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View Diary: How the 90% Is Getting Something for Nothing: Wage Slavery (183 comments)

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  •  Do you know the history of the term Wage slavery? (0+ / 0-)
    •  Well... (3+ / 0-)

      Wiki:

      The view that working for wages is akin to slavery was already present in the ancient world, beginning with the notion of prostitution as temporary slavery.[25] At a time when self-sale contracts were one of the most direct ways to become a citizen in ancient Rome,[26] Cicero wrote in his De Officiis that

          whoever gives his labor for money sells himself and puts himself in the rank of slaves.

      The first articulate description of wage slavery was made by Simon Linguet in 1763:

          The slave was precious to his master because of the money he had cost him . . . They were worth at least as much as they could be sold for in the market . . . It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil whose fruits they will not eat and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live . . . It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him . . . what effective gain [has] the suppression of slavery brought [him ?] He is free, you say. Ah! That is his misfortune . . . These men . . . [have] the most terrible, the most imperious of masters, that is, need. . . . They must therefore find someone to hire them, or die of hunger. Is that to be free?[19]

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 12:06:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From the article you linked (0+ / 0-)
        The view that wage work has substantial similarities with chattel slavery was actively put forward in the late 18th and 19th centuries by defenders of chattel slavery (most notably in the Southern states of the US), and by opponents of capitalism (who were also critics of chattel slavery).[10][27] Some defenders of slavery, mainly from the Southern slave states argued that Northern workers were "free but in name – the slaves of endless toil," and that their slaves were better off.[28][29] This contention has been partly corroborated by some modern studies that indicate slaves' material conditions in the 19th century were "better than what was typically available to free urban laborers at the time."[30][31] In this period, Henry David Thoreau wrote that "[i]t is hard to have a Southern overseer; it is worse to have a Northern one; but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself."[32]
        The description of wage workers as wage slaves was not without controversy. Many abolitionists in the United States regarded the analogy as spurious.[33] They believed that wage workers were "neither wronged nor oppressed".[34] The abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass declared "Now I am my own master" when he took a paying job.[35] Abraham Lincoln and the republicans "did not challenge the notion that those who spend their entire lives as wage laborers were comparable to slaves", though they argued that the condition was different, as laborers were likely to have the opportunity to work for themselves in the future, achieving self-employment.[36]
        •  Indeed (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Words In Action, Klusterpuck

          and that period is subsequent to the historical references, dating back to the Romans, given earlier in the article.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 12:16:16 PM PDT

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        •  Seems to me you are being obtuse. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZhenRen, Klusterpuck, Mr Robert

          Hiding behind an almost comical literalness?

          They do not see the threat of not having a job or being homeless in this economy as chaining people to poor conditions and un-livable wages as being a form of bondage. No shackles, no bondage.

          What's the point of letting neoliberals into the tent when neoliberalism is burning down the campground?

          by Words In Action on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 12:19:02 PM PDT

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          •  A choice between homlessness and wage slavery (3+ / 0-)

            (which of course isn't merely lack of a home, but lack of food, decent clothing, a place to bathe and practice normal hygiene, a place to rest, as well as the liberty that goes with that...)

            is not freedom.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 12:36:17 PM PDT

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            •  Then all of us are "slaves" (0+ / 0-)

              The things you mention require work to maintain. If workers don't do the work, it doesn't get done and there is no food, clothing, bathing, etc.

              Reality enslaves people because maintaining a standard of living requires work. No work means no living standard and you starve.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 03:27:54 PM PDT

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              •  Nonsense (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Words In Action, Klusterpuck

                You're ignoring the class difference between the owner class and the worker class. One has enormous power over the working class, while the other has realistically very little power.

                And as I've said to you before, your "left -libertarian" label is incorrectly used. Libertarianism, as a political philosophy, began with libertarian socialists (anarchists) in the 1800s in Europe. The American usage is completely wrong, since there is nothing truly "liberating" about Ayn Randian "free" market nonsense, in which people are treated not as people, but as machines or wage slaves.

                Let me guess: You're fairly well off.

                "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                by ZhenRen on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 03:38:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Under other circumstances (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Klusterpuck, ZhenRen

                people would have employment options and working conditions and pay would be more equitable. If an employer was creating exploitative conditions, one could leave. Today, almost the whole market on the bottom half of the economy offers lousy jobs for even worse pay and no benefits.

                Over the past three decades, neoliberal culture has destroyed all that. Destroyed it. Without even putting up a fight.

                What's the point of letting neoliberals into the tent when neoliberalism is burning down the campground?

                by Words In Action on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 03:48:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And the people at the bottom (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Words In Action, Klusterpuck

                  realistically can't quit employment even under full employment conditions, since there are barriers to employment if one has poor credit (due to earning inadequate wages) or has inadequate skills (due to lack of educational opportunities).

                  The idea that workers can just quit and go elsewhere is a myth perpetrated by the free market zealots. It simply doesn't reflect reality.

                  And one doesn't need to be at the bottom to experience this. Employers have all the power: They can give a poor recommendation, write unfair, disparaging work performance reports, and a host of other assaults, leaving the victim unemployable.

                  Again, I'm just scratching the surface. Most intellectuals of the professional class (the typical dkos habitue') are completely clueless about the true powerlessness of the working class.

                  Oh, but they can write fine diaries... and get rec'd up to the high heavens.

                  "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                  by ZhenRen on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 04:06:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  And this is a really awful strawman (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Words In Action, Klusterpuck
                If workers don't do the work, it doesn't get done and there is no food, clothing, bathing, etc.
                I'm sorry, but who the fuck said worker's don't do the work? Workers do all the work. Workers love to work and be productive. It makes them feel worthy and wholesome. It makes them feel as if they have value.

                That is why they are called working class. Because they labor most days of their lives.

                My god... you're out of touch.

                In the anarchist regions of Spain during the Spanish Civil War, involving as much as 7 to 8 million people for a period of almost three years, workers were incentivized more than ever to go to work (since the workplace eliminated bosses) and the workers who had always performed well and knew their jobs well were able to democratically self manage the workplace.

                It's always been the rank and file workers who know how to keep utilities functioning, keep the railroads working, and the factories producing. Guess what? The management class isn't as indispensable as they have mesmerized themselves into thinking. They fled to the fascist regions of Spain, or they stayed on and received equal wages, but the workers got along just fine with or without them.

                "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                by ZhenRen on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 04:24:40 PM PDT

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    •  Yeah. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZhenRen, Klusterpuck, Mr Robert

      But I don't come to it from a school of thought, socialist or anarchist, so much as from observations of what has evolved the past thirty years, the existence and import of which neoliberals seem completely oblivious.

      What's the point of letting neoliberals into the tent when neoliberalism is burning down the campground?

      by Words In Action on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 12:13:27 PM PDT

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      •  I just started working for a company (5+ / 0-)

        after years of self employment, and I'm appalled to find that I now feel truly owned, as if property, and this is very real to me.

        I'm an anarchist because my life experience leads me to the view, not the other way around.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 12:32:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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