be able to J J 39J J39 quot 39 39 scienti c J J39 from 39J 39 39 Here I would like to focus on the problem of mystification as a substantive issue and see what marxist theory has to say about it The heart of Marxist discussions of mystification centers on the concepts of commodity fetishism and capital fetishism But before I discuss these two rather complex concepts I would like to give some simpler examples of mystification 2 Social Examples of mystification 21 Individualistic explanations of individual acts a Poverty We observe that some people are poor and some people are well off We also observe that some people who are born poor become well off and some do not Since these people differ in their outcomesfates the cause of these outcomes must be born by the individual Thus explanations of poverty are collapsed into explanations of why some people are poor and some not The structural basis for the existence of poverty as such exploitation class domination etcis opaque and ignored b Crime This is an even more powerful example individuals commit crime They actively make a choice and act Two people in the same socioeconomic condition may make different choices and thus the explanation for why one person commits a crime and another does not must lie in the differences between them The explanation of Crime is reduced to the explanation of individual criminal acts But the possibility that the range of choices open to individuals is sociallystructured independently of their wills and that it is the structure of choiceranges which determines the rate of crime is again ignored 22 Partial structural explanations of structural effects It is not the case of course that structural explanations never enter accounts of social causation On the one hand social conditions are seen as relevant in the determination of individual attributes In the popular consciousness people do recognize that children of the rich are benefited by virtue oftheir social origins in the development of skills personality capacities for competition etc and culture of poverty analyses are commonplace for explaining why the poor are the way they are And on the other hand in some instances social outcomes are seen as directly shaped in some sense by social processes Thus people commonly see government spending as affecting in ation and unemployment Lecture 24 Mystification 3 But what is not grasped in popular consciousness is the conditions of possibility of such partial effects tht is the social structural context within which government spending has such effects A very good example of this is the effect of mechanization of unemployment loss of j obs etc People typically experience mechanization as itself a cause for the destruction of jobs not understanding that capitalist relations of production are the condition of possibility of this outcome Instead of mechanization releasing time from toil for all people it releases some people from jobs altogether 3 Fetishism Now let us look at commodity fetishism and capital fetishism a commodity fetishism Really not such a complicated notion Commodities acquire value through a process of social labor that is by viture of them being produced as commodities within the capitalist labor process But they appear to have this property only by virtue of their exchange with other commodities that is by their relationship to another physical object The social relation between producers thus takes the form of a relation between things It appears Cohen writes That people labor because their products have value whereas in fact they have value because labor has been bestowed upon them Commodities thus appear to have a power of their own autonomous from the producers b capital fetishism Capital appears to have a power of its own independent of its conditions of existence Since capital is necessary for means of production to be set in motion it appears that capital is itself productive Furthermore it appears that capital as such generates profits see p 123 in Cohen for a good explanation of this This leads economists to see capital and labor as two factors of production each of which receives their proper share of revenues the fallacies Marx explicates in the Trinity Formula discussion in vol iii of Capital 4 Mysti cation and Reality Mystifications are distortions of reality but they are not hallucinations They do represent real relations Poor people may have different characteristics from nonpoor criminals may have specific prsonality traits government spending may increase in ation mechanization does destroy jobs commodities do assume an autonomous power which dominates exchange and capital does receive a profit proportional to its own magnitude And from the vantage point of the earth the sun moves through the sky These are real effects The mystification is in the distortion of the understanding of the character of these effects their causesdeterminations and conditions of existencepossibility If they were pure hallucinations they would be easier to combat Lecture 24 Mystification 4 5 Mysti cation of the Actual and the Possible Perhaps the most crucial consequence of mystification is that people fail to understand that the existing social world with its properties structures constraints is not inevitable natural eternal When capital assumes the character of an independent power as the necessary condition for production then it appears to the actors that without capital there would be no production Capitalism thus becomes the only form of social organization capable or organizing the production of industrial usevalues This is of great importance for if people are convinced that no other form of society is possible then even if they feel the existing society is rotten there will be little incentive to struggle against it This is precisely why demonstration models of alternatives either through revolutionary example or through liberation projects within existing social structures have important potential ideological effects The social production of functioning alternatives is one of the basic ways of struggling against the mystification of the existing society as the only possible society Note tremendous effort of imperialist powers to wreck such experiments Cuba as good example 6 Functionalist Thinking in the Theory of Mysti cation There is a strong tendency in Marxist discussions of mystification to adopt a highly functionalist view of such distortions Capitalism is seen as somehow secreting spontaneously precisely those distortions which are optimal for the reproduction of the relations of production Commodity and Capital fetishism are not simply masks of reality but mystifications that optimally de ect worker s consciousness from challenges to the capitalist order We have already criticized functionalist explanations in our discussions of the state and many of those criticisms apply here But in addition I would like to emphasize two important points 1Mystification distorts the perceptions and understandings of the bourgeoisie as well as the proletariat Ideologyasmystifrcation prevents the bourgeoisie and the state from understanding adequately the workings of capitalist society and thus impedes their own rationality Capitalists thus tend to have narrow particularistic forms of consciousness quite incapable of grasping the long run requirements for the reproduction of their class power Mystification is thus contradictory as well as reproductive Distorted understanding of capitalism may be more devastating to oppositional groups since a correct theory may matter more for challenge than for maintenance of the system but the distortions go on both sides Lecture 24 Mystification 5 2 The thesis of the automatic functionality of mystification tends to de ect analysis away from the problem of the institutional obstacles to demystification Rather than asking the question in the form what is it in people s daily practices which distorts their cognitive maps of the society We also need to ask the question What are the obstacles or mechanisms or processes which block the process of demystification which obstruct challenges to mystifications Especially given that many of the elements for knowledge of thse relations exist we need to know why people resist this knowledge Why is it that people continue to accept the mystifications generated in everyday life even when they are exposed to challenges to those misperceptions distortions 7 Ideological Apparatuses amp struggle The answer to this question leads to an investigation of what is sometimes called ideological apparatuses institutions which systematically codify defend propagate ideologies and block challenges to those ideologies in various ways When Marx writes that the ruling class not only controls the means ofphysical r J quot but of 39J 39 39 39 r J quot this is what he is referring to the control of institutions which elaborate ideologies defines a basic process by which the process of demystification is thwarted Ideological Struggle struggle over these apparatuses struggle to disseminate demystifying frameworks 8 Mysti cation and SocialismCommunism Cohen argues that fetishism disappears in Communism and that more generally communism is unmystified All relations become immediately transparent there is no gap between the experience of reality and the knowledge of reality In contrast Althusser argues that Communism also has ideology that there is never a transparent unity between immediately experienced relations and the relations themselves and thus there is still a need for science Cohen says that social science withers away with communism just like the state Ithink a better way of seeing this is that in a society without class antagonisms there would be less of a contradiction between the ideology of everyday life and science There would still be Lecture 24 Mystification distorted perceptions just as there is in nature but there would be no particular obstacles to scienti c demysti cation In feudal society feudal relations generated obstacles to scienti c demysti cation of the ideology of nature Those obstacles were embedded in the Church and its practices of sustaining mysti cation These obstacles no longer exist at least not to such a socially pervasive extent In social relations however there are still exists obstacles to demysti cations these are the ideological apparatuses In a society of human emancipation these obstacles are minimized Lecture 6amp7 Sociology 621 September 28 2005 CRITIQUES amp RECONSTRUCTIONS OF CLASSICAL HISTORICAL MATERIALISM Many criticisms have been raised against historical materialism both from outside of the Marxist tradition and from within Some of these I engage in the sections from my book Reconstructing Marxism assigned for this session What I will do here is brie y list five criticisms Some of these can be countered fairly effectively others are more serious I will not discuss all of these in detail but focus on a few of these which are a little more complex 1 The development thesis the forces of production do not have a systematic tendency to develop over time 2 F ettering There is no general reason why class relations inevitably fetter of forces of production A good argument may be possible for why a particular kind of class relations have this property but there is no general argument for why all forms of class relations ultimately do this 3 Economic reductionism HM is a form of economic reductionism especially in the explanation of superstructures and this is illegitimate 4 Transformation Even if relations do fetter the forces of production there is no reason to suppose that there will always emerge any historical agents capable of transforming those relations There is no inherent tendency for Class Capacities sufficient to challenge ruling classes to be generated in conjunction with fettering Permanent stagnation is possible 5 functional explanations Functional explanations in social science are not legitimate forms of explanation both as they apply to the relations of production and to the superstructure In light of these criticisms I will offer a less deterministic theoretical goal of historical materialism that retains a general sense of history having an overall systematic pattern to it but rejects the strong claims to determinacy implied by classical historical materialism 1 Critique of the Development Thesis skip Joshua Cohen criticizes G A Cohen for claiming that there is any inherent tendency for the forces of production to develop Above all Joshua Cohen emphasizes that while the premises about individual motivations and circumstances adopted by GA Cohen may be sound that individuals are among other things motivated to improve their material situation under conditions of scarcity there is no reason to imagine that this individual motivation is universally translated into an interest in the development of the forces of production There are many other ways of enhancing material welfare conquest increasing exploitation etc Blockages of the development of the forces of production therefore will not be pathological Sociology 621 Lecture 6amp7 Critiques amp Reconstructions 2 and the systematic development of the forces of production will be much more contingent upon speci c institutional arrangements Response In order to respond to J Cohen s arguments a weaker version of the development thesis needs to be adopted Rather than positing an inherent drive for the forces of production to advance a softer claim can be made the probability of development of the forces of production is greater than the probability of their regression Note that this does not imply that for some given period of time the probability of development is greater than the probability of stagnation Suppose 10000 years ago that in a 100year period the probability of a significant development of the forces of production a development which significantly affect productivity is 1 and the probability of stagnation 9 forgetting for the moment the probability of regression This means in two successive 100 year periods the probability of stagnation is 81 in four successive centuries 35 in 1000 years 01 in 4000 years So the probabilities are extremely high that at least once in every 4000 years there will be some significant advance in the forces of production even if in any given century the probability is only 1 So long as the probability of development is greater than the probability of regression so this will not have an equal or greater chance of being undone there will be a sticky downward tendency for the forces of production to develop This sticky downward quality I think is all that is needed for the forces of production to have a directionality to them 2 Inevitability 0f fettering of forces of production The pivotal argument in HM is that in all modes of production based on class relations eventually the relations of production fetter the forces of production But why should we believe this as a general lawlike proposition This may be true for a particular type of relations of production like feuedalism but why should we believe this is always true Neither Marx nor Cohen offer a generic argument for this The most one can say is this In class societies the relations of production create powerful classes with interests in the status quo They defend superstructures which preserve those relations of production and thus create a certain kind of social rigidity This rigidity itself may tend to become a fetter since the relations of production are unlikely to adjust exibly to new conditions But is this credible In fact this is precisely what capitalism has accomplished incredible exibility in its own institutional transformations Cohen s proposal of usefettering is a reasonable response the plausibility of alternatives to capitalism comes not from the an absolute fettering of development of the PF which might make capitalism unsustainabile but from its deepening irrationality The core idea here is this capitalism creates a world of unbelievable productivity yet perpetuates toil and poverty on a massive scale The gap between the kinds of lives we could live because of our productiveness and the lives we do live because of the capitalist organization of this productivity is the Sociology 621 Lecture 6amp7 Critiques amp Reconstructions 3 fundamental irrationality of the system eliminanable human suffering and alienation in a world capable of sustaining human emancipation But irrationality 7 unfortunately generates much weaker predictions about the future at most we may have a theory of capitalisms futures 3 Economic Reductionism critique of the theory of the superstructure Probably the most common critique of historical materialism is that it is an example of economic reductionism or economic determinism or class reductionism or technological reductionism depending upon precisely what is the context of the discussion Sometimes this criticism comes from the simple intuition that the world is much more complex than is mapped by historical materialism This however is not a cogent criticism by itself historical materialism would not be a good theory if it was a complex as the world The whole point of theory construction is to radically simplify the complexities of the world in order to explain the underlying patterns and mechanisms More to the point however the criticism of reductionism suggests that important features of society are not determined at all by the processes mapped in historical materialism or at least much less shaped by the dynamics postulated within historical materialism than by other autonomous mechanisms The most notable form of this criticism in recent years has come from feminists who argue powerfully that the form of gender relations cannot be explained by the dialectic of forces and relations of production but the same arguments can be raised about many other aspects of social relations nationality ethnicity etc Response GA Cohen has responded to this kind of criticism by arguing for restricted instead of inclusive historical materialism The intuition behind this distinction comes from the obvious fact that no defender of historical materialism ever believed that the dynamics in the theory were capable of explaining every feature of institutions in the superstructure As Cohen points out the fine grained details of religious practices that there are exactly 39 articles in the creed of the Church of England rather than 38 or 37 for example probably cannot be explained by the arguments of historical materialism Historical materialism is meant to explain the most important features of religion not such irrelevant details The problem of course is in giving a nonarbitrary meaning to most importan and irrelevant Why is the number of articles in a creed unimportant It is certainly possible for example that some things may be of extreme symbolic importance to the members of a religion and yet of no explanatory importance whatsoever for the development of the forces of production or the stability of the relations of production Restricted historical materialism tries to provide a criterion for what it is that defines the relevance of a property for historical materialist explanations namely historical materialism explains those properties of noneconomic institutions that are consequential for stabilizing the relations of production Sociology 621 Lecture 6amp7 Critiques amp Reconstructions 4 The explanandum in the basesuperstructure argument is thus not all noneconomic phenomena but only those noneconomic phenomena which have signi cant effects on reproducing or strengthening the economic structure of society These the argument goes are to be explained by the productive relations themselves Let me give a specific example which Cohen uses to illustrate the nontrivial quality of these claims Illustration from the Protestant Ethic amp the Spirit of Capitalism One of the most celebrated arguments in sociology is Weber s claim that the religious doctrines of Calvinism played a crucial role in generating capitalism The argument should be familiar Calvinism postulates a radical form of predestination you are saved or damned by God s will alone This created great psychological anxiety in people because of the fear of damnation Being economically successful in this world was then taken as a sign that you were saved Orienting ones behavior towards such signs therefore was a practical response to the religious anxiety generated by the doctrine This in turn helped to promote capitalism As Weber framed the problem this explanation contradicts the basesuperstructure thesis of historical materialism while it is true that the religious doctrine significantly strengthens the productive relations of capitalism it is false that the doctrine is functionally explained by this fact Capitalism in a sense is a contingent byproduct of a religious practice that was generated by entirely different dynamics dynamics lodged in the internal development of Christianity in the reformation Cohen offers an alternative account based on recent scholarship on the sermons of Calvin Weber based his interpretation on the basis of the mature writings of John Calvin as they appeared in published sermons If one looks very closely at the texts of his sermons from the very beginning one observes that initially the themes of predestination and worldly asceticism were not very prominent Only gradually over the years of his preaching to the urban burghers of Geneva did these themes become prominent One could argue then that these themes emerged and developed in the doctrine precisely because they were well received by actors who were in the process of forming and elaborating capitalist relations Calvin was a preacher Some Sundays his sermons would have been very well received other times less well received He would have introspectively thought about what worked what didn t what resonated what didn t The developed form of what we call Calvinism or the Protestant Ethic therefore emerged and consolidated because it served the function of rationalizing the practices of actors in this way If this is correct this would be consistent with restricted historical materialism RHM is still an ambitious theoretical claim but far more restrictive than the claim that historical materialism explains everything A nonreductionist account of gender culture race nationality etc can then be combined with a materialist explanation of those properties of each of these which are most systematically functional for the reproduction of the relations of production In such a combination there is no necessary implication that the functional aspects are in fact the most important for understanding the overall character of gender or anything else Sociology 621 Lecture 6amp7 Critiques amp Reconstructions 5 4 Transformation A central element of the General Theory of History in historical materialism is that when a particular class structure fetters the development of the productive forces 7 when long term stagnation sets in 7 those relations will be transformed into more suitable relations of production Such transformation requires an historical agent a collective actor capable of challenging the dominant class of the existing social structure While it may be that there are plausible arguments for capitalism that such an agent will be generated by the contradictions of capitalism there is no reason to believe that this should be true across all possible class structures There are several problems here It may be that we can say that whenever stagnation sets in that there will be people with strong interests in overthrowing the existing ruling class fettering is bad for signi cant portions of the population and so they have an interest in change But it is not the case that interests by themselves generate capacities for struggle This means that permanent stagnation permanent fettering is conceivable 5 Functional Explanation Historical materialism as elaborated in Marx s work requires functional explanations This is most obvious in the basesuperstructure model which is replete with functional explanations Take the example of the relationship between legal rights and economic powers the powers would be empty without legal rights so it seems like legal rights in the superstructure explain economic powers in the base Only by interpreting this relationship as part of a functional explanation can the base be understood as having causal primacy over the superstructure More subtlely it is the case for the forcesrelations of production dialectic as well If a functional explanation is correct then there must exist some sort of underlying mechanism sometimes called a feedback mechanism which explains how it comes to pass that the structure is reproduced by virtue of its bene cial effects In the case of functional explanations in biology Darwinian natural selection constitutes the core of such mechanisms Cohen argues that an elaboration of such mechanisms is certainly useful in defending a functional explanation and is ultimately important for the theory within which the functional explanation gures to be complete But he insists that a speci cation of such mechanisms is not logically necessary for believing a functional explanation to be valid The critique of functional explanations Cohen s book launched a vigorous debate over the problem of functional explanation in general and functional explanation in Marxism in particular Most of the themes in this debate appeared earlier in the many debates over the functionalism in the work of Talcott Parsons and others a generation earlier But there were new twists because of the Marxian context of the discussion There are three kinds of critiques of functional explanations that I want to stress here rst Elster s critique that social functional explanations generally fail because they lack any coherent account of underlying mechanisms second the critique that functional explanations tend to unrealistically assume that functionally explained outcomes are optimal for the system in Sociology 621 Lecture 6amp7 Critiques amp Reconstructions 6 question and third functional explanations tend to minimize the possibility of intrinsic contradictions within the functional adaptations of a system Critique 1 The problem of underlying mechanisms Perhaps the leading gure in the recent critique of Marxian functional explanations is Jon Elster He argued that the search for functional explanations in social science re ected a kind of theological impulse searching for some kind of ultimate purpose in social arrangements In earlier times such a search for purpose existed in the physical sciences as well People wanted to know what is the purpose of the sun and the answer was found in its beneficial effects to humankind the purpose of the sun to warm us The mechanism behind this functional account was theological the sun exists and has these benificial effects because God so willed it The heart of Elster s argument against functional explanations concerns the distinction between intentional and functional explanations I in intentional explanations a social phenomenon is explained by its anticipated consequences in the minds of the actors I in functional explanations it is explained by its actual consequences A legitimate example of a functional explanation in social science Elster maintains is the explanation for why capitalist firms tend to follow profitmaximizing strategies in the market Regardless of the intentions of owners of firms it is the actual consequences of their strategies which determines the liklihood of the firm surviving over time because of the power of the firm killing mechanism of competition even if individual capitalists randomly adopted particular strategies the strategies which would be empirically found in a population of firms would tend to be profit maximizing The profitmaximizing intentions of capitalists may improve the speed with which this distribution of strategies is generated among firms but it is not essential for the explanation Elster s main point of criticism of functional explanations in social science is that in most such explanations it is impossible to construct the kind of plausible mechanisms found in the example of profitmaximizing firms At a minimum this is a criticism of sloppy explanatory practice positing functional explanations with no heed to the plausibility of mechanisms More generally it re ects the use of a functional idiom to hide explanations based on implausible intentional explanations especially conspiracies When superstructures are functionally explained by their benefits to capitalism lurking behind the explanation is a conspiracy of a class conscious farsighted bourgeoisie which imposes its will on the state If indeed this is the nature of the real explanation then it should be articulated in this form and subjected to appropriate empirical scrutiny but not framed as a functional explanation in which superstructures automatically adjust to the functional requirements of the economic base The central problem with functional explanations in social science is that most functional arrangements in society could never have emerged simply as nonintentional functional adaptations The key property of intentionality is the ability to anticipate several steps into the Sociology 621 Lecture 6amp7 Critiques amp Reconstructions 7 future This allows for rational intentional actors to take one step backwards two steps forward Functional adaptations operating behind the backs of actors cannot traverse such a trajectory since the initial one step backwards makes the structure in question less bene cial than initially Revolutions transformations of social relations large scale institution building always involve costs thus the J J quot cannot be 1 39 39 J purely f quot The result of all this is that functional explanations are in general unlikely to be persuasive In the specific case of historical materialism moreover the pivotal functional relation that the relations of production are the way they are because they further the development of the forces of production is particularly lacking in plausibility Until some credible mechanism is postulated which could account for the selection of optimal new relations of production under conditions of fettering by old relations of production there is no reason to believe the theory Response In order for Cohen s functional arguments to be complete something like a Darwinian or Lamarkian mechanism has to be postulated Lamark proposed an alternative mechanism for biological evolution than Darwin animals modified their fitness by acquiring adaptive traits eg by stretching their necks through effort and these acquired traits were then passed on to offspring The selection process in a sense operates on the traits themselves In a Darwinian mechanism there has to be something which differentially kills off societies with fettering relations of production or institutions that are dysfunctional for the base in a Lamarkian mechanism there needs to be a process which would modify particular features of the relations of production within a society when the forces of production are fettered or modifes particular aspects of institutions when they become destabilizing ie a mechanism which selects directly on the nonadaptive traits rather than on the society or institution as a whole Elster admits that there are special cases where this kind of process works in social science most notably in the case of market competition But he insists that for most of the problems addressed by historical materialism the explanation fails because the explanation of institutional adaptation and change necessarily involves conscious intentionality Ithink this is an arbitrary and misleading restriction on the structure of explanations needed in social science While it is certainly true that much institutional adaptations and change involve conscious deliberation and intentionality the anticipated effects of the change help explain why people execute the change whether or not a given change becomes consolidated and deeply institutionalized depends in significant ways on its actual effects not simply its prior anticipated e ects Human intentionality and intelligence plays a crucial role in this process of functional adjustment when things are going badly when interests are threatened when ruling classes feel threatened they seek solutions and try to modify institutions In Elster s view if they randomly changed institutions and kept doing so until conditions improved this would count as a functional explanation This would obviously be an extremely inefficient process for reproducing social relations The fact that people use their intelligence to do some preliminary filtering of changes does not seem to me grounds for describing the resulting changes and configurations as entirely the product of intentionality To use Elster s favorite example the fact that capitalists do not randomly adopt business strategies does not destroy the functional explanation for the Sociology 621 Lecture 6amp7 Critiques amp Reconstructions 8 tendency for pro t maximing strategies to occur the deliberate search for such strategies just means that the selection process will be more ef cient Critique 2 Against optimality assumptions The sheer fact that HM uses functional explanations is thus not a basis for its indictment Nevertheless this does not mean that the speci c functional explanations proposed in HM are convincing In particular the idea that functional explanations imply optimal functionality seems implausible That is as formulated by Cohen historical materialism s functional explanation states that the relations of production that exist do so because of all possible relations of production they are the relations that best further the development of the forces of production Similarly the institutional features of the superstructure existpersist because of all possible institutional properties they best reproduce the economic base This seems quite implausible But note it is implausible for biology as well As Steven Jay Gould has argued there are countless properties of animals which are suboptimal less than perfect adaptations If some other mutation had occurred the animal might be tter than they actually are Natural selection only posits a device of selecting between alternatives that happen to occur a property which enhances tness relative to another is likely to prevail but a third property if it were to occur might have been even better and it may be entirely contingent that the third property failed to occur This suggests that the simple functional explanations of historical materialism should be replaced by two somewhat less deterministic forms of functional explanation 1 functional compatibility institutional properties are the way they are because at a minimum they allow for the reproduction of the class structure the relations of production are the way they are because they allow for the development of the forces of production An explanation invoking functional compatibility implies that there is a kind of negative selection at work dysfunctional properties set in motion a set of pressures which increase the probabilities that they will be abandoned or transformed Where more than one functionally compatible option exists in the sense of being historically available which one is adopted will depend upon contingent historical facts 2 functional superiority where two institutional alternatives are historically possible and one more effectively reproduces the economic base than the other there will be a tendency for the functionally superior institutional alternative to prevail Where two forms of relations of production are historically possible and one more effectively encourages the development of the forces of production there will be a tendency for the functionally superior relations of production to prevail Tendency means that all other things being equal the probability of the superior solution occurring is greater than the inferior one The second kind of explanation stresses the fact that the selection of a functionally superior alternative is only a tendency the rst kind of explanation indicates that contingent factors will determine which alternative is actually selected among functionally compatible possibilities Sociology 621 Lecture 6amp7 Critiques amp Reconstructions 9 If we replace functionaloptimality explanations with these two quasifunctional explanations we get a much less rigidly deterministic more probabilistic theory of historical trajectories variations of social forms within historical epochs and superstructural institutions In each case there is greater scope for contingency for the effects of historically speci c structural factors and conditions To understand such factors requires I would argue sociological materialism not simply historical materialism That is to understand how the specific social structural conditions of production in a given society make certain options easier or more difficult to achieve Critique 3 Contradictory functionality Even if we drop claims to optimality functional compatibility still seems to suggest that the institutions that make up the superstructure all fit nicely together to create a smoothly functioning system a system within which all of the parts are compatible Even if this does not imply the best of all possible arrangements from the point of view of systemreproduction it still seems to suggest that the parts of the system all work harmoniously together As we will see when we discuss the state and ideology I think this assumption should be dropped Rather than seeing capitalist society as a tightly intergated system of coherent elements with a coherent superstructure smoothly reproducing the base it is better to see society as a loosely coupled system more of a patchwork of institutional elements in which it is a variable property of the system the extent to which the parts function harmoniously This opens the possibility of seeing systematically contradictory features of institutional arrangements not just haphazard institutional failures but genuine contradictions within the state ideology law and other aspects of the superstructure 5 Where does this leave us Let s try to remember where we started and what the point is of all of this meandering engagement with a theory of history Historical materialism helped solve a particular problem for Marxism Marxism is an attempt at building a social scientific theory of class emancipation It is grounded in a critique of a powerful dimension of oppression in capitalist society classbased exploitation and domination and as an emancipatory theory envisions the possibility of a world within which this form of oppression is eliminated For many people no matter how abhorrent they find class inequality this may seem pieinthesky a messianic fantasy rather than an objective around which collective struggles can be organized Historical materialism provided a compelling theory of this future to capitalism The theory of the past epochs of human history added credibility to the basic claims by showing that past forms of class domination were overthrown once they had exhausted their capacity for material development The specific theory of capitalist development attempted to show that for capitalism as well it was the case that eventually it would exhaust its capacity for such development Taken together these lent great force to the political project of struggling for the radical transformation of capitalism If the arguments we have reviewed are correct then this perspective on the future of capitalism the materialist theory of the history of the future 7 has to be significantly modified We no longer have a credible theory of the inevitability of the demise of capitalism and we really only have a sketch of a theory of its possible futures What we have is this Sociology 621 Lecture 6amp7 Critiques amp Reconstructions 10 1 There is a stickydownward tendency for the forces of production to develop in history The development of the forces of production will therefore tend to have a cumulative directional character This suggests that history has a weak directionality and historical reversal is unlikely 2 Different forms of relations of production are functionally compatible with different levels of development of the forces of production That is a given set of productive forces can be productively deployed only under certain forms of production relations 3 Taken together this is the basis of fairly compelling theory of the trajectory of epochal history that culminates in capitalism although there is a possibility of very long term perhaps indefinite stagnation under certain kinds of class relations 4 But this does not give us what we really want a compelling theory of capitalisms future 5 However we do have a powerful critique of capitalism rooted in the theory of exploitation and emancipatory potential resulting from the incredible productivity capitalism has created 6 And we do have basic elements of a powerful theory of the contradictory institutional impediments to the realization of that emancipatory potential within capitalism 7 the theory of the state and ideology 7 And these in turn can form the basis for creative thinking about how to take advantage of those contradictions for the advancement of the emancipatory project Lecture 10 Sociology 621 October 10 2005 EXPLOITATION Exploitation is a complex and fascinating concept It is probably foolhardy for me to attempt to explain this concept in a single lecture My notes will be much more comprehensive since in earlier years this topic took up three lectures so you can read them and ll out your understanding 7 I will put them on the web In any case I think that my exposition about this concept in my writings are pretty clear The rst part of this lecture explores the logic of the labor theory of value as a way of thinking about exploitation I will then turn the conception of exploitation proposed in Class Counts which shows how we can have a concept of exploitation without the LTV I CLASSICAL MARXIST IDEAS ABOUT EXPLOITATION 1 LTV Introduction At the core of the traditional Marxist analysis of capitalism as an historically speci c mode of production is a set of concepts generally referred to as the labor theory of value LTV Indeed many Marxists even today insist that the LTV is the cornerstone of Marxism and that the general social and political theory of capitalism developed by Marx and later Marxists depends upon its validity Many critics of Marxism agree with this judgment about the importance of the LTV for Marxist theory but argue that the LTV is invalid and thus Marxist claims about class relations and exploitation grounded