Words of Wisdom

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  1. profile image0
    Sooner28posted 5 years ago

    "And a dollar that is not being used to make a slave of some human being is not fulfilling its purpose in the capitalistic scheme."  What a perfect summation of the capitalist system, and one worth pondering.

    Who said these words?  I'll give you two hints: it was not Marx or Engels, and the person is quite famous.

    1. Barefootfae profile image61
      Barefootfaeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I am not certain who said it. That's not as important as the fact that it is a half-truth.
      You can make just as many slaves through government as you can capitalism, perhaps more so.
      Make them beholden to you and convince them that their continued welfare(ha)is only guaranteed be your re-election continually..
      Those slaves exist today.

      1. profile image0
        Sooner28posted 5 years agoin reply to this

        People turn to government for help because the capitalist system treats them  like wage slaves.  The government is the enforcer of private property, so they are involved in the wage slavery itself.  With that, I agree.

  2. grand old lady profile image83
    grand old ladyposted 5 years ago

    I cheated -- and googled it. It's Helen Keller. Thank you for this information. All I knew about her was mainly the movie that was made about her childhood, and that she became an inspiration to many women who were blind and deaf. I didn't know she was also brilliant.

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Most Americans aren't aware we've had some famous socialists among us, such as Hellen Keller and Albert Einstein.

  3. innersmiff profile image72
    innersmiffposted 5 years ago

    Not very impressed by the quote. Slavery by definition is anti-capitalistic as it presumes the violation of self-ownership, so whatever you think of capitalism, it cannot be said that 'capitalism is slavery'.

    1. John Holden profile image60
      John Holdenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Try telling that to all the slaves of capitalism!

    2. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Another person is not only controlling if you will be paid a living wage (which you must then use to buy from other masters), but also how you will dress and act for 8 hours everyday.  Free labor is the ability to choose your master, which is a step forward from chattel slavery, but not still not acceptable.

      Maybe it could be more accurately described as temporary enslavement.  The only way under capitalism to "not have a master" is to become the master of someone else, which is also immoral.  But either way, you must choose to be controlled by a boss everyday, or be a boss controlling others, if you happen to become part of the power elite.

      1. innersmiff profile image72
        innersmiffposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I don't believe this is the relationship between boss and worker. It is not 'The master' and 'the slave'. In a free-market, the boss and worker enter into a mutually beneficial contract of their own volition. You see it as 'controlling' that the boss require the worker to act and dress in a certain way, but does the boss see it as 'controlling' that the worker demands compensation for this? The boss' welfare is dependent on making the environment and compensation for the worker adequate. This can no way be considered 'slavery'. Slavery has a very strict definition - involuntary servitude.

        1. profile image0
          Sooner28posted 5 years agoin reply to this

          I think we are differing on definitions.  I am definitely not suggesting that today's modern worker is equivalent to a chattel slave.  That would be absurd.

          But the nature of the relationship is not fundamentally different in most circumstances.  The authority is a matter of degree, not kind.  The government has stepped in to control certain aspects of the relationship that would be a closer resemblance to chattel slavery than what we currently see in the United States without these regulations.  Employers are limited in how many hours they can make you work, the minimum amount of pay they can give you, the way they can treat you (lawsuits, better business bureau, etc), and  must face inspections to ensure working conditions are safe. 

          But this is only because of government interference, not in spite of it.  If there were no rules (aside from preventing monopolies), the 15 hour days would return, as would brutal working conditions, as can been seen by the workers in China and Bangladesh who have no governmental recourse when wronged.  They are treated similarly to the way American workers were before the New Deal and other advancements in worker's rights.

          The whole relationship between boss and worker is fundamentally authoritarian, and therefore flawed.  People should be free to engage in the minimum amount of productive work a society needs to function, along with choosing when and how that work will be accomplished.  Labor that is truly free can only be achieved with the laborer controlling the conditions, instead of begging (interviewing) for a job to avoid starvation, and then being micromanaged by a manager, who is carrying out the orders of the true masters of the particular business in question.

