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Edition 05: 16 June, 2007


1. Extracts from "Entrepreneurial Capacitation with Large Groups : Response to the Unemployment Crisis caused by Technological Progress"

De Morais' Keynote speech at the Manchester Conference of 23rd March 1998 "Learning from Brazil" published in Manchester Monographs 38, 1999.

(p.31-35) Whatever plans are drawn up for the reintegration of the masses excluded into the mainstream economy have to take an approach with large (massive) numbers of participants because this is the only way in which the problem, which is equally massive, can be tackled. No use relying on the promotion of the classical micro enterprise and the family enterprise models because it is precisely this type of enterprises which have... massively disappeared and are at the heart of the problem in the first place.

This reintegration must not confine itself to the distribution of the means of production (land, equipment and work-tools) but be principally based in the commonly pooled resource which is the organization of the (always large) group of workers themselves in the form of a cooperative enterprise for the production of goods and services and in other forms of community or membership association enterprises.

In order to realize those objectives it is necessary to set up vast programmes of massive formation of large groups and their capacitation. At the same time as this entrepreneurial capacitation with mass participation, thousands of production and service delivery projects need to be identified, capable of increasing the job and income prospects of the excluded as well as the family income of the rural and urban small producers.

How is this large group capacitation effected: by means of the Organizational Workshop method which was used in the course of the last decades in several locations by the United Nations Organizations in Latin America, Africa, and also Europe. In Brazil over the last ten years especially the OW has formed the basis of the PROGERs (Work and Income Generation Projects) promoted by the Brazilian Federal Government as well as by the invidual State governments, municipalities and a number of rural and urban development organizations.

What is known as the "Field" OW is being used in particular for the direct establishment of cooperative and membership enterprises for the production of goods and services.

The "Course" OW, on the other hand is used in the formation of the veritable armies of the pettifoggers of the economy who will later be of great use in the identification, at the local level of the community, of project profiles, as well as of the Programmes for the Formation of Trainers.....TDE's (Experts in Economic Development).

The TDE's, in turn will go on forming their local counterparts, the APIs (Programme Assistants) who originate from inside the communities, at the district, village and neighbourhood levels.

The APIs, formed in the use of the conceptual categories of the economy will be very useful in the translation of the projects they identified at the local level in the rural and urban areas into the language of the financiers and bankers.

The massive capacitation efforts aimed at the creation of a Social Participation System for the Identification of Job and Income Generation Projects (SIPGER) culminate in the execution of production and service provision packages for the reduction of unemployment which affects the rural population.


The concept of Formation training of Workshop Directors only applies in the case of a capacitation process which is conceived of in massive terms and intended to be applied at the largest possible social scale. The capacitation which becomes possible thanks to this methodological principle only operates effectively in the context of geuinely all-encompassing (globalizing) projects. This is to say that the project has been designed with global and not merely partial objectives in mind.

So for example, if it is found necessary that 3000 producers be provided with courses in cooperative organisation and administration the corresponding project will be conceived in such a manner that it actually will be able to cope with the capacitation of a massive group of 3.000 persons.

To this objective of the capacitation of 3.000 people must be geared the principal elements which make up the concept and elaboration of a project:
-programme of functioning
-cost analysis
-social impact assessment
-budget estimates, etc

And it can only be in this manner, with overall collaboration on a grand scale, that is to say with an all-encompassing Project, that a substantial Technical Division of Work can be achieved. A most important element of this global approach are the commonly pooled (indivisible) Resources (ie means of transport held in common, audio-visual equipment held in common, teams for the printing, illumination and reproduction of materials etc), in other words, anything and everything which is held by the enterprise in common pool and which cannot be divided among its members).

It is the common pool which imposes regulation and rhythm on the production process. It equally introduces a necessary discipline on all those who are involved in the Project, be they donors or beneficiaries, trainers (mentors) or trainees.

Two big advantages are derived from the introduction of a common pool:

-only resources held in common can assure that a massive group of 3000 people can be capacitated in the same place at the same time
-the existence of a common pool also capacitates the donors, as they are transformed from being sponsors and functionaries supporting isolated ventures which serve them into interrelated workers at the service of the project.