in the LTV can be dismissed out of hand More recently a growing number of Marxists have argued that the LTV is not such a vital component of Marxism in general or even Marxist political economics in particular and that as a result it can be dispensed with little theoretical cost Regardless of which of these arguments about the validity and rami cations of the labor theory of value one accepts it remains the case that the concepts of the labor theory of value continue to be important in the idiom of Marxist discourse Unless one understands the logic of these categories it is very dif cult to read a wide range of analyses in Marx s own work and that of many contemporary Marxists We will therefore devote several chapters to the elaboration of the conceptual elements in the labor theory of value even though the theoretical status of the theory itself is problematic In this discussion of the labor theory of value we will dissect one of the pivotal concepts in Marx s analysis of capitalism the concept of the commodity Marx described the commodity as the cell of capitalist society the most basic concept for decoding the overall logic and dynamics of capitalism After de ning the nature of commodities we will examine the problem of the exchange of commodities with particular attention to the issue of labor time as the determinant of the ratios at which commodities are exchanged Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 2 2 What is a Commodity When you go into a library to acquire books you go to the place where the books you want are located nd the book or books that satisfy your needs and check them out That is all there is to it You do not ask about its price you take as many books as you need subject to the constraints of the library s rules about how many books you can check out at the same time These rules are designed to insure that everyone has relatively equal access to the books in the library no one can hoard masses of books while still allowing everyone to satisfy their needs When you go into a bookstore you go to the place where the books you want are located and find the book or books that satisfy your needs But that is not all there is to it instead of checking out the books you check out their price and the money you have available to buy books You then ask yourself whether each book is worth i given other possible uses of your money and how much you want the book and then depending upon how all of these factors balance out you either put the books back on the shelf or give the cashier money in excahnge or them There are no restrictions on how many books you can buy If you have enough money you can buy every book in the store But to gain access to the books you have to exchange money for them In the bookstore books are commodities in the library they are not In the bookstore they are distributed according to the ability to buy books in the library they are distributed according to need The same physical entity a book is a commodity in the case of the bookstore but simply a product that satis es a human need in the library More formally a commodity can be de ned as a product which 1 satis es some kind of human want or what is often referred to as a usevalue 2 is produced for exchange rather than simply for its use consumption by the producers thsemlves by the community or by a class which appropriates it and 3 is distributed through a market of some sort 3 The social presuppositions of Commodity Production Commodities are a socially speci c way of producing and acquiring usevalues As such there are certain general structural conditions that must be present in a society for commodity production to play an important role in social life Among these social prerequisites are I a division of labor suf ciently developed to make production for exchange a rational activity I a market with sufficient scope and institutional stability that people can more or less count of being able to exchange the commodities which they produce Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 3 I a medium of exchange money which makes it possible for peole to sell their commodities to general consumers rather than simply to those people from whom they want to purchase commodities Without money exchange must take the form of immediate barter which greatly restricts the possibility of commodity production These conditions have existed to a greater or lesser extent for millennia Commodity production existed prior to capitalism and it exists in varying degrees in all postcapitalist societies as well What makes capitalism distinctive in these terms is not the fact of commodity production but the degree to which Jquot r J quot has 1 J all aspects of social life Not only are virtually all areas of consumption satis ed through commodity production but both means of production and labor power have become commodities While there was commodity production in Feudal society feudalism was also characterized by very severe restrictions on the buying and selling of land the principle means of production in agrarian society and on the labor market The great achievement of the transition from feudalism to capitalism was the dissolution of both of these kinds of restrictions 4 The exchange of commodities Several concepts need to be de ned in order to understand the nature of commodity exchange 1 usevalue the qualitative properties of a commodity which enable it to satisfy needs All production involves usevalues 2 exchange values the relative magnitudes at which commodities exchange 3 m the intrinsic embodied property of a commodity which governs the ratios at which it exchanges with other commodities value governs or determines exchange value Exchange value is an observable empirical quantity value is not Value is an absolute magnitude or quantity exchange value is relative magnitude Commodity exchange involves a certain puzzle How can X units of commodity A Y units commodity B How can qualitatively heterogeneous usevalues be rendered equivalent in magnitude so that they can be exchanged as equals Marx saw this as the central puzzle which any economic theory of exchange had to solve Marx s answer is very clear in order for qualitatively distinct usevalues to exchange in determinate proportions they must have some substance in common which makes them quantitatively commensurable We can say that a certain number of eggs weigl1s the same as a certain number of paperclips because they share the common property of having mass Similarly to say that they exchange in a market in particular ratios implies that they must share some common property This common property or substance is called value The problem then becomes what is the content of this value What determines when it is large or small Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 4 5 Labor time as the measure of value The classical Marxist answer to the question what determines value is that value is determined by lab or measured by duration ie labor time Or to state the thesis somewhat more precisely value is determined by the sociallv necessarv direct and indirect labor time it takes to produce a commodity Several terms in this de nition need elaboration 51 Socially necessary labor time The expression socially necessary is added to this de nition to deal with the problem that in actual economies some producers will be more ef cient than others and thus the amount of time it takes to produce identical commodities will vary across producers The commodities produced by a lazy or inef cient producer do not embody more value than those of ef cient producers even though they took longer to produce The excess time spent by the inef cient producer of a commodity is wasted time from the point of view of the exchange value of the commodity although not necessarily wasted from the point of view of the utilities of the producers since they may be happier working at a slower pace The labor value of a commodity is thus determined by the normal or average amount of labor it takes to produce it under existing social and technical conditions 52 Direct amp Indirect labor time Direct labor time is the time used to produce the commodity itself Indirect labor time is the time it takes to produce the raw materials and means of production that are used up in the production of the commodity and thus in a sense incorporated in it The total value of a commodity is the sum of these two components and constitutes in the labor theory of value the common substance shared by all commodities which makes their exchange at determinate exchange value possible Labor time is certainly a candidate for a common substance which varies quantitatively across all commodities Even commodities which are plucked from nature require time for nding plucking and transporting to market Because of this ubiquity of labor in the production of commodities Marx like nearly all classical political economists of his era felt that labor was the substance of value 6 Objections Two kinds of objections have been raised to this solution to the puzzle of exchange 1 Subjectivist critique First and most critically many neoclassical economists have always argued that the question itself is illegitimate that there is no real puzzle to solve There is no such thing as the value of a commodity which governs its exchange value The ratios at which commodities exchange their exchange values are determined entirely by the subjective preferences of the actors engaged in the exchange which determines how much they want Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 5 particular commodities relative to others and thus the tradeoffs they will accept to obtain given commodities Value in this perspective is strictly a subjective concept Subjectivist theories of value have generally been criticized by radical economists even if they also criticize the LTV Production involves real costs the deployment of scarce resources above all the deployment of scarce human resources labor In one way or another the value of a product is shaped by the amount of such scarce resources it embodies While subjective preferences of actors may determine how much of a particular commodity is produced given its real costs of production costs in terms of use of scarce resources and while these costs may vary depending upon how much is produced because of the returns to scale it is the real costs of production that determine its exchange value 2 Materialist Critique One can reject such subjectivist theories of value and believe that the material costs of producing a commodity determines its equilibrium value and still not accept the claim that labor time is the sole measure of value Many Marxists now accept some version of what is sometimes called the Sraffian critique of the labor theory of value in which the value of a commodity is determined in a more complex way by all material costs of production not just the labor time embodied in the commodity The debates among Marxists over the labor theory of value have shown I believe that the classical formulations of the LTV are unsatisfactory Except under very restrictive conditions the LTV just does not hold In a simple economy in which the capitalintensity of production or what Marxists call the organic composition of capital in every sector is the same then with a few other less important provisos it can be shown that the socially necessary labor times it takes to produce commodities determines their exchange values In more complex economies however this is not the case While there have been defenses of the LTV in the face of these criticisms and the technical complexity of both sides of the argument make it difficult for nonspecialists to make a reasoned first hand judgement on the issues on balance I feel that the critics are probably correct If the LTV strictly holds only under such restrictive conditions why should we study it at all First as I have said earlier the LTV is an essential idiom for Marxist discussions of political economics and class theory and thus it is necessary to learn the language regardless of one s assessment of its theoretical conclusions Secondly from a strictly didactic point of view the oversimplif1cations of the LTV are particularly useful in showing how exploitation can occur in an exchange economy and how such exploitation is grounded in class relations In any case throughout most of the rest of our discussion I will take the LTV as a tolerable first approximation for understanding commodity relations Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 6 7 Other concepts needed for the labor theory of Vlaue 7 1 Abstract vs concrete labor This distinction is parallel to the distinction between exchange value and usevalue Concrete labor refers to the qualitatively distinct useful kinds of laboring activities in which people engage tailoring building writing etc Abstract labor on the other hand refers to pure laboring duration labor abstracted from its concrete qualities Value is measured by abstract labor time not concrete labor time The concept of abstract labor immediately raises the problem of how skilled labor should be treated in the labor theory of value or more generally what is referred to as the problem of heterogeneous labor This is one of the problems which has called into question the technical legitimacy of the LTV itself One solution is to treat skilled labor as complex labor or compound labor It takes labor time to produce skills An hour of skilled labor thus transfers two components to the commodities it produces a an hour of new abstract labor b some amount of previously expended labor expended in the production of the skills This includes the training labor of the skilled worker plus all of the other embodied costs of producing the skill the labor of instructors the raw materials used in producing the skills etc Skilled labor would thus simply be a compound form of simple abstract labor 72 Unabstractable Labor There is some labor which is in a sense unabstractable The clearest case is the labor of an artist creating a unique masterpiece The product in this case has a signature which retains its character as the product of a unique concrete labor There is no mechanism to impose a socially necessary labor time equivalence on a Rembrandt its value is determined by the subjective preferences of buyers of art This is because fundamentally it is impossible to produce more Rembrandts in response to the high subjective value placed on it and thus no mechanism to bring into line its market price and its embodied value If all social production were like artist production then value theory would have little relevance What is crucial for the LTV or any objectivist value theory is the interchangability and reproducibility of the labor that goes into making the product Labor is interchangable in the sense that one worker can be replaced by another and it is reproducible in the sense that it is trainable Abstract labor must be understood as an historically variable concept It does not apply to peasant subsistence communities in precapitalist societies nor to the internal subsistence production within families in capitalist societies In both of these cases only concrete labor is performed For labor time to be abstract there must be a mechanism that does the abstracting and this only occurs within fully commodifled relations Only under such conditions is there a mechanism the regular repeated exchange between commodities which regulates the exchange value of commodities according to the socially necessary labor time it takes to produce them Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 7 73 Exchange value prices of production market prices When you go to a store to buy a commodity you observe empirical market prices These are affected by all sorts of contingent factors temporary shortages caused by fads which heighten the demand for a product or bad weather which reduces the supply monopoly pricing government regulation etc From the point of view of the LTV these are all random deviations from the relative prices specified by the theory The distinction between exchange values and prices of production however refers to systematic deviations rather than contingent marketinduced deviations Exchange values are the relative labor values of commodities determined by socially necessary direct and indirect labor times Prices of production are the prices these commodities would have in the absence of all contingent market deviations The two are not identical for a range of technical reasons bound up with the fact that different kinds of commodities are produced with very different levels of capital intensity This is commonly referred to as the transformation problem in which prices of production will be above exchange value in cases where capital intensive production occurs and below exchange value in cases where laborintensive produciton occurs Money Money is generally treated within the labor theory of value as a commodity which functions as the metric for all other commodities or what is sometimes called the universal equivalen In some discussions the backing of money by some physical commodity such as gold is treated as important for regulating the nominal relationship between money and exchange values in other discussions this is not seen as essential 8 The process of exchange Marx organizes his discussion of capitalist commodity production by initially drawing a contrast between two logics of exchange exchange within what is sometimes called simple commodity production and exchange within capitalist production In the traditional exposition of this contrast C is used to denote commodities M to denote money and M a greater amount of money In these terms exchange in simple commodity production can be represented by CMC Commodities are exchanged for money which is used to buy new commodities Selling occurs in order to buy ie to satisfy the needs of the seller In Capitalist commodity production on the other hand exchange takes the form of MCM Money is exchanged for commodities which are then sold to obtain a greater amount of money Instead of selling in order to buy buying occurs in order to sell This characterization of capitalist commodity exchange sets the stage for the key question that underlies classical Marxist political economics where does the increase in M come from The answer to this question takes us to the problem of surplus profits and exploitation 9 Exploitation Marx considered his most profound contribution to political economics to be the elaboration of the distinction between labor power and labor The distinction between these two made possible the discovery of surplus value as the source of profits in capitalism and thus the precise specification of the mechanisms of capitalist exploitation Labor power is according to Marx a Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 8 commodity sold by workers to capitalists their capacity to perform labor Labor on the other hand is the actual activity of laboring The decisive feature of capitalist exploitation Marx argued is that capitalists are able to force workers to labor more hours than is the equivalent value of their labor power ie they create more value than is embodied in the commodities they buy with their wage This provides the material basis for capitalist pro ts Let us look at this argument in detail 91 Where do Capitalist pro ts Come From There are several different possible answers to this question 11 1 Time for current vs future The fact that there are people in a society who would rather abstain from present consumption in order to consume more in the future generates a rate of interest on savings Pro ts then would constitute a return to abstinance from consumption and is determined by the pattern of subjective preferences especially time preferences in a society The basic problem with such arguments as radical economists have often argued is that it con ates the explanation for why particular individuals are able to obtain pro ts from the explanation for why pro ts are obtainable by those individuals That is the higher the objectively determined pro t rate the more people there will be who are willing to forgo present consumption in order to obtain that return on their savings The rate of pro t therefore explains their savings behavior But this saving behavior does not explain why there is a surplus available to be monetized in the form of pro ts in the rst place Time preferences may explain why given people save for a given rate of pro t but not why there is pro ts available to induce such saving 2 Pro ts come from the circulation of commodities This is the classical mercantilist view of pro ts they come from buying cheap and selling dear The dif culty with this kind of explanation as Marx pointed out is that while it can explain redistributions of the social surplus within a population it cannot explain the existence of an aggregate surplus since each person s gain is another person s loss 3 Pro ts are the monetized value of the surplus product In this view capitalists obtain pro ts by being able to appropriate the surplus product produced by workers The surplus produc is the difference between the total social product and the amount needed to reproduce the labor force ie the total consumption of workers and reproduce the existing means of production In the labor theory of value the value of this surplus product or as it is called surplus value is the difference between the value added to the social product by workers and the value of the commodities consumed by workers This is the essential argument defended by Marx and in one form or other sustained even by most Marxist critics of the labor theory of value The key to understanding this theory of pro ts is the distinction between labor power and labor Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 9 92 Labor power Labor power is a special kind of commodity a commodity whose use is the performance of useful labor Labor is actual laboring activity labor power is the capacity to perform such labor In the LTV it is labor which creates value whereas it is labor power which is exchanged for a wage on the labor market There are two crucial social preconditions for labor power to be a commodity in this sense I the laborer must be free to sell the capacity to work a free wage labor in contrast to a serf or slave I the laborer must be unable to sell the products of labor ie heshe must be freed from direct access to the means of subsistence Historically this implies the direct producer must be separated from the means of production Marx referred to these two conditions as the double freedom of the proletariat The prehistory of capitalism is precisely the historical process through which these two conditions are created a the destruction of feudal bondage and b the dispossession of the direct producers from their means of production 93 The value of labor Power If labor power is a commodity than it must have a value just like every other commodity What is this value The value of any commodity is the total socially necessary labor time it takes to produce the commodity For labor power this is the socially necessary labor time it takes to produce and reproduce the laborer that is the socially necessary labor time embodied in the commodities that make up the subsistence of the wage earner In short the value of labor power is the value of the commodities purchased with the wage In this specification of the value of labor time the most troublesome element is the definition of subsistence Subsistence in the Marxist tradition is not merely the minimal level of consumption needed for biological or physical existence but is generally defined by an historically and culturally defined level of living which is itself a result of struggle Marx referred to this as the historical and moral component of the wage This is a most peculiar feature of labor power as a commodity for its value is not definable by the technical conditions of production but of necessity requires reference to class con ict 94 Labor Power Labor and Surplus Value Marx insists that capitalists do not cheat workers within the logic of market exchanges workers are paid the full value of the commodity they sell labor power Capitalists in general do not pay workers a wage below the value of labor power Where then do profits come from Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 10 Surplus value is produced Marx argues because capitalists can force workers to work for more hours than is embodied in the commodities which they purchase with their wages The labor actually performed by workers is greater than the labor embodied in the commodities they consume This appropriation of surplus labor is called exploitation When it is converted into money through exchange it takes the form of pro ts Exploitation in capitalism therefore involves a speci c interconnections between the process by which commodities are exchanged and the process by which they are produced this is the distinctive mechanism of capitalist exploitation which distinguishes it from other forms of exploitation And this mechanism of exploitation also solves the riddle of where pro ts come from in a system of exchange 95 The rate of exploitation It will be helpful at this point to introduce some simple notation commonly used in the discussions of the labor theory of value P the total value of the social product C the value of the means of production and raw materials used up in production this value is already embodied in the raw materials means of production etc used up in production and is transferred to the new products in the course of production This is equivalent to depreciation in normal capitalist accounting C stands for constant capital It is constant in the sense that it contributes no new value to the product but merely transfers already existing value VS the total amount of new value created the total amount of new labor performed L Part of this total is returned to workers in the form of wages V for variable capital which are used to purchase the subsistence bundle of commodities The remainder is surplus value S By these de nitions P C L C V S That is the total value of the social product equals the value of the constant capital transferred to the product plus the new value added to production by living labor Exploitation within the labor theory of value consists of the appropriation of surplus value from the workers who produce the social product The rate of exploitation is generally defined as the ratio between between the part of the new labor performed in production that is appropriated by capitalists S and the part that is returned to workers in the form of wages V e SV The rate of pro t can then be expressed in terms of the rate of exploitation by dividing the numerator and denominator in the pro t equation by V r SCV eQ1 where Q often called the organic composition of capital is equal to CV Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 11 This formula for the rate of pro t shows the crucial link between the rate of pro t and the rate of exploitation the higher the rate of exploitation the higher the rate of pro t and thus the higher the maximum rate of accumulation It is for this reason that Marxists generally describe capitalists as having a systematic interest in raising the rate of exploitation This dependency of the rate of pro t on the rate of exploitation provides the basic mechanism which links the problem of class struggle and the process of capital accumulation 96 Absolute vs relative surplus value If the total amount of labor performed L S V and the rate of exploitation is the ratio SV then there are two basic ways that the rate of exploitation can be increased 1 Absolute surplus value This involves lengthening L while holding V constant This typically takes the form of lengthening the working day without increasing wages Since S L V this results in an increase the absolute amount of S 2 Relative Surplus Value This consists of reducing V while holding L constant The most important form of relative surplus value comes from reducing the costs of wage goods through enhanced productivity If workers have a constant subsistence in physical terms amount of food clothing etc but technical changes mean that these subsistence commodities can be produced with less embodied labor time then V will decline Because of relative surplus value it is not always possible to simply assume that workers who have lower standards of living are necessarily more exploited the degree of exploitation depends upon the productivity of labor and not just on the standrad of living in physical terms Historically Marx and others have argued the early phases of capitalist development are characterized by a heavy reliance on absolute surplus value The working day is pushed nearly to its absolute biological maximum thus maximizing the ratio of S V for a given level of productivity Gradually both because of the success of working class resistence and because of technical changes relative surplus value assumes greater importance so that eventually the working day can even be reduced signi cantly without a decline in the rate of exploitation Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 12 II RETHINKING EXPLOITATION 1 Exploitation vs Oppression conceptual distinction First de nition of material oppression material welfare of A is at the expense of B 9 A exploits B Note this is a critical concept it implies the existence of an alternative in which B s welfare is improved when A does not materially exploit B Is oppression also exploitatative Two examples peasant amp land example if peasants are excluded from the land are they exploited unionization and unemployment example if union rules exclude the unemployed from jobs do unionized workers exploit unemployed workers Refinement elaboration of a distinction between oppression amp exploitation Let us de ne three conditions which might characterize the relationship between actors in an economic system a inverse interdependent welfare principle the material welfare of group A causally depends upon the deprivations of group B or welfare of one depends upon illfare of the other b resource exclusion principle underlying this causal relation is the exclusion of group B from access to some important economic resource One can make this even a bit stronger by saying that this exclusion must in some meaningful sense be unjust This is to avoid situations such as poker where the loser is excluded from access to the winnings c effort appropriation principle the mechanism by which exclusion from resources generates inverse interdepednence of welfare involves the appropriation of labor effort performed by group B by group A nonexploitative oppression a b but not c material welfare of A is at the expense of B because ofthe way excludes B from access to resources gt causal linkage between my welfare and your deprivation exploitation oppression appropriation of fruits of labor The reason at least in part that I bene t at your expense is that I appropriate the fruits of your labors Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 13 Note this distinction can be applied to nonmaterial exploitationoppression as well Cultural oppression the denial of resources for cultural expression cultural exploitation the appropriation of cultural products Perhaps also sexual oppression exploitation contrast Consider the difference between the relationship between a male heterosexist and women vs their relationship to homosexual men 2 Exploitation amp oppression key sociological issue nature of power and depednency KEY ISSUE in exploitation the exploiter depends on the activity of the exploited This dependency binds together exploiter and exploited in a way that is absent in simple oppression O genocide is a solution to con icts generated by oppression US vs South Africa re indigenous peoples O ideology class compromise incorporation are solutions to con icts generated by exploitation even in Apartheid some level of consent is needed 0 the exploited have more power than the merely oppressed because they are needed Fundamental sociological insight about exploitation exploitation is a form of oppression that gives real power to the exploited they have levers of resistance and struggle absent from brute oppression This makes exploitative relations complex explosive dynamic it is why around ex loitation whole s stems o domination and containment are elaborated 3 The moral bite of exploitation The ability of A to exploit B depends upon B not having alternatives upon B being deprived of resources This means that A would opposed B becoming rich even if this took the form of mana from heaven ie even if B became rich without any redistribution from A A would oppose the good fortune of B Exploitation underwrites a meanness of spirit not merely benefitting because of the suffering of others but in a certain sense wanting them to suffer 0 STORY OF THE SHMOO 0 Preference orderings for what happens to Manna from Heaven Rank Ordering of Preferences of Different Classes for the Distribution of Shmoos Capitalist Class Working Class 1 Only Capitalists get shmoos Everyone gets a shmoo 2 Destroy the Shmoos Only Workers get shmoos 3 Everyone gets shmoos Only Capitalists get shmoos 4 Only Workers get shmoos Destroy the shmoo Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 14 4 A note on EXPLOITATION and ALIENATION Exploitation is closely tied to another concept in the Marxist tradition alienation We won t discuss this now but here is the gist of the difference exploitation and alienation can be thought of as ali erent e ects of the same structure of production The social relations of production generate exploitation via the ways in which they structure the material interests of actors those same relations generate alienation via the ways in which they shape the lived experience of people within production lived experiences of powerlessness lack of control over one s creativity etc 5 Extensions of the contrast of oppression amp exploitation 51 Sexual oppression vs exploitation In a hetersexist male dominating society one may be able to draw a contrast between sexual oppression of homosexuals vs sexual exploitation of women 52 Cultural oppression vs exploitation Treatment of Native American culture in 19111 and early 20Lh century cultural oppression Perhaps today the treatment of indigenous cultures exploitation appropriation of the cultural products 6 Roemer s account of exploitation Two tasks 1 show inadequacies of certain presuppositions of traditional marxist views 2 develop a general theory of exploitation 61 Roemer s First approach Traditional Marxism capitalist exploitation is intimately linked to labor markets Roemer s First task A quot that labor transfers do not depend upon labor markets Simple example of unequal exchange the peasant with low capital intensity has to work harder than the peasant with high intensity for the same consumptionleisure bundle and the high intensity peasant works fewer hours by virtue of the exchange of commodities key issue exploiter would be worse off if heshe killed the exploited and took over the exploited s assets Similar stories for labor market and credit market islands Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 15 62 Roemer s Second Approach Second task use of counterfactuals for testing exploitationstatuses What is a counterfactual a thought experiment to test various claims about the existing world Withdrawal rules formalization of a counterfactual Roemer s test for feudal exploitation withdraw with personal assets Roemer s test for capitalist exploitation withdraw with per capita assets Crucial substantive issue there has to be a feasible nonexploitative alternative in order to call the existing arrangements exploitative the critical aspect of the concept of class Important problem what constraints on feasibility 1 politically feasible issue of ignoring transition costs 2 motivationally feasible issue of ignoring incentives problems 3 feasible given human nature Withdrawl rules are basically tests for economic oppression as defined above To test for exploitation these rules must be supplemented by claims about ability to appropriate the surplus Question what mechanisms give individuals access to the surplus Strategy different withdrawal rules define different material bases for exploitation This is called a property relations approach to exploitation and class because the withdrawal rules are all specified with respect to property rights 6 3 Generalizing Roemer Assets that can be differentially owned or controlled the control of which give people access to the surplus l labor power gt feudalism Note contrast with extraeconomic coercion characterization 2 means of production gt capitalism 3 organization gt statism 4 skills gt socialism Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 16 64 Some general issuesproblems 1 Meaning of ownership property rights for organization assets 2 Claims about the relational character of the classes built around these resources especially skills 3 Is this list exhaustive Other candidates information reproductionsexuality job assets van Parij s 4 Why restriction to assets in material production direct control over Violence state as ofe 39 I I n I iatiuu 5 The claim about exploitation itself problem of distinguishing a mechanisms which reduce one s own exploitation from b mechanisms for exploiting others Perhaps skills simply reduce capitalist exploitation a skilled worker is able to retain part of the surplus he she produces Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 17 Appendix to Lecture 10 SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES ON THE CONCEPT OF EXPLOITATION Note these more detailed notes were prepared for an earlier incarnation of this lecture and does not exactly correspond to what I presented in class Perhaps the most distinctive property of Marxist concepts of class which differentiate them from various rivals is the link between class and exploitation In this lecture we will try to develop a rigorous de nition of exploitation and examine the relationship between exploitation so defined and class structure Traditionally the Marxist concept of exploitation has been closely linked to the labor theory of value In recent years as we dsicussed earlier the labor theory of value has come under considerable attack and these attacks have called into question the concept of exploitation as well I will argue that the concept of exploitation need not depend upon the labor theory of value as such and that it is therefore possible to sustain the distinctive Marxist concept of class even if the labor theory of value is abandoned What is Exploitation As stated in the last session as a first approximation exploitation can be defined as a situation in which the exploiter s material interests are satisfied at the expense of the exploited s or to state it slightly differently the welfare of the exploiter causally depends upon the deprivations of the exploited By this definition simple inequality does not necessarily indicate exploitation Consider the example of two subsistence farmers on adjacent plots of land One works hard one is lazy At the end of a production cycle was is materially better off than the other but since there is no causal relationship between their welfares this would not count as an instance of exploitation There are however certain problems with this preliminary definition In particular this definition does not consistently distinguish between a strictly redistributive problem and a real causal connection between the welfare of the exploiter and the exploited For example suppose that there is limited good land and some subsistence farmers take all of the good land and prevent landless peasants from getting access to fertile land The propertyowning farmers welfare is at the expense of the landless but would we want to say that they also exploit the landless Or to take another example suppose workers organize to obtain job and wage security which means that in a period of high unemployment employers are unable to lower their wages and hire more workers There is a sense in which the welfare of the employed workers is at the expense of the deprivations of the unemployed but again do we want to say that unionized workers actually exploit the unemployed These difficulties can be overcome by modifying our initial definition In the revised definition exploitation must satisfy two criteria a the exploiting group benefits at the expense of the exploited group and b the exploiting group appropriates at least some of the fruits of the labor of the exploited group With the addition of the second criterion neither the landless peasant nor the unemployed are exploited Criterion a alone defines what I call economic Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 18 oppression imposing economic harm on someone else for one s own benefit Exploitation then is economic oppression appropriation What is added by the second criterion The key issue is that the second criterion establishes a powerful interdependency of exploiter and exploited exploiters need the exploited and generally as we shall see the exploited need the exploiters because the exploiters own and control necessary conditions of production Economic oppressors who are not also exploiters do not need the economically oppressed The small farmers and the employed workers in the above examples would be happy for the landless peasants and the unemployed to simply disappear Oppression is consistent with genocide eliminating the oppressed exploitation is not This distinction between economic oppression and exploitation is illustrated by the difference between the white settler colonies of North America and Southern Africa In North America in general European settlers economically oppressed the indigenous population but did not exploit them whereas the white settler colony of South Africa systematically exploited the black population As a consequence extermination of the native populations was the pervasive policy in North America whereas domination and control was the central objective in South Africa The South African white exploiters need and depend upon black workers whereas American white exploiters did not depend upon native Americans The source of the interdependency between exploiters and exploited is that the welfare of the exploiters causally depends upon the work and e ort of the exploited not just the misery of the exploited And this dependency of exploiters on exploited means that systems of exploitation unlike sheer oppression almost invariably require at least some minimal consent by the exploited to their own