Archive for the ‘From Free To Unfree Labour’ Category

How To Become A Slave

There are two basic ways of making slaves: suddenly, as when Caesar conquered Gaul so as to sell its population at a profit, when Africans sold their neighbours literally down the river, or when the Nazis and Soviets impressed their undesirables into labour camps; and gradually, as in the creeping enserfment of once-free farmers. The […]

From Mom&Pop To Chain Employees

In 2004, 11% of the US workforce was not working for an employer. If we count family-owned businesses, the figure rises to 20%. That sounds fairly high, and is probably much higher than in other countries; but we should then reflect that in 1940 the figures were 70 to 80%. In other words, over 64 […]

We Pwn Our Workers

If the company is indeed your family, then you owe it your primary loyalty. In the heyday of the postwar Japanese model, when workers actually did this, the company owed them its loyalty back, and generally delivered. That social contract has now been broken, in that supernumerary employees who worked atrocious hours for mediocre pay […]

Arbeit Macht Frei

One of the great buzz-words of our day is “Inclusive Working Life”. The Big Lie here is that this is all about “social inclusion”, for instance facilitating the return to the workplace of the physically disabled, the sick and generally worn-out people who want to work. In reality it is about facilitating the return to […]

How Dare They!

A Briton complains: “Germans work significantly shorter weeks than we do, have more free time and longer holidays. They have time to develop friendships outside the office in a way that the British have long since forgotten.” Indeed. How dare those lazy Krauts do something with their time other than maximise shareholder value? Anyone would […]

Round-The-Clock Dedication

Being able to service our employers anytime, anyplace has become everytime, everyplace. Why are people surprised? Talk of reintegration of the productive and social spheres, as with hunter-gatherers, is the wrong paradigm entirely. This is rather a return to the world of domestic servants and house-slaves, who must be at their masters’ disposal 24/7. What’s […]

A Golden Opportunity

It would be a great mistake to imagine that the threat of climate change will not lead to any serious political and economic action in the West. There will be some action. Whether it will go any further than the restriction or prohibition of goods enjoyed by the common people is another matter. For example: […]

The Connecticut Yankee, His Competitors And Servants

I was startled to find Twain’s “Connecticut Yankee’” pronouncing that “Two of a trade must not underbid one another”. The Yankee was supposed to be the epitome of innovative, dynamic nineteenth century capitalism, but in fact this maxim was part of the medieval world-view that Twain is so crudely satirising. The medieval idea was that […]

For Whom Is Free Labour “There”?

I believe that conventional economics teaches that free labour is more profitable than slave, as the labour has to find its own food and you can charge it rent for the housing what you previously had to provide. The question is then whether conventional economics paid enough attention to what happened when the free labour […]

Crocodile Tears

A few years ago The Economist reported that Chinese taxi drivers had suffered from a big fall in disposable income over the last decade, as government consolidation shifted ownership from drivers to privately-run firms. “The companies profited massively by extracting ever higher monthly payments from drivers in return for granting them the right to drive.” […]