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On the Concept of Wage Slavery

Having recently heard the term “wage slavery” used by someone on social media—who said it and on what social media is pretty much beside the point—I came to the conclusion I had to write an article on the subject.

The more I considered the concept, the more I realized that it was a sort of “subset” of another topic upon which I had been intending to write. As such, I toyed for a time, with the idea of writing a single article to opine on both subjects. It wasn’t until it became quite clear to me that more needed to be said on both subjects than I could “comfortably fit” into a single post, given my self-imposed limitations.

The result is that I will have to create two texts, one for this subject, and one for the other—the other being a text more generally on discrimination and prejudice to a specific end. I won’t bother to go into more detail here; when I write that piece, the end will become—I hope—more than obvious.

That having been said, let me get on with the article on the concept of “wage slavery.”

Seldom have I heard a more ridiculous term than “wage slavery.” The website Dictionary.com does a reasonable job of defining a slave when it says a slave is, “A person who is the property of, and wholly subject to another.” Anything subsequent to that statement is, in my view, entirely unimportant.

As such, the continuation of the Dictionary.com definition to include the expression, “a bond servant,” does not one thing to clarify or help us to understand the definition of the word “slave.” This is because there are different meanings for the term “bondservant.” If one takes the oldest of these I am aware of, it does not equate to slavery. Regardless whether there is one older or not, the term has come to be duplicitous.

The primary point though, is that the terms “slave” and “slavery” stand entirely on their own merit (or lack thereof). Slavery is a thing from which there is intended to be no escape short of the release of the slave by the one holding him or her in slavery (or by some other doing the same).

As simple as this distinction is, it’s absolutely astounding how many forsake it in their discussion of things they refer to as “slavery.” An excellent example of this is the willingness of folks to use the term, “wage slavery.”

Allow me to clarify. When a person is a slave, whether he or she receives some form of recompense is immaterial. That is, he or she is still a slave.

In case that is not yet clear enough, if one person holding another in slavery has the ability to deny the “slave” wages, without that slave having the ability to walk away from the situation, no longer in bondage to the “master,” the slave is truly a slave.

That would mean the concept of “wages” with regard to slaves is not something upon which their slavery was contingent.

The fact is, slave owners must “pay” slaves. How so? Well, if you want to keep your slave, you must feed him or her (or at least allow him or her time to find, prepare and eat food). Similarly, if you want to continue to use the services of your slave, you have to give them some time to sleep. A slave who does not sleep will likely ultimately go insane and probably die.

So the idea that “remuneration matters to slavery” at all, is rather a ridiculous one. When a person is truly held against his or her will as a slave, it really matters relatively little that the person in question is “paid for being held” in some fashion.

On the other hand, if a person goes to work for another, based on the agreement that the person going to work will be compensated for his or her labor, that is not slavery—unless the one being paid cannot walk away.

Putting this all together then, placing the word “wage” in front of the word “slave” or the word “slavery” doesn’t really matter. Payment is irrelevant to slavery. You can pay a slave or not, they’re still a slave if they cannot walk away of their own free will. Under what pretense they are held is beside the point.

To be fair, I should point out that most people using the terms “wage slave” and “wage slavery,” mean something different by the term. They mean something along the lines of, “I must perform work in order to get paid.” I would have you think about this for a moment, and come to your own conclusion as to whether or not this is an “unfair deal.”

Remember, the first (and really the only) consideration regarding slavery, is whether or not the person who would be paid for working is able to entirely walk away at his or her own choice from the person paying them for that work. That is to say—among other things—it’s not about whether your paying me is contingent on my working for you or vice versa.

About now, you may be asking, “Why do you care so much about this distinction?” The answer may surprise folks who think that Conservatives support ideas like slavery (a thing I find to be entirely untrue of all Conservatives I know).

It is that, in the process of trying to besmirch the concept of people doing things that are intended to be mutually beneficial for one another, those using terms like “wage slavery” whose meaning is as stated above actually blur the distinction between what slavery is and what it is not.

The result is that it’s harder to get folks to accept that slavery still exists, that it is evil and that we must work to cause it to cease to exist.

Yes, true slavery is bad, it is wrong, it should cease immediately. No, “wage slavery” (as it is commonly defined by those who use the term), is not true slavery. In fact, it is those who have, trying to lift those who don’t by giving them a chance to gain some of what they possess for their personal or public use through agreeing on terms that are amicable to both.

You can agree or not, I’d love to hear how you disagree if you do.

As usual, thanks for reading and have a wonderful day.