exploitation Human individuals always maintain some control over their own effort over how hard and consistently they expend their physical and mental energies Insofar as the material interests of exploiters depend upon such effort those interests will be enhanced if the exploited minimally consent Stable systems of exploitation will therefore tend to develop political and ideological mechanisms capable of eliciting this kind of cooperation The Traditional Marxist Account of Exploitation Material exploitation comes in many forms One of the central tasks of Marxist class theory is to construct structural typologies of such forms The underlying theoretical motivation for this task is the claim that since class relations are systematically linked to mechanisms of exploitation the key to understanding the differences between class structures lies in decoding the differences in mechanisms of exploitation How then can we distinguish different forms of exploitation The traditional Marxist answer has been to draw a sharp distinction between exploitation based on extra economic coercion characteristic of precapitalist class systems and purely economic exploitation characteristic of cpaitalism As the story is traditionally told feudalism is the most important example of the former surplus labor is appropriated from serfs by physically forcing them to work part of the time on the land of the lord or physically appropriating part of their produce The surplus is transparent to all actors because it is overtly coercively appropriated In capitalism in contrast exploitation is opaque Wageeamers work for a wage which is the result of a free market in labor power The employers combine the labor power they purchase Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 19 with machines and other means of production to produce goods which they then sell on the market Out of the price of these goods they pay the workers replace machines and raw materials and keep what is left over as a pro t All of these transactions occur at prices that are set by an impersonal competitive market To all of the actors concerned these exchanges have the appearance of being nonexploitative of simply being the exchange of equals How then can such a system be described as exploitation The traditional answer Marxists have given has two principle elements rst there is the claim derived from the labor theory of value that the exchange value of all commodities including the labor power of the worker is determined by the amount of socially necessary labor it takes to produce the commodity see section 10 above second there is the claim that when workers sell their labor power on a labor market to capitalists for wages they are forced to perform more labor in the labor process than is contained in the value of their labor power see section 11 The difference between the value produced by workers and the value of their labor power surplus value constitutes the basis of capitalist exploitation Criticisms 0f the Traditional Marxist Account This characterization of capitalist exploitation has always been sharply criticized by non Marxists but recently it has come under considerable criticism by Marxists as well The most familiar criticism concerns the labor theory of value which is not viewed by many as at best a problematic framework for understanding values prices and pro ts and thus it is precarious to use it as the basis for the concept of capitalist exploitation This need not mean that surplus labor is not appropriated from workers by capitalists but it does suggest that the labor theory of value is an unsatisfactory way of representing that appropriation A less familiar criticism concerns the institutional presuppositions of capitalist exploitation In the traditional Marxist formulation the separation of workers from the means of production and a genuine labor market are treated as the institutional preconditions for capitalist exploitation The decisive mechanism for such exploitation is then located inside of the labor process of capitalist production where workers are forced to produce more value than they consume John Roemer in his pathbreaking bookA General Theory of Exploitation and Class has systematically challenged this account arguing that exploitation can occur under conditions within which all of these conditions are violated Roemer builds his argument by concocting a number of formal models of economic systems in which one or more of the institutional conditions usually treated as essential for exploitation are missing He then shows that exploitation transfers of surplus labor from one group to another can still occur In particular he examines two kinds of cases Case 1 Simple commodity producing society with the following conditions a Everyone has suf cient assets to produce their means of subsistence but some people have more assets than others and di erent commodities are more ef ciently produced with labor intensive vs capital intensive technologies b There is a market for commodities but not for labor power no labor market c For simplicity we assume that everyone wants to have the same standard of living and that everyone wants to work as little as possible to obtain that standard of living Other behavioral assumptions can be made and the results still hold but this is the simplest form of the argument Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 20 With these conditions then it is possible to show that ifthe agents are rational ie they adopt optimal strategies under these conditions then the asset poor producers will be exploited by the assetrich producers And this is true even though there is no surplus product no market in labor and everyone owns their own means of production Why Roemer provides the technical argument but the intuitive basis is this the prices of the commodities in this system re ect the socially average conditions of production which means that the prices of commodities produced with capitalintensive technologies will be above the labor time it takes to produce them and the prices of commodities produced by laborintensive commodities will be below the labor time it takes to produce them This is what is called unequal exchange it means that the asset rich bene t from the poverty and effort of the asset poor If the poor were to disappear the rich would have to work longer hours to obtain the same standard of living Case 2 Commodity producing societies in which there are either labor markets or credit markets and in which the following conditions hold a There are three kinds of people people with sufficient assets that they need not work people with some assets people with no assets b In one society there is a market in labor power in the other there is a market in credit c There are the same behavioral assumptions as in previous case Given these assumptions individuals in each society will make basic economic decisions in the labor market society whether to sell one s own labor hire the labor of others or neither in the credit market society whether to borrow capital lend capital or neither These decisions define what kind of class positions people end up in The analytical task in investigating these models is then to understand two relationships first between asset holdings property rights and class and second between asset holdings and labor transfers Roemer s most important general conclusion from this analysis is that these two relationships are isomorphic that is there is a onetoone correspondence between the mapping of asset holdings into class positions and asset holdings into exploitation positions This result he terms the Class Exploitation Correspondence Principle CECP These correspondences are illustrated in the table on page Roemer s formal mathematical analysis of the relationship between property class and exploitation has a number of powerful implications First while class and exploitation are tightly related exploitation is not part of the definition of classes The linkage between class location within the social relations of production and exploitation is a deduction rather than part of the definition of class itself Second the labor market is not the most fundamental mechanism for exploitation as such The critical issue is the separation of workers from the means of production and thus the necessity for them to enter into some kind of exchange relation labor market or credit market with owners of the means of production Finally the labor process itself is not part of the definition of class or exploitation domination at the point of production in the labor process is not central to the basic logic of the concepts This does not mean that domination in the labor process is empirically unimportant for understanding exploitation and class in actual capitalist societies It could well be under given historical circumstances that the decisive issue for capitalists is control over the labor process as a way of insuring surplus extraction The point is simply that such control is not logically entailed by the very definition of exploitation This is a similar situation to Marx s argument that in analysing capitalist competition and its distributional effects it was legitimate to assume away fraud and cheating among capitalists even if these were empirically important Fraud and Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 21 cheating could be assumed away because they were not logically necessary for understanding the mechanisms of competitition In the case of the labor process to claim that we can ignore domination within the labor process in our logical analysis of the concept of exploitation implies that we can assume away cheating by workers ie not delivering the amount of work that they promise in the labor contract Towards a General Theory of Exploitation Once the labor theory of value is rejected as the appropriate idiom for exploring the problem of exploitation some kind of alternative strategy is needed Roemer has proposed a strategy which uses varius elements of mathematical game theory for testing the exploitative nature of various kinds of economic arrangements While this device is not without its own problems it does constitute a promising framework for developing a rigorous theory of exploitation The basic idea is as follows imagine that we have two players A and B in an economic game What does it mean to say that B exploits A in this particular game Roemer argues that to say B exploits A implies that several conditions hold 1 There must be some alternative game within which A would be better off It makes no sense to say that A is exploited if under all conceivable alternatives A would be no better off 2 B would be worse off if A withdrew from the initial game into the alternative game 3 B would be worse off if it withdrew to this alternative under the same conditions as A These three conditions are meant to convey the basic idea that B exploits A when B s welfare is at the expense of A s welfare The analytical strategy is then to construct different kinds of counterfactual alternatives as a test if this is so Note that in the terms of the second approximation definition of exploitation discussed above the kinds of counterfactual tests proposed by Roemer only demonstrate economic oppression rather than exploitation All that is being tested is the fact of interdependency of interests not the dependency of the exploiter on the effort of the exploited To establish the claim that these oppressions are genuinely instances of exploitation therefore we have to look at the concrete social relaitons within which they take place for evidence of real appropriations of the fruits of labor Within this analytical strategy different systems of exploitation can be defined with respect to the nature of the coalitions involved the A and B in the game and the nature of the withdrawl rules to alternative games Roemer uses this logic to define three types of exploitation Feudal Capitalist Socialist Feudal exploitation In feudalism serfs own their own land and tools and as the conventional story goes they are coercively forced by the lord to hand over part of the surplus The counterfactual alternative used to test for feudal exploitation Roemer argues is a withdrawl rule in which peasants leave the game of feudalism with their personal assets If they did so they would be better off lords would be worse off and lords would be worse off if they withdrew with the same conditions To test whether or not a particular group of people is feudally exploited therefore we ask the following question would the members of the group be better off and they compliment be worse off if they left the existing game with their personal assets Capitalist Exploitation In contrast to feudal exploitation capitalist exploitation is tested by a withdrawl rule in which a coalition withdraws with their per capita share of alienable assets capital in the usual sense land machines raw materials rather than simply their personal Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 22 assets In the alternative game socialism everyone has one citizenshare of the means of production With this criterion propertyless wageearners workers are exploited by property owning capitalists If one accepts these de nitions of feudal and capitalist exploitation then the traditional claim by neoclassical economists that there is no exploitation in capitalism becomes equivalent to the claim that feudal exploitation is absent in capitalism Workers in capitalism are not feudalistically exploited since they would be worse off if they left the game of capitalism with their personal assets Socialist Exploitation Socialist exploitation is the hardest to specify and the least fully elaborated in Roemer s analysis It is tested by the withdrawl rule of a coalition leaving the economic game with its per capita share of inalienable assets skills knowledge rather than alienable assets The alternative game then is communism in which distribution is according to need rather than according to ability This definition of socialist exploitation implies that ownership of skillsknowledge can be the basis for exploitation ie for the appropriation of part of the surplus by skillowners The basic mechanism is that skill owners are able to obtain wages above the costs of acquiring their skills This quot a 39 ren r to the wage a component which is both at the expense of unskiloled workers and dependent upon their effort In these terms credentialling becomes a particularly an important 39 quot quot 39 39 39 for f 139 skillbased exploitation Credentials are what gives skill the propertylike character that makes skill exploitation possible Extending Roemer s Analysis One way of reformulating Roemer s basic insight is as follows Both exploitation and class relations are rooted in the way economic agents monopolize the control over different kinds of essential productive assets The control over these assets generates two phenomena 1 a structure of social relations linking those owning these assets to those who do not own them 2 a pattern of transfers of labor and products the surplus from those who do not own the assets to those who do Roemer discusses two assets alienable and inalienable assets means of production and skills andor knowledge I want to extend his analysis by adding two more assets labor power assets and what I will call organization assets Labor power assets Instead of regarding feudal exploitation as extraeconomic feudal exploitation can be understood as exploitation based on the ownership of labor power assets In classical feudalism serfs and lords jointly own the labor power of the serf Slavery then is just the limiting case where the slaveowner has absolute property rights in the slave When the lord insists that serfs work part of the week on his land he is simply deploying productively an asset which he owns When serfs ee the land for the city they are breaking the law because they are stealing property from the lord labor power The appearance that this exploitation is founded in extraeconomic coercion therefore comes from the particular nature of the productive asset that is the basis for exploitation Just as extraeconomic coercion is needed to prevent workers from stealing the property of capitalists so it is needed to prevent serfs stealing the property of the Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 23 lord but since they are themselves the property of the lord this means that coercion becomes much more closely tied to them as persons In these terms the bourgeois revolutions can be viewed as radical revolutionary redistribution of property rights in labor power assets Under conditions of bourgeois freedom every owns one unit Organization assets Organization assets are based on the productive power of an interdependent complex division of labor The control over the division of labor or what is often called the work of management is thus the control over a productive asset Managerial hierarchies the social form through which these assets are controlled in capitalism The claim that these assets constitute the basis of exploitation implies that by virtue of controlling the organizational resources of production managers are in a position to appropriate part of the surplus produced by workers The monopolization of organizational assets particularly when concentrated in a centralized state apparatus constitutes the basis for class relations in state bureaucratic socialism These are societies within which capitalist exploitation has been largely eliminated Private ownership of the means of production is at best a marginal phenomenon But the unequal distribution of control over organizational assets and the accompanying capacity to appropriate the surplus remain a central feature of these societies Elimination of such exploitation requiries a radical redistribution of these assets which in turn implies a fundamental democratization of organizational control Adding labor power assets and organization assets to the two assets included in Roemer s analysis we can generate a general typology of forms of exploitation and class relations This typology is presented in the table on page in Classes It will provide the conceptual framework for developing a concept of class structure at a middle level of abstraction in the next lecture Troublesome enduring problems The reconceptualization of class and exploitation represented by this extension of Roemer s property rights approach offers I believe the most coherent and powerful way of grounding these concepts Nevertheless it is not without its problems As in most processes of complex concept formation every new innovation raises new problems new difficulties to resolve Ultimately these difficulties may provoke a new round of reconceptualization In terms of the concepts we have been discussing four problems seem particularly pressrng 1 The ownership of organization assets In the case of labor power capital and skill assets there is a fairly clear sense in which one can describe these assets as ownable and thus a clear meaning of property rights with respect to the asset in question This is not the case for organization assets and thus I have had to shift the language linking exploiters to this asset by talking about the control of the asset rather than its ownership The shift from ownership to control creates a conceptual asymmetry in the logic of the class analysis built up around these assetexploitation mechanisms This may of course be mainly an aesthetic problem making the concepts in question less tidy But it may also signal Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 24 that organization assets should not be included in the list on an equivalent standing with the other assets 2 The relational character of classes anal skill exploitation The concept of class structure as we have been developing it involves the correspondence between two elements a mechanism of material exploitation and a distinctive kind of social relation of production Such a correspondence can be observed in a fairly straightforward manner in the case of thre of the assets we have been discussing lords and serfs are relationally defined with respect to exploitation based on ownership of labor power assets capitalists and wage laborers are relationally defined with respect to exploitation based on ownership of capital assets managers and workers are relationally defined with respect to exploitation based in organization assets It is much more difficult to define an analogous social relation of production binding together skill exploiters and the unskilled exploited In capitalism both skilled and unskilled workers are in a determinate social relation to capitalists but not to each other This does not imply that skill exploitation itself does not exist but it does call into question treating such exploitation as a distinctive basis for class relations as such It might be the case for example that skill exploitation should be seen as the basis for distinguishing strata or fractions within classes but not classes as such 3 The exhaustiveness of the list of assets The list of assets and associated exploitations we have been discussing bears a close correspondence to the classical typology of historical forms of society in historical materialism Each of the assets in quesiton have a claim to providing the central key for understanding a distinctive form of class society and this could be a basis for closing the list an exploitation asset could be admissable into the inventory of class exploitations only if it also could constitute the material basis for distinguishing a mode of production This strategy for closing the inventory of potential exploitation assets for class theory however presupposes that one have real con dence in the typology underlying historical materialism and as I suggested in the earlier analysis of the theory of history many Marxists today no longer accpet this aspect of classical Marxism If this typology of social forms is abandoned then it is hard to see on what basis the inventory of assets could be closed Several other assets in fact might potentially constitute the basis for distinctive kinds of class relations In particular it is worth considering the following possibilities information assets biological reproductive assets and job assets a Information Many people have characterized the present period as the age of information In a society within which information was a crucial force of production conceivably control or ownership of information could constitute the basis for both epxloitation and class Information control is quite distinct from either organizational assets or skillknowledge Organizational assets imply a position of decisionmaking responsibility within a complex division of labor knowledge or skill assets imply restriction on the supply of training available for develop particular kinds of labor power It is possible to control information without having any organizastional assets or skill assets A simple example is the possession of a secre from industrial espionage for example or insider information on the stock market which the Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 25 possessor may not understand at all and yet realize that it is valuable Control over information ows therefore could conceivably become a basis of exploitation and class quite distinct from any of the other assets we have been analysing I do not think that such arguments are particularly persuasive In general the control over ows of informastion is so closely tied to either organization or skill knowledge assets that it seems unlikely that it constitutes an genuinely independent basis for exploitation and class This does not mean that logically it could never become such a basis but it does not seem to be such a basis in the world today b biological reproduction If Labor power is a force of production then the means of production of labor power would also be a productive resource The control over the means of production of labor power or perhaps less formally of people could therefore be a basis for material exploitation and class relations Many feminists in fact have argued precisely this that the control over biological reproduction is indeed a mechanism through which men exploit women and should be treated as the basis for a gendered class relation For an elaboration of this kind of argument see Gerda Lerner The Creation of Patriarchy Oxford University Press 1985 It is also the basic argument in Shulameth Fierstone s The Dialectic of Sex It is certainly possible that control over biological reproduction could constitute a basis for exploitation and class I do not think however that in contemporary capitalist societies it is plausible to describe the complexities of gender relations in these terms It is not clear that men as such own or control biological reproduction in the sense of being able to use and to dispose of this asset as they wish in the way that they can use and dispose of their labor power as they wish And it is not clear that the forms of domination linked to gender in contemporary capitalism are best theorized as class exploitation We will discuss these issues in more depth in the section of Marxism and feminism c Job assets Philippe Van Parijs has argued in an essay called A Revolution in Class Theory in the journal Politics amp Society that the deepest division of material interests in welfare capitalism is between secure job holders and the unemployed He then characterizes secure employment as having an effective property rights in job assets and thus distinguishes between jobclasses on the basis of their ownership of such assets Van Parijs arguments are interesting and they do point to an important source of social cleavage in developed capitalist societies I do not think however that this cleavage can properly be thought of as a class cleavage since job holders cannot be viewed as exploiting the unemployed At most as I argued earlier a relation of exconomic oppression exists between the employed and unemployed but not exploitation 4 Nonproaluction asset mechanisms of material exploitation One of the restrictions on the concept of class that has been assumed throughout this analysis is that classes must be defined by social relations of production It could be argued however that the critical element in the definition of classes is that they simply be relationally defined categories linked to a mechanism of exploitation whatever that mechanism might be In particular exploitation can be based on the control of the means of repression particularly the state rather than the means of production Sociology 621 Lecture 10 Exploitation 26 The state is implicated in exploitation in two quite distinct ways First the state is the gaurantor of property rights In capitalism it uses its legal and coercive apparatus to protect capitalist property rights and thus make possible capitalist exploitation But the state can also directly appropriate the surplus through taxation or other means In such cases one could argue the control over the means of repression directly constitutes a mcehanism of exploitation and the I controllers of these means of 1 would 139 J quot an exploiting class Why then should the admissable mechanisms of exploitation underlying the constitution of classes be restricted to mechanisms rooted in production I do not have a fully adequate answer to this question and perhaps it would be a useful conceptual move to expand the horizons of the class concept by including all possible mechanisms of material exploitation whether or not the mechanisms themselves were linked to production My fear is that opening up the concept of class in this way would dilute its theoretical coherence and explanatory power Class struggles would no longer be primarily about reorganizations of economic structures as such but about all possible social transformations with distributional effects At this point I am not convinced that this would add anything to the explanatory power of the concept and thus I resist this theoretical move Lecture 27 Sociology 62 MICROFOUNDATIONS FOR THE THEORY OF IDEOLOGY 1 STATING THE PROBLEM What Are Micro foundations and Why Bother 11 model of action Individual subjects are subjectively characterized by a preferences what they want includes values which may internally selectrule out certain preferences Some notes about preferences I These need not be viewed as fixed preferences change and are often fuzzy I individual action often involves formingdiscovering preferences not just acting pregiven preferences b information perceptions about what exists what options are available c theories conceptions about what will be the consequences of given choices for their preferences given the information d mental capacities including both conventional things like cognitive abilities and skills but also creative capacities problemsolving ability intuitive abilities empathetic capacities exibility etc e nonconscious psychic processes underlying drives the unconscious personality dispositions habits They are objectiver characterized by f resources of various sorts at their disposal capacities to act real power relations g causal environment of choosing This includes some onbvious things like the feasible set of possible choices But also much more interesting things like the social interactions which affect how individual capabilities are actually deployed For example problemsolving capacity and creativity may be mental capacities 7 some people have these more developed than others But their actual use in social action is heavily conditioned by interaction and communication The aphorism two heads are better than one is actually a deep claim about problemsolving h a causal environment of the effects of their actions they chose their actions in terms of anticipated effects not real effects Lecture 27 Microfoundations of ideology 2 On the basis of these subjective factors preferences information theories capacities and nonconscious psychic structures and given the available resources actors subjects make choices about what to do and the resulting actions have actual consequences for the subject and others abcde subjectivity abc ideological processes of subjectivity consciousnessness 12 Four aspects of Mi r f A quot l lVIicro mechanisms of consciousness formation mechanisms through which preferences information and theories are produced the microformation of ideologies 2 The micro mechanisms 0f nonconsciousness formation mechanisms through which nonconscious psychic processes are formed and transformed the microformation of personality habit etc 3 Micro process 0f choice making given preferences information theories and other psychic structures how are choices actually made how are strategies formed etc One class of models of this sort of process with relatively simple assumptions about cognition etc rational actor models 4 Micro processes of creative action problem solving This is different from choice per se choice gtpretty clear preferences goals etc Here the issue is the creative act of coming up with new solutions new ideas etc This is what the work of Hans Joas is about In creative action means and ends coevolve through problem solving In Therborn s analysis this process was elaborated in terms of affirmations and sanctions basically a behaviorist model of reinforcement etc A simple learning model of belief formation Elster offers a more complex model for the formation of beliefs and values a model rooted in cognitive psychology 13 Why Bother a general point a complete theory contains microfoundations b Methodological point in the case of theories of ideology the analysis of mechanisms is especially important given the object of explanation beliefs to have confidence in our beliefs about beliefs we need some knowledge of the causal mechanisms involved c To transform beliefs we need knowledge of their mechanisms of production Lecture 27 Microfoundations of ideology 3 2 TYPES OF EXPLANATIONS OF IDEOLOGIES 465ff in Elster Note Object of explanation in Elster s analysis is somewhat narrower than our previous discussion of ideology as the process of subj ectformation beliefs and values that have society as their object as well as their explanation 21 Autonomy of Thought A precondition for microprocesses to have much substantive interest is for thought to have a certain kind of autonomy If all categories of thought were pure instantaneous re ections of material conditions there would be little reason to care about microfoundations Belief formation is of interest because it is not a simple re ection Important issue whether the social cause or the cognitive cause sets the basic limits constraint vs maximand in Elster s views Elster feels the more plausible class interests constitute a constraint rather than maximand ie minimal correspondence is needed 22 Types of Explanations a interest explanations vs position explanations b causal explanations vs functional explanations I all positionexplanations are causal I interest explanations can be causal or functional I a belief may be explained because it is shaped by interests or because it serves interests NOTE a belief that is shaped by interests does not necessarily serve interests there is no inherent reason for functionality to always be produced eg wishful thinking c Examples I interest functional explanation Capitalists believe that socialism is undesirable because it actually serves their interests to believe this I interest causal explanation radical workers in the 1930s often believed that the USSR embodied communist ideals The wish is parent to the though It might not however have really served their interests to hold this belief ie it could lead them to be uncompromising in situations where compromises would be beneficial Arguably the collapse of the Weimar Republic was in part due to the unwillingness of communists to form alliances with social democrats I position casual explanations commodity fetishism Lecture 27 Microfoundations of ideology 4 23 Cognitive and Motivational explanations Cognitive psychology motivational explanations hot vs cognitive explanations cold Fourfold table EXPLANANDUM MOTIVATIONAL COGNITIVE MOTIV adaptive wishful thinking EXPLANATION preferences COGNIT mental availability heuristic bookkeeping extend to whole knowledge of parts a adaptive preferences sour grapes frustration changes preferences Key type of positional explanation Critical consequence resignation b wishful thinking acting on beliefs shaped by interests note these often will not serve interests but may selffulfilling prophecy etc c mental bookkeeping cognitve classi cation system shapes preference orderings Two examples 1 Children lack judgement and therefore need and deserve paternalistic regulation instead of autonomy If certain categories of adults are therefore like children they should be treated in the same way Classifying women or blacks or the disabled or the retarded as children has at various times been used to support the values that justify paternalistic treatment of these categories 2 Another example amniocentisis and abortions for fetal deformity is this an example of reproductive freedom or phobias against lack of physical perfection Note opposition of various handicapped groups to abortion Also classification of personhood re fetuschild c availability heuristic illegitimate extension of knowledge from particular to general Joe is poor because he didn t work hard therefore the explanation for the level of poverty is laziness HOT explanations motivational causal interest explanations COLD explanations cognitive causal positionexplanations Lecture 27 Microfoundations of ideology 3 MECHANISMS FOR RULING IDEAS TO BECOME RULING Question How do ideas of the ruling class ideas that are in the interests of the ruling class become the ruling ideas of the epoque That is how do these ideas become dominant among intellectuals If we reject a purely functionalist explanation how do we account for this Parallel to the state is not entirely compelling In the state nancial dependency of the state on capital is the pivotal mechanism that insures minimal correspondence the state must ensure the reproduction of favorable conditions of accumulation But nancial inducement is not credibly the appropriate mechanism for ideologies Why should the ruling ideas be the ideas ofthe ruling class No Microfoundations are provided by Marx to explain why the ideas that correspond to the outlook of the ruling class should gain disproportionate acceptance among intellectuals 473 Possible Answers repression financial support gives differential survival value negative selection against systematically antiruling class ideas Not entirely convincing because idea production is not so resource intensive Note this is probably why there is usually more counterhegemonic ideas than counterhegemonic politics 4 MECHANISMS OF IDEOLOGICAL BELIEF FORMATION 41 INVERSION Two forms a abstraction equivalent to reification taking a concept of something to be real with the empirical instances simply instantiations of the abstract concept Cause of reification fixity of the categories of thought because of one s preoccupation with ideas they become seen as having causal power b projection religion as prime example individuals project their powers onto an alien being religious distress is the expression of real distress 42 PARTICULAR amp GENERAL INTEREST 1 Representation of particular interests as general social interests a general tendency for all classes Mechanisms wishful thinking The transformation of narrowly conceived selfinterest into a vision of general interest by the intermediary of wishful thinking Note no necessary functional explanation here or conscious deception The process is a psychological one of wishful thinking in Elster s views Lecture 27 Microfoundations of ideology 6 Comments 1 To claim that wishful thinking impels people to see their own interests as general interests and to really believe this rather than just to admit that they are sel sh etc implies something about the role of morality in human motivations perhaps a la Kolberg the development of moral principles superego etc means that the guilt in being egotisticalselfish produces the cognitive shift wishful thinking There has to be some sort of psychological foundation to moralthinking in order for wishful thinking to gt legitimations 2 Wishful thinking can help to underwrite 39 J p J 39 39 39 39 39 39 of wishful thinking gt stability of the distortion to ruling classes contingent condition plausibility to other classes of the claim condition for hegemony 43 LOCAL amp GLOBAL VISION version 1 what is causally true ceteris paribus is true without constraint version 2 statements that are true for any given agent are true for all agents taken as a totality EXAMPLES 1 Each individual worker bargains a wage to what that individual worker could produce as an individual The capitalist hires 100 workers and makes a profit The pro t appears to come from capital But in fact it comes from the cooperation the enhanced productivity derived from cooperative labor 2 Marginal wages each worker is paid the marginal product each being treated as the last hirednext to be fired But if the collective worker were paid the collective marginal product there would be no pro t 3 Workers facing unemployment since I would be worse off without being employed by capitalists society would be worse off without capitalists Feudal peasants would be worse off without protection of lords therefore giving the surplus to lords is justified amp society would be worse off without lords like gangster protection racket 4 Capitalist s money fetishism each capitalist thinks pro ts can be gained from speculation 44 CONCEPTUAL IMPERIALISM Improper cognitive extensions of understandings in time and space ethnocentrism anachronism Lecture 19 Sociology 621 November 21 2005 What is Politics What is the State I Introduction Marxists have always held that the state plays a pivotal role in sustaining the class domination of ruling classes Without the intervention of the state especially its repressive interventions the contradictions between classes would become so explosive that bourgeois domination could hardly survive for an extended period The state nearly all Marxists insist ful lls an essential function in reproducing the class relations of capitalist society This general approach can be called a class centered functional View of the state In one form or another it has been the core of traditional Marxist state theory 1 BaseSuperstructure This kind of functionalist argument was a central part of the thesis in classical Marxism that the state was part of the superstructure I do not want to dwell on this classical View since it is not widely supported in contemporary discussions at least in this form but it is worth brie y explaining its logic 2 What is a Superstructure l Superstructures support bases without superstructures bases would collapse 2 Cohen s image a roof holding up the struts Without the roof the stuts fall down 3 Bases explain superstructures The explanation for the presence of the roof is the need to hold up the struts The base explains functionally the form of the superstructure the state exists and takes the form that it does because it is necessary to reproduce class relations 4 Superstructures are not epiphenomenal they have tremendous effects 3 What is wrong with the superstructural view The basic problem usually identified is the absence of adequate mechanisms that explain the functionality of the superstructure The functionality of the state or anything else cannot be taken for granted it is not automatic but must be socially produced and sustained The image of the stateassuperstructure tends to shortcircuit the investigation of such mechanisms Still I think it is legitimate to sustain the functional description of the state as a working hypothesis and starting point for analysis as a way of posing a set of questions Lecture 19 What is Politics What is the State 2 4 Modifying the Functional Image Two kinds of theoretical moves have characterized Marxist discussions that have rejected the strong superstructural notion of the state 1 State as arena of struggle 9 contested functionality First it is now often argued that the state is also an obj ect and arena of class struggles struggles which may impinge on the capacity of the state to ll ll this essential function While the class nature of the state is still generally accepted its functionality is viewed as more problematic and potentially even contradictory because of the effects of struggles 2 State as potentially autonomous 9 contradictory functionality Second and more at odds