- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Questions regarding job rotation

Posted by: David ( USA ) on December 11, 1999 at 21:25:36:

In Reply to: Socialist Incentive posted by Barry Stoller on December 10, 1999 at 20:44:11:

: While some procapitalist ideologues readily admit that 'menial' (unskilled) work is primarily accomplished through the fear of punitive sanctions (such as unemployment, i.e. hunger and homelessness), most procapitalist ideologues insist that only the 'profit motive' will sustain the innovation, risk-taking, dedication, and so on, associated with 'mental' (skilled) work.

: It certainly is useful to separate skilled work and unskilled work when considering incentive.

: However, the procapitalist reliance upon carrots and sticks exclusively is both primitive and UNNECESSARY.

: Before discussing non-hierarchal means of fostering excellence in skilled work and basic compliance in unskilled work, I wish to state that my thoughts on socialist incentive include the predicates that jobs will be rotated and incomes will be uniform. (Particulars regarding job rotation and specialization can be found here; the argument for uniform pay is made here.)

: Like capitalist society, incentive in socialist society will have two main categories: skilled ('desirable') work and unskilled ('not so desirable') work.

: The incentive to perform skilled work, contrary to procapitalist ideology, is largely self-perpetuating. For example: faced with a choice of digging ditches for $5 an hour and supervising others digging ditches for $5 an hour, most people would eagerly choose the latter. Indeed, most people readily assent that skilled work is far more satisfying to do than unskilled.

: It is agreed by procapitalist ideologues that status motivates excellent work---while they qualify this by insisting that status is demonstrated by money and material privilege. Nonetheless, in a society without money or material privilege, status would not disappear---it would simply assume non-material manifestations. Instead of money and material privilege demonstrating special ability, the special ability ITSELF would demonstrate its existence. One example: those demonstrating special ability would attract a wider, and more satisfying, selection of potential mates, friends, and renown.*

: Work, as many individuals in high skill professions will gladly say, is its OWN reward.

: Let us now consider what means of incentive there may be for the unskilled work.

: One deterrent against shirking one's quota of unskilled work in socialist society will simply be peer pressure. Example: the less I do today (on laundry duty, perhaps), the more awaits you tomorrow---I expect you'll have an opinion on this matter.

: Another factor that will promote performing one's quota of unskilled work in socialist society shall be the abolition of alienated labor.

: When everyone decides WHAT sort of commodities and services are desired (instead of having the 'profit motive' of a minority decide such matters), many negative qualities regarding (unskilled) work will be effaced. Example: does the majority of people desire owning individual automobiles enough to spend a constituent amount of their own time working in a car factory to make cars available for everyone? If so, the work performed will be tangible goods that society clearly wants.

: The negative qualities of (unskilled) work---so characteristic of most jobs in capitalist society---will, not surprisingly, be mitigated immeasurably by the fact that no one person will ever have to perform unskilled work ALL the time.

: Force is also an option in the case of any individual's arrant refusal to perform an unskilled work quota.

: Perhaps the suspension of skilled work for those who refuse to satisfactorily complete their quota of unskilled work would be implemented. Perhaps, in extreme cases, socialist society, taking a page out of the capitalist song book, may refuse to feed and house those perverse few who refuse to do such work. (To suggest that such a measure would abrogate human liberty is to admit that capitalist society do

Follow Ups:


The Debating Room Post a Followup