From the perspective of the ideological behaviour of the Artisan (that is to say, those who use their hands or, in the case of intellectuals, their minds in isolated, small scale production ventures) a global, massive or all-encompassing approach to a number of predetermined activities has to be viewed from the multiplier effect perspective. If we only think in terms of an effect, the pursuit of mere effects would be at the mercy of the caprice or opportunism of the different participants. The reason for this is that those thinking in terms of micro projects with small groups (of Artisans) inevitably are only able to think of a division of work in subjective terms to be adapted to the limited horizon of the individual capacity and narrow interests of the operator.

Compared to this small scale, individualistic/-ised perspective of micro projects, the global and mass-participation approach will inexorably lead to the build-up of an objective organization (for the production of goods or the provision of services) and designed or already installed, ready for operation: it is this objective organisation that the individual operator (office worker or field worker) will have to adapt to, even more so if it is the organization which will effectively change the ideological behaviour of the isolated operator (also known as artisan) into the ideological behaviour of the worker operating in a social context.

In short, it is here that the behaviour of the functionaries who, because they are artisans, put the Institution at their service, changes into that of social operators (the Worker) who serve the institution.

As long as no objective conditions are created which are conducive to this fundamental change in (social) consciousness, the course directors (or the OW) will not be conducting a proper capacitation process and after a few days of routine activities, they will only be too anxious to see the closure date of the course. By the same token, as long as there are no global or massively conceived projects it is not possible to count on an organizational consciousness among the participants which accepts the existence of indivisible, commonly-held resources of major importance such as, for example, the Vehicle supply and maintenance centre, the Audio Teams, the photocopying and typing Pools, etc.

The necessary transformation in consciousness (of the workers and donors alike) is a social achievement which cannot possibly be induced by means of mainstream educational methods, through lecture, through verbal communications, through pep-talks, speeches and the like. The new social consciousness is clearly the product of a new social existence, of a new organizational practice which is imposed by the collaboration, on a massive scale, inside the global projects of large group capacitation.

From there we conclude that for those Massive Projects to function well, two conditions of structural transformation need to be complied with:

-the absolutely necessary incorporation of nuclei into the development process
- the enhancement of the level of organizational consciousness which, while advancing slowly but systematically, must replace the reiterative practice of the "rites of bureaucracy" with a practice in which persons produce, form and transform themselves.

The Globalizing Projects, in the way they were rigorously put in operation in the self-managing FAO-sponsored enterprises in the Honduras of the mid-seventies (see document 3 below) and as they are at present in operation in the PROGERs in Brazil, allow the educator to educate, the formator to form (formar al formador) the capacitator to capacitate (capacitar al capacitador) the trainer to train in the common venture of the transfer of experiences as well as to take a correct approach at the level of a national process of structural transformation which is born out of a vision aimed at providing workplaces and income, on a social scale, to the excluded in the rural and urban areas.

Without the capacitation of the capacitator and without the formation of the formator (sin capacitar el capacitador y sin formar el formador) during the Course-type Organizational Workshops it will be impossible to obtain the cadres with the necessary organizational consciousness which can only be found in a large-scale enterprise in the context of an overall transformation of the socio-economic development landscape./...../


The methodological steps which attempt to achieve the experimental and intentional repetition of the mode of capacitation which is an inherent part of the objective activity (Leont'ev) are rigorously conditioned by the intensity with which the social division of labour is applied and by the nature of the means of production. The reason being that, in the area of production, organization always starts with a division of labour and with the centralization of the key functions both in the economic sphere and in the wider world of social life. Said intensity (which can be reached at the level of the socially divided production process) will be intimately in function of the value of the indivisible commonly pooled resources (insumos indivisibles) expressed principally as fixed capital (installations, machinery and equipment). The very indivisible nature of those commonly pooled resources determines the undivided operation to which many hands conjointly contribute and, by so doing, produce the configuration of the cooperative activity.

When indeed indivisible means of production form an integral part of the production process, such as, for example, machinery and installations which are collectively owned, or which are merely loaned under the principle of a common usufruct (i.e. for their use value, not their private ownership value), then the group will feel persuaded to utilize those inputs in precisely that manner, namely as common pool resources, and not as resources which belong to any one member of the group in particular. This is an eminently important factor, as it is principally the machinery which constitutes the fundamental premise, the objective factor which is responsible for the particular production processes introduced by capitalism, namely social production riding on collective activity. From whatever perspective one may look at it, nowhere does one recognize here the environment of the individual worker. The specific difference- with the work executed by the individual worker- is that the individual worker's activity is transmitted to the object. In the case of complex (workers) production processes, however, it is the object (the machinery used) which imprints its activity on the raw material while all that there is left to the worker, is to supervise and to prevent that the machinery suffers any damage.