with traditional Marxist theory many Marxists now argue that the people who directly run the state politicians top of cials bureaucrats state managers have their own distinctive interests which may not be completely consonant with capitalist interests What is more because of the state s administrative and repressive powers these statebased actors have at least some capacity to act on their interests The state the argument goes therefore has a certain degree of potential autonomy from its class functions and autonomy which under extreme circumstances may lead the state to act against the interests of the dominant class Needless to say as we shall see the state autonomy thesis has been very controversial and there certainly is no consensus among Marxists concerning the nature of this potential autonomy or the limits on the ability of states to oppose ruling class interests 3 contingent contradictory functionality Taken together these two arguments that class struggles may impinge on the ability of the state to serve the ruling class and that state actors may have some autonomy from ruling class interests have seriously challenged the traditional functionalism of Marxist state theory There is a general recognition that a full account of the capitalist state must integrate on the one hand an analysis of the state s functions and the mechanisms which enable the state to ful ll those functions and on the other an analysis of the process of struggle and institutionbuilding which transforms the state and its mechanisms and which generates potentially contradictions within the state itself Understanding such contingent contradictory functionality will be the guiding theme of our exploration of the theory of the state 5 Conceptual foundations In this rst lecture we will try to clarify the basic conceptual terrain that will be used throughout our discussions of politics and the state Four interconnected concepts are particularly important 1 politics 2 political power 3 domination 4 the state These concepts are all hotly contested The de nitions which I will offer therefore should not be viewed as re ecting a general consensus within contemporary Marxism Indeed in certain respects what I will have to say by way of de nition is not even distinctively Marxist in that these de nitions could be adopted within quite nonMarxist substantive arguments Lecture 19 What is Politics What is the State 3 11 Basic Concepts 1 Politics 11 Practice In order to define politics we must rst de ne the concepts of practice and political practice Practice is de ned as human action analyzed in terms of its transformative effects on the world This does not imply it must be emphasized that social action is no more than objective transformative effects or that the subjective meanings of the actors are irrelevant to understanding action Indeed as we shall see one of the critical issues in contemporary Marxist discussions is the relationship between conscious political practice those practices in which the subjective meanings are political as well as the objective effects and the unintentional political aspects of other kinds of practices The point is that the subjective state of the actor is not part of the very de nition of political practice 12 Political Practice What then is political practice I will de ne political practice as human social action that transforms social relations This is to be contrasted with economic practice which transforms nature into usevalues and ideological practice which transforms human lived experience into subjectivity 13 Reproduction as Transformation Transformation is an encompassing term in these de nitions A social practice that produces a given social relation which maintains it in a given form would also be considered a political practice A reproductive political practice in a sense transforms a social relation into itself The assumption underlying this characterization of reproduction is that Social relations never continue simply out of pure inertia This is especially true in cases where social relations contain inherent antagonisms of interests or what can be called contradictions such relations do not continue unchanged simply by existing Reproduction of antagonistic social relations should be viewed as an active process of blocking certain specific kinds of transformations The implication here is that an antagonistic social relation like that of class exploitation requires speci c processes for its maintenance otherwise it would be transformed through struggle 14 Type vs Aspect of Practice In discussions of political practice it is important to distinguish the political aspects of social practices in general from political practice as a type of practice To speak of the political aspects of any social practice eg the political aspects of economic practices is to discuss the ways in which a given practice reproduces and transforms social relations even if those transformations were not intended by the actors To speak of political practice as a type of practice on the other hand implies that the intention of the actors is to produce such transformations Actors are conscious subjects and may take social relations as the intentional object of their actions Politics then is the term we use when discussing interactions among political practices in which the political aspects are intentionally pursued by the actors Lecture 19 What is Politics What is the State 4 15 Multiplicity of Types of Political Practice Understood in this way politics can be identi ed with every type of social relation 0 gender politics produce and reproduce gender relations 0 classroom politics produce and reproduce the relations between teachers and students 0 class politics produce and reproduce class relations Even if there are reasons to treat class politics as particularly central to understanding large scale social changes it is incorrect to identify politics as such with class politics or to treat all other types of politics as simply reflections of class politics It is also incorrect under the de nition of politics as interactions among conscious political practices to restrict politics to the public sphere Politics occurs within families and other intimate relations in the private sphere as well as factories schools and of course the state itself What is more it is a political question not one given once and for all by the social relations themselves precisely where the boundary between the public and private and thus the public and private spheres of political practice is drawn While there may be good reasons in the study of politics to focus on the public arena of the formal political system especially the state the theoretical domain of politics is much broader than this This definition of politics and of political practice is considerably broader than that implicit in many Marxist analyses Sometimes the analysis of politics is restricted to practices oriented to the state other times to practices that take political power or domination as their obj ect rather than transformations of social relations in general Under such more restricted definitions ifone could imagine a society without a state and certainly if one can imagine a society without domination then there would be no politics as well The withering away of the state to use a venerable Marxist slogan would also signal the withering away of politics In the de nition which I have offered politics is an intrinsic feature of human social life and while the hypothesized withering away of the state would certainly radically transform the terrain on which political practices occurred politics as such would continue If anything one might expect politics would loom larger in the daily life of average people since the conscious transformation of social relations would no longer be primarily delegated to experts and politicians but would be a central feature of everyday practices 2 Political Power 21 Power in General All practices of whatever sort involve power ie capacities to produce the transformations specific to the practice Economic power in these terms refers to the capacity to transform nature political power to the capacity to transform social relations and ideological power to the capacity to transform subjectivity Lecture 19 What is Politics What is the State 5 22 Instrumental amp structural power The expression capacity to transform has both an instrumental and structural meaning The instrumental meaning is the simplest To say that a particular individual or group has a great deal of political power is to say that they effectively control a variety of resources which enables them to effectively transform social relations These resources constitute the means of production of political practice and the conscious use of those means of production to accomplish transformations is what we have called politics In addition to this instrumental meaning of political power however it is important to specify a sense in which a group can be structurally powerful politically even if the individuals in the group do not consciously wield instruments of political power This occurs when the unintended political aspects of social practices reproduce or transform social relations in ways which serve the interests of the group in question For example as we will see in more detail later the economic practices of capitalists have systematic political effects The patterns of investment and disinvestment impose constraints on the political choices of all groups in the society and thus deeply shape the possibilities of transforming social relations even if capitalists do not use their investments consciously as political weapons Of course capitalists may also use investments as a conscious political instrument as when investment strikes are consciously used to shape state policies This would be an instance where economic power is being deliberately used to inhance political power But even apart from such instrumental political uses of economic power the control over investments by capitalists gives them structural political power 23 Means amp ef cacy of Instruments of power In analyzing any type of power whether it be economic ideological political it is important to establish both what constitutes the principle means of transformation used within the practice in question and the determinants of the e icacy of those means of transformation This way of talking is most familiar in the case of economic power Economic power is the capacity to produce transformations of nature The forces of production constitute the means of production deployed in such practices and the efficacy of those forces of production is defined largely by their technical productivity The economic power of an individual or class thus depends both upon the extent to which it monopolizes the means of production the property rights and the productivity of the means of production which it controls 24 Organizations as the Means of Politics As in the case of economic practices the analysis of political power involves specifying the means of production of political practice or what I will call means of politics and the efficacy of those means The prototypes of means of politics are political parties and the state ie organizations Organizations are central to political power because of their role in mobilizing collective action and constraining choice But really any resource that bears on the capacity to transform relations can be considered pertinent to political power Thus many economic resources are simultaneously political resources and can enhance political power The translation of economic resources into political Lecture 19 What is Politics What is the State 6 power can operate through very crude mechanisms for example when money is used to bribe officials or buy one s way into office or in quite subtle ways as when the need for private investments shapes the political agenda discussed by politicians How material resources are to be treated as elements of economic power or political power or both depends upon what is being explained what effects and transformations are being considered One of the pivotal theses of Marxism is precisely that economic power is the basis of political power ie the effective control over the material means of production is the basis for the control over the means of producingtransforming social relations Political power is also affected by the efficacy of the means of politics not simply the degree to which they are monopolized by particular actors In the economic case it is easy to talk about the productivity of the forces of production There is a fairly well defined concept of technical progress of the surplus producing capacity of a given technology and knowledge etc The parallel concept is more problematic in the domain of politics but is nevertheless pertinent Different political organizations are able to produce different effects they have variable e icacy This is not just a question of who controls them or how thoroughly they control those organizations States may be strong or weak efficient or inefficient as political means of production The incapacity of the state is a critical problem as we shall see in a later discussion Similarly for political parties working class party organizations vary in their ability to effectively mobilize workers for struggle Lenin s arguments for the necessity of a vanguard party in his famous essay What is to be Done is precisely an argument about the political productivity of different means of politics open to the working class 3 Domination 31 Power vs Domination as concepts In many discussions of power power is equated with domination if there is no domination there is no power Ithink that power the capacity to transform relations is distinct from domination situations in which there are unequal distributions of power Even in a utopian communist egalitarian society there must be politics and power but there need not be domination Domination then is a way of descri bing the distribution of power Domination exists within a relation when one individual or group or category asymmetrically has power over another individual or group or category If the power of one group over another was symmetrical that is each group had power over the other then this would not be domination 32 The Multiple faces of Domination The expression power over is a complex one and has been subjected to many interpretations in political theory There are at least three meanings that have been widely used These have been identified by Steven Lukes in his in uential book Power aRadical View London McMillan 1974 as three faces of power which in our terms are three faces of domination l A dominates B when A can get B to do something even over the objections of B instrumental power Lecture 19 What is Politics What is the State 7 2 A dominates B when A can de ne the range of alternatives open to B within which B freely chooses what to do negative power nondecisionmaking power 3 A dominates B when A is able to realize A s interests at the expense of B s interests even if B freely cooperates with A Bob Alford and Roger Friedland have referred to these three forms as situational power institutional or organizational power and systemic power see The Powers of Theory Cambridge University Press 1985 chapter 1 These can best be understood in the metaphor of politics as a game as suggested in an early lecture Systemic power concerns power over what game is to be played revolutionary V counterrevolutionary politics Organizational power concerns power over the rules of the game reformist V reactionary politics Situational power concerns power over plays within a given set of rules liberal vs conservative politics Systemic domination then refers to a situation in which there are deep asymmetries of power in shaping which game is played institutional domination refers to a situation in which these asymmetries determine the precise rules of the game and situational domination is a situation in which particular actors can dictate to others specific actions As we shall see in subsequent discussions many of the debates within the Marxist theory of the state and politics revolve around the interplay of these different faces of power and domination 33 A parenthetical note on situational politics In the case of both institutional power and systemic power it is clear that social relations as such are the objects of politics To talk about which game is played or the rules of the game is precisely to talk about the reproduction and transformation of social relations Situational power on the other hand seems to have less to do with social relations as such The concept looks like it simply refers to direct control over the practices of one person or group rather than over relations Should this then still be Viewed as an instance of political power To say that A gets B to do something B would not otherwise do is to say A has the capacity to reproduce a particular social relation between A and B a relation within which B will act in the proscribed way The sanctions at A s disposal are precisely what defines the relation between A and B and A s power capacity consists in preventing B from escaping that relation this is what transforming a relation is To say that a manager dominates workers by being in a position to force them to do particular tasks which they otherwise would not do is a shorthand for saying that workers are unable to transform the relation within which they must obey their bosses and that the costs to the individual worker of trying to escape the relation are greater than staying in it This does not imply that workers are powerless within this relation since they are Lecture 19 What is Politics What is the State 8 formally free to quit and that they can collectively resist the domination of the boss in various ways But they are nevertheless dominated situationally in so far as their capacity power to determine their speci c activities within production are less than the capacity of their bosses 4 The State 41 General de nition Domination is not just a problem of interpersonal relations as the metaphor of A getting B to act in particular ways suggests Domination is inscribed in social institutions of various sorts This is crucial for it is the institutionalization of domination that makes it stable over time The state in these terms is l the most superordinate 2 territorially centralized 3 institution of domination in a society Political power may be unequally distributed within many arenas of social life in the family in the factory in the community Each of these may be sites of domination To the extent that these specific sites of domination in a given territory are quot 39 J 39 J by a quot J apparatus that apparatus can be called a state 42 Contrast with Weberian de nitions and some Marxist de nitions This definition of the state is somewhat at odds with conventional definitions in both the Weberian and Marxist traditions Weberian definitions of the state typically define the state as an apparatus which monopolizes the legitimate use of force over a territory The definition above does not assert either that the state state monopolizes violence nor that its rule is legitimate To be sure it may well be the case that states generally do more or less sucessfully monopolize violence over a territory and also that this monopoly of violence is generally viewed as legitimate by at least a significant part of the population and certainly by the personnel of the state itself But neither ofthese seems to me to be essential to the very definition ofthe state The essence is domination in territorially centralized institutions it will be variable the extent to which that domination rests of violence and is legitimate The definition is also somewhat at odds with most Marxist definitions since it does not explicitly insist that states are apparatuses of class domination but just political domination While I in fact believe that states are apparatuses for class domination for reasons we will explore in subsequent chapters I do not think that this should be built into the definition of the state itself Rather it is a proposition which has to be argued on independent grounds The basis for the argument revolves around the relationship between economic power and political power and thus political domination It is not however logically entailed by the very concept of the state Lecture 19 What is Politics What is the State 9 43 Variability in the degree of stateness De ning the state as the superordinate territorially centralized apparatus of domination implies as Pierre Birnbaum has suggested that historically empirical states vary in their degree of stateness That is they vary in both the extent to which domination is in fact territorially centralized and in the extent of the domination that is so centralized High levels of stateness occur when there are high levels of domination and territorial centralization low levels exist where there are either high levels of relatively autonomous decentralized domination eg in feudal states or low levels of domination altogether eg in radically democratic political systems This is the sense in which genuine democracy as a social principle of the exercise of political power is antistatist and the radical extension of democracy as envisioned in classical Marxist theories of the revolutionary socialism in fact signals at least a partial dissolution of the state ie a reduction of the stateness of state apparatuses Important implication the withering away of the state does not equal the withering away of politics and does not necessarily imly the withering away of domination 5 State and Civil Society The meaning of any theoretical object is shaped by other concepts with which it is contrasted In the case of political practice these contrasts involve the distinction between political economic and ideological practices In the case of the state itself the contrast that is frequently introduced in Marxist discussions is between the state and what is called civil society The concept of civil society is a particularly vague one in many discussions Generally it is used to refer to those aspects of social life that have what could be termed strictly external relations with the state That is they exist autonomously from the state have their own mechanisms of reproduction but in various ways interact with state apparatuses Primary examples of social relations in civil society are social networks of various sorts secondary associations what are loosely called communities Critics of the state civil society dichotomy have argued that because the state has become more and more implicated in everyday life in production accumulation the family and so forth it no longer makes any sense to imagine a sphere of social relations constituted independently of the state All aspects of social relations have internal relations with the state proper and therefore should not be analytically separated into a distinct sphere These criticisms in my judgment con ate the important fact that all social relations and practices have political aspects with the problem of distinguishing the state as a specific apparatus from other institutional arenas in a given territory In the terms of the definition of the state elaborated above the statecivil society distinction hinges of the existence of arenas of political practice in which at a minimum situational power is not exercised by the state or state officials If the state exercises situational domination throughout the society then the state is not simply the most superordinate territorially centralized organization of domination it has become the only organization of domination This is the image embodied in the concept of the totalitarian Lecture 19 What is Politics What is the State 10 state the state directly penetrates all sites of social practice So long as this is not the case then there remains sites of political power struggle and initiative sites of politics that cannot be subsumed under the state as such This is what is meant by ciVil society Sociology 298 Lecture 11 Class Analysis of Ideology March 20 2002 I Introduction WHAT IS IDEOLOGY 1 Multiple uses of the term Ideology There is a deep problem in the use of the word ideology Several common associations ideology as false ideas ideology as the other of science ideology as systematized gestalts of beliefs ideological vs chaotic ways of thinking ideology as a multidimensional concept mapping all sociallyrelevant aspects of subjectivity I do not have a fully elaborated proposal for the linkage between the terminological conventions and the conceptual eld we are exploring This will create more ambiguities than in some of our other discussions But I will try to use the following convention An Ideology the reference is to a system of beliefs ideology describes cognitive categories of various sorts Ideological practices reference is to the process of producing beliefs incorporated within subjectivity 2 Ideology and Other Aspects of Social RelationsPractices 21 The concept of Practice Practice in general a speci c way of thinking about human action Human action can be analyzed in terms of the categories of meaning it embodies 7 this is Weber s problem of social action as meaning ll action Meaningful action is for example distinguished from pure habit Practice understands activities in terms of how the transform the world within which they occur Transformation always involve an actor acting upon some sort of raw material using some means of transformation or means of prduction to generate some transformation of that raw material Lecture 11 Class AnalEiS of Ideology 22 Ideology as a practice contrasted with political anal economic practice economic practice process of producing use values through the transformation of nature as a raw material political practice process of producing social relations through the transformation of social action as a raw material ideological practice process of producing conscious dimensions of subjectivity through the transformation of individual lived experience raw mateIial into beliefs Ideology cognitive content of thinking cultural practices process of producing the nonconscious dimensions of subjectivity personality dispositions theoretical practice process of producing knowledge of social relations through the transformation of ideology as a raw material Perhaps we can give specificity to religious practices in these terms practices which produce existential meaningfulness meaninginlife Marxism could constitute a religious practice in such terms This might also underwrite a contrast between spiritual practice and religious practice religion as alienated spirituality Ideological practice is thus a social process through which conscious subjectivity is formed through the real activities of people engaged in social relations in which what happens to them experiences are transformed into cognitive products Example Michael Burawoy s analysis of the labor process His argument workers participate in their own exploitation actively that is they consent to their own exploitation not by virtue of subjective orientation which they bling to the shop oor from outside through socialization etc but because of the forms of subjectivity that are produced through the forms of competition and con ict on the shop oor itself The heart of his analysis is thus the actual social process through which given forms of subjective orientations are produced and reproduced through the daily practices within the labor process Lecture 11 Class AnalEis of Ideology 3 23 Type vs Dimension of practice 1 Ideology in this sense should be seen as a dimension of practices rather than simply a type of practice 2 When the ideological aspect of a practice is its central intentional goal we can speak of an ideological practice One can do ideology Education is an ideological practice in this sense the central task is transforming subjectivity especially the cognitive aspects of subjectivity 3 Ideology is a contradictory practice the forms of subjectivity produced by ideological practices are never wholly integrative of capitalism never purely functional In Burawoy s analysis while consent is produced so is resistencesolidarity The problem is to understand the material conditions for each and the balance between them 24 Ideology Culture Consciousness Subjectivity I think it is use ll to draw a contrast between ideology and culture by saying ideology cognitive aspects of consciousness and culture E noncognitive aspects of subjectivity The basic idea can be illustrated if we look at gendered aspects of ideological and cultural practices Patriarchal ideology beliefs in the naturalness of the sexual division of labor in the desirability of men doing aggressive competitive jobs and women nurturing emotional work Patriarchal culture socialization of masculine and feminine attributes of personality differentially in men and women so that men are dispositionally more aggressive and women more nurturing Bourgeois ideology gt belief in the efficiency and of private enterprise and the justice of distributions generated by markets Bourgeois culture gt 39 J39 r quot39 habits r quot structures conditioned to participate effectively in markets and competitition A given concrete practice disciplining a child reading a book etc may contain both ideological and cultural aspects of course Lecture 11 Class AnalEis of Ideology 25 Contradictions of ideological and cultural practices Fundamental issue for the transformation of social relations contradictions between ideological and cultural practices many men believe in nonaggressive nurturance ideology even though they have been socialized as aggressive nonnurturant personalities culture Changing ideas can lead to changes in behavior which result in changes in dispositions This kind of contradiction is at the heart of Therborn s analysis of ideology II Therborn s Analysis 1 Basic Definitions Goran Therborn takes off from Althusser s central conceptualization of ideology as a subject producing practice Althusser referred to this as the way ideology interpellates social subjects which essentially means hails them as subjects or identi es them as subjects Therborn s project is essentially to take the generic notion that ideology transforms individuals into subjects and develop it in ways that make possible the concrete historical investigation of ideology While much of his analysis revolves around clarifying a host of conceptual distinctions and thus it reads a little like a dictionary in places the discussion is filled with more substantive theoretical propositions and analyses The analysis revolves around four main objectives 1 To generate a set of concepts which make possible the historical investigation of ideology This implies moving from the level of abstraction of what Althusser called ideology in general to the level of ideologies but doing so in a way that draws on the more general conceptual framework 2 To expand the concept of ideology to encompass nonclass subjectivitiessubjects Throughout the analysis Therborn is very insistent upon the importance of grasping the process of the formation of sexual subjectivity as well as class subjectivity and various other kinds of subjectivity He sees people as being multiple subjects interpellated in many dilTerent relations with a multiplicity of subjectivities The problem is to understand the specificity and interconnectedness of these subjectivities not to collapse them into a unified class subjectivity 3 To give an account of the content and speci c forms of interpellation subjectformation rather than treat it as a homogeneous unified process This implies Lecture 11 Class AnalEis of Ideology 5 decomposing the general claims about the effects of ideology into a number of intersecting components of subjectivity 4 To provide a way of grasping the fundamentally contradictory character of the process of subject formation rather than treating contradictions as simple disturbances as does Althusser This is essential if the analysis is to avoid the functionalist pitfalls that Althusser sometimes approaches People are interpellated both as subjects of the ruling class ideology and as countersubjects It is impossible to carefully go through all of the steps of his exposition in this section so I will emphasize the third and fourth of these objectives although some mention will be made of the others as well Before going any further it would be good to state Therbom s formal definition of ideology ideology The operation of ideology in human life involves fundamentally constituting and patteming how human being live their lives as conscious re ecting initiators of acts in a universe of meaningIn this sense ideology constitutes human beings as subjects And elsewhere he states that to study the ideological aspect of a practice is to focus on the way it operates in the formation and transformation of human subjectivity This is similar to Althusser s definition but is somewhat more exhaustive in its specification of the formationtransformation of subjectivity in general and it posits a more active image of human action in seeing the problem of subjectivity as the patteming of subjectivity of human beings as conscious re ecting initiators of acts in a universe of meaning To embark on such an investigation Therbom proposes a whole series of new concepts and conceptual distinctions These concepts then form the basis for some general claims about how Marxists should study ideology ideological struggle and ideological transformation 2 Central conceptual point Modes of Interpellation 21 meaning of interpellation Therbom specifies the Althusserian concept of interpellation in a new and much more precise way as a dual process of subjection and quali cation subjection implies forming the subjectivity of individuals under a general model of subjectivity subjecting them to a given standard qualification implies the suitability of such subjectivity for specific roles positions within relations in society Subjection thus refers to the effects of ideology on individual subjectivity Lecture 11 Class AnalEis of Ideology 6 Quali cation refers to the effects of such subjectivity on the individual s insertion into social relations If the analysis was purely lnctionalist in character then there would be a perfect coincidence between these two aspects of interpellation it would be the requirements of qualification which would homeostatically dictate the forms of subjection But Therbom insists that the correspondence between these two aspects of interpellation is not by any means guaranteed that the correspondence itself is a result of struggle and that a variety of forms of noncorrespondencecontradiction can occur This is of great importance for understanding the role of ideology in social change rather than simply in social reproduction 22 modes of interpellation The subjectionquali cation of individuals involves three interconnected forms of interpellation Ideologies Therbom writes subject and qualify subjects by telling them and relating them to and making them recognize a what exists b what is good c what is possible These are characterized as three successive lines of defense of a given social order The investigation of an ideology then involves analyzing how the subjective recognition of each of these is formedtransformed what their content is etc Comments 1 what exists answers to this question play a big part in the notion of ideology as false beliefs or ideology as mysti cation since you can have incorrect beliefs about what existsThe truth or falsity of the content of beliefs however is a question of theoretical practice 7 the process by which knowledge is produced Ideological practices are simply the practices that transform lived experience into cognitive aspects of subjectivity An example from ideologies of nature you sit on a hillside at watch the sun set the sun moves this is your lived experience the translation of that experience into a set of cognitive beliefs about the relative motion of the sun and earth is ideological practice The transformation of those beliefs into knowledge is theoretical practice 2 what is good under the rubric what is good two sorts of subjectivities are included the cognitive belief in what is good and the motivational orientation of what is good Thus it is not entirely clear whether the bourgeois value in competitiveness is being treated mainly as a valuenorm or as a personalitycharacter structure or both As I indicated I think it is use ll to distinguish ideological and cultural practices precisely in these terms subjectionqualification thus involves both the creation of a set of beliefs and dispositions compare this to Bourdieu s concept of habitus as a cultural embedded pattern of Lecture 11 Class AnalEis of Ideology 7 dispositions This distinction is especially important for understanding the kinds of contradictions which make progressive change possible the distinction between the characterstructure and cognitivestructure aspect of valuesnorms reveals potential contradictions between the kind of people we are and the kind of people we d like to be This is important for example in struggles over sexismmade domination on the left in which men genuinely believe that it is bad to be competitiveaggressive in discussions but have difficulty in not acting that way 3 what is possible politically this element of ideology often is the pivotal one People may fully perceive the oppressive realities of capitalism and morally condemn them but feel that nothing can be done 23 Class interpellations There are many aspects to the answers to these questions To be subjected to a gender ideology and become qualified to function within gender relations we leam answers to the questions what is good what exists and what is possible as they relate to gender and genderrelevant social processes To be subjected to a class ideology and become qualified to function within class relations we learn answers to these same questions as they relate to class and classrelevant social processes Part of what a class analysis of ideology involves then is revealing this class content to the ways people answer these questions 24 The tasks of the study of ideology Ideological practices 39 incorporation into subjectivity of sets of beliefs The study of ideology then involves several tasks the intemal study of Ideology studying the character of the beliefs themselves and the nature of the articulation of these beliefs into configurations the process by which ideological practices generate subjectivities the effects of these con gurations on practices especially collective actions the functionality and contradictions in Ideology how patterns of ideology reproduce and undermine social relations 25 Ideological Hegemony This is an extraordinarily interesting topic really rich in theoretical and political implications which we will not be able to pursue here It takes an entire session in the longer class But I want to sketch a the core issue The crucial contrastisbetween39J 39 39 39 39 39 and39J 39 39 397 Lecture 11 Class AnalEis of Ideology 8 ideological domination the ideas of the ruling class are the ruling ideas This is a diagnosis about the content of the beliefs that make up the belief system of actors these ideas re ect the interests of the dominant class ideological hegemony the ideas that are articulated within ideology include oppositional ideas ideas that come out of popular struggles but they are linked to other ideas in such a way as to neutralize their threatening character Democracy is the best example belief in the desirability of democracy is an essential element of bourgeois ideology This is an element that came from popular struggles not from the capitalist class In early capitalism no one thought that democracy could stably fit into bourgeois ideology but it has because of the way it has been linked to the rule of law and private property This successful incorporation of oppositional ideas is what turns a dominant ideology into a hegemonic one It is what gives the defenders of the hegemonic ideology moral stature 7 what Gramsci calls moral and intellectual leadership Implication ideological struggle on the terrain of ideology over the articulation of these elements rather than between paradigmatic ideologies 3 Material Matrix of Ideology understanding the process of formation of subjectivity 31 Affirmations amp Sanctions These interpellations do not occur simply because of the pronouncement of the words re ecting these ideologies Interpellation the formation and transformation of subjectivities is the result of a systematic process of affirmations and sanctions Affirmations In af rming practices if an interpellated subject acts in accordance with the dictates of the ideological discourse then the outcomes predicted by the ideology occurs Sanctions Sanctioning practices constitute the punishments invoked for contravention of the dictates of ideological discourse 32 Discursive and nondiscursive practices This distinction between discursive and nondiscursive practices is not so obscure even though every discursive act necessarily has a nondiscursive side to it As Therborn says there is some difference between being pronounced dead by a hostile critic and being assassinated The point at hand is that ideologies are affirmed and sanctioned not just by words but by nondiscursive practices which back upreinforce the discursive practices of ideology Note Therborn s interesting discussions of excommunication as a form of sanction involving both discursive sanctionsbeing pronounced excommunicatedand nondiscursive sanctionsbeing denied various things or being burnt at the stake etc Lecture 11 Class AnalEis of Ideology 9 One crucial consequence of this analysis going beyond the simple forceconsent dichotomy as the basis of ruling class domination all force presupposes consent at least in the sense of forms of subjectivity which make the application of force effective and all forms of ideological interpellation presuppose a system of sanctionsaffirmations which include elements of coercion 33 The Class Analysis ofthe Material Matrix ofideology Class analysis of ideology does not stop at simply unmasking the beliefs 7 revealing the class content of interpellations A central issue is also understanding the class character of the af rmations and sanctions discursive and nondiscursive practices that back up these ideological elements that reinforce them that instill them The central idea is that these ideas are internalized into subjectivities not simply because the content is proclaimed but because it is embedded in af rmations and sanctions and