ForumTouchy Subjects ► The wage system, slavery or freedom?
Yes, the wage system has existed for as long as people have needed jobs done and money has existed.
  
Okay, then what’s your point in disproving information that seemed to just be used for an example?
  
We obfuscate a very real and necessary conversation about labour reform when we pretend the economy is or ever has been some fantasy of individual labour power. We didn't switch to factories through trickery or any such nonsense, industry has led to very real net positives in consumer power (that doesn't mean it's brilliant and wonderful and hasn't caused problems), and we switched because frankly it's better than what came before.
  
Then why not continue to make it better? Sure, we might not have something as big as the Industrial Revolution again, but we can make small improvements, right?
I feel the Touchy Subjects area is a thing where you should read everything before posting, but I think you know that already.
  
I did say there's a very real and necessary conversation to be had about labour rights, particularly as -- yet again -- the march of progress makes many common labour forms obsolete. The problem of unscrupulous capitalists abusing labourers in the industrial revolution isn't a story about forcing people out of craftsman jobs, it's about obsolescence: farming no longer required the majority of the workforce and suddenly bunch of desperate people with no bargaining or market power had to sell their unskilled labour elsewhere, namely to industrialists.
  
I’m confused.
What’s the point you’re trying to make, then?
  
That instead of focusing on going back to some entirely fictional era where we were all self-employed skilled craftsmen we should seriously address how to treat the pool of unskilled workers who will lose big with automation.

Edit: or to be more focused, there are real lessons we need to learn from the industrial revolution and lying about the facts means we just can't learn them.
  
Okay! Got it!
Does anyone have ideas, then?
  
For the record I’m the one that brought up the laborers of the Middle Ages, not Berkman. Berkman is referring to those labors who owned their own tools and workshop while buying their own raw materials. I see now that feudalism is a bad comparison to what Berkman was referring. Though I am still confused about the wage system and the Industrial Revolution. Before the industrial revolution when one wanted to furnish their home who did they go to? A carpenter would be found right? Didn’t carpenters own their own tools and workshops while buying the raw materials they needed? Or what about when one wanted a stone wall or other similar land scraping done? A stonemason would be called for right? Didn’t stonemasons have their own tools and ect? Or if one was having a wedding and needed a cake? A baker would be desired right? Didn’t bakers own their own bakery and ect? Are you saying that craftsmen and artisans before the industrial revolution never existed because they had employers? Those employers being who exactly?

Coldfrost said:
Yes, it's ridiculous some of those profits go to people who have nothing to do with the work involved. But you can't have everyone working for themselves; most goods and services in the developed world are too complex for that. Workers often have to find employers because working within a system allows you to produce more and higher-quality work.


I agree with you completely, nothing exists today that wasn’t made by the labor of many people. When an individual creates something they own it right? If that is true, what I don’t understand is when a large amount of people get organized to create something, something very complex, why it doesn’t belong to them. Why do we allow the fruits of our labor to be taken from us? That is what I don’t understand.
  
R0b1n H. said:
I agree with you completely, nothing exists today that wasn’t made by the labor of many people. When an individual creates something they own it right? If that is true, what I don’t understand is when a large amount of people get organized to create something, something very complex, why it doesn’t belong to them. Why do we allow the fruits of our labor to be taken from us? That is what I don’t understand.


I think people don’t want to put a few thousand names on an ownership thing, so they put the leaders’ names on instead.
And the laborers either don’t care or don’t have the power to say otherwise.
  
Yup, carpenters existed and made up a tiny fraction of people. People owned next to no furniture compared to us, often made their own basic things like benches to sit at, ate communally at their employer's table and just plain didn't use lots of tables.

Bakers made things for special occasions and the very wealthy, there just weren't many of them.

Stonemasons were used for big building projects, had labourers help them for, you guessed it, wages and most people lived in very old family run or employer run houses that required little in the way of renovations that labourers on the farm couldn't achieve.
  
The stonemason paid For the raw materials yes, I would consider paying for extra help when need be apart of the raw materials.

The baker and the carpenter are employed by who? They make goods and sell them, then turn around and buy more materials. They didn’t have an employer.

So because our conditions are relatively better than slaves of the past we should be happy and content with our lot?

