On The Division of Slavery.

Wage slavery is an intellectually bankrupt concept that if pinned down squirms into a whole different slithery animal. Before I explain why, let me tell you a story.

A group of survivors of a plane crash wash up on a deserted island. They all come together and assign chores for everyone to make sure they all survived until help came. John was a redneck back home, so he decided to handle fishing because he was better at it than the others. Trey was a carpenter back home, so he was in charge of building shelter because he was better at it than the others. Josephine was retired and a homemaker who spent a lot of time gardening back home, so she was in charge of farming food because she was better at it than the others. Tom was a bodybuilder and an athlete back home, so he decides to climb the trees for fruit and gather and carry miscellaneous supplies because he was better at it than the others. 

One day Trey gets mad that he has to work to get access to essential living supplies and decided to stop working. The other people in the village decide that Trey would no longer get the fruit of their labor and would have to get his own while the others decided how to reallocate the work load. “This is resource slavery!” said Trey “I have to work, give up the majority of my work, and if I don’t I starve.” The others rolled their eyes and got back to work while Trey had to go forage for all of his stuff alone. 

So what did we learn? Everyone in the society had a job. The labor was decided according to what they were better suited for.  The reason they did this is because if everyone had to do everything for themselves, they would fail at most areas and succeed in a few. Josephine, being a retiree, would have difficulty in more laborious work, she did have a green thumb so she would had poor housing, poor access to protein, but a nice garden. The other members would have had similar problems. However, the division of labor lets everyone in the group do what they do best, better than the others alone combined, and trade for it.

Was John an evil man for expecting Trey to contribute to the group for access to his surplus of fish? Was Josephine being a greedy bitch for excepting a house in return for access to her garden? Is mother nature a brutal tyrannical instituter of slavery and structural violence? Of course not.

Now expand this out to a far larger and advanced society. People all specialize in even smaller tasks they are best at and trade. Having a neurosurgeon fish for his own crab would be silly, instead he trades his expertise in surgery for the crab fisherman’s expertise indirectly though currency. In civilized society, people do what they do best for society for access to the fruit of other’s labor and it makes society wealthy.

A person who claims that “the system” is evil because it promotes wage slavery, is being no different than Trey. He expects others to labor for him because of a myopic understanding his role in the division of labor.

“Ah ha! But if he doesn’t work for a capitalist for a wage, then he will starve!” Not necessarily. Trey, if he was back home or on the island would still have options. He could decline to participate in this division of labor or forgo the benefits and be a jack of all trades and become self sufficient. Of course, he will not want to do this, because it’s too much work for him. He would have to forgo his share of the sum total of all the fruits of the society’s labor in exchange for his own “freedom from wage slavery” and expend even more labor for all of his needs. Outside of the island, he has even more choices. He could start his own company and have greater reward. He would no longer be a “slave to the punch clock” and if he has issue with putting others though that, he can form a co-op with other like minded people. This is not out of the ordinary, as there are communal groups who do this like the Twin Oaks commune. Even still, Twin Oaks would probably not allow for Trey to come in and benefit from the other people’s labor and not contribute himself. Thus he would probably claim Twin Oaks are wage slave owners.

The whole concept of wage slavery is a joke. People who will tell you with a straight face that “If you don’t work in capitalism, you’ll starve” will back-peddle when you remind them of the bevy of social programs and charities aimed at people who are less fortunate. “It was an obvious exaggeration” one told me. If it is an exaggeration that not working in a liberalized economic system means you will die of starvation, then the whole idea of wage slavery falls flat because one can abstain from work and still survive. Not only survive, but probably have a better life than left to his own devices in the wild.

For me I chose a life of ‘wage slavery’ because the alternatives are dire and bleak. My master offers me wages and opportunities to grow in his plantation, become a part owner of the plantation or even leave to let me fine another plantation or even form my own plantation. You can see how silly the slavery language is if used consistently which the left will never do because it undermines their theory.