Dec 11, 2015


We will analyze new emerging vulnerabilities in the transition from taylorist-Fordist environments or -even worse- preindustrial environments, to post-Fordist environments and to the "knowledge society". We will especially address important cases (in emerging countries such as Brazil) of intense violation of population rights, where the population is forced to migrate to the metropolis (post-fordist environments) due to a dispossession or destruction of the rural environments they lived in.

Undoubtedly, social and technological changes always create new vulnerabilities. When populations that are empowered in one environment are relocated, they lose their living conditions, and with this, they lose also their power “to manage their own life”, their adaptation habits and therefore, they inevitably suffer a huge breach in their capabilities to deal with social threats (vulnerability increases).

Here, we will try to point out some of the transformations that are more difficult to overcome, the ones that cause more vulnerability and that currently affect a large part of the population in emerging countries, like Brazil.  Such transformations are associated with the new capitalism of the 21st century, which - as everybody knows- is becoming more neo-liberal, turboglobalized, post-Fordist and deeply marked by the knowledge society. We will also see how these transformations affect the development model of emerging countries –including economic, social and educational development. In these sense, Brazil, just like the others BRICS countries (including Russia, China, India and South Africa) is a good example of the challenges and difficulties encountered in such situations nowadays.

Centering our attention in the Brazilian case, we expect to look briefly at some general difficulties of the people living in these emerging countries, difficulties that have part of their roots in the insufficiency of the current education models dealing with post-Fordist and cognitive challenges. Today’s development cannot be simply seeing as a traditional process of national modernization and Fordist-Taylorist industrialization, which –moreover and very often- tends to repeat traditional errors of the past: lack of control and disempowerment of the people against capitalist development, massive migration from the countryside to cities, huge suburban poverty areas and mismatch of educational models. The raise of the post-Fordist  knowledge society has opened a new scenario and has profoundly changed the typical model of industrialization, modernization and human development. To highlight the most important changes, contradictions and new exclusions in the current situation, we will analyze the impact suffered by the Brazilian population in their transition from classical industrialization to the current knowledge society.

It should be remembered that the modernization and the Taylorist-Fordist industrialization was part of a context where early decolonization movements gave a large autarky capacity to the Nation-States. On the other hand, the new post-industrial world –turboglobalized and based on knowledge- is in a framework that is still subject to new and subtle colonialities (as it is not yet post-colonial).

To repeat European and colonialist errors?

According to the traditional models of national modernization and Taylorist-Fordist industrialization, Brazil -as many emerging countries- is driving powerful policies of exploitation of their natural resources and importing and assimilating international enterprises, capital, technologies and other Western practices forged in the last century. This leads to a massive migration from the countryside to the cities and generates huge poverty areas, repeating Western and Brazilian mistakes from other eras.

We must remember that, at the time of the Portuguese colonization, the native population was still composed of hunter-gatherers and occupied vast territorial extensions. They were stripped of their lands, displaced or exterminated. At first the lost population was replaced by African slaves on the plantations. Later, it was also replaced by European immigrants, when gold and diamonds were discovered in Minas Gerais (1690 approx. and 1720 approx.), and whenever a medium formed labor was necessary. In this way, in Brazil as in many other countries, colonizers opted for the importation of foreign population to replace the indigenous manpower, rather than for education, incorporation to development and -of course- the empowerment of the new national society. Nor was tried a development model more suitable and compatible with the Brazilian population.

In many aspects, similar errors continue to be made today, this time affecting the ignored and excluded population of the favelas and of the most undeveloped rural districts. Too many policies are made that continue to neglect their integration, ignoring their education and denying their empowerment. Even the development model chosen, prioritizes projects focused on exporting activities  and subject to international dynamics, instead of other approaches more adequate to long term sustainability.

For this reason, the effects of such policies tend to reproduce errors, conflicts and problems of the first English industrialization, so well explained by Karl Polanyi (La gran transformación. Los orígenes políticos y económicos de nuestro tiempo, México, FCE, 1957, 2003) and narrated paradigmatically by Charles Dickens. For instance, the following issues are often repeated:

-The de-structuring -with no alternatives- of agrarian communities

- The dispossession of their traditional means for live.

- Their uprooting, cultural disempowerment, and proletarization.

-The enclosure of migrants in insanitary favelas and suburban ghettos where -moreover- they suffer from labor exploitation and unfavorable subordination to the adjacent metropolis.

As in the 19th century England, many emerging countries suffer -in addition to the institutional and political exclusions- of a perverse dialectics, resulting from the difference of human capital available at different population groups in a situation of a fast technological, economic, political and social change. Without leveling mechanisms, economic and technological revolutions tend to generate a persistent and very unbalanced exchange in favor of the groups that lead them. That includes the privileged groups from the previous situation, for whom, at the beginning, their position could act as a disadvantage in the transformed context, but the intellectual and social capabilities they possess give them enough resources to join the change or even lead it, as soon as they perceive the possibility of a triumph or of high resulting dividends.

Then, the new innovative class and the adapted members of the former privileged class, become part of a new elite, which in addition to the benefits gained in the new situation, seek to perpetuate the imbalance -in an explicit or implicit manner-, excluding the rest of the population to the access of the social change benefits. Thus, what started as a productive technological change and a timely adaptation to new circumstances, just becomes a fierce social, economic and political structure of domain, which also generates significant cultural, ideological and vital hegemonies. As noted by Antonio Gramsci, it becomes sort of an undisputed "common sense” that legitimizes and reinforces the economic and political structures, focused on perpetuating themselves and preventing the effective incorporation of the majority of the population into the new model of production. (Trad. Yanko Moyano) Continue in the post TO POST-INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY DIRECTLY? and INFINITY SOCIETY TRAINING?


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