- Capitalism and Alternatives -

'Liberty in the Workplace' Revisited

Posted by: Barry Stoller on December 30, 1999 at 11:14:34:

There has been a lot of talk about socialistic 'liberty in the workplace,' voluntary labor, and 'ad hocary' on the debate board of late.

It seems that such notions have originated with Red Deathy's utopian socialism, a socialistic vision eagerly embraced by anarchists, liberals, even procapitalists (with some qualifications).

I have attempted to refute such comforting yet false nostrums in several posts---notably here, here, and---most lately---here.

There is also a refutation of this silly panacea so obvious that it hadn't even occurred to me.

Let us take the manufacture of motor vehicles as an example of industralized activity.

There are many stages in such a process. There are many individuals required to effect these many stages. Indeed, the socialized character of manufacturing motor vehicles necessitates an assembly-line.

There is a worker to put on doors; there is another putting on windshields. There are individuals who apply paint; there are individals who apply finish to the paint. Etc., etc.

If even ONE worker is not at the required work station, all production halts. Such is the character of the assembly-line; such is the nature of industrialized labor.

We can easily see here how 'liberty in the workplace' would eradicate the industrial process itself---the very process of labor (socialized labor) that is a predicate of socialism ITSELF.

Thus 'liberty in the workplace' would signal a RETURN to preindustrial labor. Which is also known as scarcity and poverty.

Call 'liberty in the workplace' anarchy. But don't call it socialism.

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