Risks in the labor market and labor conflict
The specificity of the sociology of labor approach to labor market research, presented in paragraph 5.1, is not limited to the analysis of formal and informal motivations of subjects' behavior, research of their preferences, reasons for agreements and compromises. The field of view of the sociology of labor is the problems of labor risks arising on the labor market, as well as the contradictions and conflicts inherent in labor market relations.
The labor market as a source of risk reproduction
Any social system carries in its potential risks, i.e. element of uncertainty in achieving the goal. In fact, the risks are the lack of information about a possible outcome of the interaction or a situation in which the goals of the actor are not justified and he bears costs that exceed his expectations.
It is generally accepted that the element of risk is always inherent in the economic system, since the interaction of economic actors is unpredictable from the point of view of their behavior under market uncertainty and can not be uniform from the point of view of the result of their interaction.
It's important to remember!
The concept of risk is fundamental to economic theory, because the choice of economic goals, such as profit and investment, is always uncertain due to imperfect knowledge of the situation.
The risks that arise in the economic structures of societies, "risk societies," wrote many scientists. A. Smith pointed out that there are jobs that are at particular risk, but in the price of labor the latter, as a rule, is not reflected. Marx defined the position of the wage-worker as completely depriving him of confidence in the future: whether he would have the opportunity to feed his family or be expelled by the capitalist, replenishing the reserve army of labor. The instability of the social and economic situation of the worker in an industrial society was written by such scientists as F. Tennis, T. Veblen, J. Burnham, P. Seiger, R. Hilferding, J. M. Keynes, C. Mannheim, A. Weber, G. Marcuse, J. Habermas and many others.
However, the risks concern not only hired labor, but are inherent in the entrepreneur. For example, various types of investment projects, the introduction of new technologies, the production of new products, the development of new markets, competition - this is an incomplete list of the activities of an entrepreneur, presumably assuming risks. This feature of entrepreneurial activity was highlighted in detail by the Austrian and American scientist Josef Alois Schumpeter (1883-1950) in the book The Theory of Economic Development. .
However, perhaps the owner is most likely to suffer the greatest risks as a result of hiring labor. Taking a person to work, he practically knows nothing about his abilities, labor potential and can be guided only by formal documents, for example, a diploma about the level of education and specialty that the employee owns. In order to reduce these risks, the entrepreneur seeks to get rid of the force that creates them, i.e. from the worker. He does this in two ways, using techniques and technologies that replace labor, or formulating rigid requirements for the selection of labor. The latter creates the interest of the capitalist in increasing the possibilities of its choice, i.e. in the constantly existing surplus of labor in the labor market.
In connection with this, the labor market always assumes the existence of a contradiction between the seller and the buyer, where the latter, as a rule, has a more favorable position. For the worker from the opportunity to sell his ability to work depends on his future and the future of his family: survival, satisfaction of needs, development.
The amount of the minimum wage in the United States for 2014 is set at 5554 rubles. The value of the subsistence minimum by the end of 2014 is set at 8,192 rubles. The amount of unemployment benefits varies from 850 to 4900 rubles. From January 1, 2015, the minimum wage is 5965 rubles. per month.
In conditions when the unemployment benefit is below the subsistence minimum, the employee is forced to agree to any conditions offered by the employer.
In a modern developed society, this problem is mitigated by social guarantees from the state, which provides the minimum conditions for the survival of an unemployed person. However, this is only a partial, at the level of physiological existence, solution of the problem. The instability of the position of the employee hides the fear of losing his job, which means that not only (maybe, not so much) the means for existence, the position in society, the certainty of the future, the natural foundations of life.
The world tendencies of risk increase were considered by the well-known German sociologist Ulrich Beck (born 1944) in the book "Risk Society: Towards Another Modernity" . Its main idea boils down to proving that constantly progressing modernization processes lead to an uncontrollable spread of risks in the modern society and an increasing impoverishment of the population.
The scientist's opinion
"In a risk society, this is a form of impoverishment that is comparable and at the same time is not compared to the impoverishment of the working masses in industrial centers at an early stage of industrialization. & lt; ... & gt; Then - about material impoverishment, poverty, hunger, crowdedness, now - about the threat and destruction of the natural foundations of life. & lt; ... & gt; This is our own dynamic: not someone's evil will, but the market, competition, division of labor - only today it has taken on a broader scale. "
Technological innovation, information technology, production modernization, globalization of the economic space - all these factors are necessary for the modern development of society and at the same time increase the risks and instability of the situation. The market is designed to smooth out these contradictions, but it is not in a position to eliminate them. Moreover, driven by state policy, on the one hand, and corporate market strategies, on the other, it becomes the concentration of the growing expectation of unstable employment or unemployment.