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Business For LinkedIn Health and Fitness Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

On Equality

One reality of life is that generalization is a necessity. If we cannot compare two things and talk about how they are alike and different, it becomes more than a little difficult to learn “new” things.

That having been said, an important realization is that, while two things may have similarities that make it possible for us to understand that which is new to us using those things about which we already have some knowledge, the old and new compared are pretty much by necessity not “the same.” Put another way, where some attribute or attributes of two persons, places, things or ideas may be the same or similar, that does not make the two “generally equal.”

In fact, even the attributes may not be equal, though they may be equivalent, or sufficiently similar for comparison’s sake.

As an example, are two apples actually equal? In that they are both apples, they can be consider so, but closer inspection and comparison may find them to be quite different. If, for example, one apple is a Jonathan, and one a Granny Smith, there’s actually quite a bit of difference there. If one weighs half what the other does, this likewise creates a great deal of difference in the mind of many.

The fact that two things that are intentionally grouped are different appears to become more significant depending on the complexity of the things compared. So for example, comparing two Hydrogen atoms will result in a great deal of similarity.

Nonetheless, even for Hydrogen atoms, there will be differences. Though knowing, by way of example, the location of the electron “orbiting” a given atom is a more than difficult task (particularly if Heisenberg is to be believed), it may safely be assumed that two Hydrogen atoms will not have their electrons in the same place with regard to the nucleus of the atom at the same time at all times.

Frankly, just the Galilean  coordinates of the two atoms provides significant difference between the two, without even the need to get into the specifics of the given atoms.

Again, the more complex the entities compared, the less the two can likely be considered “the same.” Whether your intent with the words “the same” amounts to equality of equivalence is somewhat irrelevant. This is because neither is likely true.

At about this point, you may well be saying something like, “Well duh! Who thinks such comparisons reasonable for much of anything but gaining an understanding of those things upon which we currently don’t have a sufficient grasp?”

You might be saying that, but the problem is, we have a tendency to try to make things equal that in very few ways, actually are. Don’t believe me? Consider the tendency to make humans equal. Better yet, consider the (obviously incorrect) idea that men and women are equal.

I know what you’re likely to be thinking—granted, one can never speak for all others—you’re probably internally voicing that nobody expects two people to be exactly equal. Allow me to add the proverbial fly to the ointment.

The problem with expressions of equality is, unless you define in what ways things are equal, you will pretty much always have issues with peoples’ expectations. Put another way, if you say something like, “Yep, men and women are equal,” without qualifiers, people will assume you mean they are or are not equal in the ways they account them so, not in the ways you do. Sometimes those expectations will be entirely reasonable, sometimes, not so much.

Regardless their reasonability though, if you mean something different than do I when you make such a statement, the value of the statement is at best questionable. Further, such comparisons are of questionable value.

I can think of no other person who is my equal. And before you assume an inflated ego, know that there is likely no way in which I am the “best” at anything. Further, you should know that for just about everyone I have ever met, in some ways a given person is my superior, in others similar or the same and in yet others, my inferior.

To add “insult to injury,” if you will, not only am I not better than my fellows in every way, but some of the considerations surrounding my superiority are virtually worthless, in that they have at best, questionable value or use.

The point I’m trying to make is really rather simple. Assuming non-specific equality is generally a bad idea but for certain pursuits (like learning about things unknown). Rather, evaluating others, and other things to determine their properties and come to conclusions about their fitness for a given situation, circumstance or activity needs must be the “way of things.”

Sometimes, the answer of whether or not some thing or one fits a given need might be easy to come by. At other times, it may be a substantially more complicated process.

The one thing that is crystal clear, is that two things—regardless how much they appear alike—can pretty much always be assumed to be unique, and maybe in more ways than are readily or easily observable.

In order to determine “fitness,” there is a need for “standards.” Standards essentially being, “A set of criteria used to determine such fitness, based on what appears to be needful for a given situation, circumstance or activity.”

It should be understood that standards change based on a variety of factors. The factors can include things like an improved understanding of the thing for which standards were created, or a recognition that where a particular criterion seemed necessary or unnecessary, the converse proved to be true.

Does the above mean comparison should cease? Obviously not. What it does mean though, is that comparison on a general basis often does more harm than good. Put differently, as a rule, comparison should largely be specific in nature. Vaguely comparing one thing to another, that said, is generally a vain pursuit that typically lacks good purpose and utility.

As such, making generic statements like, “Men and women are equals.” Is not just just unrealistic, it tends in actuality to be harmful.

Okay, at my “limit” so I’ll let this be for the time being.

Have a good day and, as usual, thanks for reading.

