Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Stochastic Slavery

We all have to work to live. If one is alone one needs to seek water, gather food, find shelter, wash, and so forth. If we live with other people, we also have to make efforts to interact with them. But – as Karl Marx observed – in unfettered capitalism people work extra to enrich the capitalist class.

We have abolished chattel slavery – workers are no longer the property of their owners, with no rights, not even those of family. But labor markets still distribute the work. One is better off free, no question: one has at least one’s family and the right to go elsewhere. But if all the growth in wealth goes to business owners, as it has for the past generation, one is living in a kind of stochastic slavery; free as an individual, not free as a member of the working class.

Which why socialism is enjoying a renaissance. Young people – the more educated have seen the numbers, know what they mean. But it doesn't take much education to know that your life is harder than your parents's.

"You cannot lie to the working class, James, not even once. They will know, and they will never trust you again." – fictional Fredrich Engels, Steven Brust and Emma Bull, Freedom and Necessity

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