          To me, it doesn't matter if the master is benevolent or not.  I could work for a person that gives me flexible hours, decent pay, benefits, and fulfilling work, but it is still a master/slave relationship, because if I decide to disobey the orders of the boss, or firmly insist the boss has made the wrong decision, I won't be around much longer.  The only way to describe such a relationship is authoritarian.

          1. innersmiff profile image72
            innersmiffposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            The fact that someone else might tell you to do something during work is not indicative of slavery. I emphasise that working for a boss is voluntary, and therefore anything the boss requires has been entered into voluntarily too. The individual or the union can bargain for requests on their end, but ultimately both parties need to be complicit for the exchange to take place. In what authoritarian government do you have the option to negotiate your terms and leave if you don't like it? Give me a controlling boss over a fascist/communist dictator any day.

            The boss/worker relationship is that of mutual cooperation. Sure, if you disobey your boss, you'll get fired. At the same time, if your boss treats his workers badly, they will leave and he is left with a weakened workforce. Does the boss shake his fist at those damned authoritarian workers? However, your scenario, where the worker chooses how the work is done is fundamentally authoritarian. Any two or more individuals who wish to voluntarily operate in a boss/worker type relationship simply won't be allowed. How can this possibly be a more free scenario than the capitalist one?

            When the government steps in to aggressively define the terms of the relationship, it could be seen that they are making conditions better for workers, but this often results in unintended consequences. This is due to the fact that given enough time, markets optimise to find the most productive relationship between business owners, investors and workers. Although people are perfectly free to start businesses where the worker is king, this isn't the norm simply because it isn't as productive. The entrepreneur is usually the individual who defines the working conditions as he is the individual with the skills, experience and resources necessary to perform the task. It's why pupils don't decide the curriculum, the football players don't decide the strategy, etc. But ultimately, he has to provide an environment that will draw the workforce in to make it productive.

            So whatever the government does, in the long term it will either have no effect at all or a bad effect. You cannot create prosperity with force. For example, the minimum wage only serves to keep unskilled labour out of the workforce and excessive regulation only serves to make hiring people more expensive. OSHA, 'the great saviour', actually made little to no difference in the already improving workplace safety statistics in the United States. I have to emphasise long term because I admit that workplace conditions during the industrial revolution were horrible. But it gets better - when the market is allowed the flourish, more resources are freed to make conditions better, since businesses then have to compete for labour rather than labour having to compete with jobs.

            In short, if you're against authoritarianism and for worker safety, then capitalism is for you.

            1. John Holden profile image60
              John Holdenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              You've not done much factory work have you?

              1. innersmiff profile image72
                innersmiffposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                Have you owned your own business? Have you ever been to Mars? Want to ask any more arbitrary questions that don't respond to anything I've said?

                1. John Holden profile image60
                  John Holdenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                  n the contrary my response, though brief, did in fact respond to everything you said.
                  It was your final statement where you said if you are "against authoritarianism and for worker safety, then capitalism is for you" that convinced me that you had never actually worked in a factory or on a building site!

                  You are in the UK, would you like to comment on the company that was running a black list of building workers who'd raised health and safety issues?

                  ETA, yes I've run my own business. Don't know what Mars has to do with anything though.

                  1. innersmiff profile image72
                    innersmiffposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                    I haven't worked in a factory but I have done labour work. But what are you saying exactly? That all factory workers reject capitalism? Somehow I don't think so. I think this comes from the same fallacious school of thought on this website that one can only comment on a subject if you have had direct experience of it, to the point where you can't comment on women's issues if you are male and can't say anything about US policy if you're British, etc. It's just a way to shut down debate and not address the real issues at play.

                    I never said there aren't bad businesses either. Capitalism provides the best environment for long-term freedom and worker welfare.


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