Less, Please


By Patrick   Follow   Sun, 6 Jan 2013, 6:12pm   1,690 views   30 comments
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http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/less-please

Working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hard-heartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competitionso that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery.

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  1. The Professor


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    1   6:26pm Sun 6 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    The funny part is, those that spend half of their working time just to pay housing and taxes think they are free.

    On the other hand the working poor probably have it better than the serfs of old.

  2. Bap33


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    2   6:38pm Sun 6 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (2)  

    didn't serfs have less stress?

  3. Kevin


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    3   9:37pm Sun 6 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    I don't read any article where anybody compares anybody living in the united states today outside of the prison system to slavery.

    Things can be shitty, yes, but it's nothing compared to slavery.

  4. JodyChunder


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    4   1:09am Mon 7 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (4)   Dislike  

    It is a crass comparison on the face. However, it is not an overstatement to suggest that the counterrevolution in world labor markets today is being driven by the same dark facets of human nature which gave us slavery.

    Even a casual student of history can see how human nature really never changes much, if at all. Boil it all down, and it's people doing shitty things to other people. The corporatists and state sanctioned monopolies may not desire out-and-out slavery, but I think the closer they can sail their boats right up next to something like it, the happier they'll be. Human beings as commodities was, after all, a tremendous wealth creator.

  5. Kevin


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    5   1:24am Mon 7 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    JodyChunder says

    However, it is not an overstatement to suggest that the counterrevolution in world labor markets today is being driven by the same dark facets of human nature which gave us slavery.

    Sure, "the same dark facets". BUT IT ISN'T FUCKING SLAVERY.

    You can argue that it's like indentured servitude, which is not slavery (because the person has rights and is not the property of the debt holder), but it isn't slavery.

    A slave owner in most slavery permitting cultures could beat, rape, or kill their slaves with little to no penalty. The slave had no say in what they did, where they lived, who their...

    fuck it, if you don't know what slavery is, and are really comparing it to anything other than the prison system in the united states, you are wrong and your argument is stupid.

    There are very real problems in this country today. Comparing them to slavery is no better than people who compare raising taxes to the holocaust. It's a shitty argument raised by intellectual incompetent people.

  6. JodyChunder


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    6   1:46am Mon 7 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    Kevin says

    BUT IT ISN'T FUCKING SLAVERY.

    Well yeah - just like I said: To make a comparison on the face of it is crass. I was simply connecting the dots between the same human nature that gave us slavery being the same chemistry behind every form of human exploitation that ever there was and will be. Your ALL CAPS e-outrage is a little goddamn silly.

    Kevin says

    You can argue that it's like indentured servitude, which is not slavery (because the person has rights and is not the property of the debt holder), but it isn't slavery.

    Kevin, you're all fucked up. Servitude IS a form of slavery. Indentured servants did not enjoy rights during their servitude. Look it up. This isn't even a good semantics argument.

  7. parkeld


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    7   9:14am Mon 7 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    All: the quote at the top of the thread ending with the word slavery is not the writing of the author of the article linked to. It is a quote from Pope Leo XIII (of the 19th century) used by the authors of the book being reviewed in the article linked to. I believe the intention of the quote is to get people to question whether or not capitalism and freedom or happiness are aligned and how or why not.

    The point as I see it is that capitalism is a powerful and efficient engine to provide goods to the market, but because of its ability to create and shape never-ending desires for more or better it ends up never satisfying anybody and misallocating capital by producing goods that don't increase happiness. The paradox that, above a basic level, happiness and material wealth are not strongly correlated argues against capitalism as a generator of happiness, or what the authors call a "good life". They then propose some government interventions to tweak more happiness out of capitalism...

  8. P N Dr Lo R


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    8   9:29am Mon 7 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    parkeld says

    They then propose some government interventions to tweak more happiness out of capitalism...

    I think we've heard this one before, haven't we?

  9. ELC


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    9   3:10pm Mon 7 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    Working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hard-heartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competitionso that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery.

    Double LOL! No matter who these jackasses quote as saying it it's classic Communist propaganda and is nausiating at best. To get attention people have been telling the losers of society what they want to hear since the beginning of time. Now who's for some Rap music?

