Commentary on Political Economy

Friday, 22 April 2022


You see where I take issue with these sorts of theses, fairly ubiquitous now.

First premise:

“The challenge is not only that of industrial sovereignty, recalled by the health crisis. Industrial jobs are above all a factor of prosperity and social and political balance: well paid, they are protected by a history of social achievements and valued in the community. It was even industrial development that allowed the emergence of the Western middle classes in the post-war period: the economist Dani Rodrick sees in it the “fundamental conditioner for the democratic vigor of a country”. 

False: it was never “the middle class” that drove capitalist development. It was always the working class. Indeed, the very definition of middle class are “the liberal professions”, historically EXTERNAL to the cycle of capital.

Second premise:

“As the entrepreneur Denis Payre shows in his book The Global Contract (First, 2021), policymakers believed, in good faith, that free trade would lead to the convergence of emerging economies with the West, and thereby promote  democracy.  Without ever imagining that, by hitting the Western middle classes, deindustrialization would produce extreme voting."


The Western bourgeoisie knew ALL ALONG what it was doing!

Indeed, this is my thesis, it is the very historical sociopolitical and “economic” (remember: economics is a concentrate of politics; NOT vice versa!) DYNAMICS of capital to induce such globalisation.


Third premise:

“ In fact, the most exposed categories have turned to service jobs, which are more precarious and less well paid than in industry, and to which the term “proletariat” is more readily applied. “Employees” now outnumber “workers”. And share the same feeling of downgrading, which we also found manifestations of in Brexit.”

Correct, but for the wrong reasons! The replacement of manufacturing with services is part of the gradual elimination of the middle class (liberal professions) AND THEIR SUBSUMPTION IN THE CYCLE OF CAPITAL!

Very important point!

Overall, a creditable effort from this lady. But once again, the failure of most students of capitalism to combine history, sociology, political theory and economics - and, may I add, analytical acumen - lets them down.

One other observation: the writer is entirely wrong in opining that service jobs are “proletarian” as against manufacturing industrial jobs. 


Because bourgeois society has managed to cajole the former liberal middle classes with the “entrapments” of what APPEAR TO BE “employee” (white collar) jobs when in fact they are just service industry (proletarian) jobs - just not in manufacturing per se.

Most former “liberal professionals” were self employed. Now they are service employees working for wage-salaries.

The “tasks” performed resemble former “lower and middle management” positions, but in fact the managerial role itself has been devalued in terms of “control”, salary/wages, and therefore also status.

In any case, these services jobs do not even remotely resemble the old liberal professional “occupations” (you hesitate to call them “jobs”, of course).


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