- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Why we work

Posted by: bill on October 08, 1999 at 10:39:49:

In Reply to: Let them eat anecdotes posted by Stoller on October 06, 1999 at 12:12:13:

: I believe the bourgeoisie ration education because it is imperative to smash skills in order to make labor cheap. This process is known as the Babbage Principle: split a job into many, simple operations so that any idiot can do any one of them; have each worker learn only one of these; pay commensurate to ability. Although I object to the fact that skilled workers, on the average, receive twice the income as unskilled (a prize for being able to afford education), what I most object to is the fact that only 25% of the jobs available to Americans require much skill.

This seems to be one of the central problems. You have suggested job rotation. (I have suggested a single (or limited range) pay/hr. for <1>any employment - from hotel maid to brain surgeon).

Job rotation has the advantage that it would provide a more intimate and experiential understanding of work conditions by a vastly larger population (with greater liklihood of change in lousy situations).

Equal pay has a possible advantage in that the alienating aspect of money accumulation (not even mentioning the double-alienation process endured by the exploited laborer) would be lessened.

To conflate a few sentences of Stuart's:

"I only suggest that intellectual economic theories are going to have zero impact on me when I know exactly what it takes to succeed."

"... four unpaid years of research and development which I put at risk for the sake of realizing gain."

"I have a solid understanding of what motivates people...but I cannot provide people with challenging and stimulating work when there are propellers that need to be sanded."

Sure people want more than their work provides for them but where is this fulfillment written up as an entitlement? Of course, I enjoyed setting up this business and making it grow but the day to day operation of it is grueling work."

Here we see two conflicting values at work.

One values the active and personally creative self-expression such as starting a business. the delight is in the work, the process.

The other values "realizing gain" as the measure of success. The "reward" lies external to the work. Self-identification becomes solely dependent on tangable external evaluations constructed by an economic system, which define "I am a success" with the necessary understanding that "I am a sucess" must depend upon "You as a relative failure". And in order to be comfortable about those that 'fail', it is of course necessary to place the blame external to the system - such as an individual's laziness.

(efforts have been made to instill Pride in work done on an assembly line - without much success)

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