The Division of Labour, Capitalism and Socialism: An Alternative to Sayer


Sayer (1995) has argued that the division of labour has a structure that is distinct from capitalist relations of production, and, following Hayek, that it is determined most strongly by the use of knowledge by enterprises. Conscious coordination or alteration of the division of labour therefore usually result in reduced efficiency and in an authoritarian suppression of difference. In this article we argue that the division of labour in capitalism is strongly determined by conflict within and between classes, and that in the short term socialist policy can and should aim to alter it. A model of socialist economic coordination is presented which is feasible and ameliorates many of the problems of the capitalist division of labour. This model would enable the development rather than suppression of positive differences.