Saturday, June 26, 2010

Contrast v. Dichotomy

The last post might appear hypocritical to some. I say that, to counter the Marxian dictomy between the worker and owner, one should contrast the difference between a union and a professional society.

It appears that I am trying to replace one dichotomy with another.

The post is a good example of difference between contrasting and dichotomizing.

Drawing up a contrast between two ideas is not a bad thing. We humans perceive things through contrasts. We build our understanding by drawing contrasts between things.

The goal of my last post was to draw up a contrast between professional societies and unions. Both structures are member organizations designed for the benefit of workers. The two organizations share many things in common. For example, both structures provide educational opportunaty and career services for members.

The similarities between the two structures are well and good. In my article, I wished to bring up the differences between the structures.

The primary focus of the professional society is advancing the career of the individual professional. The focus of the union is the creation of a political force for collective bargaining in a perceived conflict between workers and management.

The contrast between professional societies and unions leads immediately into a conversation about the focus of the two groups and how the focus plays out. One has a focus on the career of the individual professional and tends toward decentralization. The other has a focus on creating a political force for collective bargaining and tends to industry centralization.

The contrast between these two structures allows us to talk about how different political structures play out in society at large.

The process of dichotomizing happens when one seeks to build a conflict into the structure of the system. I've been using the term "Foundational Dialectics to describe the process.

Unions were built around the idea that there is a fundamental conflict between workers and management. This perceived conflict is the central organizing force of the union.

The fact that professional societies and unions have a different focus is not fundamental to either the professional society or the union. The contrast simply allows us to talk about the difference between the two structures.

The perceived conflict between workers and management is central to unions.

People join professional societies as the see the membership organization as a way to advance their career. People join unions to create a political force in a struggle against management.

In our contrast of unions and professional societies, we find that unions were built on the perception of a central conflict, while professional societies were not.

Paradoxically, unions were constructed with the purpose of uniting one class (the worker) against another class (management). The effect of unionized unification is a deeper division.

Notably, the contrast between unions and professional societies provides a way to talk about the different ways of organizing society. Professional societies fall within the classical liberal view. Unions are a products of the paradox ridden modern world view.

No comments: