Digital transformation is based on a promise. Sometimes this promise is the “end of work,” a world where technology displaces human toil. In more modest moments, digital transformation promises widespread prosperity, where investing in technological innovation delivers economic growth for all.
These are attractive possibilities. Who wants to keep going to their bullshit job? And, if you have to keep going to work, at least you could get paid more. But after decades of investment in digital technology, it seems clear that this model for economic growth leads to the exact opposite of what it promised. Those of us who have work are working more, and we’re all earning less. Well, most of us.
While wages have stagnated across the Global North, investors’ wealth has soared. Digital transformation has played a central role in redistributing from labor to capital because it’s one of the most powerful justifications for financial deregulation. When we take a closer look at the history of digital transformation, this is hardly a surprise.
The promise of digital transformation is anchored in a discourse that the tech sector invented along with venture capital (VC) when they came together to lobby for reducing capital gains taxes […]
After months of campaigning and weeks of voting, workers at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama recently voted by more than 2-1 against joining a union.
First, we must recognize that the overwhelming vote against the union marks a decisive defeat, not to be underestimated. It will undoubtedly have a dampening effect on other workers, especially given its broad media attention, and the high expectations of many.
Yet, before dissecting what happened there, we need to recognize that this is a difficult period to organize for unions.
There is the pandemic and widespread unemployment, with the recognition that there are many other workers who are potential replacements. Threats by big companies, especially Amazon that they might just move a facility if it were unionized are widespread and credible. Unlike coal mines or ports, which are fixed in place, logistics facilities can indeed move.
The vicious overwhelming nature of the anti-union campaign by management, has been well-documented. The low level of unionization at present, especially in the private sector, below 6% nationally now presents workers with questions of support. And, the low level of confidence in general that a union would be able or willing to do much plays a role.
Imagined solutions to extractive sector injustices are limited by circumscribed regimes of policy "solutions" - and at times "transparency" is a fetish that results on documentation on paper and far too little meaningful change.
Marx’s influence extends well beyond the self-identified Marxian school to several other important heterodox traditions within economics, though this often passes unrecognised on both sides. Consequently, the proper boundaries of the Marxian school of economics are much wider than either many self-identified Marxists, or indeed crypto-Marxists, generally consider. Each of the Minskian, post-Keynesian, Sraffian, institutional, feminist and social ecological (dominant) schools/branches of heterodox economics make a significant contribution in developing effectively Marxist themes and theory. Self-identified Marxists, as well as crypto-Marxists, stand to benefit intellectually and practically from a mutual recognition of this implicit division of hererodox economics labour.
If the new finance capital does not suppress, but actually intensifies, capitalist competition, then this implies the need for a more thoroughgoing remaking of these institutional forms. The corporation is not an instrument or tool to be wielded, but rather a social relation disciplined by the logic of capital.
Socialists therefore must imagine and construct an alternative form of democratic economic planning to challenge, rather than reinforce, capitalist competition, which is oriented around meeting social needs, rather than serving private profits.