Green Gold: The Forest Industry in British Columbia

By Patricia Marchak | Go to book overview

6
Markets, Technology, and Employment

In interviews and exchange of letters quoted in Part I of this book, a spokesman for the major forestry union in British Columbia expressed the belief that, whatever the disadvantages of monopsony control over the forestry resource by a few very large, integrated companies, there are, for workers, a number of undeniable advantages. In particular, in his view, the wages are both higher and more reliably paid, safety measures are more likely to be taken and observed, and job security is greater than would be the case if the employers were small businesses.

This argument warrants attention because it has been an important reason for workers to support the continued control of the provincial forest harvesting rights by a few large companies. At a theoretical level, as well, it demands consideration because it coincides with theories advanced by Galbraith (1973) and others to the effect that the capitalist economy is divided between large companies in the “monopoly” sector and small firms in the “competitive” sector which provide very different conditions for their workers.

In this and the following chapter these arguments are examined relative to the forestry labour force with particular attention to job stability. Here it will be argued that a simple division by size will not provide an adequate explanation for the different situations of loggers, sawmill workers, and pulpmill workers. A somewhat more complex approach is suggested, which eschews a static division of the economy in favour of historically changing divisions according to profitability of various employment strategies under different market conditions.

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Green Gold: The Forest Industry in British Columbia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Part One- Capital xxi
  • 1- A Staples Economy 1
  • 2- History of a Resource Industry 29
  • 3- "Partners with Industry" 55
  • 4- The Structure of the Industry 82
  • Part Two- Labour 113
  • 5- Class and Human Capital 115
  • 6- Markets, Technology, and Employment 156
  • 7- Patterns of Employment and Unemployment 181
  • 8- Employment Conditions for Women in Resource Towns 213
  • 9- Job Control, Security, and Satisfaction 249
  • 10- Job Control and Ideology 269
  • Part Three- Communities 301
  • 11- The Instant Town 303
  • 12- At the End of the Forest 323
  • 13- Policies for Change 348
  • Appendix A- Methodology and Samples 381
  • Appendix B- Tables Accompanying Chapter 9- Job Control, Security, and Satisfaction 389
  • Appendix C- Tables Accompanying Chapter 10- Ideology 399
  • Bibliography 416
  • Index 437
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