Unemployment , unconditionally , can be attributed to one of the main risks , inherent in the modern labor market. in the labor force as a result of modernization transformations leads to an increase in the number of the unemployed.
Unemployment is a socioeconomic phenomenon in which a part of the able-bodied population is deprived of the opportunity to work in the sphere of social production, thus it does not participate in satisfying social needs through the creation of products of labor. The modern labor market is subject to the influence of various tendencies of social changes, therefore, the growth of the number of unemployed can be determined not only by economic (recession and production crisis), but also by political (increasing minimum wages, increasing taxes), demographic (progressive population growth, immigration), seasonal (change in demand for seasonal work) and, of course, technological factors. For countries with a high level of development and introduction of information technology and technology into production, the latter factor seems to be the most significant, although it should be noted that this is a worldwide trend.
It's important to remember!
Unemployment, caused by the introduction of new technology and technology, is usually defined as structural unemployment.
It is as a result of the application of technical and technological innovations that there is a change in the whole structure of production, leading to a reduction in the proportion of living labor. However, if in the industrial society such a tendency was characteristic of the sectors of material production, now it affects the sphere of services or all the cumulative social production.
First use in the 1950-1960's. automated technologies, such as CNC machines, have reduced a significant share of unskilled labor in material production. To manage such automata, only highly skilled workers, who knew the features and details of technological processes, were required. At the same time, the number of highly skilled people was significantly lower than that of the low-skilled. However, with the spread of information technology, the need for such a skilled workforce began to decline. The so-called third generation of personal computers in the 1970s. allowed to create enterprises information networks and centralize the management of production processes. The computer software of the fourth generation (1980s) almost completely included the list of professional knowledge necessary to perform production tasks. In connection with this, the labor of the worker was not in demand, but the operator's service , which starts and controls the computer. Several workers of highly skilled productive labor were replaced by one worker who manages the computer.
The trends associated with the proliferation of information technology in the production of services are only gaining momentum, although it is already clear that the scope of intangible production is also oriented toward the replacement of living labor. For example, self-service stores do not involve sellers. At present, there is a replacement of cashiers at the ROB terminals, which allow buyers to pay for themselves, without a cashier, for the purchase of mined goods. Thus, for hired labor risks increase along with the modernization of production.
Computerization of production and informatization of production processes presupposes a constant change in the requirements for the skills (competencies) of the workforce, and this is another form of risk for the latter. Tendentiously, it can be noted that in recent decades there has been a steady increase in the demands placed on by the employer for the level of qualifications of employees and the professional training of graduates of educational institutions. The capitalist is looking for a workforce that has sufficient competence to ensure that new machinery and technologies are maximally employed in production. This trend affects only the external labor market, where the employer and employee meet for the first time. Even more it is characteristic of the domestic labor market. Here the owner is no longer limited to the requirements of high professional knowledge. He demands the development of a wide range of abilities of the worker, such as adaptability to production conditions, the tendency to retrain, the development of innovative initiatives. Even loyalty in relation to the company and management, adaptability to the socio-psychological microclimate of the collective are considered as qualities that give the employee advantages. Lack of a wide range of abilities and competencies , propensity to mobility and self-education increase the risks on the labor market.
With the professional qualities of the labor force, its competitiveness in the labor market is closely linked. The greater the competition among the workforce , the higher the risk of the latter being not accepted for work or losing it. In the segment of low-skilled labor, there is competition, therefore, the risks are high. High qualification protects the employee against competition and risks, but only partially. If he does not constantly improve, even in the primary labor market his chances are not great. The constant desire to develop their abilities, readiness for mobility and flexibility initially set the favorable prospects for the labor market. It would seem that workers who have similar advantages are fully protected from all sorts of risk situations. However, in reality this is not so. With the expansion of the ever more stringent and diverse demands of capitalists regarding the quality of the workforce, its individualization occurs, when constant employment, as well as career growth, becomes the basis of a person's life biography. Individualization means market dependence in all aspects of a lifestyle. . According to W. Beck, individualization leads to a break with the traditional forms of life, self-exclusion from social groups and classes, leveling family values, when only dependence on the chances of the market remains. For such people in the foreground is their individual destiny in the labor market with risks and very limited opportunities.
The scientist's opinion.
Entry into the labor market is associated with the release from ever new forms of attitude in the family, with neighbors, with colleagues but profession, and also from attachment to regional culture and landscape. "
The individualization of the labor market leads to much more profound risks in terms of its consequences than those associated with unemployment. The risks of the modern labor market are an opportunity to lose contact with one's culture and traditions, to be alienated from society.
The desire of hired workers to protect themselves from such conditions will create the prerequisites for the emergence of labor conflict.
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