Most of the world’s exploited labor comes from women. Women work in the sweatshops and the giant factories. Women sow and tend and harvest the world’s crops. Women carry and birth and raise children. Women wash and clean and shop and cook. Women care for the sick and the elderly. All of this—layer upon layer of labor—is what makes human society possible. Ripping it off is what makes capitalism possible.
The primacy of women’s labor is normally edited out of political discourse, but it’s a fact beyond dispute. More than half of the world’s women have formal jobs. (In some countries in Asia and Latin America, the percentage is well over 60%.) On top of this, women predominate in millions of illegal and semi-legal “off the books” jobs, where they are normally heavily exploited. Meanwhile, some 70% of women’s labor, worth tens of trillions of dollars a year, is unpaid altogether. Most of the world’s women average 31-42 hours per week on family housework alone. Women “do two-thirds of the world’s work, receive 10% of the world’s income and own 1% of the means of production.”
Throughout history, groups and classes of men have fought over the precious resource of women’s labor. All women, but especially working-class women, who constitute the world’s most valuable source of wealth. Hundreds of millions of these women, the core and majority of the working class, lack any private property or social privilege. They have no ownership, claim or control over the means of production. This sets them apart from the upper stratum of wage workers—labor aristocrats and privileged sectors subsidized from capitalist profits.
Instead, they belong to the “lower and deeper” layers of the working class, compelled to offer their labor up for exploitation within capitalism for sheer survival. This part of the working class stands as capitalism’s main labor force and, historically, its direct antagonist.
Many of these working-class women are paid wages; many are not. Few are paid for all their labor. Most are destitute or economically vulnerable. They labor under extreme duress—facing not only the threat of hunger, but also dependency, slavery and male violence backed up by tradition, family structure and law. Their labor and life experience—and their class position—is often substantially different from that of even the men in their own families.
The multi-sided struggle to own, control and exploit this fantastically profitable labor force is expressed on many levels and in many forms: migrations, wars, genocide, cultural movements, populist rebellions, changes in family structure, colonialism, shifting geopolitical alliances, the rise and fall of governments.
Today, the women at the center of the world working class are experiencing dramatic and fundamental changes in their work lives and their social lives. Capitalism, entering a new phase of development, is remaking the working class. This is where a new revolutionary politics must start.— Working-Class Women at the Heart of Globalization (via proletarianfeminism)
There is nothing more content than a sunbathing cat.
For instance, the World Bank is essentially an American instrument, and the United States is a food-surplus nation threatened with loss of foreign markets for farm products as modernization of European agriculture proceeds. For the World Bank to finance such institutional reforms in developing nations as would lead them toward self-sufficiency on food account would run counter to American interests. U.S. farm surpluses would become unmanageable as the overseas market for U.S. farm products dwindled. Hence, the World Bank prefers perpetuation of world poverty to the development of adequate overseas capacity to feed the peoples of developing countries.
There is a yet more subtle point to be considered. Mineral resources represent diminishing assets. It is in the interest of developing peoples to conserve such assets for their own ultimate use in manufacturing industries, as these develop within the borders of nations rich in raw materials but backward in general development. In the short run such domestic use of mineral resources is not possible because of inadequate industrial capital and consumer markets place. The specter is thus raised that in the long run these countries will find themselves depleted of resources as World Bank programs accelerate the exploitation of their mineral deposits for use by other nations.
The long-term prospect is thus for these countries to be unable to earn foreign exchange on export account sufficient to finance their required food imports. The World Bank has foreseen this. Its proposals for population limitation in these countries is a cold-blooded attempt to extort from them their mineral resources, without assuming responsibility for the sustenance of these peoples once the industrialized West has stripped them of their fuel and mineral deposits.
Consider the alternative, that World Bank loans and technical assistance foster agricultural self-sufficiency among these peoples. Assume substantial success in this endeavor in, say, a decade. Thereafter, exportation of fuels and minerals would become a matter of choice by these peoples, not a necessity. Such export might continue at current levels; it might increase, or it might diminish. The decision to conserve or to dissipate exhaustible resources would be autonomous, a matter of choice by these peoples and their governments, not something imposed upon them from outside. The decision about desirable levels of population also would be a local matter, not something demanded among the terms on which capital resources are obtained from foreign suppliers. The peoples now dependent would escape that trap. This is not intended or desired either by the World Bank or by the government of the United States and its client regimes….
Excessive industrialization in the United States, coupled with increasingly wasteful uses of resources on armaments and on personal luxuries that are essentially trivial in terms of human well-being, makes essential the U.S. exploitation of the developing countries, their resources and peoples. The United States is in deficit on raw-materials account, but is unwilling to limit its industrial expansion correspondingly. It is in surplus on farm products account, but is unwilling to limit its agriculture accordingly. The peoples of developing countries therefore are to be turned into the instrument through which the otherwise untenable U.S. economic process is perpetuated.—
Michael Hudson | Super-Imperialism
jp morgan fired him for writing this stuff in the early 70s