these need to be understood An excellent example of this is Bowles and Gintis early book on Education in America 4 The Analysis of Contradictions and Transformations of Ideology These diverse concepts which decode the complexity of ideology and establish the social processes which affirmsanction ideology provides the basis for Therbom s account of the transformation of ideologies the contradictions of ideology and ideological class struggle The starting point of this analysis is what could be termed an intergenerational perspective on ideology which is then linked to a specific set of theses about contradictions and transformation 41 Intergenerational perspective on ideology Transformations of ideologies always presuppose an existing ideology people are transformed from one kind of subject to another not from being nonsubjects into subjects To explain change then we must understand why a given form of subjectivity is not simply passed on from one generation to another A parental generation will always mould its children according to its own form of subjectivity and if ecological demographic socioeconomic and any intersocietal relationships remain the same the younger generation will face exactly the same af rmations and sanctions of the existing ideologies as the parental one It follows that the explanation of the generation of ideologies will have to start from processes of change in the structure of a given society It is these changes then which constitute the material determination of the rise of ideologies Contrast to idealist view which assumes that just through the power of ideological imagination each new generation of humans can emancipate themselves from ideological formation by their parents even though facing exactly the same situations as the latter af filmations and sanctions Lecture 11 Class AnalEis of Ideology 10 42 Key idea Changes in social structures change the forms of sanctionsaf rmations The emergence of capitalism means that capitalistsubjectivity begins to be affirmedrewarded stagnation means that certain subjectivities cease to be affirmed in ways that they once were late capitalism undermines the relationalmaterial affirmations of the work ethic etc A brilliant study of this is Richard Bemacki s book The Fabrication of Labour He tries to explain the different belief systems of German and British textile workers about the nature of work The central argument is that the British worker 7 but not the German worker 7 had spent several generations as an independent craft worker producing for a market between the demise of feudal production and the rise of capitalist factory production In the German case the demise of feudalism overlapped the rise of capitalism The result is that in the British case enough time had passed for new sets of ideas and understandings about work and labor to emerge and consolidate whereas in Germany the working class brought with them fuedal beliefs into the factory These were of course transformed by capitalism but the resulting belief systems were different because the raw material in Germany was different from Britain 43 Contradictions amp the temporality of change These arguments open the way for the systematic accounts of ideological contradictions Several possibilities a structural change in modes of production change the matrix of material affirmations and sanctions This means that old subjectivities no longer constitute the basis for qualification into rolesrelations b class struggle over affirmationssanctions can set up competing systems of interpellation competing material matrices Unions impose sanctions on certain kinds of competitiveness among workers thus counteracting the affirmations of the market Result clashing subjectivities based on clashing af rmationssanctions ie coexistence of antagonistic classalter ideologies These are examples how conscious motivated practice can establish the material framework for the transformation of subjectivities by producing contradictions or intensifying them c The different interpellations of the same individual may contradict each other the differentmultiple subjectivities may not be congruent with each other For example the forms of subjectivity of women within bourgeoispatriarchical sexgender interpellations are not congruent with the form of interpellation of women as graduate students within competitive bourgeois academic relations The former demands passivity gentleness the latter demands aggressiveness assertiveness competitiveness Such contradiction can motivate a variety of responses struggles to change the affirmationssanctions in the academic relations rejection o he female subjectivity of the sexgender system women act like men struggles to transform the sexgender relations of affirmationsanction Lecture 11 Class AnalEis of Ideology 11 d Fundamental importance of temporality of change the speed of social change as such becomes crucial If change is very slow then smooth adjustments are possible for example if changes that require new subjectivities take several generations to accomplish if change is much more rapid many dramatic changes within a single generation then subjective reconstitution becomes problematic Lifecycle perspective on the operation of ideology Sociology 298 Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias March 22 2002 I The Theoretical Context Classical Marxist vision of emancipatory change Recall the central theses about emancipatory alternatives to capitalism within classical Marxism Thesis 9 The revolutionary transformation thesis Since capitalism becomes increasingly unsustainable thesis 7 while the class forces arrayed against capitalism become increasingly numerous and capable of challenging capitalism thesis 8 eventually the social forces arrayed against capitalism will be sufficiently strong and capitalism itself su iciently weak that capitalism can be overthrown Thesis 91 The necessity of rupture thesis the destruction of capitalism must be ruptural rather than incremental ie that the destruction takes place in a temporally condensed historical episode Thesis 92 Revolutionary violence thesis Because of the institutional power of the defenders of capitalism any radical rupture with capitalist social relations requires violent overthrow of the state rather than democratic capture Thesis 10 The transition to socialism thesis Given the ultimate non sustainability of capitalism thesis 7 and the interests and capacities of the social actors arrayed against capitalism thesis 8 in the aftermath of the destruction of capitalism through intensified class struggle thesis 9 socialism defined as a society in which the working class collectively controls the system of production is its most likely successor or in an even stronger version of the thesis its inevitable successor Perhaps the central problem for the Marxist tradition as a coherent distinctive tradition of critical social theory is to reformulate a theory of emancipatory social change in light of the general skepticism in the adequacy of these theses One possibility of course is abandon the attempt at a real social theory of emancipation as such What we would have is an elaboration of moral ideals of the principle of social justice and human ourishing and a critique of existing institutions in terms of the ways they block those principles but no real theory of the historical production of an alternative In any given concrete context of social change and social struggle we would still be able to ask the question which options best advance these principles But we would not attempt to theorize systemlevel alternatives In a way this is the stance taken by many feminists in any given context there is an answer to the question Which social change among the alternatives that are possible now is most consistent with the aspirations of women s liberation Very little attention is given to the systemlevel transformation problem except in gestures Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 2 Critics of capitalism in the Marxist tradition have been very reluctant to give up the system level critique This may in part be just nostalgic radiml stubbomess and unwillingness to scale back one s political and theoretical aspirations But I also feel that the institutions of capitalism are so power il naturalized and to use a word we will decipher later hegemonic that it is worth continuing to pose the problem of systemlevel alternatives and the conditions for their realization That is basically the aspiration of what I call envisioning real utopias II Viability amp Achievability In thinking about alternatives to existing social institutions whether we think of this as system level alternatives or alternatives to particular institutional complexes it is use ll I think to distinguish between the analysis of the viability of an alternative and the analysis of its achievability Achievability refers to the concrete political possibilities of forging political coalitions that a would adopt the alternative as part of a political project and b have suf cient strength to be able to institute the alternative Viability refers to the effective mctioning of the alternative once instituted its sustainability the problem of its unintended consequences and so on Classical Marxism focused almost exclusively on achievability that was the guts of the theory of revolutionary socialism it was achievable because capitalism would become nonviable and there were sufficiently power il social forces to implement socialism My work on envisioning real utopias focuses more on viability not achievability This is not because the problem of the strength of potential political coalitions that might adopt a proposal as a project is unimportant but because I feel that one of the ways of facilitating the formation of coalition is to have clear compelling ideas of viable alternatives III The context of emancipatory change 1 stronglyintegrated totalities vs looselycoupled systems The idea of radical transformation of an entire social order is pretty mindboggling and in one sense it is surprising that anyone takes this idea seriously This is what Frederick Hayak calls the fatal conceit of radical intellectuals that they are smart enough and can control the unintended consequences of social change well enough that they could put into practice such schemes for massive societal change In his view society is far too complex a system and unintended consequences are mdamentally uncontrollable A project of totalizing social change therefore is a Pandora s box perhaps a ankenstein embarking on such a project necessarily unleashes uncontrollable unintended consequences and the effort to control them generates catastrophe The collectivization campaigns in the USSR in the 1930s or the Great Leap Forward in China are horrifying 20Lb century examples Hayak s critique should be taken seriously not dismissed out of hand But it is premised on a particular conception of the project of radical societal transformation a conception grounded in Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 3 the view of society as a strong integrated totality Let us contrast this with a view of society as a loosely coupled system 0 stronglyintegrated totality There is some singular principle which illy integrates all signi cant institutions and relations in a society A society is like an organism nearly every organ ful lls crucial mctions You cannot massively change any part or at least you cannot change any part in a way that contradicts this unifying principle without calling into question the whole Society as a totality is thus both strongly integrated and fragile fragile in the sense that it cannot tolerate much deviation from systemintegration principles looselycoupled system Societies are systems of interconnected parts but these are loosely coupled and it is a variable property of such systems how fragile they are how much they can tolerate discordant elements A society is more like an ecosystem than an organism some ecosystems are robust and can accomodate fairly substantial change others are quotagile 2 Implications of the looselycoupled system View No capitalist society is purely mpitalist Capitalism is always combined with other principles of social organization Some of these complement capitalism and make the social order more stable than it would be if it were purely capitalist others may contradict capitalism interstices articulations metamorphoses possibilities for emancipatory transformation emerge and an be put into practice by taking advantage of the capacity of capitalist society to muddle through in spite of contradictions Two broad images of this process 1 interstitial innovation social changes that occur in the spaces outside of central capitalist institutions Workers coops genderegalitarian families urban deliberative citizen councils would be examples 2 disarticulation and transformation of dimensions of core institutions occupational safety and health works councils basic income various ways in which aspects of core capitalist relations are split off from capitalism transformed and rearticulated Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 4 IV Examples of Real Utopian Ideas 1 Universal Basic Income 11 The model The basic idea is quite simple Every citizen receives a monthly living stipend suf cient to live at a culturallyde ned respectable standard of living say 125 of the poverty line The grant is unconditional on the performance of any labor or other form of contribution and it is universal everyone receives the grant as a mater of citizenship right Grants go to individuals not families Parents are the custodians of minority children s grants With universal basic income in place most other redistributive transfers are eliminated general welfare family allowances unemployment insurance taxbased old age pensions since the basic income grant is sufficient to provide everyone a decent subsistence This means that in welfare systems which already provide generous antipoverty income support through a patchwork of specialized programs the net increase in costs represented by universal unconditional basic income would not be extraordinary particularly since administrative overhead costs would be so reduced since universal basic income system do not require signi cant information gathering and close monitoring of the behavior of recipients Special needs subsidies of various sorts would continue for example for people with disabilities but they are likely to be smaller than under current arrangements Minimum wage rules would be relaxed or eliminated there would be little need to legally prohibit belowsubsistence wages if all earnings in e ect generated discretionary income 12 Attractive features from the point of view of radical egalitarianism 1 signi cantly reduces one of the central coercive aspects of capitalism When Marxists analyze the process of proletarianization of labor they emphasize the double separation of ee wage labor workers are separated quotom the means of pro duction and by virtue of this are separated from the means of subsistence The conjoining of these two separations is what forces workers to sell their labor power on a labor market in order to obtain subsistence In this sense proletarianized labor is fundamentally unfree Unconditional universal basic income breaks this identity of separations workers remain separated quotom the means of production these are still owned by capitalists but they are no longer separated quotom the means of subsistence this is provided through the redistributive basic income grant The decision to work for a wage therefore becomes much more voluntary Capitalism between consenting adults is much less objectionable than capitalism between employers and workers with little choice but to work for wages By increasing the capacity of workers to re ise employment basic income generates a much more egalitarian distribution of real quoteedom than ordinary capitalism As the philosopher Philippe van Parijs has put it unconditional basic income is a way of distributing real freedom to all on a more or less equal basis Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 5 2 generates greater egalitarianism within labor markets If workers are more able to re lse employment wages for crummy work are likely to increase relative to wages for highly enjoyable work The wage structure in labor markets therefore will begin to more systematically re ect the relative disutility of different kinds of labor rather than simply the relative scarcity of different kinds of labor power This in turn will generate an incentive structure for employers to seek technical innovations that eliminate unpleasant work Technical change would therefore not simply have a laborsaving bias but a laborhumanizing bias 3 Antipoverty BIG directly and massively eliminates poverty without creating the pathologies of meanstested antipoverty transfers There is no stigmatization since everyone gets the grant There is no well defined boundary between net bene ciaries and net contributors since many people and families will freely move back and forth across this boundary over time Thus it is less likely that stable majority coalitions against redistribution will form once basic income has been in place for some length of time There are also no poverty traps caused by threshold effects for eligibility for transfers Everyone gets the transfers unconditionally If you work and earn wages the additional income is of course taxed but the tax rate is progressive and thus there is no disincentive for a person to enter the labor market if they want discretionary income 4 Decommodifies caregiving activity BIG is one way to valorize a range of decommodi ed caregiving activities which are badly provided by markets particularly mregiving labor within families but also caregiving labor within broader communities While universal income would not by itself transform the gendered character of such labor it would counteract some of the inegalitarian consequences of the fact that such unpaid labor is characteristically performed by women In effect universal basic income could be considered an indirect mechanism for accomplishing the objective of the wages for housework proposals by some feminists recognizing that caregiving work is socially valuable and productive and deserving of nancial support The effects of basic income on democracy and community are less clear but to the extent that basic income facilitates the expansion of unpaid voluntary activity of all sorts this would have the potential of enhancing democratic participation and solidarityenhancing activities within communities 13 Problemsobjection There are of course signi cant questions about the practical feasibility of universal basic income grants Two issues are typically raised by skeptics the problem of labor supply and the problem of capital ight 1 labor supply A universal basic income is only feasible if a suf cient number of people continue to work for wages with sufficient effort to generate the production and taxes needed to fund the universal Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 6 grant If too many people are happy to live just on the grant either because they long to be couch potatoes and or simply because they have such strong preferences for nonincomegenerating activities over discretionary income or if the marginal tax rates were so high as seriously dampen incentives to work then the whole system would collapse Let us de ne a sustainable basic income gran as a level of the grant which if it were instituted would stabley generate a su icient labor supply to provide the necessary taxes for the grant The highest level of such grants therefore could be mlled the maximally sustainable basic income grant The empirical question then is whether this maximally sustainable level is high enough to provide for the virtuous effects listed above If the maximally sustainable grant was 25 of the poverty line for example then it would hardly have the effect of rendering paid labor a noncoercive voluntary act and probably not dramatically reduce poverty If on the other hand the maximally sustainable grant was 150 of the poverty level then a universal basic income would significantly advance the egalitarian normative agenda Whether or not this would in fact happen is of course a difficult to study empirical question and depends upon the distribution of work preferences and productivity in an economy 2 capital ight disinvestment Apart from the labor supply problem universal basic income is also vulnerable to the problem of capital ight If a high universal basic income grant significantly increases the bargaining power labor and if capital bears a significant part of the tax burden for mding the grant and if tight labor markets dramatically drive up wages and thus costs of production without commensurate rises in productivity then it could well be the case that a universal basic income would precipitate signi cant disinvestment and capital ight It is for this reason that Marxists have traditionally argued that a real and sustainable deproletarianization labor power is impossible within capitalism In effect the necessary condition for sustainable highlevel universal basic income may be significant politicallyimposed constraints over capital especially over the ow of investments Some form of socialism in the sense of democratic political control over capital may thus be a requirement for a normatively attractive form of basic income But it may also be the use that in rich highly productive capitalism a reasonably high basic income could be compatible with capitalist reproduction Particularly in generous welfare states the increased taxes for funding a basic income might not be excessive and the technological and in astructural reasons why mpital invests in developed capitalist economies may mean that massive capital ight is unlikely Maybe 2 Empowered participatory democracy The second example concerns the problem of deepening democracy Democracy is in many ways an ideal subject for a discussion in the spirit of envisioning real utopias After all the very idea of democracy is a example of real utopian thinking democracy means rule by the people What an extraordinary radical egalitarian ideal power should be vested in the people not a hierarchy not a king not an elite but the people Of course defenders of democracy have always recognized that this ideal requires concrete institutions and such institutions will always embody compromises compromises that re ect the di icult tradeoffs any institution faces between Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 7 different values In the case of democracy for example many people have argued for representative democracy instead of direct participatory democracy not because representative democracy is the perfect embodiment of democratic ideals but because it is pragmatically the best compromise between values of democracy on the one hand and various other values such as ef ciency or the right of individuals to devote most of their time and energy to private rather than public concerns But why do we need a real utopian discussion of democracy For many people it may seem obvious that representative democracy the institutions that we currently have in place as good as we can do Perhaps they need some tinkering campaign nance reform more public debates among candidates rules that make third parties more viable but given the complexity of the society in which we live mo st people and most scholars of the subject believe that there is no alternative to representative democracy I believe that there is urgency to this topic not simply because I believe we an do better that democracy can be enhanced beyond the constraints of existing institutions but because our current institutions themselves are becoming less satisfactory for dealing with the problems we face As the tasks of the state have become more complex and the size of polities larger and more heterogeneous the institutional forms of liberal democracy developed in the nineteenth century representative democracy plus technobureaucratic administration seem increasingly illsuited to the novel problems we face in the twenty rst century The Right of the political spectrum has taken advantage of this apparent decline in the effectiveness of democratic institutions to escalate its attack on the very idea of the af rmative state The only way the state can play a competent and constructive role the Right typically argues is to dramatically reduce the scope and depth of its activities In addition to the traditional moral opposition of libertarians to the activist state on the grounds that it in inges on property rights and individual autonomy it is now widely argued that the af rmative state has simply become too costly and inef cient The bene ts supposedly provided by the state are myths the costs both in terms of the resources directly absorbed by the state and of indirect negative e fects on economic grth and efficiency are real and increasing Rather than seeking to deepen the democratic character of politics in response to these concerns the thrust of much politiml energy in the developed industrial democracies in recent years has been to reduce the role of politics altogether Deregulation privatization reduction of social services and curtailments of state spending have been the watchwords rather that participation greater responsiveness more creative and effective forms of democratic state intervention As the slogan goes The state is the problem not the solution In the past the political Left in capitalist democracies vigorously defended the af rmative state against these kinds of arguments In its most radical form revolutionary socialists argued that public ownership of the principle means of production combined with centralized state planning offered the best hope for a just humane democratic and egalitarian society But even those on the Left who rejected revolutionary visions of ruptures with capitalism insisted that an activist state was essential to counteract a host of negative e fects generated by the dynamics of capitalist economies poverty unemployment increasing inequality underprovision of public goods like training and public health These defenses of the af rmative state have become Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 8 noticeably weaker in recent years both in their rhetorical force and in their practical political capacity to mobilize people Although the Left has not come to accept unregulated markets and a minimal state as morally desirable or economically efficient it is much less certain that the institutions it defended in the past can achieve social justice and economic well being in the present Perhaps this erosion of democratic vitality is an inevitable result of complexity and size Perhaps the most we can hope for is to have some kind of limited popular constraint on the activities of government through regular weakly competitive elections Perhaps the era of the af rmative democratic state the state which plays a creative and active role in solving problems in response to popular demands is over and a retreat to privatism and political passivity is the unavoidable price of progress But perhaps the problem has more to do with the specific design of our institutions than with the tasks they face as such If so then a mdamental challenge for progressives is to develop transformative democratic strategies that can advance our traditional values egalitarian social justice individual liberty combined with popular control over collective decisions community and solidarity and the ourishing of individuals in ways which enable them to realize their potentials 21 The Model One such proposal can be called empowered participatory governance There are many elements which go into this institutional model but three seem especially important the ideal of deliberation and the ideal of empowerment 1 empowered participation In a representative democracy ordinary citizens are involved in politics only to the extent that they chose decision makers their representatives through elections and voice their opinions through various channels of communication The ideal of empowered participatory governance involves ordinary citizens directly in the problem solving arenas through which public decisions are made This is therefore a form of direct democracy or what is sometimes mlled participatory democracy 2 deliberation In a conventional liberal democracy the basic idea is that politiml decisions are the result of majority rule where majorities are constructed through various complex processes of mobilization of support and bargaining Bargaining involves compromises and through such compromises con icts of interests may be resolved but the bottom line is that the majority rules by exercising power The deliberative democratic ideal in contrast emphasizes the problem of consensus formation through public dialogue rather than powerbased bargaining Con icts are resolved more through creative problemsolving in which there is transformation of interests of the participants than through mobilization of power resources 3 Recombinant decentralization Many discussions of decisionmaking pose an alternative between topdown commandandcontrol centralized decisionmaking and autonomous decentralized decisionmaking The EPG model argues for a reconfiguration of the link between Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 9 centralized and decentralized elements in a system of decisionmaking the primary locus of policy making is decentralized in empowered participatory venues but these decisions are then reaggregated at more centralized sites where they are integrated and coordinated EPG combines strong central and vibrant local sites of decisions In a nutshell therefore the question is this Can institutions be designed in such a way that ordinary citizens are empowered to directly engage in deliberative coordinated problemsolving and decisionmaking over important policy matters The model of empowered participatory governance is an attempt at charting out the parameters of such institutional design 22 Skepticism There are good reasons to be skeptical about a proposal like this After all we live in a society deeply divided by inequalities of wealth and income a society in which racial divisions remain acute where powerful corporations exert tremendous in uence on politics The con icts of interests structured by these divisions are real not imaginary How is it possible to imagine a democratic process of genuine consensus formation in the face of such inequalities And how often have we heard mlls for harmony for team work for winwin solutions to problems that are really ruses for protecting privilege and power Perhaps empowered participatory governance is just another illusion a new form of window dressing behind which the rich and power Jl will continue to call the shots where it counts Perhaps But perhaps not Perhaps the system has more cracks and ssures in it more social spaces within which new institutions can be built An interesting empirical example may help to give more credibility to this general idea 23 An Empirical Case Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre Brazil 1 The basic story In the city of Porto Alegre Brazil a dramatic democratic innovation in city government was introduced in the late 1980s Here is the basic story In 1988 the PT won the mayoral election but did not control the city council They therefore faced the problem that their budget priorities massive redirection of city spending to the most disadvantaged parts of the city were likely to get mucked up in the city council The solution was a kind of dual power idea instead of compiling a budget in the Mayor s technical planning office the PT divided the city into 17 regions each of which had a direct participatory budget assembly The city as a whole has about 15 million people so this means roughly regions of about 100000 residents Fitch assembly rst meets in March each year the beginning of the budget planning cycle Any resident of the region can attend the assembly and vote on its proposals At this first meeting a regional council of delegates is chosen in the assembly with one delegate for roughly every 25 people at the meeting This means that mobilized groups have an advantage they can bring their members to the meeting and get their people as delegates on this delegate council One of the consequences incidentally has been the considerable growth of vibrant secondary associations in civil society in Porto Alegre This delegate council then meets weekly for three months in different neighborhoods hearing petitions discussions of proposals ranging from day care centers Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 10 to pot hole repairs and working out a regional budget priority document In June this document is voted on in a largely ceremonial event at a second plenary meeting of the regional assembly At this meeting two delegates are selected for a city wide budget council which then meets for six months to reconcile the budgets quotom every region It is at this point that city technocrats enter the game in a serious way providing numbers evaluating feasibility etc By November a final budget document is submitted to the Mayor who then submits it to the city council where so far it has been rubber stamped each year One other interesting detail there are seven citywide thematic regions on things like culture sports and leisure transportation These were introduced in part to deal with middle class dissatisfaction at the process in which their priorities tended to be marginalized but also in recognition that some budgetary issues were not easily disaggregated to a regional level 2 Empirical Consequences How can we evaluate this experiment A number of indicators suggest that this is a serious institutional experiment in deepening participatory democracy 1 there has been a massive shift in spending towards the poorest regions of the city As one would predict in a deliberative process where reasons and needs rather than power play the central role in allocations the neediest parts of the city have gotten the most funding 2 participation levels of citizens in the process have been high and sustained In the 1997 cycle about 8 of the adult population participated in at least one meeting 3 the vote for the PT has increased in each election indicating that this process has generated high levels of legitimation In the last election for the first time they won the state level Govemor s of ce as well 4 The right has been unable to demonstrate any corruption in the process in spite of considerable e orts at doing so 5 there are some indications that tax compliance has increased even though tax surveillance and enforcement has not really changed suggesting that the democratic legitimacy may have begun to affect norms of civic responsibility and obligation Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 11 3 Market Socialism 31 The Problem Traditionally Marxists have drawn the following contrasts between mpitalism and socialism Capitalism Socialism Direct Separated quotom collectively own Producers means of production means of production separated from united with means of means of subsistence subsistence Property private owner ship state ownership rights of means Distribution inegalitarian egalitarian wealth coordination markets planning of economy Relations competitive amp cooperative amp among individualist associative producers class power capitalist class working class ruling class ruling class For each term socialism is seen basically as the negation of the corresponding term for capitalism The crucial point is this in traditional Marxism while different aspects of the normative criticisms of capitalism are then seen as rooted in different elements in this list these two sets of attributes are seen as wholistic gestalts You can not radically change one element without transforming all of them In the discussion of BIG we explored the possrbility of changing one of these elements separattion of workers quotom the means of subsistence without tampering much with the rest Today we will explore another change that stops short of turning every element on its head The Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 12 idea is to change the mechanisms which distribute property rights in means of production without changing anything else and see what the economy would look like The central question is this can we imagine a property rights regime which has the effect of destroying the gower 0f the capitalist class and eliminating cagitalist exgloitation without undermining the markets mechanisms that make capitalism efficient Why would we want to even attempt this The main reason is this Historical experience and theoretiml arguments have provided compelling evidence that central planning of complex economies is ought with inef ciencies Many of us used to believe that this was due to the authoritarian quality of the bureaucracies and state that did the planning but this is only part of the story There are a number of problems with centralized problem that have been identi ed by prosocialist analysis 1 information The most crucial problem is that any centralized planning process is overwhelmed by the amount of information required to make planning decisions and is too slow to react to changes in production The result is that it creates all sorts of rigidities and inef ciencies in the allocation of resources Decentralized planning does not solve this unless the decentralized entities are as small as rms and they have power to actually make allomtions If this is the case however what we have looks a lot like markets None of this would be a grave problem of technologies were constant and unchanging The problem is that there is constant innovation which we want in both process and product and this constantly requires producers to make adjustments which are blocked in a command allomtion system 2 risk taking Coordinated Planning of production has a deep problem of managing risktaking It is very hard to make risktakers accountable for their gambles if they are gambling with other people s resources Markets have the virtue of creating a speci c incentive structure for gambles with innovation 3 incentives I think the incentive problem is overrated Incentives for effort are quite compatible with planning and the absence of real markets Incentives for accountable risk taking are more dif cult This does not mean that planning is impossible One an enhance the capacity of the state communities to set priorities to plan the market as some people say but this is not the same as directly planning the details of production If this argument is correct then we need to take serious the problem of combining socialist values with market mechanisms To many people the expression market socialism is an oxymoron either the markets have to be massively curtailed for socialist principles to mean anything or the socialism has to be deeply Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 13 corrupted to enable markets to work properly Roemer challenges this view by elaborating a relatively simple device which he believes will enable an economy both to have well lnctioning markets and to remain faithful to the egalitarian ideals of socialism This is what John Roemer s proposal attempts to do 32 The Basic Model How does Roemer propose to accomplish this In a nutshell his proposal involves creating two kinds of money in an economy commodity money referred to simply as money used to purchase commodities for consumption and share money referred to as coupons used to purchase ownership rights stocks in rms These two kinds of money are nonconvertible you cannot legally trade coupons for dollars Coupons are distributed to the population in an egalitarian manner Citizens upon reaching the age of majority are given their per capita share of the total coupon value of the productive property in the economy With these coupons they can then buy shares om which they derive certain ownership rights including rights to dividends om the pro ts of rms and the right to vote for at least some of the people on the boards of directors of rms There is thus a stock market but the stocks can only be purchased with coupons not dollars Shares and coupons are nontranferrable You cannot give your shares away but must sell them at the market coupon rate and you cannot give your coupons away At death all shares and unspent coupons revert to the state for redistribution The nontransferability and nonconvertibility of coupons prevents ownership om becoming concentrated the rich in dollars cannot buy out the poor In order to reduce risks most people in such a system would probably invest their coupons in stocks via various kinds of mutual mds rather than through direct purchases of stocks on the market The mutual mds would create diversi ed portfolios and would monitor firm performance in order to attract investors Some people however would prefer to invest their coupons directly and inevitably some would do well and others poorly As a result over time some inequality in stock ownership would emerge Because of the prohibition of intergenerational transfers however this inequality would remain quite small How do firms raise capital to buy machines and raw materials in this system In the book Roemer argues that since stocks are sold for coupons not dollars firms cannot directly raise capital by selling stocks Financial capital is raised primarily through credit markets organized by state banks In subsequent discussions of his proposals he has modi ed this mechanism In the revised formulation firms are allowed to turn the coupons they receive from the sale of stocks into cash in the state banks The rate of conversion of couponsintomoney is determined through the planning process in which investment priorities would be established through democratic deliberation and implementation would take place through a state planning agency Different conversion rates of coupons into money could therefore be established for di ferent sectors as a way of encouraging investments for speci c social objectives This involvement of the state in capital markets allows for a signi cant degree of exible planning the market The result of this Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 14 scheme R0 emer argues is relatively freely mctioning market mechanisms along with a sustainable egalitarian distribution of property rights a roughly equal distribution of pro ts and a signi cant planning capacity of the state over broad investment priorities Thus market socialism This of course