Date of Award

5-1984

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

Supervisor

M. Goldstein

Abstract

Much contemporary literature argues that the need for profit in capitalist market economies places limits upon the socio-economic development of society. This thesis will seek to explore the limitations the need for profit places upon the activities within the production process. This will be carried out through an examination of the occupational health and safety issue. Through this examination it is argued that the need for profit severely limits the extent to which capital and labour can comprehensively address the increasing incidence of hazards in the workplace. In fact, it will be argued that the need for profit not o~ly constrains the resolution of occupational health and safety hazards, but it is also implicated in the inadvertant introduction of these hazards.

In addressing this question the thesis first examines the way in which the need for profit restructures the labour process and leads to the inadvertant introduction of hazards into the workplace. Having examined this it is argued that because of the nature of the capitalist market economy. both capitalist3 and labour are constrained in the action they can take to overcome the presence of hazards in the workplace. Further it is suggest that the state may be best equipped to fulfill this role.

The thesis then provides an analysis of the way in which the Government of Ontario has historically addressed the occupational health l and safety issue. This thesis examines the Ontario Factory Acts, the Workers' Compensation Act and the governments most recent attempt of eradicating workplace hazards - the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It is argued that the Occupational Health and Safety Act is a partial response to the government's previous failure to reduce hazardous work conditions. Finally, it is argued that the state is in fact limited and constrained by the very same factor capital and labour are affected by, namely the need for the constant expansion of profit.

McMaster University Library

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