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Wage Labor and Slavery

Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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1/17/2015 9:10:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Is wage labor the same as economic slavery? Discuss!

But before you do so, please take the time to read this debate and hear both sides of the argument. Honestly I thought this was a pretty good discussion, but there are 0 votes on it and just 15 hours left to judge. Yes I know "there's a thread for that" but I've been asking people to vote on this debate for a week and nobody has... womp womp. If you read the arguments, it'll make for a more thorough forum discussion here ;) Thanks in advance guys. I don't care how you vote, but would prefer a debate we worked on to not end 0-0.

http://www.debate.org...
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Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,286
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1/17/2015 11:53:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/17/2015 9:10:09 PM, Danielle wrote:
Is wage labor the same as economic slavery? Discuss!

But before you do so, please take the time to read this debate and hear both sides of the argument. Honestly I thought this was a pretty good discussion, but there are 0 votes on it and just 15 hours left to judge. Yes I know "there's a thread for that" but I've been asking people to vote on this debate for a week and nobody has... womp womp. If you read the arguments, it'll make for a more thorough forum discussion here ;) Thanks in advance guys. I don't care how you vote, but would prefer a debate we worked on to not end 0-0.

http://www.debate.org...

It was certainly an interesting read. I have a personal distaste for using old words for new definitions, as I feel that it muddies the water, so I'm against calling it slavery of any sort. But I do think that it's interesting to compare and contrast the conditions that people live in. In the debate, you made the argument that people could live off of the land. I think that a big part of what makes wage labor oppressive is the fact that the ability to do so has been heavily curtailed by exhaustive government regulations. You pretty much have to have a religious exception, as Hutterites do, to keep the government at arm's length and live a sustainable, communal life. Other people will be constantly harassed by the powers that be, and due to their minimalistic life style will be unable to defend themselves in court. I think that many people, were they not forced into wage labor by circumstance, would enjoy that sort of life much, much more.

The argument regarding student loans also resonates with me; the fact that they cannot be discharged during bankruptcy means that losing a job means that interest starts to build back up, and you'll have to work even longer to simply live on your own someday. This fuels the whole student loan fiasco more, because banks are taking no risk when they give out student loans; if they make a loan to someone who has little chance of repaying it, they actually wind up making more off of interest payment because the loan cannot be discharged. I see it as a form of indentured servitude which an entire generation was basically tricked into joining by the adults who they were supposed to trust in their career choices.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
AnDoctuir
Posts: 11,060
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1/18/2015 2:54:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
There's a certain silliness in strict adherence to definitional norms I think. It's the affirmative action debate again. No, it is not in fact racism to give an underprivileged people a leg up. Yes, it is in fact slavery of a certain kind if a person has no other choice. The thing about this debate, though, is that it comes down to alternatives. Really, there aren't any. If it was communism, it'd be slavery. We'd all be trapped in the communist machine with no alternatives. If there was some sort of land allocation, we'd all be trapped within our allocated land. Heck, being bodily is slavery but for the opt out that is suicide. And what this debate *really* comes down to then is existence vs. living, which is a very complicated debate, and in fact requires that one throw off this autism of words in order to have a really meaningful discussion.

Funnily, we becomes slaves to even words, and their connotations, being run around by them in ways we'd not expected to be run around by them in. The pattern invokes the understanding - the word - and the word invokes an emotional lock-down. Metaphors are incredibly powerful in this way, actually, in that they can invoke the understanding without the word, leaving the person ignorant to exactly where they are in themselves, and why they are that way. It's like trying to understand dreams, which most people wont, but the dream will influence them still. What happens is that we become broken, really. Certain words or patterns can become so infused with emotion as to completely shut us down to honest discussion as to their finer details. 'Communism' is certainly one. 'Individualism' is another. Each are words with entire worlds behind them, those entire worlds then fostering an adherence to the word, and rarely will we ever deal with those entire worlds but mere fragments of them. I mean, who really knows why they're a Christian? In truth, almost nothing of who you are is as a result of the few words floating through your head given some certain conversation. But, at the same time, your subconscious will fill your words with as much meaning as possible (psychological testing utilises this heavily in fact). But again, we become broken.

(I will continues this later, probably.)
sdavio
Posts: 1,801
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1/18/2015 4:44:50 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 2:54:38 AM, AnDoctuir wrote:
There's a certain silliness in strict adherence to definitional norms I think. It's the affirmative action debate again. No, it is not in fact racism to give an underprivileged people a leg up. Yes, it is in fact slavery of a certain kind if a person has no other choice. The thing about this debate, though, is that it comes down to alternatives. Really, there aren't any. If it was communism, it'd be slavery. We'd all be trapped in the communist machine with no alternatives. If there was some sort of land allocation, we'd all be trapped within our allocated land. Heck, being bodily is slavery but for the opt out that is suicide. And what this debate *really* comes down to then is existence vs. living, which is a very complicated debate, and in fact requires that one throw off this autism of words in order to have a really meaningful discussion.