is just a rough sketch of how such an economy would work Many other details would need to be worked out For example there is the question of whether or not small private rms would be allowed rms whose property rights would not be organized through the coupon stock market Roemer believes that there is no reason to prohibit small private capitalist rms in this model small restaurants and shops but also small manufacturing rms This of course raises the problem of what rules of the game will govern the conversion to such businesses into the publicly traded market socialist rms when they cross some threshold of size The model therefore is not a comprehensive blueprint for how a market socialist economy should be designed but rather a speci cation of its core organizing mechanism 33 Consequences 1 Class structure amp exploitation This economic mechanism has massive consequences for class structure Above all the class of rich capitalists is destroyed The ownership of the means of production is roughly equally distributed throughout the population Because intergenerational transfers of coupons and stocks is prohibited there is very limited scope for accumulation of wealth in means of production Roemer s market socialism then might be thought of as a kind of people s capitalism a capitalism without capitalists The question then is whether or not this way of organizing property rights would positively serve the values involved in the traditional socialist indictment of capitalism The most obvious e ect of coupon socialism is on inequality since the pro ts of rms will now be distributed relatively equally in the population However this probably would not have as big an impact on overall inequality as one might expect since labor market earnings the major source of income inequality in developed capitalist societies and interest payments on savings would not be equalized In Roemer s estimates an equal distribution of pro ts would only amount to a few thousand dollars per capita per year Nevertheless the equalization of pro t income would have an impact on inequality and would certainly make a meaning ll difference in the standards of living of the poor To more radically approach the egalitarian values of socialism therefore the coupon mechanism would have to be supplemented by other institutional devices For example universal basic income grants could be adopted as a redistributive mechanism 2 Democracy Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 15 Coupon socialism would enhance democratic capacity of different levels of government for several reasons First of all the threat of disinvestment and capital ight in response to state policies would be considerably reduced since rms are now owned by the population at large In particular this would mean that the capacity of the democratic state to raise taxes in a couponsocialist economy would be greater than in a capitalist economy The sustainable level of taxation that a state can raise is an indicator of the state s capacity to democratically control the social surplus This is not to argue that a maximally unconstrained democratic state would necessarily opt for the highest sustainable level of taxation but it does mean that the scope of democracy is enhanced if the democratic state has the capacity to raise taxes to higher sustainable levels In these terms it seems likely that the democratic state in a couponsocialism would have considerably enhanced capacities for taxation since it would not face the threat of disinvestment and capital ight in the face of rising tax rates Among other things this means that the level of egalitarian programs such as basic income that the state could sustain are also likely to be higher By enhancing democratic political capacity therefore coupon socialism also potentially enhances economic equality There are other more subtle democracy enhancing effects of coupon socialism Roemer argues in some detail that couponsocialism will reduce the production of public bads such as pollution in the economy The argument is that where there is massively unequal distribution of income om property holdings there will be a group of propertyrich people who have a positive interest in the production of public bads like industrial pollution since for them such pollution represents a signi cant source of income by enhancing their pro ts What is more because they are propertyrich they are in a position to have a disproportionate effect on the political process through which state policies of regulation of pollution is produced Equalizing propertywealth thus has the double effect of rst partially equalizing political power and second changing the incentive structure for pollution regulation 3 autonomy The internal organization of production within coupon socialist firms could in principle be just as hierarchical and alienating as in conventional capitalist rms Indeed John Roemer himselfis rather unsympathetic to issues of workers control within production He feels that the choice of institutional arrangements within firms should be mame thought of as a pragmatic issue which kind of organization will be the most efficient in the standard neoclassical economics sense If it turns out that Tayloristic despotic organization of the labor process is the most e icient then Roemer believes workers would prefer this to more democratic organization since they will prefer the higher levels of productivity In spite of Roemer s own skepticism on this matter I think that there are reasons why worker autonomy and democracy within firms is likely to be facilitated by couponso cialism In a couponsocialist economy the issue of the internal organization of rms can become a matter of public deliberation and democratic choice Since threats of disinvestment are weaker and the Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 16 speci c interests of employers in maintaining dominance within production have been reduced a less constrained public debate over the tradeoffs between alternative forms of organizing the labor process can take place 4 Efficiency amp rationality The core critique of capitalism as waste il and irrational centers on the anarchy of the market and the way this generates variousn forms of irrational allocations business cycles hyper consumerism pollution unemployment etc Market socialism might appear to give up on this problem since it tries to preserve well mctionirig markets In fact coupon socialism does offer the prospect of taming the market if not transcending it By destroying the power of a class of people whose power is rooted in their private control over market resources coupoin socialism makes planning the market much more feasible and thus greatly expands the scope for democratic debate over priorities of economic development BIG would be easier in coupon socialism than capitalism for example And more generally a green economy with atrajectory towards reduced consumerism becomes an available objective 5 Community Community is the value least wellserved by coupon socialism Coupon socialism like capitalism places competition at the center of economic interaction Individuals compete on labor markets every bit as much as in capitalism and rms compete in commodity markets While democratic planning might moderate some of the undesirable byproducts of such market competition the central mechanism of economic rationality remains organized around greed and fear rather than solidarity This in turn means that the kind of individualistic greedcentered culture of capitalism is likely to continue in couponsocialism Such a culture reduces the potential that the enhanced democratic capacity would lead to more egalitarian social outcomes This is a serious challenge to coupon socialism from the vantage point of classical socialist values There are two principle lines of response First unless a more communityenhancing alternative to markets is institutionally feasible then it may be a sad fact about coupon socialism that it does not provide a context for realizing this important value but nevertheless this would not be a reason for rejecting couponsocialism Second even though markets remain important in coupon socialism it is possible that the social space for nonmarket principles of social organization would be enhanced If couponsocialism enhances the democratic mpacity of the state to appropriate surplus then in principle the democratically controlled portion of the surplus could be used for communityenhancing purposes Instead of seeing economies as falling on a continuum quotom pure market mechanisms to pure communitarian mechanisms it may be more use il to see economies as combining in complex ways both principles in different social contexts It is thus possible that in spite of the continued presence of market competition in coupon socialism a culture of solidarity and generosity could still be nurtured Still the anticommunitarian features of coupon Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 17 socialism are real and undermine its attractiveness as an institutional design for nthering socialist values 34 But is this Socialism To many people coupon socialism is a socialism without passion It is a socialism that tries to mimic capitalism as much as possible by juggling property rights and institutional design in the stock market just enough to get a more or less egalitarian distribution of dividends Yet ironically even though the result may be more like a people s capitalism it still would require the massive redistribution of the wealth of the capitalist class and thus may be politically as infeasible as more traditional images of socialism as democratically controlled state ownership One might argue that since this proposal is no more achievable in practice than more radical socialisms why not advocate the more radical alternative At least the more radical alternatives embody a utopian vision which may inspire and mobilize people It is hard to see workers on the barricade under the banner of Smash capitalism build couponsto ck market socialism Such objections I think miss the critical value of constructing models of what might be termed a sustainable egalitarian economy Especially at this point in history it is important to have a clear and rigorous understanding of the normative implimtions of various alternatives to capitalism that attempt to accomplish socialist values As a proposal couponsocialism is thus like the proposals for guaranteed universal basic income proposals that attempt to lrther socialist values by transforming speci c features of capitalism Basic income does this by breaking the tight link for most people between income and labor market participation characteristic of capitalism In capitalism workers are separated from both the means of production and the means of subsistence and it is this double separation which shapes their class relation to the capitalist class By restoring workers access to the means of subsistence basic income grants can be seen as a partial deproletarianization of labor In this way it transforms one crucial aspect of capitalism in an egalitarian direction Couponsocialism does the same thing with respect to separation quotom the means of production By creating a mechanism for an egalitarian distribution of property rights in means of production independently of anyone s contribution to the economy coupon socialism would transform another of the central features of capitalism which block socialist values Couponsocialism is thus not meant to be a blueprint of some final destination of social struggles for human emancipation Rather it is a model designed to counter the claim that the only efficient and sustainable way of organizing property relations in a developed economy is through capitalist private ownership Reestablishing the belief in viable alternatives to capitalism is a critical task for leftng intellectuals and Roemer s models are a provocative and innovative contribution to this e ort V Conclusion Basic income empowered participatory governance and Market Socialism and other kinds of proposals which we could discuss in various ways challenge the prevailing idea that there are Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 18 no alternatives to capitalism and representative democracy as we know them If people generally believed that mpitalism was inevitably doomed within their lifetimes then this it self would undercut the notion that there was no alternative But if this belief is dropped then articulating alternatives is a necessary condition for putting alternatives on the historical agenda Envisioning real utopias however is meant to be more than just an ideological ploy for challenging fatalism Because of the contradictory quality of social reproduction in capitalist societies it is possible that under certain political conditions aspects of the se institutional designs can become part of pragmatic projects of social reform even within capitalist society as shown in the Porto Alegre case There are many possible capitalisms with many different institutional arrangements for social reproduction One crucial issue for people morally committed to a radical egalitarian and democratic notion of social justice is the extent to which it is possible to introduce and sustain signi cant aspects of emancipatory institutional arrangements in some varieties of capitalism Although the constraints of power and privilege in existing capitalism necessarily make any emancipatory project within mpitalism dif cult this does not imply that elements of emancipatory alternatives cannot be pre gured within the contradictory reality of capitalism itself Envisioning Real Utopias is thus ultimately part of an active agenda of social change within capitalism rather than simply a new vision of a destiny beyond capitalism Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 19 Appendix Other EPG examples Habitat Conservation Efforts are being made to create forms of empowered participatory governance in a number of settings of environmental regulation In particular in the formulation and monitoring of habitat conservation plans to protect endangered species experiments are underway in the United States to create habitat councils embodying some elements of this kind of model This is an interesting case The Endangered Species Act in the United States has traditionally been enforced through a zero development policy for habitats that are designated as the protected habitat for an endangered species This has a number of undesirable consequences 1 it enormously raises the stakes in battles of designating a particular creature as an endangered species developers oppose every move 2 Once a species is on the list the government agency involved in enforcing the act is under great pressure to minimize the area of the protected habitat which often turns out to be suboptimal for the species concerned But zerogrowth has one big advantage it is easily monitored In an setting of severe mistrust and antagonism between environmentalists and developers it seems like the surest solution But both environmentalists and developers would have their interests better served if limited development were allowed since carefully designed but limited development would be compatible with species preservation and would lower the opposition to putting species on the list and make it possible to extend the boundaries of protected habitats The problem then is how to design those more complex rules and enforce them Participatory Habitat Conservation councils is one experiment to solve this problem Community Policing Chicago some recent innovation in community policing also have this character Police Beat councils have been created in each of the 270 or so beats in Chicago At these councils any resident of the beat area can participate a deliberate about policing priorities for that beat The police then must report back to the council on a monthly basis to give an account of what they have done with respect to these priorities Perhaps this is window dressing a new form of cooptation of opposition but there is evidence that at least in some of the beats in the poorest areas of Chimgo this has lead to signi cant levels of active neighborhood involvement in the ontheground practices of the police Principles of Empowered Participatory Governance These experiments in deepening democracy differ in many respects but underlying them is a kind of implicit institutional model This model is based on what might be termed three process principles and three institutional design principles Process Principle 1 Bottom up empowered participation Participation in EPG institutions does not just give people a way of expressing their views on matters of public concern but involves real popular empowerment actual decisionmaking powers significantly involving direct participation In the familiar institutions of representative democracy ordinary citizens are Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 20 involved in politics only to the extent that they chose decision makers their representatives through elections and voice their opinions through various channels of communimtion The ideal of empowered participatory governance involves ordinary citizens directly in the deliberations and problemsolving through which decisions are made Process Principle 2 Pragmatic orientation At the center of political decisionmaking in EPG institutions is what might be termed a pragmatic orientation towards concrete problemsolving The idea is to bring people to the political table who share a common interest in accomplishing certain concrete practical goals in solving practical problems even if they also have signi cant con icts of interests out side of the immediate problemsolving agenda This may mean that certain issues are off the table because they are not tractable to such a practical orientation and this in turn may mean that the pragmatic orientation de ects political energy away from more radical challenges to inequalities of privilege and power But the idea is that pragmatic solutions to real problems are often possible in spite of these broader con icts and inequalities and lrther that in the long run empowering people to deal with concrete problems can set the stage for more profound recon gurations of power Process Principle 3 Deliberative solution generation Within EPG decisions are made in a way that gives a signi cant role for active deliberation rather than simply bargaining strategic maneuvering logrolling and so forth In a conventional liberal democracy the basic idea is that political decisions are the result of majority rule where majorities are constructed through various complex processes of mobilization of support and bargaining Bargaining involves compromises and through such compromises con icts of interests may be resolved but the bottom line is that the majority rules by exercising power The deliberative democratic ideal in contrast emphasizes the problem of consensus formation through public dialogue rather than powerbased bargaining Con icts are resolved more through creative problemsolving in which there is transformation of interests of the participants than through mobilization of power resources Design Principle 1 Devolution Since empowered participatory governance targets problems and solicits participation localized in both issue and geographic space its institutional reality requires the commensurate reorganization of the state apparatus It entails the administrative and political devolution of power to local action units such as neighborhood councils personnel in individual workplaces and delineated eco system habitats charged with devising and implementing solutions and held accountable to performance criteria These bodies are not merely advisory bodies but rather creatures of a transformed state endowed with substantial public authority to act on the results of their deliberation Decisionmaking is moved downward to the locus of problems as much as possible Design Principle 2 Centrally coordinated decentralization Though they enjoy substantial power and discretion local units do not operate as autonomous atomized sites of decisionmaking in empowered participatory governance Instead the institutional design involves linkages of accountability and communication that connect local units to superordinate bodies These central Lecture 12 Envisioning Real Utopias 21 of ces can reinforce the quality of local democratic deliberation and problemsolving in variety of ways coordinating and distributing re sources solving problems that local units cannot address by themselves rectifying pathological or incompetent decisionmaking in failing groups and di using innovations and learning across boundaries Unlike New Left political models in which concerns for liberation lead to demands for autonomous decentralization empowered participatory governance suggests new forms of coordinated decentralization Driven by the pragmatic imperative to find solutions that work these new models reject both democratic centralism and strict decentralization as unworkable The rigidity of the former leads it too often to disrespect local circumstance and intelligence and as a result it has a hard time learning om experience Uncoordinated decentralization on the other hand isolates citizens into small units surely a foolhardy measure for those who don t know how to solve a problem but suspect that others somewhere else do Thus these reforms attempt to construct connections that spread information between local units and hold them accountable Design Principle 3 State centered institutionalization A third design characteristic of these experiments is that they colonize state power and transform formal governance institutions Many spontaneous activist efforts in areas like neighborhood revitalization environmental activism local economic development and worker health and safety seek to in uence state outcomes through outside pressure but they leave intact the basic institutions of state governance By contrast EPG reforms attempt to remake of cial institutions These experiments are thus in a sense less radical than most varieties of activist selfhelp in that their central activity is not ghting the power But they are more radical in that they have larger reform scopes are authorized by state or corporate bodies to make substantial decisions and most crucially try to change the central procedures of power rather than merely attempting occasionally to shift the vector of its exercise These transformations attempt to institutionalize the ongoing participation of ordinary citizens most often in their role as consumers of public goods in the direct determination of what those goods are and how they should be best provided This perpetual participation stands in contrast for example to the relatively brief democratic moments in both outcomeoriented campaignbased social movements and electoral competitions in ordinary politics in which leaderselites mobilize popular participation for speci c outcomes If popular pressure becomes suf cient to implement some favored policy or elected candidate the moment of broad participation usually ends subsequent legislation policymaking and implementation then occurs in the largely isolated state sphere In EPG the goal is create durable institutions of sustainable empowered participation of ordinary citizens in the activities of the state rather than simply episodic changes in the policies of the state Lecture 7 Sociology 298 Intersections amp Interactions Thinking about the relationship between Class and Other forms of Inequality March 12 2002 These three sessions will deal with the problem of understanding the intersections and interactions of class race and gender Mostly I will focus on how to conceptualize this issue although we will discuss a number of speci c historicalempirical problems as well I The problem of laundry list oppressions There is a tendency in some currents of radical theory to want to treat all forms of oppression symmetrically One therefore frequently encounters lists of various sorts sexism racism classism ageism In one sense this is a legitimate move in terms of the lived experience and identity of people there is no a priori reason to regard any form of oppression as intrinsically worse than others as more harmful than another The oppression of people with handicaps can create harms as deep as class or gender When middle class kids asked in a survey whether they would prefer to be poor or be grossly obese without the possibility of losing weight they say poor Nevertheless if the implication of the laundry list is that the speci cities of the mechanisms of oppression are of secondary importance or that all oppressions have the same explanatory importance for all problems then Ithink this is a mistake The task of a critical theory of class race and gender then is to understand the specificity of the causal interactions of these social relations Sorting these issues out is especially important since in recent years perhaps the biggest challenge to class analysis among radical intellectual has revolved around the problem of the relationship between class and other forms of oppression and struggle particularly gender and race The characteristic form of this challenge involves the accusation that Marxist class analysis is guilty of one or more of the following sins l The concept of class in Marxism is genderblind andor raceblind whereas class relations are inherently gendered and racialized 2 Marxist class analysis tends to reduce gender and race to class That is gender and race oppression are treated as if they can be fully explained by class oppression 3 Marxist class analysis treats race and gender as epiphenomena that is as effects which are not themselves causally important for anything else They are treated as surface phenomena symptoms of something else but not important in their own right The first of these accusations is I believe broadly correct that is the concept of class as formulated within Marxism is defined in ways that bracket gender and race However Ithink it is a strength rather than a weakness of the concept of class that it does not pack gender and race into class Ithink in general the concept of class should be nongendered and nonracialized but that the use of class in explanations 7 class analysis 7 should systematically concem itself with intersections and interactions of class and other forms of oppression In the case of the second and third accusations there are certainly examples in the Marxist tradition of analyses which reduce race and gender to class and perhaps 7 although I cannot come up with an instance 7 examples where race and gender are viewed as epiphenomena But neither of these accusations t most contemporary Marxistrooted class analysis and I would certainly insist that neither race nor gender are reducible to class these concepts identify real relations with real causal powers and they have independent sources of variation In elaborating a strategy for class analysis to engage problems of race and gender we therefore face both conceptual and theoretical problems 1 The conceptual problem how to give speci city to different forms of social division that can be thought of as generating harms Race gender and class are all forms of social division From the normative vantage point of emancipatory social critique all involve oppressions in the general sense of imposing harms on people What precisely de nes the speci city of these diiTerent forms of social division 2 The theoretical problem how should we understand the logics of interaction of different forms of social division Once we have clari ed the conceptual standing of these diiTerent social relations how should we approach their intersections and interactions within explanations These two problems appear in the analysis of both class and gender and class and race For some issues I will focus on one of these rather than the other but this is just because of time constraints We will begin today with the conceptual problem For this I will focus more on the issue of race than gender We will then turn to the problem of understanding the causal interactions with class For that we will look at both race and gender 11 the problem of Theoretical Speci city l Methodological point what do we mean by theoretical specificity In the fall of 2001 in the UN conference on Racism there was a resolution proposed by a number of delegations that Zionism is a form of racism Many people regard this as an absurd statement others regard it as capturing some underlying deep theoretical unity between Zionism and other more generally accepted forms of racism Of course in part this is a political rather than theoretical question the forging of certain kinds of alliances and the challenge to certain kinds of policies may depend upon how different phenomena are grouped together But this may also be a theoretical problem a problem of identifying the kind of causal mechanisms which justify grouping together what might otherwise seem as disparate phenomena The methodological problem of speci city involves providing a theoretical understanding of a particular form of social interaction so that we know when speci c empirical Lecture 7 Intersections of Class and other oppressions 3 cases should be treated as similar or different as falling under the same broad category or not This can be an arbitrary exercise in wordplay for political purposes but can also be a more rigorous matter of guring out how concepts t together within theories and how real mechanisms in the world operate This is basically the task laid out in the Old Sesame Street ditty one of these things are not like the the others one of these things just isn t the same There was a funny version of this I heard on BBC Radio 4 in a spoof about Bush Bush was given four things a mouse a turtle rabbit and a waf e iron and was asked which of these was not like the other He called up the Sesame Street hotline to discuss the matter Bush Well I think it is the turtle It s not like the others Kermit Mr President I think it is the waf e iron Bush No I don t think it is the waf e iron A waf e iron s got a tail just like the bunny and the mouse But the turtle doesn t have a tail Kermit I think it is the waf e iron because it isn t alive The other three are alive Bush A waf e iron is alive It smokes You have to breath to smoke Kermit Mr President It doesn t really have a tail That is called an electric cord with a plug on the end You put it in the wall socket Bush Well you can put a little mouse s tail in a wall socket to I bet it would smoke then also Kermit Anyway a turtle also has a tail you just can t see it under the shell Bush You re joking a little turtle really has a tail Kermit Yes under the shell Bush Well then that doesn t count because you can t put it in a socket To give theoretical speci city to a form of oppression therefore involves identifying the theoreticallypertinent causal 39 39 that tquot t the quot quot 39 unity of the category in question This implies one other important methodological complication in this sort of classi cation exercise the theoretical speci city of a particular concept or category depends upon how it gures in some theoretical problem or question To argue that a particular category has a particular de nition irrespective of its theoretical purpose is 7 some would argue 7 the sin of essentialism but more often it is just sloppy thinking When a concept is llly integrated into a theoretical program then this will generally generate boundary conditions on its constituent concepts But the fact is that in sociology and sociological theory rarely are research programs so highly paradigmatic in all their conceptual elements that this is the case Two things should be classified together if it is the case that they identify the same kind of casual process within some social phenomenon under investigation It may turn out when you push this that some commonsense everyday distinctions dissolve and other things which look very similar on the surface may in fact be very different Until evolutionary theory established a new understanding of the mechanisms of biological variation dolphins were seen as fish This also means that for different theoretical purposes different kinds of conceptual lines of demarcation and aggregation need to be drawn For some purposes dolphins and sh should be Lecture 7 Intersections of Class and other oppressions 4 classi ed together although the term for that classi cation would not be sh given that sh has a paradigmatic meaning within evolutionary theory In the case of the debates over what counts as an instance of racism the issue of course is ultimately not so much what gets the tag racial oppression 7 there may be historical and linguistic if not theoretical reasons to use this label quite narrowly 7 but rather how we understand the conceptual space within which racial dominationoppression is located This is tough work and fraught with political passion in the case of racism and racial oppression 2 The speci city of Racial Oppression De ning the conceptual speci city of racial oppression thus involves two sorts of tasks 1 Distinguishing it from other sorts of oppression racial vs class vs gender etc 2 Figuring out which historically concrete forms of oppression are instances of racial oppression which are not which have some aspects of racial oppression etc Consider the following list of social divisions each of which in various times and places is a source of both con ict and 7 arguably 7 oppression black and white in the US jew and muslim in IsraelPalestine antisemitism in Europe catholicprotestant in Northern Ireland Huttu and Tutsi in Rawanda untouchable castes in India Which of these constitute instances of racial oppression You see that in the absence of a theoretical agenda and some explanatory purpose the question is very hard to resolve Now I will give a provisional de nition of racial oppression but it is one whose boundary conditions 7 the criteria for what is included or not 7 may shift depending upon explanatory contexts But here is a provisional de nition 3 Provisional Definition Racial Oppression is a form of social division within which three conditions pertain i Racial division is a socially recognized distinction between people based on biological lineage you are born into a racial category by virtue of the racial category of your parents It is an ascriptive category although in some special cases there are socially validated ways of escaping a racial classi cation This does not mean that races are given biologically that they constitute real biological differentiations in any meaningful genetic or evolutionary sense The identi cation of a speci c biological lineage as a basis for social division is entirely sociallyconstructed but what makes it a racialized social construction is the face that it is a construction on the basis of biological lineage Just as Lecture 7 Intersections of Class and other oppressions 5 gender is a social construction that transforms biological sexes into socially salient categories racial constructions transform biological lineages into social divisions Typically the biological lineage is linked to some socially recognized and symbolically salient visible physical attribute technically phenotypic differences but this need not be the case AntiSemitism in Europe was not linked to any consistent visible phenotypic characteristics You could be blonde and blueeyed and be a Jew but being a Jew still meant being born into a Jewish lineage ii Racial division becomes racial oppression when it corresponds to some form of sociallysignificant exclusion typically with a strong economic dimension but also political and cultural exclusion iii When racial division takes the form of racial oppression the oppressed group is also invariably stigmatized given an inferior social status in the extreme case regarded as an inferior type of human beings in the biological not just social sense and sometimes even subhuman It is possible that the stigmatization and status denigration can continue even if the exclusions have largely disappeared The most striking example was antiSemitism in Germany Racial oppression then is i a social division rooted biological lineage typically but not invariably associated with physical markers ii in which some form of socially significant exclusion is tied to that lineage and iii the excluded group is stigmatized as in one way or another inferior Now this provisional definition of the distinctively racialized form of oppression did not directly make any reference to class But a classrelevant idea enters in criterion ii exclusion Remember that in the definition of exploitation one of the three principles was the exclusion principle and the idea of social relations of production centers on rights and powers over resources which are fundamental powers of exclusion It is this linkage between classcentered exclusions rooted in property rights and racialized exclusions centering on biological lineage that constitutes the axis for the intersection of race and class 4 Why should the mechanisms which define racial oppression be causally salient The three criteria for racial oppression certain descriptively specify a form of social relations which will powerfully impact the lives of people But this does not really yet provide an account for what might be called the causal robustness of this form of oppression why racial divisions once they become socially institutionalized as forms of oppression are so durable Why racialized oppressions create such intense con ict and emotional salience We will discuss this more systematically tomorrow but I want to offer some initial comments here Ithink the answer lies in the ways racialized divisions tap into two dimensions of social existence Lecture 7 Intersections of Class and other oppressions 6 that have deep salience quite apart from the problem of oppression l communal solidarity the nature of the immediate social conditions for interpersonal reciprocity and solidarity in the mundane lives of people A general question to ask about any setting of social interaction and cooperation is what are the processes at work which facilitate trust and reciprocity among people thus making solidarities possible Albert and Hahnel stress this dimension of racialized division it is a kind of oppressive transformation of community 2 kinship and family the nature of the social practices of endogamy and exogamy which generate intergenerational ties and structures of obligation solidarity and reciprocity Community and kinship are two pivotal ways in which solidarities are forged These are both in different ways central to understanding collective action they both help provide conditions under which individuals become willing to make sacri ces for some collective purpose Racialized oppression thus brings together in one causal nexus a division rooted in kinship and family 7 because the racial division centers on biological lineage 7 and communal cleavage 7 because of the exclusions linked to racial division This melding of two axes of potential solidarity is at least in part which gives racialized oppression such robust causal force 111 Causal interactions of class and racegender Analysis of the causal interrelationship between class and nonclass oppressions involves two related but still dilTerent sorts of problems 1 Analyses of the effects of class race and gender on each other 2 Analyses of the joint effects of class race and gender in explaining various things What I want to do here is simply clarify how to think about these questions 1 Effects of class race and gender on each other A Effects of RACEGENDER on CLASS There are two main ways that race gender affect class 1 Shaping the way people are tied to the class structure a allocating people into class locations discrimination affects probabilities of getting into class locations either because of blocking access to relevant resources credit markets educational attainment or through direct exclusions marriage bars color bars glass ceilings etc Lecture 7 Intersections of Class and other oppressions 7 b shaping various indirect linkages of people to class structures Critical example the way people are linked to class structures via family and kinship relations 2 shaping the nature of class locations themselves Both gender and race can have a direct impact on the nature of class relations themselves Given certain forms of gender relations or race relations some kinds of class locations are much more likely to occur to be lled by individuals Examples race slavery and repressive sharecropping in a liberal democracy gender forms of slavery in antiquity personal secretary B Effects of CLASS 0n GENDERRACE 1 Functional explanations amp interest explanations Aspects of Race and gender relations are functionally explained by class Race divide amp conquer Basic argument Functional explanation racism divides the working class undermining radical forms of class organization Such divisions are stable and reproduced because they actually do weaken the working class and thus are functional for capitalism Interest explanation At various times in history capitalists encourage racism believing correctly that this will weaken the working class Racial divisions are intensified as a conscious strategy by capitalists Gender An example of functional explanations of unequal gender relations The provision of unpaid domestic labor is beneficial for capitalists by lowering the costs of reproducing labor power since some of those costs are provided by unpaid domestic services and this explains why women have traditionally been housewives in capialism 2 Class structure may obstruct change even if other oppressions are not functional for reproducing class structures Two basic arguments 1 class structures shapes resources available for struggle class structure gt access to resources gt affects struggles over nonclass oppressions 2 Struggles over nonclass oppressions require mobilization of solidarities and popular power and this mobilization is threatening to dominant classes pandora s box problem so they act to undermine such struggles Lecture 7 Intersections of Class and other oppressions 8 class structure gt dominant classes threatened by mobilization of opressed groups of any kind gt oppose struggles against nonclass oppression 3 Dynamic Asymmetry of Class and Racegender Is there a case for a kind of dynamic primacy to class If we look at the question of reciprocal effects dynamically then a pretty good case can possibly be made that at least within capitalism changes in the class structure have had a bigger effect on race and gender relations than