- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Gee ( si ) on April 15, 1999 at 17:19:29:

In Reply to: Slaves and 'tribes' (good God, not that word!) posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on April 15, 1999 at 15:00:38:

: Here, here, let's not take the choice thing too far. there are ,multiplke employers but they generally pay around teh same wage for teh same kind of work, a wage which in many, many cases is simply not enough to live adequately. A porter in Nepal is never going to be paid a living wage, no matter who employs him

If that job is not a living wage then presumably porter dies within a few weeks. Im not being deliberately obtuse here, I'm asking what you define as a living wage. The porter who stays alive. If you are saying that the wage is awful then that may be so, it was also so for most Europeans in the 1800s. History, as you know, has not developed uniformly throughout the world - even in western countries. This nepalese porter presumably has no skills employable by others there, but I doubt he is without ability. What kind of solution could you offer such a mans without simply resorting to the equivalent pinching food from whomever has it at the time?

: I'll actually have to disagree with you here, it's very interesting. Social mobility is not a new feature of capitalist society, it was a feature of slave society as well. Not in America or Western countries, but in most other slave socety=ies, slaves were not slaves for life- they could gain money and influence and eventually become successful politicians or tradesmen. Numerous African societies had slaves becoming important members of society or political advisers. In India there was even a group of kings called the Slave Dynasty. Even in America, slaves could sometimes buy tehir freedom and become prominenet citizens. So you tell me; Does social mobility under slavery make slavery OK?

The social mobility of slaves does not make slavery ok, anymore than the sharpening of knives making stabbings ok. One does not justify the other. Slavery of that nature is an attempt to say "you pay yer dues and you can get on" but it is all at the behest of another, the slave is owned as is the person under totalitarianism. Actual slavery and so called 'wage slavery' are not like and like.

: It's interesting that you keep using "ollective" and "tribal" as terms of abuse., while I would see them as terms of praise instead. Kind of liek the way "market economics" is for you a term of praise while it sets me off like a raging bull.

Its not deliberatly inflammitory (really), its the word I use to describe the grouping of individuals as having certain traits regardless of the characteristics of the individual. The person who say "all blacks are thieves" is operating under such a false premise, as is the person who says "all whites are oppressors". Martin Luther Kings most famous speech refers to this false premise.

On tribes, yes it is a convenient cover-all term. When I say 'tribal mindset' I dont mean a specific tribe, I mean the view of people are conglomorates - which is a falsehood. Precisely your point in your earlier post. I would go further and suggest that when you call a tribe 'militarist' you must refrain from an assumption that its people are. Each will have their own identity which may or may not fit with the term 'militaristic'. This is why I dislike collectivised ways of thinking about people. I think you can appreciate my reasoning.

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