The factory-owners of the time formed a “trade union” to resist the factory legislation, the so-called “National Association for the Amendment of the Factory Laws”, based in Manchester, which collected a sum of more than £50,000 in March 1855 from contributions on the basis of 2 shillings per horse-power, to meet the legal costs of members prosecuted by the factory inspectors and conduct their cases on behalf of the Association. The object was to prove “killing no murder” if done for the sake of profit.
Karl Marx, Capital, III.
Why OHS injuries are not real crimes
More than buildings rise on “a framework of human flesh”.
So, too, do the profits of Messrs Construction Capital.
The opening 80,000 words of Framework of Flesh carry our understanding of that reciprocity past the level of generalisation. The next step is to foreground the concepts embedded in that analysis by asking how the il-logic that compels capital to expand also
”]makes it injure human capacities.
Investigating this relationship between the needs of capital and the frequency of harms will proceed through four phases.
The second section integrates the prevalence of on-site injuries with the mechanisms that capital relies on to expand, primarily, its disciplining of labour-time.
A third section documents the class bias in the operation of OHS laws where prosecutions remain infrequent, convictions rare and penalties minimal.
The discussion culminates by showing why “legal reasoning” premised on the four pillars of “equality before the law”, “evil intent”, contracts, and individualism as autonomy prevents OHS violations from being treated as real crimes.
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