Globalization, Downsizing and Insecurity: Do We Need to Upgrade Marx's Theory of Alienation? Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Earlier, this author investigated and found wanting popular claims that technical and social organizational changes associated with globalization have now greatly lessened alienation for factory workers in fully industrialized countries. Here he follows up his suggestion that any credible account of globalization must consider increased competition and employment insecurity and their effects upon alienation. Theoretically, decreased security could have made workers more concerned with having any employment at all and less with intrinsically interesting work over which they have control. Nevertheless, research on the 1930s and the current period of downsizing provides much more support for decreased security having further disempowered workers. Demands at work may well have increased more for managers and professionals, but they have also had greater resources for coping with such increased demands. While these new developments suggest that Marx's theory of alienation needs to be updated, they are consistent with its original thrusts.

publication date

  • May 2009