MARX, THE MACHINES, THE SERVICE INDUSTRIES: a collective inquiry
Friday 16 Dec, 7 – 9 p.m
A two hour meeting to discuss the much mystified concept of “the service industry”. Politicians are always announcing that “services” are now essential to our economy. But what are services? The standard conceptual obfuscations of bourgeois occupational analysis makes it difficult to refine this question without resorting to inane discussion of incomes. This public inquiry will attempt a different approach. Firstly we’ll attempt to decompose the category of “services” into its class components. Once that process is begun, we’ll initiate a discussion about exploitation. As manufacturing flees abroad to cheaper labour, or remains in place but alters its technical composition, how does service industry employment profit from the labour which is freed up? To what extent can competition in the stagnation-sectors of the service industries lead to the same patterns of increasing structural unemployment? Or are labour-intensive services resistant to significant technical restructuring? What future for domestic exploitation?