- Capitalism and Alternatives -

An epiphany

Posted by: Garloo on December 21, 1999 at 23:05:41:

An epiphany:

I thought about it for awhile and I now believe that Mr. Stoller's concept of job rotation is excellent. I disagree with him on some points, but like Nikhil Jaikumar, it is mostly of degree, not kind.

I believe that instead of rotating jobs on a daily or weekly basis, I should perform more physically demanding labor like construction and framing houses while I am young and strong and relatively unskilled. (The timing is good as I would not be too efficient with a jackhammer when I'm sixty-five.) And then as I become more skilled and knowledgeable at construction, I could rotate to a higher position such as foreman and earn a little more dough which I could 'rotate' towards a college education all the while helping the current batch of the unskilled gain a little insight into the profession. As I come from a working-class family I know that college will demand a lot of time and effort. But as I become more accomplished at my 'unskilled' labor, I can find ways to rotate to a position that affords me more time and money to devote to academic pursuits. Perhaps even going so far as to pay my way through four years of private college at the end of which I could rotate to the job that pleases me most, gives me the most security and the one which I am most capable of. I could work with people I respect and admire and at one point I could rotate to their level in the business. At which point I could start something really crazy like a Roth IRA so I don't have rotate at sixty-five to a position I am no longer suited for in order to survive. Or nuttier still, I could start my own business and rotate to the position of my own boss. (This is starting to sound familiar) So you see, Stolleresque job rotation is great.

Oh, wait a minute, I know why that sounds familiar. It's the story of my life and the moral is this: I've been part of the 'exploited' working class. It didn't defeat me. I performed unskilled labor and didn't crumble under its 'mind-numbing monotony'. I found something useful in every seemingly useless job I've had, something that helped me get the position I have today, the one I dreamt of while hauling tons of drywall up make-shift ladders. There are millions like me.

Mr. Stoller is extremely well read and very convincing. His college-mouthed ravings are seductive. And he will tell you that very few people start their own business or are even capable of it, but if they do, they are somehow exploiting the working class. He won't tell you of the people I've met who enjoy painting and carpentry and masonry and such, the one's that take great pride in the work Stoller calls 'mind numbing.' He will muddy the water to make it appear deep. It is not.

Perhaps I travel in a unique circle but nearly everyone I know tells a story similar to mine. We are not millionaires nor do we wish to be, but we do have the things we want, the things we worked towards. Perhaps those stories and more could still exist under the utopian leadership of Barry Stoller. I don't know. I guess I doubt it.

I'm not as smart as Barry Stoller and the rest but I know enough (from real experience) to call bullshit on his 'most people are not capable of skilled work' tripe. Labor does not dumb people down, it props them up and makes them more valuable, more skilled and more ready to move onward and upward if they choose. It may not say so in Barry Stoller's textbooks, but it does in every real world encounter I've ever had with anyone anywhere.

So go ahead and read what Barry Stoller has to say about things. Just make sure to cross-check it with the real world. People still need to know what's possible.

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