Alternative Visions Of Work In a Neoliberal World: An Impossible Dream Or a Project Under Construction?

Friday, July 18, 2014: 3:42 PM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Peter B. EVANS , Sociology, University of California-Berkeley, CA
“We give people jobs” is the capitalists’ prime legitimation for monopolizing political and economic power.  The reality behind this ideology is that the role of capitalists is to make sure that the supply of jobs is inadequate and to degrade those jobs that remain. Yet, the idea that supporting the dominance of capital is the only route that will enable people to exercise their productive capabilities and receive livelihoods in return remains one of the most powerful elements of neoliberal “commonsense.”   Replacing this “commonsense” with an alternative vision for organizing social production that is credible and compelling in the context of the contemporary global political economy is a central challenges in the production of counter-hegemonic knowledge. The centuries old history of frustrated efforts to escape the imposition of inhumane and counterproductive modes of organizing work notwithstanding, it remains a project that must be resurrected anew in every era.  This paper will combine an effort to systematize an analytical counterattack on the current commonsense together with an exploration of existing efforts to formulate alternative strategies for expanding productive livelihoods and implementing alternative organizational forms for securing those livelihoods in practice, within the hostile environment of global neoliberal capitalism.