  10. EBGuy


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    10   4:02pm Mon 7 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick, I thought this was one of your hack posters (but it's you!) Anyway, you've got a lot on your plate, but for those who want the complete context, the quote is from RERUM NOVARUM: ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII (1878-1903) ON CAPITAL AND LABOR. Hmmmm... kinda interesting that ELC classified this as classic Communist propaganda and is nausiating at best.

  11. skinnyninja


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    11   5:56pm Mon 7 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Great article Patrick, thank you for posting.

  12. Patrick


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    12   6:04pm Mon 7 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    I just thought it was relevant to the housing bubble, which is still ongoing in the SF Bay Area.

  13. ELC


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    13   6:29pm Mon 7 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    EBGuy says

    from RERUM NOVARUM: ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII (1878-1903) ON CAPITAL AND LABOR. Hmmmm... kinda interesting that ELC classified this as classic Communist propaganda and is nausiating at best.

    Marx had begun spewing this excrement back in the 1840's. It doesn't surprise me that the Catholic church, especially back then, was ever ready to side with evil much like the fundy and born-again Christians do today.

    BTW, after reading that link I see that quote was taken out of context big time.

  14. JodyChunder


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    14   6:39pm Mon 7 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    ELC says

    Marx had begun spewing this excrement back in the 1840's.

    One can either spew or excrete...you can't have it both ways.

  15. SkyPirate


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    15   6:49am Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (4)   Dislike  

    Arguments against "capitalism in its current form is like slavery"

    1. There are no debtor prisons or indentured servitude
    2. We choose to work for our employers

    Arguments for "capitalism in its current form is like slavery"

    1. Wages can be garnished and student debt cannot be cancelled even in bankruptcy
    2. Regulations have made market entry extremely difficult for the lower and even middle classes. You can't just open up a taco cart on your street. These regulations are due in large part to lobbying efforts by established businesses and corporations. They want workers laboring for corporate profits, not competitors laboring for their own profits.
    3. The corporate-backed US healthcare system (dependent on private insurers) can make life as a free independent laborer risky and untenable if health complications arise.

    #2 above is the one that I feel is the most problematic, especially after one travels abroad and sees the craftsmen/tradesmen/street-level enterprises that are now largely extinct in the US. You almost get the sense that US high school curriculums have been adjusted to produce workers rather than the skills needed for someone to succeed independently.

  16. Patrick


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    16   7:28am Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike (1)  

    All true!

    I also agree that regulations in the US are used by established businesses to prevent competition.

    The excuse for forbidding, say, taco carts, is always that the regulations are to protect the public, but the real reason is to protect established businesses.

    Having our laws created to prevent competition, lowering choice and raising prices, is really a very pure form of corruption right at the center of our society.

    Lobbyists are the worm in the apple.

  17. JodyChunder


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    17   3:00pm Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    SkyPirate says

    above is the one that I feel is the most problematic, especially after one travels abroad and sees the craftsmen/tradesmen/street-level enterprises that are now largely extinct in the US.

    I think we're seeing tricklings of this re-emerging in the States, though mostly on an individual cottage industry level. I have hope!

  18. leo707


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    18   4:36pm Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  
  19. turtledove


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    19   6:41pm Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    SkyPirate says

    1. Wages can be garnished and student debt cannot be cancelled even in bankruptcy

    Also, people can be put in prison for non-payment of child support.

  20. Peter P


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    20   6:45pm Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    And if you sign casino markers in NV and not pay up...

  21. ELC


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    21   7:15pm Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    turtledove says

    Also, people can be put in prison for non-payment of child support.

    And a creditor/debt collector can have a bench warrant put out on you if you don't show up in court.

  22. turtledove


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    22   7:21pm Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    ELC says

    And a creditor can have a bench warrant put out on you if you don't show up in court.

    I'm not sure that would qualify as debtor's prison. Seems more like a contempt of court issue. The crime is not showing up in court. It has nothing to do with the debt itself. At least, that's what I think... I'm not a lawyer!

  23. The Professor


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    23   7:28pm Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    leo707 says

    SkyPirate says



    1. There are no debtor prisons


    Our system has found ways to create defacto debtor prisons:


    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704396504576204553811636610.html


    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/14/opinion/return-of-debtors-prisons.html?_r=0

    Very interesting links.

    A stop light ticket can easily be 1/50 of the working poors pre tax annual income. Alternatively they can work "community service" and give up thier weekends cleaning up the side of the highway.

    Not slavery but definitely servitude.

  24. ELC


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    24   7:31pm Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    turtledove says

    I'm not sure that would qualify as debtor's prison.

