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A Slave Economy
Entry 1615, on 2014-01-04 at 20:43:55 (Rating 4, Politics)
Well I hope our right wing government are happy with what they have achieved. I mean, they have done what the wanted to, and they have done it in classic style, so I must congratulate them. Well, let me explain...
All of the great civilisations in history have succeeded through what I call a "slave economy". That is, they have had a class of people who work for nothing or for very little and are repressed through military, political, or social means. The Egyptians actually had slaves, the British had cheap labour from the colonies, the US had slavery, and now China has a huge workforce who work for next to nothing.
Obviously the political right have noticed this and realised that the secret to economic success is slavery. Of course, you can't have classic slavery with people being kept locked up, paid nothing, and lynched if they try to escape - not literally anyway. But that's what we have now in a more figurative sense.
We have a rich ruling elite who got into power not usually by making a great contribution to society, but by being self-serving, uncaring, dishonest, and sometimes just lucky. I don't want to claim that anyone who is rich is evil because there are a few exceptions of genuinely talented, hard working people, but not many.
Then we have everyone else - and this includes a lot of the middle class - who just have to fit in with the whims of the elite. The government makes this possible by manipulating labour laws so that the employer has almost all of the power, by increasing taxes on the poor and decreasing them for the rich, by selling assets to the rich so they can exploit consumers even more, and through numerous other policies.
Note that none of these policies are exceptionally evil in themselves, it's more the combined effect which is the problem.
I know several people looking for work now - some of them quite well qualified and experienced - and the job market is a depressing place. There are jobs requiring the person to work irregular hours, be on call at any time, travel to a location well out of town, all for minimum wage. There are jobs starting at 5 and finishing at midnight, plus extra hours, for minimum wage. And most of these require someone with several years experience. And of course you will be on a 90 day trial so they can fire you at any time for no reason.
Clearly the government has got what it wants: a slave economy. If you don't take up one of these slave roles you will join the increasing number in poverty because you won't get paid any benefits - you just take the minimum wage or get nothing. Of course minimum wage will consign you to poverty anyway, so you just can't win.
So there's the miracle of free-market economics. It was always about slavery and always will be. But slave economies don't last forever because the slave class eventually figures out that they are just being exploited. Change will come, I just wish it would get here faster.
Comment 1 (3815) by SfD on 2014-01-04 at 21:40:05:
"...Of course, you can't have classic slavery with people being kept locked up, paid nothing, and lynched if they try to escape - not literally anyway..."
If you don't agree to work for your rulers for two to three days a week they will send round thugs in blue costumes armed with clubs, tasers and guns to drag you away and put you in a cage. If you resist (or attempt to escape the cage) they will shoot you.
The fact that they allow us to choose the work we do and then just steal half our wages doesn't make us any lass slaves, it just means the slave masters have figured out how make their slaves (1) much more productive (2) much less inclined to revolt (3) thus much more profitable to exploit and much cheaper to own
"...So there's the miracle of free-market economics..."
A free market can only operate in the absence of coercion, theft and violence. The government uses coercion, theft and violence to control, 'regulate' and often take over all areas of the market. The government has even monopolised the economy for goodness sake.
There is no free market, only pockets of vaguely free market-ish economic activity. Where there is the most freedom in the market and the least government interference, is where we see the most growth, productivity and happiness eg tech/ software industries, web businesses etc.
Comment 2 (3816) by OJB on 2014-01-04 at 21:40:35:
You seem to be espousing a libertarian style economic solution. In my opinion that’s what has caused many of the problems. By giving control to business leaders we just swap one form of despotic regime (government interference) for another (business incompetence and uncaring self-interest). What we really need is balanced economy – with moderate government involvement – which gives fair levels of power to everyone.
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