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Praise for analysis of ‘Low-Wage Capitalism’

Published Dec 9, 2010 10:01 PM

Fred Goldstein’s book “Low-Wage Capitalism — What the new globalized high-tech imperialism means for the class struggle in the U.S.” is getting more attention the deeper the capitalist crisis bites.

Published more than a year ago, the book describes and analyzes the processes that today are even more rapidly forcing down the workers’ standard of living and creating political crises around the globe.

A review of the book by author and historian Greg Elich appeared in the October issue of Science and Society magazine. Elich finds that while the economic crisis has produced “a spate of articles and books” that attempt to explain it, “few have done so from an explicitly Marxist perspective. ‘Low-Wage Capitalism’ does more than merely fill that gap, it provides a deeply considered analysis written with verve and clarity.”

Elich summarizes some of the book’s main points: “The first section of the book addresses economic globalization, in which ‘transnational corporations are able to pit workers in the rich, developed imperialist countries in a direct job-for-job wage competition with workers in poor, underdeveloped, low-wage countries on an ever-widening scale.’”

Further summarizing Goldstein’s work, Elich says: “With the demise of the Soviet Union and East European socialism, the opening of China to foreign capital and the ceding by India of control over its economy to the dictates of the IMF and World Bank, global capitalism has vastly increased the global pool of labor. Technological developments over that same period of time have made the exploitation of this expanded labor force feasible.” So that in a historically short period of time, from 1985 to 2000, “the number of workers worldwide available to the transnational corporations for exploitation more than doubled.”

He adds that the last section of the book not only reviews labor stratagems of the past but points to ways the struggle can go forward.

There is much more of interest in the review. He sums the book up this way:

“The product of years of research, ‘Low-Wage Capitalism’ addresses far too many topics to mention in a brief review. Taken on their own, any one of the themes covered in ‘Low-Wage Capitalism’ may not be particularly unique. But what is quite special about this book is having all of this material in a single source, so well analyzed and integrated, sharply analyzed, backed by extensive research and written in an engaging style. I know of no other book that covers our current economic predicament so well and in such an interesting manner.”

Goldstein’s work has recently won great praise in another quarter. The Portuguese online daily odiario.info translated and published a document he wrote for the recent National Conference of Workers World Party analyzing the current stage of the economic crisis. Miguel Urbano, who edited the mass daily O Diario for a decade, wrote: “Fred Goldstein’s article, which we are publishing today in Odiario, is an essay of the highest level. The best that I know of about the crisis.”

Urbano was editor of the Portuguese Communist Party’s weekly, Avante in 1974-75, after being earlier exiled to Brazil during the years of the Salazar dictatorship in Portugal.

For more information about Goldstein’s book, see lowwagecapitalism.com. Copies can be ordered at leftbooks.com.