vice versa Two examples Race why did the civil rights movement succeed in the 1960s but fail in earlier decades Transformations of the class structure seem critical for this We will examine this case in the next lecture Gender why have gender relations been so dramatically changed in the past half century years Massive entry of women into the labor force which is a change in their class locations seems the central factor 111 Joint Effects of race class and gender in explaining various things Suppose we want to explain some variation across individuals 7 political attitudes voting behavior mortality standards of living mental health How should we think of the way these sorts of phenomena are affected by race gender and class Two basic theses Thesis 1 Distinct mechanisms thesis When we speak of race class and gender as forms of oppression we are attempting to identify distinct causal mechanisms That is class race and gender are each names for causal mechanisms or clusters of mechanisms Distinct does not imply that these mechanisms do not affect each other or that in the world any phenomenon we might be interested in is ever simply the effect of one of these mechanisms alone And it does not prejudge the question of the extent to which changes in one might explain changes in another but simply affirms the point that these are not just disguised forms of the same thing example gender oppression is generated in part by the mechanisms through which sexual identities are formed and these mechanisms are distinct from class exploitatiton Racial oppressions are generated in part by the mechanisms through which communal cultural identities are formed similar to the way ethnic identities are formed and these mechanisms are distinct from class exploitation To say that Race and gender oppression constitute mechanisms distinct from class means that Lecture 7 Intersections of Class and other aggressions 9 they generate distinctive e ects This implies that in our analysis of vaiious social questions consciousness voting educational attainment income inequality con ict etc we face the task of trying to sort out the distinctive ways in which class race and gender affect the outcomes Thesis 2 Interactive e quotects Thesis While different forms of oppression identify distinctive kinds of causal mechanisms in the world these mechanisms interact the world is not additive This is of fundamental impottance and can be called the structural interaction thesis This is a rejection of two possible claims 1 The view that the category class should be regarded as inherently gendered and racialized Class race and gender are ways of identifying specific causal mechanisms and our task is to understand the specific forms of interaction 2 The view that these mechanisms only have additive effects that the effects of class for example do not in part depend upon race or gender In effect this is like arguing in chemistry that the effects of water cannot be undeistood as the effects of H and 0 but of the specific forms of interaction of H O in the water molecule The interactive effects thesis implies the following kind of model for an explanation of X Explanada X BlClass B2 RaceGender B3 RaceGender x class The claim that class is gendered is in effect the claim that coefficient B1 0 Example in predicting income gender has an effect class has an effect and there is an interactive effect In this general abstract model there is also no universal presumption that class is more important than gender ie that B1 gt B2 Note A famous recent claim in the sociological literature on race is the declining signi cance of race thesis by William Julius Wilson What does this thesis mean Strong version B2 and B3 are declining over time Weak version B2 is declining over time Race has weaker additive effects Lecture 21 Sociology 621 The State and Accumulation functionality amp contradiction November 30 2005 I The Functionalist Logic of the Theory of the State 1 Negative Selection amp Functionality In the previous lecture on the state we asked what is capitalist about the capitalist state The idea was to identify institutional properties of the state that stamped it with a distinctive class character What do we mean by a distinctive class character This means that the form of the state generates speci c effects which serve the interests of speci c classes This is a complex claim It involves three linked propositions and a conclusion l the effects of state action tend to serve the interests of the capitalist class 2 the form of the state helps to explain the effects of the state 3 the specific way that form generates effects is through negative selection the form of the state imposes limits of possibility on what happens negative exclusions 4 Therefore the class content of e quotects is generated by the class character of these exclusions disruptive dysfunctional anticapitalist outcomes are excluded by the form of the state This way of elaborating the concept of the capitalist state tends to move towards what can be called a functionalist account of the state the state takes the form that it does because this is necessary in order for the state to ful ll certain functions the class character of the state is derived from the class content of these functions reproducing capitalism There is a weak and a strong form of the argument 0 capitalist form leads to exclusions with a class content A obstacles to policies which are dysfunctional No implication that policies are functionally optimal 0 strong functionalist claim among the nonexcluded possibilities the optimal one for capitalism is selected 2 Key problem for functionalist explanation Feedback process The central question here what mechanisms actually regulate the feedback loop in this functional explanation Is this a conscious manipulation by capitalists b class struggle Victories and defeats of classes c some inherent selection principle that works behind the backs of actors as in the Darwinian model Lecture 21 The State amp Accumulation 2 I think that the explanation for the functionality of the state must combine three elements 1 an account of political class struggle 2 an account of institutional learning and 3 an account of systemic pressures which make certain solutions stable and others precarious I struggle at certain historical moments the institutional arrangements are objects of struggle 9 creating classfilters and systemreproducing arrangements is what the struggles are about 2 learning mistakes are made often no one knows what will work Therefore there needs to be a process of trial and error and institution reconstruction in light of information about real effects this is a crucial role for policy experts think tanks political feedback 3 system reproducing tendencies what works and what does not work however is affected systematically by the nature of capitalism 9 some institutional solutions will be vulnerable because they precipitate disinvestment or fail to smooth market problems 9 pressures for change 11 Problematic functionality Bourgeois Political Utopia The fantasy of capitalists is that institutions be designed in such a way that they effectively reproduce capitalism without any necessity for political intervention by capitalists That would be a bourgeois utopia the institutions automatically and perfectly r J the Jquot for 39 quot Problems There are many problems with this utopian vision Here I want to emphasize one in particular which I will refer to as the problem contested anal contradictory functionality that is there are a variety of ways in which contradictions can deeply enter and disrupt the functional logic of the state Types of contradictory functionality Four types seem especially important 1 Legitimation vs accumulation 2 necessary autonomy contradicts subordination 3 forms of organizational rationality contradict intervention requirements 4 international economy vs national states Lecture 21 The State amp Accumulation 3 1 legitimation vs accumulation contradictions between state functions Reproducing capitalism requires at least two kinds of state interventions interventions which legitimate the system to the masses and interventions which establish favorable conditions for accumulation As O Connor has argued in the fiscal crisis of the state these two may contradict each other eg social security vs budget de cits In the 1970s we thought that this contradiction was quite explosive we did not anticipate the effectiveness of the Neoliberal ideological attack on the af rmative state and the important change in the legitimation pressures on the state 2 Autonomy vs subordination Contradictions within the accumulation function Offe s essay on the crisis of crisis management Critical theses 1 logic of capitalism 9 selfdestructive tendencies anarchy of market 9 functional necessity for anking systems especially state the state must intervene to prevent from destroying itself economically 2 the deeper are these contradictions 9 necessity for more autonomy from manipulation by particularistic interests of speci c capitalists for the state to be functional for it to provide for these steering requirements in an effective way The state needs autonomy to be able to act functionally Cut 3 the creation of such autonomy 9 dissolves purely positive subordination i e the state as inherently functionaVreproductive since it is not longer strictly dictated by economic exchange this is what autonomy means 9 the problem of negative subordination arises of blocking potentially dysfunctional practices of the state 3 FRANKENSTEIN EFFECT The state needs the capacity to intervene pervasiver but it also must abstain from using that capacity in ways that undermine accumulation Consequence Frankenstein effect creating a monster you cannot control to be able to autonomously intervene functionally it must have the capacity to do so destructively This is the pivotal problem p52 the problem of whether the political administrative system can politically regulate the economic system without politicizing its substance and thus negating its identity as a capitalist economic system Extreme contradictory possibility gure 3 p54 the trajectory of minimum necessary interventions rises but the maximum of system reproducing interventions falls 9 decreasing room for maneuver does the system become more or less vulnerable over time Lecture 21 The State amp Accumulation 4 4 Problem 1 once this capacity is created then it becomes a target for manipulation potentially succumbing to individual capitalist units 5 Problem 2 The extension and deepening of the interventionist capacity 9 perpetual problem of lines of demarcation between state and economy as principles of action reprivatization vs global regulation no stable equilibrium 6 Problem 3 Critical added complication the interaction of the state with the normative system 9 As the state increases interventionist capacity for accumulation relations it is harder to restrict its availability for Legitimation reasons It is hard to restrict interventionism to accumulation needs alone 7 Result The process by which the enlargement of state capacity generates tendencies for it to undermine its functionality occurs in all aspects of the state I scal crisis of state revenues spending tend to become uncoordinated with accumulation I administrative rationality expansion of state undermines capacity for rational calculation I loyalty erosion legitimation crisis eg prior benefits become rights SSI rising quot etc A J39ficatiou 9 greater reliance on state for reproduction etc 1 8 Conclusion Three mega theses 1 F unctionalism thesis The state is functionally required by capitalism to overcome the selfdestructive tendencies of capitalism 2 Frankenstein thesis to fulfill these functions the state must have the capacity to potentially act dysfunctionally ie have real autonomy of policy formation and action 3 Contradiction thesis Various dynamics are set in motion which make it increasingly probable that the state will act dysfunctionally 9 crisis of crisis management Lecture 21 The State amp Accumulation 5 3 Contradictions in the administrative rationality of the state policy formation process This is a complex issue and I will only indicate the basic idea here 31 Three logics of decisionmaking The state plays a critical role in creating and recreating conditions for capital accumulation But what precisely the state must do to solve problems for continued accumulation varies over time it is different in late 19111 century capitalism than in the period of Fordism after WWII and different again today In each case the state has to generate policies and this requires particular processes of decisionmaking Now here is Offe s critical insight different kinds of problems require different sorts of decision making mechanisms in order for rational strategies to be devised Basically there are three kinds of decisionmaking processes available for state policyformation l Bureaucratic procedures rationallegal application of fixed rules 2 technical rationality application of expertise to solve problems 3 democratic consensus formation of interest consensus through democraticparticipatory forms Throughout much of the history of capitalism bureaucratic decisionmaking worked pretty well many problems of creating the conditions for stable accumulation 7 enforcement of property rights regulation of contracts basic rules of the market basic infrastructure etc could be solved by setting up rules and then applying them through a topdown commandandcontrol bureaucracy As Therborn emphasized bureaucratic decisionmaking also had distinctive political virtues for capitalism by virtue of the way it disempowers ordinary citizens But as capitalism develops technologically and spatially the conditions for the maintenance of capital accumulation become more and more complex and as this happens a strictly bureaucratic logic of state action fails administrative application of predetermined fixed rules does not generate rational interventions We see this in a wide range of regulatory failures in developed capitalist economies such as environmental regulation Simple top down bureaucratic rule enforcement becomes increasingly difficult with the complexity and heterogeneity of capitalist systems of production 7 monitoring costs go way up the regulations often are ineffective for the specific problems of specific processes etc 32 Pivotal dilemma Alternatives are also unsatisfactory in a capitalist context 1 Technocratic decisions Experts have difficulty in framing rational ends only means for unproblematically given ends as in profitmaking capitalist firms This problem is exacerbated by the need to take externalities into account which firms displace Consider the problem of environmental regulation where there is a deep tension between the short run Lecture 21 The State amp Accumulation needs of maximizing pro ts and the longterm stability of conditions of accumulation Purely technocratic decisionmaking has dif culty balancing these ends More generally once a simple monetary standard is missing to evaluate alternative means the incommensurability of means and ends makes it very dif cult to deploy pure technical rationality in the state 2 democratic con ict consensus Democratic consensus formation is an alternative to pure technical rationality or bureaucratic rule making but this risks politicization of the goals of state action Deepening democracy could well improve problemsolving capacity of the state but it reduces its insulation from popular mobilization and action All this contradictory articulation of decisionmaking logic and functional requirements of accumulation 4 Internationalization of Capital and the State States are anchored on speci c territories accumulation is global capital can move globally The premise of the steeringfunctional capacity of the state is that it can solve free rider problems of capitalists by forcing them to make shortrun sacri ces for longterm stability reproduction etc But if each individual capitalist can escape paying for such longterm reproduction they will do so thus subverting the possibility of longterm stability Lecture 21 The State amp Accumulation 7 Concept of the capitalist state is not based on an inventory of institutional properties a la Therborn rather this depends upon the functional properties of the state in the social system 31 Conditions that make the capitalist state a capitalist state a exclusion principle the state does not control production ie it does not stop pro table private accumulation nor force unprofitable production the state is not a capitalist differentiation of state and capital b maintenance principle the state is required to maintain conditions of accumulation counter threats to accumulation capitalism needs the state functional dependency of capitalism on the state c dependency principle State power depends upon capitalist accumulation the state needs capitalism functional dependency of the state on capital Conditions which make these three elements compatible d legitimation principle necessity of concealing its capitalist character 32 CENTRAL PROBLEM the form of interventionism changes as the functional demands on the state change changing conditions of state rationality Decisive dimension of this change from quot to 39 quot interventions Pivotal problem response to DEMANDS versus EVENTS allocative interventions respond to voiced demands with rational allocation of political resources decision rules ofpolz39tz39cs production interventions respond to negative events disruptions of accumulation decision rules of policies Fundamental character what is needed must be produced by the state not just allocated Problem the decision rules to respond to demands may not be optimal for the response to events 32 Correspondences of decision rules and interventionist requirements Lecture 21 The State amp Accumulation allocative interventions bureaucratic decision rules congruence between functions and procedures of the state productive interventions bureaucratic logic fails because application of predetermined rules does not generate rational interventions Sociology 621 Lecture 4 amp 5 September 14 amp 19 2005 Classical Historical Materialism 1 Introduction 11 What is a Theory of History What does it mean for history to be an object of theory There is often much confusion in social theory when people talk about a theory of history What precisely does it mean to say that we should have a social scienti c theory i history One possible answer is that this is an illegitimate theoretical object we cannot possible have a theory of history as such Perhaps we explain speci c events in history and we can string such explanations together and call such linked explanations a theory of history but in such an explanation the overall trajectory of history per se is not an object of explanation Or maybe we can have a theory about speci c historical changes or patterns 7 we could have a theory for example of the development of the early modern state or a theory of the industrial revolution 7 and we certainly can develop sociological theory in a way that takes into account the concrete historical context of what we are studying Our theory of economic inequality for example can certainly include an account of how the social processes that generate inequality vary across historical contexts 7 feudalism in Europe generates different sorts of inequalities than capitalism But a real theory of history could still be a waste of time That is any attempt at a general theory of the trajectory of historical change will be a failure 7 this trajectory is so dominated by contingency accident concatenation of a myriad of complex forces that we cannot possibly say anything interesting or deep about the overall trajectory Marx aspired to construct an extremely ambitious theory of history his effort was to treat the overall trajectory of human history 7 from the earliest forms of human social organization through the present and into the future 7 as something which could be explained To say that the trajectory of historical change is a legitimate theoretical object of explanation implies that history is not simply an empirical outcome of a myriad of entirely contingent processes some kind of systematic process is operating which shapes the trajectory of historical development This systematic process need not produce a unique path of historical development actual empirical history is undoubtedly the result of a variety of contingent processes intersecting this more law like developmental logic but there will be some kind of determinate pattern to historical change It might help to understand what this means by comparing a theory of history to the theories of the historical trajectories of three other kinds of phenomena the physical universe living organisms and individual organisms Cosmology tries to develop scientific theories of the origins of the universe its trajectory of development and its ultimate fate The Big Bang is the current theory of origins and recent developments in physics suggest that the ultimate fate of the Sociology 621 Lectures 4amp5 2 Classical Historical Materialism universe is continual expansion until all energy dissipates into a cold death of the universe Evolutionary biology is a theory of how natural selection combined with random ecological events determines the trajectory of biological development Evolutionary theory is a less ambitious theory than cosmology because it does not attempt to predict destinations only to retrospectively explain what s happened Finally modern biology explains the development of individual organisms from fertiled eggs through cell division to embryos birth organism development and eventual decline and death Not everything in this trajectory is fully understood but the basic idea that genetic structure determines the trajectory of development is well understood So the question before us is this can we develop a theory of the development of human society from earliest forms through the present and 7 perhaps 7 into the future that is like the theory of the development of an organism 12 Why Bother Why should radicals want such a theory This is not just because it would be cool to have a theory of history It is not just out of idle curiosity Rather a good systematic robust theory of history would solve a crucial problem faced by any emancipatory critical theory Here s the core issue How do you make credible the possibility of a radical emancipatory alternative to a world of oppression inequality domination How do you really convince people that another world is possible One answer of course is religion divine revelation faith But how do you do this in a secular context or reason and science A theory of history could provide a solution Specifically Marx eventually proposed a theory of history in which he tried to show that capitalism has an inherent tendency to destroy its own conditions of existence 7 that is that the internal dynamics of capitalism push it along atrajectory in which eventually it becomes unsustainable If this is solidly demonstrated then the task of convincing people that a better alternative is possible is much simply since some alternative to capitalism will be inevitable I believe that the Marxist theory of history 7 historical materialism 7 is above all such a theory a theory of the historical destiny of capitalism This is really a fundamental point so I will stress it again Historical Materialism is above all a theory of the future This does not mean that it inherently posits a singular ultimate destiny to human civilization 7 there can be multiple destinies multiple paths but it proposes that the tendencies towards future possibilities are knowable in the present It is thus akin to cosmology If we provisionally accept the legitimacy of the project of building a theory of history the question then becomes what are the central driving forces which explain this trajectory By virtue of what does historical development have a systematic noncontingent character Sociology 621 Lectures 4amp5 3 Classical Historical Materialism 2 The General Theory of Historical Materialism amp the Special Theory of Capitalist history Historical materialism is really a collection of distinct theories which while interdependent nevertheless have some real autonomy In particular I want to distinguish between what might be called the General theory of history and the speci c theory of capitalist history General Theory an attempt to explain the epochal trajectory of human history from its primordial beginnings through the present and even into the future This is the theory of epochal history Speci c theory the theory of capitalist development from the emergence of capitalism out of precapitalist society through its dynamic development and to its demise In a sense the latter is what is ultimately important to Marxism The General theory is important mainly because it ads force to the speci c theory provides it with hopefully rmer foundations so that the special theory becomes less dependent upon the adequacy of very detailed theoretical claims We will rst look at the general theory and then more brie y at the speci c theory of capitalism 3 What precisely is the explanandum of the General Theory Classical historical materialism aspires to be a theory of the overall trajectory of history across epochs This is still a bit vague because after all it leaves unspeci ed how detailed the description of the trajectory to be explained should be This is a controversial issue and in the end the plausibility of HM may depend upon how negrained the theory attempts to be Cohen proposes that history should be divided into three broad stages that have actually occurred and a fourth stage that is predicted by the theory 0 preclass society communal societies with no class divisions O precapitalist class society societies with exploitation based on direct coercion or what is sometimes called extraeconomic coercion Slavery feudalism tributary exploitation are examples 0 capitalist society 0 post capitalist nonclass society this is generally conceived as socialism developing towards communism This means that there are only two transitions that have actually occurred in history and one that is predicted Some people have tried to subdivide the precapitalist class society into distinct economic structures slavery tributary mode of production feudalism and tried to order these Sociology 62 Lectures 6 amp 7 Classical Historical Materialism into a more finegrained historical trajectory Cohen argues that this cannot be sustained While HM may help to explain which type of precapitalist relations of production occur under different material conditions it does not in fact contain any general abstract claims about the internal sequencing among these various forms 4 The core intuition of the General Theory Here is the core intuition of the General Theory If you rewound the tape of history 1000 times or had 1000 planet earths to experiment with and began 100000 years ago in a world where homo sapiens were fully evolved biologically but had not yet produced history what would happen The intuition is first that in all 1000 cases you would eventually get precapitalist class societies settled agriculture with exploiting classes based on extraeconomic coercion and a specialized warrior class living off of the surplus These societies would be able to conquer and subdue neighboring societies and force them to adopt the same division of labor The second intuition is that eventually with a long enough time span somewhere there would be a consolidated capitalist breakthrough from these precapitalist relations Once that happens capitalism would spread everwhere The time horizons might vary a lot across the 1000 experiments but eventually all of them would become capitalist We observe that this has actually happened in the world in which we live The intuition is that something more or less like this would have happened in the 999 other experiments The question then is what kind of underlying causal mechanism would explain the outcome of this imagined experiment 5 Functional Explanations 51 The basic logic of Cohen s Reconstruction Cohen believes that Marx s account of this trajectory rests at its core on a special kind of explanatory principle called functional explanation Speci cally at the core of Cohen s reconstruction of Marx s views are two intersecting functional explanations 1 The forces of production functionally explain the relations of production and 2 The relations of production functionally explain the superstructures Before we try to unpack his specific arguments we need to be really clear about what a functional explanation is 52 The structure of functional explanations A functional explanation is an explanation in which the beneficial effects of a structure are an important part of the explanation of the structure itself The classic examples come from biology Q Why do birds have hollow wings Sociology 621 Lectures 4 amp 5 5 Classical Historical Materialism A Because these are necessary ifthey are to y Q Why do giraffes have long necks A Because this enables them to eat the leaves of the acacia tree A consequence of something helps to explain its existence One of my favorite examples in sociology is Mallinowski s famous explanation of shing rituals among the Trobriand islanders Rituals occurs because they have the effect of reducing fear The explanation of rituals is via their consequences Since this reduction in fear is beneficial to the community we can say that there is a functional explanation of the occurrance and persistence of rituals draw the functional diagram of this explanation 53 functional vs intentional explanation Functional explanations are distinct from what is sometimes called an intentional explanation An intentional explanation is an explanation in which the anticipated effects of an action enter into its explanation When it is said for example that a particular law was adopted because politicians believed it would serve the interests of the capitalist class an intentional explanation is being offered A functional explanation in contrast would explain the law by its actual effects not just its intended effects The two may work together of course we could say that the introduction of the law was intentionally explained but its persistence is functionally explained ie the law remained in place because of its actual effects 54 functional explanation amp functional description Many people dislike functional explanations because they are too easy to make they are often facile they are hard to prove or disprove More specifically it is very easy to slide from a functional description to a functional explanation A functional description simply points to the benef1al effects of something We observe that rain makes owers grow We can say that rain is functional for the owers There is nothing objectionable in such a descriptive claim But we would regard as absurd the corresponding functional explanation why does it rain It rains so that owers can grow Note that religions often do slide from functional descriptions to explanations in the natural world where God becomes the mechanism which underwrites the functional explanation Rain exists so that owers can grow because God designed it that way Cohen stresses that it is essential to distinguish a functional description from a functional explanation To say that rain dances among the Hopi indians one of Cohen s favorite examples contributes to social cohesion is to present a functional description to say that the existence Hopi rain dances is explained by the fact that they contribute to cohesion is to offer a functional explanation Cohen s thesis is that historical materialism the Marxist theory of history rests on such functional explanations Sociology 621 Lectures 4 amp 5 6 Classical Historical Materialism Empirical observation about bene cial effects therefore is not equivalent to a demonstration of a functional explanation but it can provide a basis for an inference about a dispositional fact which adds credibility to a functional explanation If a functional explanation is correct then there must exist some sort of underlying mechanism sometimes called a feedback mechanism which explains how it comes to pass that the structure is reproduced by virtue of its beneficial effects In the case of functional explanations in biology Darwinian natural selection constitute the core of such mechanisms the beneficial effects of a trait increase the probability of the genes which produce the trait to be passed on to offspring Cohen argues that an elaboration of such mechanisms is certainly useful in defending a functional explanation and is ultimately important for the theory within which the functional explanation figures to be complete But he insists that a specification of such mechanisms is not logically necessary for believing a functional explanation to be valid 55 Functional explanations amp dispositional properties skip in lecture Cohen provides a philosophically complex defense of the underlying structure of functional explanations in which he introduces the idea of a dispositional fact in order to avoid a confusion in the usual understanding of the temporal structure of causation I won t discuss this in the lecture but the notes will contain a brief account of this Many people have argued that functional explanations are absurd How can a structure be explained by its effects Cohen argues that this misconstrues the structure of a functional explanation It is false that the resulting cohesion ie the effect of the performance of rain dances is put forth as explaining the performance of the rain dance Instead the performance is explained by this dispositional fact about the society that if it were to engage in a rain dance its social cohesion would be increased Cohen KMTOH p261 If the functional explanation is correct then it must be true that even in the absence of actual rain dances Hopi society is the kind of society whose cohesion would be enhanced by such rituals This is equivalent to saying that it was a property of shortnecked giraffes in the epoch before their evolution into longnecked giraffes that their survival probabilities would be enhanced by longer necks Without the dispositional fact raindances or long necks would not persist 56 Functional explanations vs epiphenomal attributions It is often thought that to adopt a functional explanation in social science is to relegate the structure so explained to some kind of peripheral or epiphenomenal theoretical status Something is epiphenomenal if it is caused by something but has no effects on the world of its own To say that the economic structure functionally explains the form of the state for example is sometimes taken to imply that the state is relatively unimportant perhaps even that it is Sociology 621 Lectures 4 amp 5 7 Classical Historical Materialism epiphenomenal You have often heard the accusation that Marxism is an instance of economic or class reductionism because the state is functionally explained by the economic structure These accusations constitute a basic misunderstanding of the nature of functional explanations Cohen gives an illustration of the basesuperstructure functional explanation that shows this well imagine a building in which a roof the superstructure is mounted on four struts the base Without the roof the struts would fall over with the roof in place the struts are stabilized and remain erect It might be proper in such an instance to say that the struts functionally explain the roof the roof takes the form it does in order to have the effect of stabilizing the struts but this hardly relegates the roof to a marginal status Without the roof the struts would fall over This is precisely what historical materialism claims for the state The state is massively important for the stability of capitalism without a properly organized state capitalism would be very fragile and perhaps collapse So the state matters Nevertheless it is functionally explained by class relations the state takes the form that it does and engages in the practices it does because this form and these practices stabilize the class structure 57 Functional explanations in HM Now the crucial point for Cohen is that historical materialism as elaborated in Marx s work requires functional explanations Take the example of the relationship between legal rights and economic powers the powers would be empty without legal rights so it seems like legal rights in the superstructure explain economic powers in the base Only by interpreting this relationship as part of a lnctional explanation can the base be understood as having causal primacy over the superstructure Cohen introduces functional explanations as a way of reconciling two sets of seemingly contradictory propositions la the level of develop lb The economic structure ment of the productive of a society has the effect forces in a society ex of furthering the develop plains the nature of ment of the productive its economic structure forces 2a The economic struc 2b The superstructure ture explains the nature of a society is has the of its superstructure effect of contributing to the stability of the economic structure Sociology 621 Lectures 4 amp 5 8 Classical Historical Materialism Cohen argues that la and lb are compatible and 2a and 2b are compatible only if the word explains in the left hand propositions is taken to mean functionally explains I the economic structure takes the form that it takes because this has the effect of furthering the development of the productive forces 2 the superstructure takes the form that it takes because this has the effect of contributing to the stability of the economic structure We will focus mainly on the PFPR relationship since this is the crucial relation for giving history a determinate structure We will explore the problem of the superstructure more systematically when we engage the study of the state and ideology in the second half of the course 6 Technological Determinism Cohen argues that the only way of making sense of the general theory of history in Marx is to see it as a special variety of technological determinist Historical materialism is based on the thesis Cohen argues that the forces of production explain the form of the social relations of production and by virtue of this the development of the forces of production ultimately explains the trajectory of social development Let s see how he builds this argument 61 Why the PF tend to develop Historical materialism begins Cohen argues with a primal fact about human beings and their situation in the world human beings live in a world of scarcity such that to survive they must transform nature in various ways Furthermore human beings are the sort of creatures which have the capacity intelligence and instrumental rationality to respond to this condition of scarcity by improving the forces of production at their disposal if only in a slow and haphazard manner in order to survive more satisfactorily This does not imply an incessant drive for technical change but simply a minimal claim that when technical changes occur that improve productivity there will at least be a tendency for them to be eventually adopted And once adopted a given technical innovation is unlikely to be reversed unless the knowledge behind the innovation is lost This creates at least a weak transhistorical tendency for the forces of production to develop It is this tendency which sets in motion an underlying dynamic to the transformation social forms How does this dynamic actually work The basic story is the following 1 by improving the forces of production people gradually increase their capacity to transform nature to such an extent that eventually it becomes possible to produce more than the pure subsistence needs of the population This does not mean that an actual physical surplus will in fact be produced but simply that it can be produced It is always possible that Sociology 621 Lectures 4 amp 5 9 Classical Historical Materialism instead of producing a physical surplus people will decide to work less to have more leisure time 2 Once the forces of production have developed to the point where a surplus can be produced it becomes possible for a class of people to arise who do not produce at all but who through one mechanism or another appropriate some or all of that surplus Why given this possibility do classes actually emerge 3 GA Cohen has argued that the emergence of classes under these historical conditions of potential surplus should be explained functionally classes emerge because given the level of development of the forces of production their emergence enhances the further development of the forces of production 62 A functional Explanation for the emergence of classes In the absence of an exploiting class the forces of production would eventually reach a point where they would permanently stagnate Producers would simply opt for less work rather than more production and once work was reduced beyond a certain point they would become relatively indifferent to 39 J imp forces If an exploiting class emerges however the stimulus for the development of the productive forces would be sustained for two reasons first the exploiters would have an interest if only a weak one in improvements in productivity since this would increase the surplus available to them and thus their power secondly the condition of scarcity would be perpetuated for the direct producers and thus their interest in increasing productivity would be maintained The functional explanation then asserts that an exploiting class emerges precisely because this transformation of the relations of production has the effect of furthering the development of the productive forces v 3 int quot The argument so far merely shows that if classes emerged in the specified conditions they would further the development of the forces of production But why should one expect classes to actually emerge at all under these conditions One possible explanation would procede in the following manner Note this is storytelling not scientific demonstration For long stretches of human history a high enough level of productivity existed to all for exploiters without an exploiting class emerging As a contingent event however from time to time in any given community someone some family or some group will attempt to become an exploiter either by subordinating part of the community or by subordinating some other community Classes need not initially arise primarily through class differentiation within communities in many instances they may have been forged by the enslavement of one community by another Given the relatively low