Funnily, we becomes slaves to even words, and their connotations, being run around by them in ways we'd not expected to be run around by them in. The pattern invokes the understanding - the word - and the word invokes an emotional lock-down. Metaphors are incredibly powerful in this way, actually, in that they can invoke the understanding without the word, leaving the person ignorant to exactly where they are in themselves, and why they are that way. It's like trying to understand dreams, which most people wont, but the dream will influence them still. What happens is that we become broken, really. Certain words or patterns can become so infused with emotion as to completely shut us down to honest discussion as to their finer details. 'Communism' is certainly one. 'Individualism' is another. Each are words with entire worlds behind them, those entire worlds then fostering an adherence to the word, and rarely will we ever deal with those entire worlds but mere fragments of them. I mean, who really knows why they're a Christian? In truth, almost nothing of who you are is as a result of the few words floating through your head given some certain conversation. But, at the same time, your subconscious will fill your words with as much meaning as possible (psychological testing utilises this heavily in fact). But again, we become broken.

(I will continues this later, probably.)

Really liked this post. My thoughts lately have been about really similar things, regarding how so much can be dictated by what's really semantics. Just look at the whole idea of "first principles" in Molyneux and Rand. To me that's similar to a lot of what you're talking about, using very powerful words to override all other considerations, and so on. I mean it just recently stuck me how absurd that phrase is specifically.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
AnDoctuir
Posts: 11,060
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1/18/2015 4:55:22 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 4:44:50 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 1/18/2015 2:54:38 AM, AnDoctuir wrote:
There's a certain silliness in strict adherence to definitional norms I think. It's the affirmative action debate again. No, it is not in fact racism to give an underprivileged people a leg up. Yes, it is in fact slavery of a certain kind if a person has no other choice. The thing about this debate, though, is that it comes down to alternatives. Really, there aren't any. If it was communism, it'd be slavery. We'd all be trapped in the communist machine with no alternatives. If there was some sort of land allocation, we'd all be trapped within our allocated land. Heck, being bodily is slavery but for the opt out that is suicide. And what this debate *really* comes down to then is existence vs. living, which is a very complicated debate, and in fact requires that one throw off this autism of words in order to have a really meaningful discussion.

Funnily, we becomes slaves to even words, and their connotations, being run around by them in ways we'd not expected to be run around by them in. The pattern invokes the understanding - the word - and the word invokes an emotional lock-down. Metaphors are incredibly powerful in this way, actually, in that they can invoke the understanding without the word, leaving the person ignorant to exactly where they are in themselves, and why they are that way. It's like trying to understand dreams, which most people wont, but the dream will influence them still. What happens is that we become broken, really. Certain words or patterns can become so infused with emotion as to completely shut us down to honest discussion as to their finer details. 'Communism' is certainly one. 'Individualism' is another. Each are words with entire worlds behind them, those entire worlds then fostering an adherence to the word, and rarely will we ever deal with those entire worlds but mere fragments of them. I mean, who really knows why they're a Christian? In truth, almost nothing of who you are is as a result of the few words floating through your head given some certain conversation. But, at the same time, your subconscious will fill your words with as much meaning as possible (psychological testing utilises this heavily in fact). But again, we become broken.

(I will continues this later, probably.)

Really liked this post.

It was a bit disordered. Putting that line about psychological testing into parenthesis seems to have broken my train of thought. The post is kind of a play on itself, lol.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,325
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1/18/2015 10:43:40 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
To me, it seemed the debate really boiled down to if one side could prove or disprove that a poor wage earner truly has no choices.
Wocambs
Posts: 1,505
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1/18/2015 4:57:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/17/2015 9:10:09 PM, Danielle wrote:
Is wage labor the same as economic slavery? Discuss!

But before you do so, please take the time to read this debate and hear both sides of the argument. Honestly I thought this was a pretty good discussion, but there are 0 votes on it and just 15 hours left to judge. Yes I know "there's a thread for that" but I've been asking people to vote on this debate for a week and nobody has... womp womp. If you read the arguments, it'll make for a more thorough forum discussion here ;) Thanks in advance guys. I don't care how you vote, but would prefer a debate we worked on to not end 0-0.

http://www.debate.org...

Fine job of arguing that renting yourself is not the same as being owned by someone, but take a look at points like these:

"6. Many low-wage employees work because they want to, not because they have to"

I don't really know what 'have to' means. If someone threatens to kill me, I don't have to do what they say. They've simply established a carrot and a stick. If I want to live more than I don't want to obey their commands then I 'want' to obey them. Coercion isn't about 'having' to do things because the word doesn't make any sense. Coercion is different from persuasion only in that the means of persuasion are unjustified. Is the worker persuaded to become employed? Of course, that's why there's a wage. The argument, then, should be 'Is wage slavery coercion?', and the argument would concern whether private property is justified or not. Otherwise the debate is as silly as defining coercion as 'force, excluding force in defence of property', and thereby concluding that its completely voluntary to work for someone for a wage, completely voluntary to f*ck someone for pay, to f*ck your teacher for better grades, to f*ck your psychologist to get him to declare you sane, to marry someone because it was essentially the only way for a woman to survive, etc. If there is someone holding a carrot and a stick, then any progress to be made in establishing whether its 'coercion' is only going to be had by looking at whether its right that they hold that carrot and that stick. The falseness of the debate currently had on this topic is shown pretty perfectly by Abraham Lincoln, I think, when he said that employment is okay, because you can become an employer. That applies to pretty much anything, and it doesn't prove anything more than capitalism itself is not 'intrinsically discriminatory'.