    Also if you refuse a court order to pay a debt you can be jailed.

  25. TechGromit


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    25   7:33pm Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    All true!

    I also agree that regulations in the US are used by established businesses to prevent competition.

    The excuse for forbidding, say, taco carts, is always that the regulations are to protect the public, but the real reason is to protect established businesses.

    I agree with most of this. Take something like Hair styling, before 1927, anyone could cut hair without a license, but they then decided that Cosmetologist's need 1600 training and another 3200 apprenticeship and a test to get a license to cut hair. It's not rocket science, it doesn't take 40 weeks to learn how to cut and style hair. You can't even do nails without, a nail technician license another 10 weeks of training and yet another license. These requires where put in place to protect the established Cosmetologists from competition. With these protections in place, they can justify charging more for services.

  26. Buster


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    26   8:45pm Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    TechGromit says

    Patrick says

    All true!

    I also agree that regulations in the US are used by established businesses to prevent competition.

    The excuse for forbidding, say, taco carts, is always that the regulations are to protect the public, but the real reason is to protect established businesses.

    I agree with most of this. Take something like Hair styling, before 1927, anyone could cut hair without a license, but they then decided that Cosmetologist's need 1600 training and another 3200 apprenticeship and a test to get a license to cut hair. It's not rocket science, it doesn't take 40 weeks to learn how to cut and style hair.

    Well, it seems that all are pointing out the extremes here. In 1927, (full disclosure, I am NOT a cosmetologist), there are many thousands more potentially harmful products on the hair/cosmo market today that can cause REAL harm to humans if not used properly, thus requiring much more training to ensure that the public is not harmed. OTOH, I agree that some legislation is passed for the sole purpose of shutting out competitors. The opposite is also true e.g. Wallmart import countless objects that are produced with no employee production protections nor quality standards of any kind required of USA based manufactures. Thus, reverse protections, typically supported by DEREGULATION. So evidence based regulations are not the problem. Ill supported restrictions or the lack of them or the uneven application of them is the problem. In other words, both extremes are bad for the economy and for the folks who manufacture, purchase or otherwise use services with improper oversight.

  27. Hulabash


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    27   9:01pm Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Regarding corporate labour vs small individually run business:
    Wife and I are at end of 7 weeks tour of Uruguay and 2 weeks in Buenos Aires. It appears that individual business activity is supported by lack of land use zoning and/or business regulation, high population densty, and pedestrian accessibility (aided by finegrained street network).
    Also contributing maybe some other limitation keeping 'automobile based, large format businesses from taking over the scene.

  28. Buster


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    28   9:55pm Tue 8 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    When you have cities that are high density with a 'fine grained' street network, you don't need laws to keep out wall marts of the world. People simply choose to shop at their closest and best local mom and pop store. Instead of hopping in their car (government subsidy) filled with gas (government subsidy) to drive on the road (government subsidy) to the local WalMart (government subsidy) to buy the inexpensive imported goods (government subsidy) from ill paid workers (government subsidy) without any healthcare (government subsidy or rather lack of). Actually, all, if not most of the ills of the USA are self created and supported by the masses. All the hoopla about the government budget is a bunch of bullshit as the folks who support the wallyworld mentality of the US are the ones who take the most government hand outs and support the businesses that receive them such as wallyworld. Stupid and obvious to the casual observer. Don't know why 60% of the population continues to miss the obvious.

  29. ELC


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    29   7:46am Wed 9 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Hulabash says

    It appears that individual business activity is supported by lack of land use zoning and/or business regulation, high population densty, and pedestrian accessibility (aided by finegrained street network).

    Also contributing maybe some other limitation keeping 'automobile based, large format businesses from taking over the scene.

    ingl├ęs por favor

  30. ELC


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    30   7:55am Wed 9 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    TechGromit says

    It's not rocket science, it doesn't take 40 weeks to learn how to cut and style hair.

    You would think it's not rocket science to find someone a home or help them sell a home either but the one thing Realtors are in dire need of is more practical training. They don't even teach you how to use the MLS software, how to negotiate, how to find clients etc. All that is done by the local board and isn't a requirement. The state exam questions are a joke and have little to do with the real world.

    I knew someone who owned a beauty school and he would actually teach the girls to rub up against the hand of the client and bend over them while cutting their hair so they would come back. Now THAT'S real world training! :)

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