level of productivity combined with the potential for a surplus the material payoffs to those succeeding in this attempt are potentially very great Sociology 621 Lectures 4 amp 5 10 Classical Historical Materialism Many perhaps most such attempts would fail for one reason or another But a few eventually succeed When they do if they are able to consolidate their positions with appropriate institutional protections especially protostate coercive apparatuses then the new class structure will tend to be selfperpetuating and perhaps expansive Why There are two basic reasons first with respect to potential con icts with other communities all things being equal a society with an exploiting class is likely to be militarily superior to classless communitarian societies A division of labor over military functions is more likely under conditions of exploitation where part of the surplus can be used for this purpose This will mean that in the long term classbased exploitative communities will tend to subordinate classless communitarian communities Secondly the ruling class in such a society is able to adopt a wide range of strategies which make it difficult for the exploited to overthrow its power Both through repression and cooptation a ruling class that controls the surplus is in a strong position to disorganize opposition and maintain its power Now here is the crucial point Such attempts at forging class relations are most likely to be stable and to be reproduced over time where they lead to the further development of the productive forces When it happens that the consolidation of an exploitative class structure leads to a serious deterioration of productive forces then in the long term it would be expected that such a society is likely to experience severe crises and disruptions and above all to be vulnerable to subordination by societies with more dynamic class structures To the extent that the forces of production further develop because of the pressures from the class structure then the available surplus for purposes of social control and expansion is also increased if only slowly and this in turn would increase the stability of the class structure In the long run because of such processes of con ict within and between societies there will be a tendency for exploitative class relations to persist when they would in fact facilitate the expansion of the forces of production The emergence of exploiting classes therefore tends to create a rachetlike character to transformations of social forms once a class structure is established it becomes much less likely that classlessness will reemerge than that class structures will continue The implicit mechanism is basically some kind of quasiDarwinian natural selection societies with dynamic capacities to develop the forces of production will tend to thrive spread conquer outcompete societies with stagnant forces of production will lose out in such a process and will disappear unless they are isolated 63 A Functional Explanation for the Transformation of class structures This explanation for the initial emergence of classes is a specific instance of a more general functional argument namely that the social relations of production are what they are because they optimally facilitate the development of the forces of production Given the level of productivity in these early societies the subsequent development of the forces of production Sociology 621 Lectures 4 amp 5 11 Classical Historical Materialism would be enhanced by the emergence of classes and this is precisely what functionally explains such emergence Cohen argues that Marx supported if only implicitly the functional explanation of this first epochal change in human society The critical question for historical materialism then becomes why this initially formed class structure does not continue inde nitely Cohen adopts the same basic functional explanation to account for the subsequent trajectory of social forms Once exploiting classes are established if their rule is to be stabilized then political and ideological superstructures must emerge either by design trial and error or luck which have the effect of reproducing the power of such exploiting classes The forces of production however continue to develop under the double impulse of human beings contending with nature and ruling classes appropriating the surplus This development may be exceptionally slow and erratic but technical change will continue within the institutional constraints of a given class structure This continued expansion of the productive forces sets the stage for the central contradiction announced by Marx in the Preface to A Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy the social relations of production become institutionally frozen through the creation of political and ideological mechanisms superstructures which maintain a particular ruling class in power while the forces of production continue to develop Eventually it is argued the forces of production reach the limits of possible expansion under the existing relations of production The relations then cease to stimulate the development of forces of production but instead become fetters on such development obstacles to the future enhancement of productivity This constitutes what is called the contradiction between forces and relations of production How is this contradiction resolved There are three possibilities I the forces of production could regress 2 a condition of permanent stagnation could exist 3 the relations of production could be transformed in such a way to allow for the future development of the forces of production If one accepts the functional arguments advanced by Cohen then the third of these would tend to be the longterm outcome of such contradictions That is when the relations of production fetter the forces of production there will be a systematic long term tendency for the relations of production to be transformed ie for the class structure to be transformed in order to liberate the subsequent development of the forces of production With the transformation of the class structure the accompanying superstructures which are themselves explained by the functions they serve for reproducing the class structure are also transformed Sociology 621 Lectures 4 amp 5 12 Classical Historical Materialism 64 The outcome of transformation One more element is needed in the argument for the theory to yield a determinate overall trajectory to historical epochs If it were the case that there were an indeterminate variety of new social relations of production that could follow in the wake of the destruction of old relations of production then the argument above would not yield a well de ned historical trajectory Cohen therefore adds to what has been said so far what can be termed the optimality thesis This states not simply that when the relations of production fetter the forces of production it is the relations which will be transformed but that they will be transfomred in such a way as to optimally facilitate subsequent development of the forces of production The epochal development of human societies is thus marked by two primary movements 1 the more or less continuous development of the forces of production sometimes rapidly sometimes slower and occasionally fettered and 2 the radically discontinuous development of the relations of production and their corresponding superstructures The epochs of human history are thus qualitatively marked off by the discontinuities in their relations of production These epoques follow a particular trajectory or sequence because in each epoch those relations optimally suited to the development of the forces of production will exist Remember that this argument is meant to only explain a trajectory consisting of a speci c sequence of three historically occurring forms of society and one predicted future form The overall argument defended by Cohen can be summarized in terms of ve basic theses l Compatability Thesis Given a particular level of development of the forces of production only certain relations of production are possible given a particular form of the relations of production only certain levels of the forces of production are possible Possible means that only certain combinations of forces and relations of production would be stable If an attempt was made for example to restore slavery under advanced technologies it would ultimate be unstable and generate the kinds of turmoil and crises that would lead to a transformation of the production relations More poignently if the attempt is made to create socialism under unfavorable conditions ie under conditions of technological backwardness without a suf cient surplus to sustain socialist relations of production then it too will generate crises which will lead to a transformation of the social relations 2 Development thesis The forces of production tend to develop through history 3 Contradiction thesis Given the compatability thesis and the development thesis for any given form of relations of production with the exception of developed communism there will come a point in which the forces of production become fettered by the relations of production Sociology 621 Lectures 4 amp 5 13 Classical Historical Materialism 4 Transformation Thesis When the relations fetter the forces in the long run there will be a systematic tendency for the relation to be transformed to unfetter the forces 5 Optimality thesis When the relations of production are transformed new relations of production will be created which are optimal given the existing level of the forces of production for the further development of the forces of production Taking these theses together generates the general theory of historical trajectory originally presented by Marx and systematically elaborated by Cohen In the next session we will examine a variety of problems within this theoretical construction 7 The special theory of capitalist history Within Marxism the crucial payoff of a theory of history is its application to the specific case of understanding the logic of capitalist development Historical materialism is not just a general theory of all of human history it is also a specific theory of the trajectory capitalist history Indeed one might argue that this is the very heart of classical Marxism a theory about the historical trajectory of the development of capitalism culminating in a revolutionary rupture which leads to socialism The theory is based on two causal chains both rooted in the internal dynamics of capitalism as a mode of production One causal chain leads from the contradictions between forces and relations of production within capitalist development through the falling rate of profit to the fettering of the forces of production within capitalism and thus the long term nonsustainability of capitalism the other causal chain leads through the growth of the working class to the increasing capacity to transform capitalism of those historic agents with an interest in such transformation The coincidence of these two causal chains makes a rupture in capitalism desirable and possible The Traditional Marxist Theory of How Capitalist Contradictions gt Socialism The internal Falling rate Long term nonsustainability contradictions 9 of profit 9 of capitalism fettering of capitalist 9 Socialist rupture development 9 Growth of the 9 Emergence of agents capable working class of transforming capitalism Of course this gets elaborated in a much more complex manner than this simple schema there are specific stages of capitalist development each with their own specific form of emerging contradictions between relations and forces of production Each stage is characterized by specific kinds of crisis tendencies which continue until eventually the relations of production are transformed from one form of capitalism to another in such a way as to stimulate the subsequent development of the forces of production Lecture 22 Sociology 62 December 5 2005 The State amp the working Class The Democratic Capitalist State and Social Reproduction We have discussed general problem of the debates over the class character of the state and explored claims that the state in capitalist societies has a distinctively bourgeois character a form that systenmatically produces class eiTects In this lecture we will look much more closely at one particular type of capitalist state capitalist democracy and explore in more detail its actual mechanisms of operation the ways in which it structures and restructures class struggle 1 The Puzzle Marx in a famous passage from Class Struggles in France portrayed the linkage of democracy and capitalism as an intensely contradictory couplet The comprehensive contradiction of this constitution however consists in the following the classes whose social slavery the constitution is to perpetuate proletariat peasantry petty bourgeoisie it puts into the possession of political power through universal suffrage And from the class whose old social power it sanctions the bourgeoisie it withdraws the political guarantees of this power It forces the political rule of the bourgeoisie into democratic conditions which at every moment help the hostile classes to victory and jeopardise the very foundations of bourgeois society MarxEngels Selected Works in Three Volumes voll Moscow pp2356 Lenin writing some sixty years later in The State and Revolution claimed that parliamentary democracy was the best possible shell for the perpetuation of bourgeois rule Can these two positions be reconciled Do they re ect distinct theoretical stances towards the problem of bourgeois democracy or do they simply re ect the changing conditions of bourgeois rule from the mid19th century to the twentieth century How can capitalism be effectively reproduced when the vast majority of the electorate is propertyless and elects the political leadership This is the puzzle we will address in this section These issues are hardly simply questions of textual interpretation the debate over the class character of parliamentary democracy remains at the very heart of both theoretical and political debates over the state on the left today Can the state be used by different classes in the pursuit of their class interests or does the state have a monolithic class character Does the parliamentary form of the capitalist state contain within itself contradictory principles Particularly since the problem of democracy has become such a central political concern given the history of actually existing socialist states the answers to such questions are of fundamental importance Lecture 22 Democracy amp the Working Class 2 2 Electoral Politics Przeworski s Analysis Przeworski s work offers a radical alternative to conventional pluralist approaches to studying voting see the appendix to these notes for a discussion directly of pluralist approaches The central point to get out of Przeworski is that he insists that a theory of voting cannot be reduced to a theory of voters To understand voting one must understand the logicdynamics of the social structures within which this activity takes place A theory of voting therefore is a theory of the ways in which social structures shape the possible actions of parties and individuals and how those actions in turn restructure the constraints in subsequent elections 21 The Model The basic model of the analysis is thus something like this CLASS STRUCTURE mu ts STRATEGIES OF POLITICAL PARTIES selects medzates PATTERN selects Party strategies directly mediate the process by which individual microprocesses take place Parties organize voters and the extent to which workers will vote like workers depends to a large extent on the chices of parties on whether they will attempt to mobilize workers as workers into politics Those party strategies of course do not take place in a void and are themselves shaped by the class structure faced by the party on the one hand and by the outcomes of previous elections which depends in part on the strategies of other parties on the other Lecture 22 Democracy amp the Working Class 3 22 Alternative explanations for party strategies Let us see more precisely how Przeworski develops this analysis He begins by asking a fairly straightforward question one that might well be asked by any social scientist why do socialists invariably end up reproducing capitalism Why do parties formally dedicated to the advancement of the interests of the working class into the workings of a capitalist system of domination Two solutions to this question are dismissed from the outset 1 simple economistic explanations which see cooptationintegration as the result of the inexorable march of economic development 2 voluntaristic explanations which explain the sell out of socialist parties by the misleadership of party elites Both of these explanations are inadequate because they fail to provide any sustained account of the actual mechanisms which produce integration In the misleadership arguments there is no explanation of why leaders become misleaders Either one has to adopt by default a Michelsian iron law of oligraphy argument or it is necessary to posit explicitly the structural conditions which produce a certain form of leadership The economistic argument equally fails by failing to show how economic development is translated into structured options for parties options which are embodied in strategies which have the effects of integration 3 The correct strategy for dealing with this question is to try to sort out the complex economic political ideological conditions under which this sort of integration can take place Economic conditions Exploitation is the necessary condition for realising any short run goals within a capitalist society What is good for GM is good for America and the working class in the speci c sense tht workers suffer from bankruptcies and dislocations given the continuedexistence of capitalism Political conditions Bourgeois democracy provides a mechanism for redistribution of the surplus already extracted workers as workers have no claim on th surplus but as citizens there is a social mechanism electoral parliamentary democracy for processing such claims for gaining back some of the past exploitation Such a structure of politics directs struggles necessarily over immediate interests Ideological conditions Bouregeois interest always involve a convergence of immediate and fundamental interests and the realization of their interests as the precondition for the realization of all other future immediate interests of other classes their interests thus become universal whereas the proletariats appear as particularistic Lecture 22 Democracy amp the Working Class 4 23 The Nested Dilemmas of Social Democracy Given these structural conditions three dilemmas are sharply posed to working class parties 1 Participation whether to participate at all in bouregeois political institutions 2 Alliances whether to seek the cooperation and alliance of other classes 3 Anti capitalism whether once in power to pursue revolutionary reforms or reforms which strengthen capitalism Since the third of these concerns the strategies of socialist governments in capitalist societies rather than the problem of electoral politics per se I will emphasize the rst two of these dilemmas in the rest of this discussion The critical point is that any of the possible strategic choices are contradictory there are no noncontradictory choices possible One might add Przeworski doesn t really make this point that this is what distinguishes a revolutionary situation from others the contradictory character of strategic options disappears 24 The logic of the rst dilemma It is only through participation in the capitalist democratic process that workers can redress their past exploitation The pursuit of shortrunimmediate interests forces participation in electoral politics even though this may erode longer termfundamental interests And the dilemma is that if a party opts for keeping out of the electoral arena it is essentially opting for a lower capacity to deal with immediate issues 25 The problem of the second dilemma The working class is not an absolute majority in any capitalist country Certainly the heart of the working classmanual labor in the productive sectoris not a majority Since the electoral game is a game of numbers requiring 51 percent for victory this implies tht to one extent or another socialist electoral parties will have to make appeals to other classes outside of the proletariat and thus The process of the electoral organization of the masses constitutes the process of the disorganization of the working class In order to function as a vote getting party by attracting allies the party must minimize its function as a class party and this in turn reduces its capacity to attract workers as well Thus the ultimate contradictiondilemma Hence class based electoral parties can neither limit their appeal to the working class and win elections nor can they universalize their appeal without losing votes of workers The result is that parties are caught in a structural contradiction which they cannot simply opt out of The purpose of a scienti c investigation of parties and votingvoting not votersis Lecture 22 Democracy amp the Working Class 5 to organize theoretically the components of this structure of constraints contradictions and try to grasp the way such constraints have pushed party activity in given directions In the essay on the history of social democracy in the readings Przeworski examines historically how European socialist partis negociated these dilemmas and how as an outcome of the choices they made the programs of their parties became progressively integrationist committed to strengthening capitalism rather than transforming its basic structures In the larger work of which this is a part Paper Stones Przeworski also attmepts to formalize these dilemmas into a mathematical model of the constraints faced by parties and the consequences of different strategies within those constraints Without going into the formal details of his analysis he takes the class structure of the society as the basic independent variable in the sense tht the class structure poses to the socialist party the tradeoffs faced in trying to appeal to nonworking class voters in order to obtain 50 percent of the vote With a few additional assumptions Przeworski can make estimates of what he calls the Gramsci bounds on the vote the upper bound the maximum vote a socialist party could obtain by consistently pursuing a votemaximizing strategy within the constraints it faces the minimum bound the vote that would be obtained by pursuing a strategy which attempts to maximize the purity of its class base in the proletariat Total Vote shift in strategy maximizing limit 0 4 V016 for towards reformist the Socialist Party Working Class vote maximizing limit Vote for J Socialist Party Gramsci Historical Time Bounds These bounds change over time as a function primarily of changes in the class structure Przeworski then uses the calculations of these bounds the objective parameters faced by party strategists to see counterfactually what difference different strategies could make You could ask what would have happened if the German SDP had adopted the Swedish strategy Lecture 22 Democracy amp the Working Class 6 This is a radically different kind of analysis from anything envisioned by pluralist voter centered theorists like Lipset Indeed one can reasonably say that the entire methodological stance of Lipset s analysis totally precludes this sort of investigation The questions are unaskable given the individualist premises of the analysis The central point is that it is impossible to understand voting by beginning with an examination of the experiences of individual voters their characteristics and the forces which shape their attitudes etc The analysis must begin at the political level with an analysis of the structures encountered by parties engaged in real struggles with real political projectsobjectives It is the actions of these parties in struggle as they attempt to organize classes or disorganize classes which determines the extent to which individuals actually experience their lives in terms of one sort of cleavages or another Political struggleclass struggle at the level of politicsis thus decisive in the very formation of classes that is in the determination of the social expressions of underlying cleavages Butand this but is the decisive aspect of the problemparty strategies are structurally constrained We thus have a complex dialectic of structure strategy transformation The micro experiences of individuals matter in this dialectic and are consequential in determining why individuals act the way they act but the process by which such microdeterminations occur can be understood only when embedded in this broader dialectical context 26 Logic of Third Dilemma To win reelection need to improve things which means making capitalism work better dilemma remaining faithful to revolutionary ideals and losing the next election or compromising those ideals and staying in power Possible way out nonreformist reforms reforms which a make capitalism work better and b open up space for more radical transformations in the future Lecture 22 Democracy amp the Working Class 7 Appendix A Rogers amp Cohen Analysis of the mechanisms of Representative Democracy A good deal of recent Marxist work on the state has been devoted to answering the puzzle of the compatibility of representative democracy and capitalism Joshua Cohen and Joel Rogers have synthesized these various arguments in an elegant and interesting way in their book On Democracy reference in readings Like Przeworski they argue that the two traditional Marxist explanations for the durability of capitalism under democratic regimes repression or false consciousness are unsatisfactory As an alternative they propose that capitalist democracies structure the rules of the game of political conflict in such a way that class struggles are directed towards short run gains consistent with the reproduction of capitalism Capitalist democracy is in some measure capable of satisfying the interests encouraged by capitalist democracy itself namely interests in shortterm material gain Consent is based on narrowly de ned calculations of private advantage pp5152 Two issues 1 Capitalist democracy reduces political con ict to material shortterm advantage 2 concomitant difficulties of moving out of this to an alternative system The pivotal mechanism underlying this how capitalism gt time horizons of actors within politics Reasoning 1 Welfare of workers is contingent upon welfare of capitalists brecause income depends upon jobs depends upon investment depends upon profits 2 Capitalist democracy provides workers with a political means of securing the fruits of past savings and thus reduce material uncertainties which are endemic to capitalism 3 So why not challenge capitalist relations themselves Answer different requirements of shortterm material and longterm fundamental interests struggles Contrasts between shortterm and longterm struggles in capitalist democracies Note this is a claim about the effects of time horizons and temporality of struggles Lecture 22 Democracy amp the Working Class 1 Coordination 2 institution alization 3 aims 4 probabil ities 5 Prisoners Dilemmas 6 Effects on material interests SHORT TERM easy regularized clear agreed low risk some success likely easy to solve partial gains LONG TERM difficult noninstitutional opaque contested high risk no partial success very difficult to overcome uncertain personal costs bad information large transition costs even if informaiton and coordination not an issue 4 REOURCE CONSTRAINTS advantages of capitalists politically within a democracy in spite of the fact that they are small in numbers with few votes Essentially Offe amp Wiesenthal s kind of argument coordination easier communication easier ends better defined information costs tolerable and worth translating into lobbying prisoners dilemmas easier to solve This constitutes the material basis for effective instrumental action by capitalists 5 Motivational F pr quot39 The J quot of these 39 have the effect of structuring nearly all valuesmotives around material interests If you want quality childcare for humanistic purposes you need resources and getting those resources requires entering the game nonmaterial interests become bound to material shortterm interests Even the pursuit of radical needs pushes actors towards participation in the democratic game and this pushes actors towards shortterm etc strategies 6 OUTCOME CLASS COMPROMISE The terms are variable depending upon balances of power but the enforcement of the compromise and its periodic restructuring occurs through the state Lecture 22 Democracy amp the Working Class 9 Appendix B Marxist vs Non marxist Approaches to the Study of Electoral Politics These notes are from lectures from an earlier version of the course in which we spent a week on nonMarxist approaches to politics and democracy which we contrasted to Marxist approaches In what follows I will lay out the reasoning behind the conventional strategy of political sociology exempli ed above all by Lipset s study Political M art This should be read as a contrast to the kind of logic present in the neoMarxist approach represented in the work of Przeworski on Social Democracy discussed above The analysis of voting in pluralist theory Individuals cast votes in elections and the sum total of those individual acts determines the victor in the contest These are elemental factsit appearsof parliamentary politics If the outcome is the result of an aggregation of individual acts thenthe reasoning implicitly goesto explain the outcome we must explain those individual acts themselves And to explain individual acts means to understand why some people vote one way and others vote another way How do we go about this We investigate the differences between individual attributes of various sorts and see how they are related to individual electoral behavior Thus the logic of conventional political sociology s approaches to voting instead of actually studying voting as such the research becomes a study of voters The structure of such research is painfully simple Social conditions are seen as determinants of individual attributes psychological states values interests etc and these in turn are seen as determinants of political behavior So the model looks like this social individual voting structural gt attributes gt behavior factors Lipset s study exemplifies this logic well Let us look at a number of specific propositions in his analysis Development and left voting On p 45 Lipset writes Economic development producing increased income greater economic security and widespread higher education largely determines the form of the class struggle by permitting those in the lower strata to develop longer time perspectives and more complex and gradualist views of politics He then goes on to present data which show that there is a fairly strong inverse relationship between the wealth of the country and the vote for communists What can we say about this proposition First of all the descriptive claim in this proposition is reasonably accurate although even that could be questioned Overall given certain unspecified historic conditions it is probably true that reformist politics within the working class tend to occur more readily in wealthier countries But even if that is true Lipset s Lecture 22 Democracy amp the Working Class 10 explanation of this fact would be open to serious question The central reason Lipset gives for this relations is that education and other factors make it possible for workers to have a more complex view of politics That is structural factors are seen as having their central effect or importance via their effects on individual psychology The individual is the receptical of structural forces This kind of causal process is even sharper in Lipsets discussion of working class authoritarianism because of the limited character of workers lives their limited contacts with diverse intellectual currents the rigidity of their family life and so on their personalities become rigidnarrowauthoritarian and this type of personality predisposes them to leftist propoganda In Lipset s words they become susceptible to extremism The logic of the explanation then is of the following sort social structures shape individuals creating predispositions to act in various ways immediate interests then determine the specific political behavior of the individual the type of party tht individual is likely to support in conjunction with those predispositions There is no serious discussion by Lipset of the possibility that workers in poorer countries are more radicalextreme precisely because the class structures are more polarized in those countries and their conditions objectively ore oppressed or becaue their are no objective possibilities for reform because of the rigidity and authoritarianism of the ruling classes Lipset never examines whether the hostility to civil liberties or at least the lack of importance given to them by workers relative to petty bourgeois social categories is because in this society workers are objectively excluded from thee exercise of those civil liberties and see a free press for example as an instrument of domination no liberation The point is that Lipset totally discounts the structural realities faced by workers except in the ways those realities shape the worker Isolation and radicalism See p 76 for examples on isolation and its effect on the extremism of miners lumberjacks etc Again the descriptive thesis is probably correct But the logic behind it is again totally psychologistic isolated people are not exposed to broader ideas They are isolated from the pluralisticc in uences of a democratic society and it is because of this that they take an extreme position Lipset never provides a sustained theoretical discussion of the concept of isolation what its real social content is Is it tht isolated communities have a narrow particularistic view of the world or could it be that isolated communities ae shielded from some of the ideologicalpolitical cooptiveintegrative manipulations of the larger society and thus have a truer vision ofthe capitalist world Class relations may be less mystified and sharper in isolated communities and the social relations within the working class stronger making the class capacities of workers more durable The class solidarity of community life and the sharpness of the exploitation within production then can be interpreted as demystifying capitalist social relations rather than mystifying pluralist relations In order to adopt Lipsets position on this question it is necessary to accept his assumption that the world is genuinely pluralistic Only then would it make sense to regard factors which make people reject pluralism as sources of mystifrcation In effect Lipset even more than most marxists identi es as false consciousness extremism authoritarianism any view of the world which differs from his See p 90 for his discussion of black and white views of society Lecture 22 Democracy amp the Working Class 11 Cross pressures Probably one of the most famous propositions of Lipset concerns his arguments about the effects of crosspressurescrosscutting cleavages of social lifeon voting These crosscutting cleavages ae the real stuff of pluralism and they play a central role in his analysis of the stability of bourgeois democracy Lipset makes two propositions about these crosspressures i crosspressures produce apathy by tearing individuals in contradictory 139 39 n thus 39 quot39 quot and 39 J 39 39 see p 217 ii crosspressures encourage deviations from expected left voting since a person torn between pressures for voting left and voting conservative will probably vote conservatively since this would link that person to higher status sources of identifications and as Lipset argues people have a natural drive to feel superior to others if possible see p 240 Again probably these propositions have a certain descriptive validity at least in certain societies in certain periods The difficulty is tht it is possible to posit an endless list of cross pressureswhich any individual faces and it is necessary to have an explicit theory of the ways in which these crosspressures become organized socially The central question is the social processesforces which transform specific pressures or cleavages into sources of identification and action especially collective action Przeworski stresses this point as we shall see Social cleavages are not a datum Whethemrrr a particular social distinction becomes the source of a cleavage expressed in behavior is the effect of struggles which result in a particular vision of society with which people go about living their daily lives Social divisions become lived as cleavages becaue they become organized as such p 22 Przeworski Lipset takes the cleavages of a society for granted and never analyses the problem ofthe relatively weights given to various sources of identification The picture presented is that individuals faceexperience cleavages not collectivities and the resolution of those cleavages is understood in solely individualistic terms individuals experience crosspressures which produce intraindividual indecision A note on pluralism The central premise of pluralist theory is the multiplicity of social cleavages in advanced industrial society This is unquestionably a correct description of immediately encountered sources of identification con ict What pluralism as a social theory fails to do is theorize the relationship among these cleavages There is no theoretical reason advanced why one sort of cleavageclass cleavagesshould have any primacy over any other The only basis for explaining the preponderance of one cleavage overanother of one source of social indetifrcation over another would be an historical account of the development of a cleavage not to provide a structural account of the underlying contradictions and dynamics which generate and reproduce a given pattern of cleavages Some General Methodological Criticisms Four general issues seem especially important i methodological individualism ii multifactorial causal logic iii ahistorical character of concepts iv ideological character of assumptions Lecture 22 Democracy amp the Working Class 12 i Individualism Lipset does not totally ignore social structural issues Social structure does play an important role in his work But the social structure has its causal efficacy only in terms of its embodiment in individuals as individuals I 39 quotJ in 39 quot 39 39 39 I J 39 39 39 39 processes There is no place for genuinely collective actorsforces nor for structural contradictions and processes which shape social options irrespective of individual psychologies Above all there is no theory of the processes of transformation of structures themselves and the problems this poses to actors within those structures ii Causal logic Multifactorial causation with each factor adding a small incremental push to the outcome There is no concept of structural causation no understand of the different ways in which causes shape an outcome and of course no concept of contradictorydialectical determination iii Concepts Lipset treats concepts like democracy class etc as if they had identical content in all societies This leads him to make absolutely absurd statements about the history of politics as on p 311 when he claims that the social bases of Jeffersonian politics are the same as the modern DemocraticvsRepublican parties To make such a statement requires a complete distortion of the radical transformations in the class structure that have taken place in the past 180 years It is only through the use of uttlerly superficial empiricism conceptslike upper and lower strataconcepts which are no more than simplifications of a complex reality conceptsformed through a process of sifting ratherthan critique that it is possible to make such a claim In Jefferson s time there wasn t a working class to speak of so it is meaningless to say that the party had the same social base as the modern Democrats This is true only in the sense that the peasant rebellions of Germany in the middle ages and the slave revolts in ancient Greece all constitute the same social base the bottom of social hierarchies Whenever words like poor lower strate consensus and the like are used in discussions ofpolitics you can befairly certain that the methodology is uncriticalempiricist iv Ideological assumptions Three of these seem especially important to me 1 The only possible alternative to bourgeois democracy is dictatorshiptyranny There are no other optins The definition of democracy on p 27 which limits the cncept to representation and leadership selection re ects this strongly liberalideological definition The possibilities of delegateconciliorsoviet democracy proletarian democracy is never entertained and therefore critics of bourgeois democracy become necessarily to Lipset opponents of democracy itself 2 Elections are the locus of serious power relations in a bourgeois democracy Classes only have differential power inthe sense that they may be able to bring greater resources into the electoral arena but there is no such thing as structural power or systemic power no relations or domination outside ofelections that could act as the fundamental constraints on elections themselves The Leninist critique of bourgeois democracy tht real power lies in the bureaucratic relations of domination is never dealt with In other works when such Lecture 22 Democracy amp the Working Class issues are discussed the question is always posed simply in terms of the extent to which it is possible to demonstrate in uence of various pluralist groups on the various bureaucraticadministrative centers of power The power relations that are embedded in the very structure of the state are not discussed they remain opaque to the concepts used in the analysis those concepts cannot penetrate to reveal the conditions which make electoral exchanges possible as a basis for political power 3 Class interests may be 39 but in quot 39 WM Jimmy The Marxistcommunist account of class relations is therefore ideological and simplistic The world is genuinely pluralistic and if you disagree with this you are authoritarian How do we know the world is pluralistic Look around and you see many varietie of con ict and you see endless examples of compromise and negociation between classes In other words the facts of immediately encountered experience demonstrate the pluralistic quality of social life


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