Industrial Relations

The world given to human persons is a world rich in possibilities and (…). The animals, plants, and minerals have potentialities to be used On their own and they are just potentialities. To humans alone was given the two fold power to be material and spiritual. – to be able to reflect on what they see, to know causes and affect, to imagine the harnessing and the utilisation and combination of all these things and then to go out and do it. The process of this happening is called work. Human persons lent to save seeds, to plant and nurture seedlings geographically close to where they lived. They learnt to use timber and to build their homes. They learnt to domesticate animals into use their flesh as food, that hides and their wool as garments. The history of the human race has been a history of gradual progressive subjecting the riches of the world to our use. This is work.

Human persons so a space and imagine defence, this or trees and stones and reflected on a possible way of using these to build a fence and then used the material power of their hands to produce creatively what they had already produced within their minds. Because humans are social beings the process of work, the product of work and the organisational work is not simply creative but also socially creative. They built homes to house families and groups of families. They built little towns in villages were people could lived socially not only in their social life but in the work life. They began to distribute work and share co-operatively in its products.

Talented carpenters took that task for the whole community while others farmed, tended animals, spun the wool etc. but work or that progressive domination of the world given to us is not merely a matter of producing products for material use. Because we are spiritual as well as material beings we need organisational government, of welfare, of social life and this by the same definition is also work.

Over the years some formal work came to be regarded as higher prestige than others. The material work within the hall of home-made has came to be regarded as of lesser worth than similar work done outside the home. The more highly valuable work of distributing love, care, Education etc. within the home came to be regarded as of even lesser prestige. Human persons need to reflect on what they were and on the meaning of their life. They needed to be challenged [to set] priorities and values in order not to be overtaken by materialistic values. This also is work – the seeing the world given to us and ourselves in relation to the world and understanding the meaning of these things and the challenge to act in accord with the belief and understanding.

We can look at such things as preservation and setting up passing gardens, museums, art galleries, libraries and concert halls, the setting up of religions and churches and monasteries.  We are beings with free will, we often take the role path and we need to organise to understand what we have done and to work to change a rebuild of society. All this is work.

And then came the industrial revolution with its enormous effects on the world of work. Entrepreneurs with the assets could set up of machine that had the power to produce material products at a much faster rate and of higher quality. These entrepreneurs was had to have the assistance of human labour to manage the machines. But as soon as they had a few Workers they can produce enough to make worthless the work of many hard working individuals. The result of this way of the rushing of people to set up homes in large numbers around buildings housing these machines. Under the and so the built slums of unsafe buildings with insufficient sanitary arrangements for such crowded living conditions.

Further the machine was owned by the entrepreneur. This meant that the product of the machine and the worker was owned both by the entrepreneur were and labourer. This was a new social problem. How to distribute the product between both end and what proportions. The means used was money as wages. The proportion of the wage had to be decided by contract. But the labour situation was an over supply and entrepreneur were was coming under competition from other entrepreneurs. And so the power with in the hands of the entrepreneur. The labourer accepted the wages offered or else was unemployed and if unemployed the result was starvation.

The technology of the early days of the industrial revolution was highly labour-intensive. What this mean? Not only did the labourer get little wages for work but the combined output of the workplaces was not sufficiently large enough for all to have a share of the products. So and early days of motor car production the work was so labour-intensive that it was impossible to organise work that sufficient people were making cars so that all could have a car. This resulted in a small number of the rich possessing the benefits of the labour of the many and consequent massive growth of inequality in between persons[..] all of this was justified by the philosophical belief and economic liberalism i.e. that supply and demand iron law as immutable as a lot gravitational controlling the quality and supply of goods this was established even to the questions of survival. Malthius wrote a famous thesis propounding that while the growth in production of goods took place in a mathematical progression (1, 2, 3,4, 5 etc.) the growth and population took place in a geometrical progression (2,4,8, 16, 32 etc.) hands even the death by starvation of children in a large family was regarded as normal. To try to prevent it was counter-productive, against an iron law of nature.

Slowly all this changed. It changed for three main reasons. Firstly Workers rebelled against oppression, united in unions working for change and organised militant action. Secondly the more successful entrepreneur is became national monopolies with little competition who could organise just wages and still make large profits. This also that if Workers did not have sufficient wages then they could not be consumers and what was the use of producing goods if nobody bottom them. Thirdly technology became less labour-intensive. The time came when motor car the factory workers to produce sufficient cards for all to on one and when wages of these people could be large enough even these people were able to save to buy a car. The balance was reached between the input of Labour and capital in the production of goods.

In the early days of the industrial revolution, the state in line with the laissez-faire a tenant’s of economic liberalism, to little responsibility in the area of regulation finance, development, welfare or wages. But in the second stage, when capital was organised more on a national basis and when state monopolies dominated the state took this role. This was a time in the world’s history when organise taxation on incomes resulted in the socialisation of sanitation, communication, schooling, light, power, gas, roads, welfare assistance for sick unemployed and aged etc. it was a time in the more developing countries of relative wealth prosperity full employment equality of opportunity etc.

Then came further technological developments. The invention of the microchip stands as a marker of a change in production from a stage where there was a balance between capital labour in production to new stage, not any longer labour-intensive, but capital intensive. This has been progressively affecting the world over the past 20 years. What have been the results?

Hugh O’Sullivan