Lstreadingnotesfeb15

The chapter begins with Max Weber's definition of law as a coercive order with state backing. He goes on to say that a society rewards its members with class and wealth. Conflict arises when the rewards meet the law. Law theorists often ignore that class has anything to do with the law because they prefer to see the law as impartial than a power play for the elites. One can see examples with the funds big corporations can use in court and the power of contracts, which work in favor of the elite. Also, lawmakers can be influenced by the intrests of elites. Gentlemanly crime,such as embezzlement, is seen as much different than "real" crime in the eyes of the law. Marx puts the connection between law and economic power. He who owns the means of the production also owns the laws.
The OSHA sought an elimination of exposure to cotton dust for workers, as long as it was economically feasible for the company. While it improved conditions in the factory, it did not eliminate the danger. The law did some, but in the end still sided with the business. Lenin built on Marx by stating the state was an apparatus of rule that arose with the division of classes. Slavery was the first oppression system, followed by feudalism and capitalism. The oppression systems changed in name, but still carried the same basic functions borrowed from slavery. The true role of law to Lenin was to keep this practice the status quot.
Kenneth Stampp paints a picture of how operations worked on a slave plantation. The bigger the plantation, the further the master was removed into a managerial position. He needed overseers and drivers to help control the slaves. Thus plantations became in a way an agricultural factory. Marx could use this testament to show how modern economic organization repeats past organization.
Thornton and Wife vs. The Suffolk Manufacturing Company shows how judges often rule in favor of the elite. The woman needed to obtain a line in order to leave her company and find work elsewhere, which was almost always granted. The company refused her one, saying it was custom not law. They went on to say she could remain working for the company, but she would not receive a line. The judge ruled in favor of the corporation because they compared the line to a testament of the employees behavior, much like a referance from a former employer today. Therefore, they bound her to her job because she could not get another job without a line.
In a case of a supplier vs. General Motors, a judge again ruled in favor of a big corporation. GM had greater bargaining power because the supplier had to do business on their terms, or do no business at all. When businesses are pitted against each other, one can see how larger businesses move more freely in the economy because of their power.
Previously, individuals had to face large corporations on their own. This was until collective bargaining and unions arrived with the Wagner Act in the 1930s. The act stated broadly that unions could bargain for wages, hours, and other work conditions. This left the scope of the bargaining power to the judge's discretion. In Fibreboard Paper vs. NLRB, the union won, but it lost its scope in mandatory bargaining. Now there was no challenge to a company discontinuing its production, forcing workers out of jobs. These workers were simply told to adapt to the world economy. Jobs are now lost to factories moving south, because of the free trade agreement made with Mexico. Companies such as NIKE also send jobs overseas, and exploit the workers of the host country. The last bit of the chapter concludes with the frightening prediction that white collar jobs with be outsourced next.
Therefore, according to Marx, the legal system will rule in favor of the elite by not placing limitations to their power. The structure of the legal system remains the same since the times of slavery and serfdom.

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