Unions & Slaves won our freedoms, NOT warfare and armies:
The existing regime of 8 hours each for work, rest and play – not that it actually works out that way for most people – was a hard fought and won combined effort, between the abolition of slavery and the union movements (thanks guys).
European workers had tried to collectively bargain many centuries before, but the collective organisation and bargaining of labour was outlawed by Britain in the 14th century. Subsequent attempts in Britain Canada Australia and elsewhere were then successful in the early to mid 1800s.
From the 16th to 19th centuries slavery was defeated, reinstated & defeated again across Europe and the Americas; simultaneously the union movement rose and fell again & again, with the notion of an 8 hour day finally won, but which was predicated on the economics of an almost entirely male workforce; in some places still predicated on the enslavement of (predominantly) black people.
Furthermore: had it not been for the industrial revolution and the great need for skilled work forces, this battle would likely never have been won, because the ruling class needed skilled labour very badly (a thing they’re now doing away with via robotics & automation).
The partial emancipation of women didn’t arrive until the late 1800s through to the mid 1900s, and arguably they’re still fighting for it today in the respect of wage equity.
Think about it:
the length of our work day and working week, is predicated on the economics of only some people working …
… and only some of those getting paid at all or being treated like human beings.
As more join the paid workforce, more jobs must be found, and more people miss out through no fault of their own.
The Money Problem:
So we live in a system where you have to work if you want enough money to properly survive, but there aren’t enough jobs to go around and there never were; but without a job you don’t have enough money to start a business of your own, and even with a job you often don’t have enough time to do so.
Making matters worse: only a small proportion of the jobs available, pay enough to allow you to save money over time, sufficient to quit your job and pay yourself a survival wage while you design and build your own business from scratch.
Socialist policies have attempted to solve such issues via various welfare systems, which range from free education, healthcare and the newer models of a “living wage” for all citizens (without a requirement to work), through to the very bad and declining systems (like Australia and the USA) which combine little or no support with further persecution.
This is where banks are supposed to come in and help, but if they don’t understand your idea, if they don’t see assets backing you up, and if the profits aren’t attractive enough, then you don’t get the help; besides which they can make more money with less risk & responsibility elsewhere, and they don’t care one iota what you’re trying to achieve.
We do now have crowdfunding of course, but there are as many (or more) failed projects as successful ones.
I would propose (to some degree, though rapidly merging) there’s now 5 or 6 socioeconomic classes:
- The impoverished
- The working poor
- The middle class
- The upper class
- The ruling class
We’ve come to know the ruling class as “the 1%”, though perhaps we must acknowledge a 6th (sub-class) of “the 0.0001%” … ie – the 7-10 thousand most economically and politically powerful people on the planet.
The first 3 – the impoverished, working poor & middle class – are all under immense stress and becoming ever more so barely distinguishable from each other; which basically means that as we continue to put the squeeze on planetary resources, the upper class will find themselves under the same attack, without a middle or lower class left to help them fight … thus the saying goes:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.” ~ Martin Niemöller
Whatever my socioeconomic class, I have limited capacity to interact outside it. My circles of association are to some degree restricted by that class structure, because while there may be an event or activity we both share an interest in, you can afford to attend it, but I can’t.
If it weren’t for the Internet, the odds of us meeting would be remote, and even on the Internet those odds aren’t necessarily much greater … and either way they’re limited by the circumstance of predominantly text only conversation.
Thus our classes are divided by opportunity and ideology:
I don’t understand your struggle, and you don’t understand mine.
The Socioeconomic Problem:
For me to receive help I must look outside my class, for those inside my class are struggling also … they’d like to help, but they do not have the things I need, and if they do, they need such things for themselves.
For me to look outside my class for help, I need resources I do not possess in order to access the opportunity, and I need to find someone in a wealthier class who can relate to my struggle.
The Ecological Problem:
Have a look around you:
- Species extinction
- Habitat destruction
- Ecosystem collapse
- Environmental pollution
At best the status quo repairs a small portion of the damage it does, while simultaneously accelerating the rate of damage; that’s the absolute best you can say of this present system.
The system with all the resources required to solve the problem, is the very system creating the problem, and is controlled by the people and ideologies that created the system.
The odds of the system solving the problems it created are remote at best.
The Economic Problem:
For this capitalist economic system to continue, it must be either draconian OR ‘evolved’, for it is only through the disempowerment – which I am NOT advocating – or the evolution of people (which I think is laudable but laughable), that consumption of 7+ billion people can be brought under control.
This is NOT because no one will change their habits, plenty of people will; but with 7+ billion people on the planet – many of them utterly psychologically dysfunctional thanks to various forms of brainwashing, misinformation, and the PTSD (Post AND Present) suffering of their lives.
If we give people economic freedom – within the property/trade/currency-based capitalist economic system – some of them will be motivated to sell as much stuff as they can to other ones, and some will be so psychologically traumatised and insecure, they’ll be unable to resist the consumer culture (as we’ve already seen) … and the consumer culture is very economically “profitable” from the perspective of the capitalist paradigm.
A. You either take away people’s economic freedoms in order to regulate consumption (draconian), or;
B. You require an evolved society doing the opposite of what the economic system is motivating them to do.
Now are you willing to bank our species future – and that fate of many other species – on either of those? I’m not.
Because you always end up with one set of idiots driving society to the brink, requiring revolution to bring to an end, followed by reformation to bring it back into balance, which brings comfort and the rise of the next bunch of idiots.
I for one want out of this insane cycle.
A Better Solution – Open Empire:
The empire has already been built, but it has been built with no heart … through the violence & death of conquest, to the domination & exploitation of slavery … and now it is starting to destroy itself, with much of the resource expenditure it invested to create its infrastructure, already being destroyed and wasted once again by warfare.
The very concept of empire itself must be transformed into something entirely different … an empire built not on hierarchy, nor authority and control … an empire with neither borders nor boundaries between people & species … an empire not of the individual alone, but of the individual in the context of our collective symbiosis.
You work as much as you want and when you want, doing what you want in order to justify access to scarce resources … any non-scarce resources are yours for the taking.
No one tells anyone else what to do. There’s no boss, no owner, no manager … just people working alone or in groups to achieve objectives, who may or may not elect to have “leaders” for their process until completion.
Ignoring for a minute the transition from the status quo, there’s no property, trade, currency or profit … you simply use the things you want to use, while aiming to minimise harm & maximise benefits in the process; you share and give what you can, and you benefit from such sharing and giving.
To take by force causes harm, so you’re not motivated to do so … if emergency circumstances arise requiring a resource which the holder is unwilling to provide, they are responsible in part for the harm done by failing to provide the solution, and while you may be responsible for the harm of forcibly taking such resources, the prevention of harmful ecological and social consequences otherwise may justify such force … you’re neither authorised nor not authorised to do so, you’re simply responsible for the consequences, so people work to prove such consequences and quantify them, in order to convince people to help rather than needing to take by force.
In this way, everything gets done.
There’s no social class, titles are meaningless unless they describe some skill or ability.
You’re responsible for both ecological & social consequences of your actions, so you acquire, store, process, utilise, maintain, recycle & dispose of all resources with care.