Saturday 12 May 2012

How To Become A Good Consumer

The so-called consumer economy and the politics of corporate capitalism have created a second nature of man which ties him libidinally and aggressively to the commodity form.  The need for possessing, consuming, handling, and constantly renewing the gadgets, devices, instruments, engines, offered to and imposed upon the people... has become a "biological" need...  The second nature of man thus militates against any change that would disrupt and perhaps even abolish this dependence of man on a market ever more densely filled with merchandise -- abolish his existence as a consumer consuming himself in buying and selling.  The needs generated by this system are thus eminently stabilizing, conservative needs: the counterrevolution anchored in the instinctual structure.

Corporate capitalism creates the needs within human beings by which the purchase and use (consumption) of technology and commodities become a necessary component of human "actualization."  The frustration and aggression arising from life in capitalist civilization -- with its overt and subtle forms of exploitation, oppression, and regimentation -- finds its outlet through the consumption of commodities.  Values such as self-determination are re-defined in terms of the perceived control and autonomous use of commodities as well as the freedoms within constraints that become naturalized as part of the capitalist social order. 

Brutal Conditions in Chinese Toy Factories

In August, 2010, China Labor Watch ran an investigation of two factories supplying for Disney.

The “historical issues” remain:

  • Underage and child labor are widespread in the factories. These young workers work as many hours as their adult counterparts;
  • Averagely, weekly working time exceeds 72 hours. The workers are required to work overtime as many as 130 hours a month, while they can usually take one day off each month;
  • The overtime compensation is as low as 97 centers/hour, far below the legal standard;
  • Workers are not provided the minimum social insurance required by law;
  • Long-term exposure to chemical hazards has led to a running nose, dry lips, rashes, among other allergy symptoms. The factory took a stand-by strategy without providing education, adequate labor protection or physical examinations to the workers.

China Labor Watch says the real problem is that the toy companies are looking to pay the lowest price for the Chinese products, and in turn, the factories simply have no choice but to cut cost onto their workers. It is a big business to the U.S market that’s worth 22 billion dollars.

Brutal Conditions Described in Chinese Factories

Wednesday 2 May 2012

"Labour over Capital is a Postulate of the Order of Social Morality", John Paul II

Extracts from the encyclical Laborem Exercens, by John Paul II

…capital is being unceasingly created through the work done with the help of all these means of production, and these means can be seen as a great workbench at which the present generation of workers is working day after day.

Thus, the principle of the priority of labour over capital is a postulate of the order of social morality

In this context it should be emphasized that, on a more general level, the whole labour process must be organized and adapted in such a way as to respect the requirements of the person and his or her forms of life