The Meaning of Work – Aronowitz on Schooling in a Time of Crisis

On Tuesday I had the good fortune to attend a seminar (in NUIM) by Stanley Aronowitz – he is Professor of Sociology at City University in New York and has written extensively on many topics to do with knowledge, education and economy. His ideas are radical and challenging and yet timely. He presented his analysis of this “first truly global crisis” based on his experience (in the US steel industry) and many years as an author and teacher. Aronowitz posed critical questions that challenged our conception of labour in developed economies. He pointed to the structural changes in industry evident since the seventies when high numbers of workers were employed in big industries such as steel production. Faced with the challenge of a militant, frequently striking (US!) workforce and a troublesome trade union movement, the response by industry was to reduce labour through mechanisation and to move labour by a process of outsourcing and financialisation (build now pay later). Aronowitz sees our current predicament as the inevitable outcome of US economic policy and the globalisation of the industrial model for developed economies. His outlook is gloomy – there will always be a struggle – they will always want more (government Read More …