Even today, in the technological environments predating capitalism, i.e. where capital does not constitute the dominant factor (and which are still so prevalent in the so-called Third World) the instruments still constitute the interface between Work and Nature. Work here, is the proactive, initial factor, while nature is the reactive, passive factor. The instrument of work here is no more than an intermediate factor.

With the emergence of automated/robotized industrial machinery this prior relationship is turned upside down, since the instrument is not a mere intermediate factor any more, i.e. it does not perform a mediating function, but it becomes the very starting pro-active point (initiating factor) of the relationship. Work (the producer) who, before starting to use the machinery, was in a position of active and independent agent, now is reduced to the intermediary position of the machine, and becomes a mere instrument in the process.

In this fashion, the introduction of automated machinery in the industrial process, even more so if this machinery is controlled by capital, will have as effect that human subjectivity becomes subordinated to the activity of the machine and/or the machine's needs. The process will have become an end in itself. Indeed, in the technology which came about as the result of the introduction of automated factory machinery, the characteristics pertaining to the field of human subjectivity which are so prominent in the artisan (small scale) production mode, will have as good as been wiped out, because the machinery, which now takes on the form of the commonly-pooled resource, tends to substitute itself to human subjectivity from the moment works ceases to be the initiating, pro-active element of the interrelationship of technology with nature (or with the object of the work), and presents itself in an instrumental form.

Human subjectivity will then become a mere function of the machinery. It will become a thing just as is the machinery. It is this precise juncture that the labour process loses its natural characteristics and acquires technical characteristics which cannot be subsumed in the skill of the labourer, but which rather act as a technical application of science. And by the mere fact that that rationality, the proper knowledge of this technology does not reside any more in the worker, but principally outside the worker, in the machinery, this machinery is now in a position to domesticate, dominate, and educate the worker in the way it requires (needs). It is the machinery (the object) which will impose another consciousness, another psychology, fruit of the new social existence of the worker.

In consequence, self-sufficiency and other manifestations of subjective activity, which, before, were the initiating factor of the relationship between technology and nature, is being withdrawn from the worker who is now being made aware of the modest position of virtually no more than an instrument, a thing, subordinated to the machinery: an entirely new set of parameters, of subjective conditions (mostly of an organizational kind) which impose themselves of the development of the activities.

And in that way, then, for the artisan (small scale) producer to acquire the characteristics of the worker it is sufficient to transfer this operator from the initial position (where a direct action on the object, nature, prevailed) to the intermediary position in the technological process. In the same manner, from the moment that the production process is collectivised, be it through the presence of industrial machinery, or through communitarian forms of organization, the producer is carried from the initial position of being wholly in control towards the centre of the production process.

It will be the production process itself which will dispense of the subjective needs typical of the isolated producer and with the consequences of this isolation (what we have referred to as the vices of the artisan mode of production). In the end, what is at work here is a transfer of the domain of technical knowledge incarnated in the artisan (small worker) in the use of instruments of work to the machinery and the new organizational imperatives.

A capacitation with large group participation method which has as its prime objective to establish the predominance of the psychological characteristics of the (industrial) worker will of necessity have to be constructed on the basis of commonly-pooled resources, i.e. the machinery and the different means used in the production process.

This is, then, in essence, what the preconceived and intentional practice of the Organizational Workshop of massive capacitation consists of. In the absence of such capacitation (and we name here in particular the idealistic methods applied by what is known under the name of Popular Education which confuses education with capacitation), hardly a dent is made in the real causes of our present predicament. In the absence of capacitation, also, all that happens is that effects are mistaken for causes and that a simplistic and superficial vision will continue to prevail of what, indeed, is actually needed in the transformation of the social psychological characteristics of the artisan into that of the complex production worker, a transformation which, by the way, is of absolute necessity in the high level(s) of orgnisation which a genuine rural and urban development process requires.

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