Study Proposal – September 2012

This applies to all the sections of the economy. However this study will focus only on the financial sector.

Most of the 99% of the population worldwide has been suffering with unemployment, increasing poverty, job insecurity, and pressure for higher productivity, increasing home and part time labour and stronger corporate control. Banks are plagued by frauds, corruption and illegal trading. Consequently, there is an increasing feeling of job dissatisfaction, and decline in workers’ physical and mental health, including alcoholism and sexual misery.

All these factors result in a progressive alienation in the process of production. Labour has few social aims. It pays the bills. However, politicians and the media claim that all results from cultural issues or greedy bosses.
One of the causes of this state of affairs is that, since the 1980s, the balance of politicaleconomicideological power has moved to the 1%. The Occupy movements have been trying to reverse it. Indeed, to focus on the nature of the labour process in capitalism would expose the roots of the increasing labour degradation, which would help to mobilize the 99%.

The study will show that the malaise mentioned above results from the nature of capitalist accumulation itself. The present larger polarization of wealth is proof of the degradation of labour power. It can only be reducedended with the 99% struggle against the 1%. The study should provide information that will increase the consciousness of the 99%. Understanding should lead to intervention and militancy. That is the final goal.

The study should clarify the new processes of office and industry rationalization, or restructuring, that affect most of the workers today, leading to the increasing poverty for the 99%.
The concept of degradation of labour under capitalism refers to the process of decreasing salaries, as well as the character or quality of work, while increasing the intensity and hours, i.e. ‘labour productivity’. In short, the study will show the increasing degradation of labour under new forms of financial capitalism, such as “financialisation”.

The Ongoing Maximization of Shareholder Profits
Financialization is a new form of capital accumulation under monopoly. The new actors are the private equity and hedge funds, specialized in re-structuring companies to maximize returns to its owners Finance capital dominates economic activity beyond financial markets, controlling industry, agriculture and services. The objective is realization of ‘value’, particularly accounting value rather than economic value. This brings new forms of controlling and exploiting labour, leading to the increasing misery of part of the population.

This new process of increasing exploitation has little to do with the bad or good will of the capitalists. The new nature of capitalist accumulation demands super exploitation of labour to enlarge capital. Therefore, it needs to be clear that the process of labour degradation is a planned, structural capitalist policy to lower cost and increase productivity and profits. Without it, there is no enlarged capital accumulation and the system will regress and perish.

Financializaton therefore brings faster and more dramatic changes in the labour process. It has also been concentrating the political/economic decision making in a small group of powerful financiers in Wall Street, The City, Tokyo and Frankfurt. The ongoing new system gives priority to shareholders’ value only and breaks the rules of national economies and social democracies, resulting in the increasing wealth polarization, so clear nowadays.

The Creation of ComplexExotic Financial Products

As the financial sector acquires more control over the real economy, financial actors adopt innovative financial mechanisms to increase profits worldwide. It is a complex process that needs to be explained to the 99% of the population, including unions, low scale managers and should be discussed in OCCUPY.

In Financialisation, profit accumulation relies more on financial activities (e.g., substituting debt for equity, borrowing to finance dividend payments to owners and other forms) and associated financial instruments (commercial mortgage-backed securities, junk bonds and others). .


There is a large bibliography and statistics on the subject. The study could have two parts: a) Theory of New Forms of Labour Degradation, and b) Case Study: The Workers in the City Today. It will be prepared by a group of engaged Occupy members with the participation of bank employees, UNITE and labour experts. When finished it will be disseminated in the City.

The study terms of reference and time for preparing it will follow the approval of this proposal by the EWG and bringing the team together. An announcement in the Occupy web site is proposed.

Nelio Oliveira – Interested people please contact after,
1st October 2012.

This applies to all the sections of the economy. However this study will focus only on the financial sector.

© 2012 Occupy London
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