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Business For LinkedIn Health and Fitness Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

Choice, Where the Rubber Meets the Road

It turns out that some of the most difficult things to discuss are the most worthwhile. Sometimes that’s because of the complexity involved, sometimes not. On the present subject, in truth, though there appears to be the result of a high level of complexity, I don’t believe there really is a great deal of difficulty or complexity at all.

There has been a tendency in circles surrounding things mental and activities resulting from them, to discuss them in terms of “nature and nurture.” I submit that this ignores a principle consideration which cannot be ignored if the discussion is to be complete.

That matter worth pondering is choice. Permit me to explain.

When a person is born, it can be assumed that certain things are innate to that person, that they are, in some fashion, “built in.” Put another way, they fit within the “nature” part of the standard discussion about which we’re speaking.

There are some things, it is argued—and likely reasonably so—that are “learned.” They are the result of what can be argued to be conditioning or “nurture.”

To be clear, nurture is not just a result of what parents or guardians teach their children via whatever means. So a child may “learn” from the actions or words of not just his or her direct caregiver(s), but as a result of normal or abnormal interaction with those around that child.

Further, a child may—in fact likely will—continue to learn from the acts and statements of others around that child. This is so truly the case, that it’s obviously not just true for children, but for people in general. I have long said, and I know I am far from the first to do so, that it is hoped that a person will continue to learn until the day they pass off the planet (and beyond in my view).

From the above comes the argument that the constituent components of the “human psyche” are a matter of those things with which they are born and those things which, through various means, they learn.

I am not in any wise arguing the likelihood that what is said about this is incorrect. It is almost certain that it is the case, in point of fact. What I am saying is that this is not the “end of the discussion” in my mind.

If by nature or nurture, a person is, or “learns” to be a serial killer, barring subsequent action on that person’s part, that state or knowledge is of little consequence. The same applies to any other “considered malady” and to activities that are not in any sense considered to be problematic in nature.

Consider the tendency on the part of the majority of humanity to write with a particular hand. Think about the ability of a given individual to tie laced shoes. Imagine a world where folks could not draw or convey meaning through imagery or text.

Whether the things in the former paragraph are a matter of that which a person is “given” at birth, or things learned is somewhat beside the point. And to be fair, in almost every case (if not in every case), they are likely not a matter of one or the other, but of both.

But there is another consideration for anything a person does or is, that consideration is choice. If a person chooses to stop breathing, inasmuch as he or she is able to do so, he or she will cease to be in his or her current form. At the very least, that individual will be placed in a state where they are caused involuntarily to breath.

Short of certain “mandatory functions” though, people can and do make choices concerning the things upon which they will “follow through.” Even the functions that are seen as involuntary can cease so to be. And, unless action is taken on the part of others, can result in the death of the person no longer able or willing to take those actions.

There are those who argue that there is a “compulsion” on the part of some who behave in certain ways, and I’m not in a position to agree or disagree, except in saying that there are very few if any such things in my existence. Past such a statement though, I cannot argue that others do not feel compelled toward given activities.

It is further true, that folks are “built differently.” My youngest child, for example, has by all appearances an entirely different “view of the world” than do the majority of humans.

Even so, it must be understood that he has the “right and ability” to make choices, just as the rest of us do, albeit from a different perspective. And make them he must.

In case you’re wondering where I’m going with this, let me now provide some clarity.

Simply, whether a person is born a kleptomaniac or made one is beside the point. That person must make choices on what he or she chooses to “do with” what he or she is, is not, has learned, or has not.

Though it can be argued this applies as much to issues of utility as to issues of morality, I see no way to make it not apply to issues of rectitude and the lack thereof. And that is regardless the source of morality or rectitude.

If a society decides that unjustified killing is wrong, serial killers, or frankly, one time killers who kill without justification accepted and allowed by society, must make a choice to kill or not. If they make the choice to kill, they will suffer the consequences of so doing.

The choice by others to excuse—or not—the behavior of those who flout the norms and regulations of society is no less a choice than that of an unjustified killer to unjustifiably kill.

I want to make it plain that, your choice to continue to write with the hand with which you do so, is exactly that. Does it matter largely to society? Not so much.

Equally, your choice to believe in a Higher Power, is a matter of your decisions so to do, or not.

The “final question,” though, is, “How will society react and respond to your choices.” It is not, “Did you, or did you not make a choice or series thereof?”

As I suppose is pretty obvious, I could continue to write on this subject for some time. The “problem” is that I have reached my time and word limit. As such, continuing on this topic must be the matter for another article.

As usual, thanks for reading, and I hope your day is or has been a good one.