Service Workers in the Era of Monopoly Capital

A Marxist Analysis of Service and Retail Labour

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In Service Workers in the Era of Monopoly Capital, Fabian van Onzen uses Marxist theory to analyse the process by which service and retail workers are exploited by the capitalist class. His analysis takes us through the primary concepts of Marxism—surplus-value, commodity form, etc.—and demonstrates their relevance for understanding the service industry. The book reveals that service and retail workers—shop employees, cleaners, hospitality workers-- are integral to the capitalist system and have significant power to transform society if organised properly.

Van Onzen argues that the key to ending the exploitation of service workers is through the socialist transformation of society. The book contains an examination of what service work will be like under socialism and provides examples of how former socialist countries changed the nature of service labour. Service Workers in the Era of Monopoly Capital is an important addition to Marxist theory, which is still somewhat lacking in detailed accounts of the service and retail industry.

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Fabian van Onzen, Ph.D (2018, European Graduate School) is Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Lone Star College in Houston, Texas. His work has appeared in the Marx and Philosophy Review of Books, Monthly Review Online, and Capital and Class.
Preface

List of Figures and Tables

1Introduction
 1 Centrality of Service Work in Contemporary Capitalism

 2 Overview of Book


2Historical Materialism
 1 Method of Historical Materialism

 2 Mode of Production and Social Formation

 3 Historical Materialist Research


3Marxism, Class and the Service Industry
 1 Marxist Class Analysis

 2 Marxist Definition of Class

 3 Two Approaches to Class Analysis

 4 Main Classes of Capitalist Mode of Production
 4.1  The Working Class

 4.2  The Bourgeoisie

 4.3  The Petty-Bourgeoisie

 4.4  The Dissolution of the Petty-Bourgeoisie


 5 Summary


4Service Labour and Value Theory
 1 Marxism, Services, Commodities

 2 The Commodity-Form

 3 Surplus-Value and Service Workers

 4 Surplus Value in the Service Industry

 5 Productive and Unproductive Labour

 6 Increased Surplus-value

 7 Conclusion


5Retail and the Circulation of Commodities
 1 Circulation of Commodities

 2 Circulation Time and Costs of Circulation

 3 Production in Circulation

 4 Consumption Time and Consumption Period


6Monopoly Capital and the Sales Effort
 1 Marx on Commercial Capital

 2 The Emergence of Monopoly Capital

 3 Imperialism and Monopoly Capitalism

 4 Imperialism and the Split in the Bourgeoisie

 5 Dependency Theory: Centre and Periphery

 6 Unequal Exchange


7Two Stages of Production and Realisation
 1 Stage One: Production of Goods

 2 Stage Two: Realisation of Surplus-value

 3 Possibilities for Resistance to Monopoly Capitalism


8A Marxist Analysis of Outsourcing
 1 Bidvest-Noonan: A Case Study in Outsourcing

 2 Conclusion


9Cleaning Workers and Surplus Value
 1 Molly Maid: A Case Study

 2 Conclusion


10Organising Retail and Service Workers
 1 Retail: H&M Workers in Germany

 2 Cleaners in Struggle

 3 Exposure Campaigns and Workers Power

 4 Conclusion


11Service, Retail and Transport under Socialism
 1 What is Socialism?
 1.1  Workers Power

 1.2  Socialist Mode of Production

 1.3  Socialist Planning


 2 Food Consumption under Socialism

 3 Socialist Integration and Retail Labour under Socialism

 4 Residential Cleaning under Socialism
 4.1  Cleaning Outside the Home


 5 Transportation under Socialism

 6 Conclusion


12Afterword

Bibliography

Index

Service Workers in the Era of Monopoly Capital will be of interest to academic researchers, socialist activists, and trade unionists who are trying to organise service workers.