In this work Gorz, a French socialist whose friends included both Jean-Paul Sartre and Herbert Marcuse, came to terms with the capitalist division of labor and the nature of the technology used in production. He recognized the revolutionary changes that would be needed in these areas in order for the ideals of self-management he supported in works of the s such as Strategy for Labor to succeed. Gorz also began to recognize the importance of ecological issues for the socialist movement. In particular he became influenced by the work of Ivan Illich, a penetrating critic of industrialism who argued against the civic religion of production and limitless growth.
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In this work Gorz, a French socialist whose friends included both Jean-Paul Sartre and Herbert Marcuse, came to terms with the capitalist division of labor and the nature of the technology used in production. He recognized the revolutionary changes that would be needed in these areas in order for the ideals of self-management he supported in works of the s such as Strategy for Labor to succeed. Gorz also began to recognize the importance of ecological issues for the socialist movement.
In particular he became influenced by the work of Ivan Illich, a penetrating critic of industrialism who argued against the civic religion of production and limitless growth. His later books, such as Critique of Economic Reason and Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology, written in a cooler, drier style are extended meditations on themes he explored in his previous books, while Reclaiming Work: Beyond the Wage Based Society returns to the more passionate style of his earlier works.
Gorz died in , at age 84, in a suicide pact with his wife Dorine. She had terminal cancer, and they both agreed that neither wanted to live without the other. Utopistics is the assessment of historical alternatives to depict a future which is reasonably better, and historically possible, but by no means assured.
The point of utopistics is to galvanize political and social action. Andre Gorz analyzed human activity into two categories: "autonomous" self-directed and "heteronomous" other-directed. Autonomous activities are truly self-managed. These are freely chosen tasks, performed by individuals or in cooperation with a like-minded group. Heteronomous tasks are constrained by social demands. Such tasks are imposed by the nature of the tools used, their organization, the division of labor and its global dispersal.
The history of capitalism has involved the increase of heteronomous tasks at the expense of autonomous ones. Heteronomy limits self-management. What is possible and desirable for Gorz is workers control through councils.
The very nature of heteronomous tasks however presents an obstacle to total self-management. Gorz found a solution in a policy of the progressive reduction in labor time, and the institution of a guaranteed income which frees the right to an income from the realm of economic necessity, allowing everyone to work but to work less. This is the potential which automated production opens up for society. He pointed out that for Marx, especially in the Grundrisse, reduction of labor time is among the hallmarks of communism.
Gorz also advocated a policy of creating communal workshops and other facilities for the use of neighborhoods. He favored spreading those "tools for conviviality" that lend themselves to cooperative, self-managed production in line with the proposals of Illich. These will be directed towards the production of new, durable varieties of consumer goods, easily repairable, without planned obsolescence or changes in fashion and style and engineered to last.
Gorz took seriously the need to heed ecological limits and reduce production, particularly the production of waste. His slogan was "consume less, consume better! He also favored measures such as banning automobiles from cities, encouraging renewable energy, and eliminating nuclear power. While Gorz did not however specify exactly what mix of energy sources would be used to run his vision of society, it would no doubt make smaller demands on natural resources than actually existing capitalism.
With less time devoted to it, and with the provision of a social minimum, even the work world of heteronomous production will be brought under greater control by the workers. Gorz did not advocate the complete elimination of heteronomous activities, which is not possible or even desirable. Instead he argues that a policy of reduced labor hours and a guaranteed income will stimulate and encourage the movement for self-management. Liberation from work implies liberation within work, and these tasks will lose much, though not all, of the alienation they inspire today.
He expresses support for the idea of rotating jobs so as to share empowering tasks and information. While some centralized planning would be necessary, Gorz was open to making the process more participatory, allowing for several rounds between the planners, producers and communities. Gorz saw a party as being completely necessary to this transformation, setting the industrial, environmental, transportation, health and other policies needed for the massive reduction of production, and its management in ways that increase self-management, popular sovereignty over tools and resources as well as eliminating environmental damage - a party whose perspective is that its function is to encourage the "withering away of the state.
There has been a loss, due to automation, of manufacturing sector jobs, and the growth of de-skilled, non-unionized, and service sector work. Increasingly workers define themselves by what they do outside of work rather than identifying with their jobs.
Where then is the social base that can bring about a socialist transformation? While extra-parliamentary activities and direct action play an important role, a party is necessary to construct the popular hegemony of a completely different conception of society, and to become a collective agent of action. The conditions for generalized self-management must be created consciously by the party through the policies it promotes.
Gorz chose to face what many leftists do not address regarding the actual structure and situation of the working class. Gorz was skeptical about ever getting rid of the market completely. We know too little about human nature at this time to decide this question with any degree of certainty. The proper approach is to have the intellectual honesty to admit that building a libertarian socialist society is a long term project that will take many generations, and may never be fully completed.
If the world left is ever able to put in place a libertarian socialist alternative to capitalism in crisis, this will require the application of utopistic thinking.
The work of Andre Gorz provides us with material for utopistic thinking: a declaration of freedom from the productivist ethos. Richard Burke is an artist and teacher.
ANDRE GORZ CAPITALISM SOCIALISM ECOLOGY PDF
Start your review of Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology Write a review Shelves: marx This book is a short collection of essays by Andre Gorz previously published elsewhere and generally dating to the early nineties. Reducing the grip of work over our lives by taking control of productivity improvements to reduce working time. Gorz makes the case for one form of universal basic income. He is also ahead of his time, his This book is a short collection of essays by Andre Gorz previously published elsewhere and generally dating to the early nineties. He is also ahead of his time, his discussion of the nature and impact of precarious work prefigures the rise of the gig economy. Despite being 30 years old, this book has a lot to say about the state of the modern economy and the possible routes out of where we are. It is worth reading for both analysis and critique Jun 18, Dayton rated it really liked it A bit repetitive, and I think sometimes tried to overemphasize his differences from traditional socialism.
Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology
Mezikasa In other projects Wikimedia Commons. Return to Book Page. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Alongside his journalistic activities, Gorz worked closely with Sartre and adopted an existentialist approach to Marxismleading him to emphasize the questions of alienation and of liberation in the framework of existential experience and an analysis of social systems from the viewpoint of individual experience. Just a moment while we capitaoism you in to your Goodreads account. Sign up here for discounts and quicker purchasing. Above all, he offers a vital fresh perspective for the left, whose objective, in his view, must be to extend the sphere to autonomous human activity, and increase the possibilities for individual self-fulfilment.