"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.
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.
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.
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'.
Try telling that to all the slaves of capitalism!
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.
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.
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.
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.
You've not done much factory work have you?
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?
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.
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.
That is where we'll never agree. Capitalism only cares about worker welfare when it impacts on profit, otherwise they don't give a damn. You avoided my question about the company operating a black list of building workers who had raised health and safety issues! Does that sound like caring about worker welfare?
BTW, that wasn't even one company deciding who and who it wouldn't employ, it was a company that was engaged in supplying that information to prospective employers!
As for long term freedom, where is the freedom in having to work long hours for little reward?
Most businesses are bad, the good ones are the exception.
I don't think we'll ever agree either, but our debates are educational for me and I'm sure there are others reading who may benefit from it.
Capitalism is the only system where worker safety could be incentivised effectively. It this modern era of 'elf and safety hysteria it is in businesses' interest to provide safe working environments, as without it there are no workers, no production and no profit. You could say the same thing about workers: "they only work if it personally benefits them!". Well, duh. Just as you won't work for nothing, businesses are not going to put in extra labour and resources into creating safer working environments unless it is going to improve their situation. And most of the time, it does, as is proved by the statistics that show workplace death and injury was decreasing before any large scale legislation was put in. Workplace safety is a demand like any other that is met by the market. The black list is wrong (hence my comment about bad businesses), but I believe this is the exception, not the rule. It all depends on what you define as 'bad'.
I believe a bad business is one that in some way deceives its customers, employees and investors, and/or one that seeks to gain advantage over its competition through violence. Most businesses I have interacted with have not been like this.
The problem is you are very young and my guess is you have very little work place experience and even less (if any) in high risk industries. I was a coal miner most of my working life, I worked in the mines in South America where the average survival rate was three and a half years from employment to the mines in Kentucky and elsewhere in the US and the same vein runs through all of them the companies will do as much as they can get away with in Chile and Argentina that meant pushing people so far that they strike or sabotage and when even beatings and the occasional shooting wouldn't stop it they would give the miners a small concession (2 breaks instead of 1 in a ten hour day).
The story in the US is the same but they would push as a far as they could get away with under the law, where we have effective law and order and safety regulations companies don't kill people anymore, don't hire beating crews, the coal miner labor movement has it's heart in Harlan Kentucky centering around that song "which side are you on?" written by a woman who had just had her house torn apart by armed men looking to beat or kill her relatives for calling for a strike. Those same unions worked incredibly hard to get working people legal recourse and now that we have it we can use it.
I gained a deep appreciation for that after my injury which i believe I have told you about before, I was able to prove (my union and public defense lawyers) that they were breaking the law using hauling straps on double the weight they were intended for and only due to that were they forced to pay my medical bills etc. otherwise I would have lost my house, my car and the savings had worked for my whole life. This is not rare, it happens all the time, now thanks to the laws we worked so hard for we have certain protections and rights, I hope the day never comes when you desperately need them but it very well might, if it does think what would have happened to you without those laws, I would be a bankrupt cripple living on a disability pension.
It was impossible for any black listed worker to find employment in the construction industry anywhere in the UK.
How do you define that as the exception?
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