• @[email protected]
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    304 months ago

    I just don’t think this argument really tracks. If we were hunter/gatherers, we would have no choice but to hunt and gather for food. No it’s not consensual, you have to do it, but would we really say we were being coerced? By who? Nature?

    You can say there is bad stuff about Capitalism, and better ideas or systems we should do instead, without this coercion claim.

    • @[email protected]
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      614 months ago

      In the case of capitalism, we are actually speaking about coercion, though. The concept of “primitive accumulation” (or “primary accumulation”), as introduced by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy, refers to the historical process that led to the formation of capitalism by separating the producer from the means of production. This separation is what ultimately pushed people into the capitalist labor market, making them dependent on selling their labor to survive. The coercive forces that pressured people into capitalism and the labor market can be understood through several key mechanisms:

      1. Enclosure of the Commons: In England and elsewhere in Europe, land that was previously held in common for collective use by peasants was enclosed, privatized, and turned into private property. This process forced many peasants off the land, depriving them of their traditional means of subsistence and making them dependent on wage labor.

      2. Colonialism and Slavery: The expansion of European powers into the Americas, Africa, and Asia involved the appropriation of land and resources, often through violent means. Indigenous peoples were displaced or enslaved, and their resources were extracted for the benefit of European capitalist economies. This not only facilitated the accumulation of capital but also integrated various regions into the global capitalist system.

      3. Legislation: Laws and regulations played a crucial role in this process. For example, the series of laws known as the “Poor Laws” in England were designed to coerce the unemployed and poor into working for wages. These laws restricted the movement of labor and made it illegal to refuse work, effectively pushing people into the labor market.

      4. Destruction of Alternative Economies: Pre-capitalist forms of production and exchange, such as feudalism, communal living, or barter systems, were systematically destroyed or undermined. This was not only through direct coercion but also through economic policies and practices that favored capitalist modes of production and exchange.

      5. Industrial Revolution: The technological advancements of the Industrial Revolution created a demand for labor in factories. The rural populations, already dispossessed by the enclosure movements, migrated to urban centers in search of work, further entrenching the wage labor system.

      Marx argued that primitive accumulation was not a one-time historical event but an ongoing process that sustains capitalism. It involves continuous dislocation and dispossession to maintain a labor force that has no other choice but to sell its labor power. This process ensures a supply of workers for the capitalist system and maintains the conditions necessary for capital accumulation.

      In essence, the transition to capitalism, fueled by these coercive forces, created a society where the majority must sell their labor to a minority who owns the means of production, thereby establishing the capitalist labor market and perpetuating the cycle of capital accumulation.

    • @UnderpantsWeevil
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      314 months ago

      If we were hunter/gatherers, we would have no choice but to hunt and gather for food.

      The argument is not that people are forced to labor, but that people are forced to labor on behalf of others. Which is to say, its the difference between a Hunter/Gatherer living off the land and a King’s Huntsman, who is distinguished from a Poacher, in that he has duties and privileges assigned to him by another guy.

      You can say there is bad stuff about Capitalism, and better ideas or systems we should do instead, without this coercion claim.

      The nature of the Capitalist system is to lay claim to physical property with some threat of violence. It is inherently a dictatorial system, in which a handful of people are afforded the right to claim surplus to sustain and enrich themselves at the expense of their neighbors.

      The “bad stuff” is what makes Capitalism a system at all. It is - to crib a joke from Monty Python - the violence that is inherent within the system. If you don’t pay your dues to the King, he gets to beat them out of you.

      How can you even discuss Capitalism without talking about this innate coercive mechanic?

      • @HappycamperNZ
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        -14 months ago

        I cant agree with you, by the simple fact that no one says you have to work for someone else.

        You could argue that even if you own the company you still have to work for someone else to get paid, but likewise everything you need to survive needs to be made or produced by someone.

        The hunter gatherers would get food, but they don’t make their own Healthcare. Doctor’s don’t make their own food or houses, and builders don’t work the land. Bet you didn’t make the device you typed that comment on.

        Capitalism allows people to work in one aspect, and trade for what else they need. You could easily argue that late stage is exploitive, more regulation is needed and people are greedy, but that’s a whole different arguement.

        • @UnderpantsWeevil
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          74 months ago

          no one says you have to work for someone else

          Primary accumulation says you have to work for someone else. You never got to be there when all the free land was handed out.

          You could argue that even if you own the company you still have to work for someone else to get paid

          “Everyone works for someone” is a going line in modern business. But this ignores the folks that are legacies of the fortunes of prior generations. The British Royal Family gets to fuck around however they please. The Vanderbilts and Hiltons and Kennedys and Bushs have no economic obligations, just enormous trust funds fueled by the labors of their peers.

          The hunter gatherers would get food, but they don’t make their own Healthcare.

          The primitive hunter gatherer worked 3-5 hours a day with the rest reserved for leisure. What this amounted to over time was the explosion of art, language, and culture that formed the foundation of the modern scientific movement.

          For millennia, the information primitive people accumulated - understanding of seasonal cycles, crop cultivation strategies, navigational techniques, linguistic techniques, the development of simple tools - was passed down and matured, until we could enjoy a life better than any other species on the planet. That absolutely included health care. Greek and Chinese physicians were doing surgeries 4000 years ago. Egyptians and Persians were mastering anatomy. We’ve got evidence of dentists dating back to 10,000 BCE.

