Paper $27.00 ISBN: 9780745337081 Published May 2018 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada
Cloth $99.00 ISBN: 9780745337098 Published May 2018 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada

Class Matters

Inequality and Exploitation in 21st-Century Britain

Charles Umney

Class Matters

Charles Umney

Distributed for Pluto Press

240 pages | 5 1/4 x 8 1/2 | © 2018
Paper $27.00 ISBN: 9780745337081 Published May 2018 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada
Cloth $99.00 ISBN: 9780745337098 Published May 2018 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada
Despite many changes to society, education, and the labor market, social class remains a fundamental force in British life in the twenty-first century. Yet we have lacked any compelling Marxist analysis of class in Britain today—until now. Charles Umney here moves Marx from the mills and mines that drove his analysis in his era into our own, with its call centers, office blocks, and fast food chains. Showing how Marxist concepts remain powerfully explanatory, Umney argues that understanding them is vital to fights against pay inequality, decreasing job security, and managerial control of the labor process. Class, Umney shows, must be understood as a dynamic and exploitative process integral to capitalism, rather than as a simple descriptive category, if we are going to better understand why capital continues to gain at the expense of labor.
Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
Acknowledgements

Introduction
The Rest of the Book

1. The ‘Economy that Works for Everyone’
Platitudes
Class Since the Financial Crisis
Class and Classification in Academia

2. Alien Powers: Class in Marxist Thought
Conflict in the workplace
Dependency and Discipline
Subordination of the Individual
Alien Powers and Loss of Control
Beyond Production

3. Changing Class Dynamics in Britain
Introduction
Inequality and the Balance of Class Power in Britain
Financialisation, Capital and Class Discipline
Labour Discipline and ‘Precarity’
Conclusion

4. Jobs
Workplace Control
Conflict, Resistance and Class Power

5. Government
Adequate Forms and Alien Powers
Public Services and Capital
Blood Sacrifices to Alien Powers

6. Class and Equality
Class, ‘Identity Politics’ and Cosmopolitans
Marxism and Feminism
Equality and Capital
Capital and Immigration

7. Technology
The Means of Evaluation
Capitalism and the Wasting of Resources

8. Media and Ideology
Common Sense
The News Media
Marxist Views on Ideology

9. Conclusion
Summary
Capital and the Future
Final Thoughts: Britain after the 2017 General Election

Notes
Index
Review Quotes
Matt Vidal, Loughborough University London
“Charles Umney’s Class Matters is a highly accessible presentation of the transformation of the British economy over the last four decades and the problems facing the British political economy today. He deftly mixes analysis of history, current events and political discourse with the latest research findings from the academic literature. Umney’s book vividly demonstrates the acute relevance of Marxist class analysis for understanding work, government, economics and politics in 21st century capitalism”
Ian Greer, Cornell University
“Why is there such extreme inequality in the world today? Is it human nature? Predatory bosses and financiers? A corrupt political class? In this book Charles Umney presents a powerful and nuanced alternative narrative driven by Marxist political economy. With a keen eye for irony, paradox, and the absurd, he analyzes work, politics, and technology in capitalist societies. Class Matters is a witty and wise antidote to the mainstream diagnoses of our times.”
Paul Stewart, former editor of Work, Employment and Society
“By reinstating the importance of Marxist analysis for understanding the relationship between class and social inequality in twenty-first-century Britain, Charles Umney has written a highly cogent and perspicacious account of the formation of contemporary inequality and exploitation.  It should be a vital source for students of contemporary capitalism, including those training to be its managers in business schools”
 
Richard Seymour, author of Against Austerity
“Margaret Thatcher declared class a ‘communist concept.’ One of her main ideological victories was to drive it out of official language. Now that the nationalist right offers its own, mutilated class language, it is clear that this subject won’t go away. The Left urgently needs to reclaim this territory. At last, Charles Umney has written a long overdue corrective, a sophisticated answer to impoverished sociologies and cheap media cliches. In smart prose, he shows that class is not what we have been told it is, and that the right-wing dichotomy between class and identity doesn't hold in the real world. A sharp and deeply necessary book.”
 
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