</quote>I think people don’t want to put a few thousand names on an ownership thing, so they put the leaders’ names on instead.
And the laborers either don’t care or don’t have the power to say otherwise.</quote>

I agree, so why not just share the amazing complex things we make? Hence the railroad system, hence the farming advancements, hence any complex achievement of proletarian labor. Your right it would be impossibly difficult to keep track of who built what, so why don’t we instead share what we build? In other words communism with no government but the organization of the people. Which I imagine would be for the people. But I digress.

As for the people not caring or being powerless that is more what I am trying to figure out. Do we really not care that 90 years ago when this book was written the average proletarian of the time received one 1/10 of the fruits of their labor? (Which I imagine is worse today) Or are we powerless?
  
(Whoops.)
  
R0b1n H. said:
Wyyca21 said:
I think people don’t want to put a few thousand names on an ownership thing, so they put the leaders’ names on instead.
And the laborers either don’t care or don’t have the power to say otherwise.



R0b1n H. said:
As for the people not caring or being powerless that is more what I am trying to figure out. Do we really not care that 90 years ago when this book was written the average proletarian of the time received one 1/10 of the fruits of their labor? (Which I imagine is worse today) Or are we powerless?


I think it’s a little bit of both. We can’t do anything, so why bother trying? That mentality gets passed on to future generations, and regardless that the situation might have worsened, people don’t try to change anything, besides complaining about it. Because they can’t do anything, so why bother trying?
  
The number of skilled artisans was comparable to or less than the number of business owners and self employed we currently have (less than 20%). You're grossly exaggerating the freedom and economic agency of people who lived historically, and I frankly don't understand why you have yet to accept that you clearly don't understand how the medieval and early modern economy worked.

On what basis do you think people work for 1/10th of the value of their labour? Especially since you just reduced labourers to raw materials...
  
I think it was just a rough estimate.
The point is, the vast majority of labor value doesn’t go to you, it goes to your obligated benefactors.
  
Yes, and that has always been true. R0b1n literally just said the cost of a labourer is the cost of raw materials, which is decidedly the opposite of the point they were making.
  
I recognize that I don’t know much about economics, but I don’t feel like that is relevant to me recognizing that there was a time when labors could work for themselves and keep what they produce. Regardless of the number of labors doing so, it was done.
  
There are more of them today than in the mediaeval period.
  
Yeah, because it’s so much easier to recruit people. Most of the time, we don’t have to go through the whole process; we just get a list of top candidates and interview those people. And also, brain power isn’t as highly charged as physical labor, at least in the U.S.
  
How are you supposed to divy up ownership of a cell phone between the people that mined the raw materials, processed those materials, designed the components, the software, the designed, programmed it, physically made it, shipped it, built the tools and facilities used in all of those steps, organized the workers, kept the books, etc., except through wages? Not to mention the packaging, who built the stores where it is sold, the people who sell it, the people who support it...
Especially with machinery making labor easier and safer, the tools a single person can own won't be able to compete with larger industry. And as soon as you get into larger industry, you run into the problem of 100+ people being involved in the production of something, and then the idea of ownership of the product gets really hard to determine. Money is a good shorthand.
  
Why is a mediaeval baker or carpenter any more of an example of ideal communism than a modern restaurateur or builder or electrician? There are as many self employed New Zealanders today at 18% as the number of people in the middle ages who didn't work on a farm, including apprentices,
Bakers, the unemployed and the people R0b1n referred to as building materials.
  
Maybe label the companies themself, instead of acting like you were the only reason that thing can be held in your hands.

Also, where did Robin say they were building materials??
  
R0b1n H. said:
The stonemason paid For the raw materials yes, I would consider paying for extra help when need be apart of the raw materials.
  
“Cost of goods sold or COGS is the direct costs associated with producing goods. COGS includes both direct labor costs, and any direct costs of materials used in producing or manufacturing a company's products. Direct costs could include raw materials, inventory, as well as the costs associated with equipment used in production.“

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/101314/does-gross-profit-include-labor-and-overhead-costs.asp

P.s. I’m about to go to dinner so I may not respond for a while.
  
Forum > Touchy Subjects > The wage system, slavery or freedom?