Jack Saturday

Monday, April 04, 2011

Anti Wage-Slave, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 650-653

Since modern man [sic] experiences himself both as the seller and as the commodity to be sold on the market, his [sic] self-esteem depends on conditions beyond his control. If he is "successful," he is valuable; if he is not, he is worthless. The degree of insecurity which results from this orientation can hardly be overestimated. If one feels that one's own value is not constituted primarily by the human qualities one possesses, but by one's success on a competitive market with ever-changing conditions, one's self-esteem is bound to be shaky and in constant need of confirmation by others. Hence one is driven to strive relentlessly for "success," and any setback is a severe threat to one's self-esteem; helplessness, insecurity, and inferiority feelings are the result. If the vicissitudes of the market are the judges of one's value, the sense of dignity and pride is destroyed.
Erich Fromm

According to Thompson an industrial work structure required a disciplined workforce. The fear of punishment or starvation was part of the processes of discipline, but for workers to be really effective they needed to feel committed to their work: this required the invention of the ideology of work, which originally had its roots in religion.

…the Protestant work ethic identified by the sociologist Max Weber enters the discussion. In the case of the weaving communities studied by Thompson the people were Methodists: it was Methodism, which stressed the value of discipline, hard work and frugality. Capitalists found it much more efficient to turn the labourer into his own slave-driver by inculcating in him an ideology of thankless, unrewarded toil in exchange for a place in heaven. `They weakened the poor from within, by adding to them the active ingredient of submission; and they fostered within the Methodist Church those elements most suited to make up the psychic component of the work-discipline of which the manufacturers stood most in need.’ (Thompson, 1963: 355).
Molly Scott Cato

Hard as it can be to land a job these days, getting one may not be nearly enough for basic economic security.

many of the jobs being added in retail, hospitality and home health care, to name a few categories, are unlikely to pay enough for workers to cover the cost of fundamentals like housing, utilities, food, health care, transportation and, in the case of working parents, child care.
Many Low-Wage Jobs Seen as Failing to Meet Basic Needs
New York Times
Published: March 31, 2011

Should the nation’s wealth be redistributed? It has been and continues to be redistributed to a few people in a manner strikingly unhelpful.
                                                    Kurt Vonnegut


  • "Arbeit Macht Frei" was a life-changing book, I need to read it again. It should be the Bible of the anti-work movement.

    By Blogger Markus, at 3:20 PM  

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