          What we’ve developed in the modern era is an accumulation of historical knowledge that’s accelerated thanks to a boom in population and a period of relative global peace. But we wouldn’t have been in the position to capitalize on a population boom / peace dividend if we’d never had the leisure time to make those original scientific discoveries.

          Capitalism allows people to work in one aspect, and trade for what else they need.

          It does not. It forces one (large) group of people to surrender their surplus gains to another (significantly smaller) set. It prevents people from working for themselves and saps them of resources to trade with one another.

          You could easily argue that late stage is exploitive

          Every stage is exploitive. The Late Stage of Capitalism just happens to be the one where the folks closest to the imperial core begin to suffer a fraction of what folks on the periphery endured.

          • @HappycamperNZ
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            -14 months ago

            You have raised a number of points here, and unfortunately I don’t have the time to debate all of them.

            The key takeaway i have from your comments is that your only focus is on those who succeed. You’ve ignored all of those who took the same risks and didn’t make it. You see the success, but you don’t see the time and history they (originally) put in to make it happen.

            The company I currently own started off with the equivalent of about 8 hours minimum wage in assets, and one contract for 1 hour a week - I technically now no longer need to work and can sit on my ass and take minimum wage. What you, and my staff didn’t see was the number of sleepless nights I had, how many weekends and public holidays I missed, how many times I worked a 10 hour day, then got up again at midnight because more work came up. You don’t see the extra 20 hours a week I take on unpaid to build or invest for the next thing. I am considering passing on a contract for 15% annual growth not because I am too tired, but because there is physically not enough hours to do everything between 5pm and 8am when our work needs to be finished by, and that’s before I start the next days work.

            If you want to be upset about those who are at the top, who get trust funds, literally put your money and body where your mouth is. I can tell you right now that you won’t benefit from it, you will suffer immensely, and it could be all for nothing, but your kids might have it easier.

            • @UnderpantsWeevil
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              44 months ago

              What you, and my staff didn’t see was the number of sleepless nights I had

              My guy, you’re not the only one who has ever had a sleepless night. You don’t think I’ve pulled all-nighters for my assorted employers? You don’t think I’ve driven overnight in the rain to an office in a different city to fix a machine that went down in the storm, so my boss could keep collecting on a contract? You don’t think I pulled all-nighters preparing for job interviews in anticipation of proving myself to assholes like you?

              Idfk if you cut yourself in the bathtub between meetings with investors. That’s not something I think anyone should have to do, but I’m not the one running JP Morgan Chase likes its my own piggy bank. I’d just like equity in what I got my hands dirty building. And that’s one thing no employer seems to want to offer.

              My boss and I can be side-by-side in the trenches, trying to keep the lights on. But at the end of the day, he’s the owner and I’m an “at-will” employee. My work goes into his pocket first and he pays me back a fraction of what I earned.

              If you want to be upset about those who are at the top, who get trust funds, literally put your money and body where your mouth is.

              What do you think every employee does every fucking day?

              • Cosmic Cleric
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                24 months ago

                You blew right past his final point.

                • @HappycamperNZ
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                  4 months ago

                  Im at the point where I wonder both “what is the world coming to” and “am I turning into a boomer”?

                  In what reality does an employee turn up to work in a building they didn’t lease, use equipment they didn’t pay for, inputs they didn’t buy, logistics they didn’t develop, to fill contracts they didn’t aquire, done through loans they aren’t responsible for and a business plan they didn’t back, and expect the lions share of the profit from utalising this, ironically being paid by someone they didn’t hire and with money they didn’t collect?

                  • J Lou
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                    3 months ago

                    The negative product isn’t the employees’ problem. That is part of the problem. The workers are jointly de facto responsible for using up the inputs. By the tenet that legal and de facto responsibility should match, they should jointly appropriate the negative product and be the party that makes the contracts with the input suppliers. The workers are jointly de facto responsible for producing the output, so should jointly own 100% of the output. Workers have a right to the fruits of their labor

              • @HappycamperNZ
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                -34 months ago

                Then stop arguing with internet strangers and go out and do it yourself. I can’t make this any clearer - if you think its unfair, that they take a disproportionate amount, that you work soo much harder, quit bitching and quit. Because I can guarantee you won’t - the job security, less responsibility and ability to let someone else worry if you have work or not is far too comfortable. At will works both ways.

                ~95% of businesses fail in the first 5 years. Have fun.

                • Cosmic Cleric
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                  3 months ago

                  Because I can guarantee you won’t - the job security, less responsibility and ability to let someone else worry if you have work or not is far too comfortable.

                  ~95% of businesses fail in the first 5 years. Have fun.

                  You are right about some people being too comfortable (or not knowledgeable on how) to start their own business, but that’s not the whole story.

                  A business will always fail if it doesn’t have the quality employees to run it. A business cannot function without employees.

                  Just because one side has more risk upfront doesn’t mean they should keep the vast majority of the profits for themselves, forever. Long-term it’s still a team effort.

                  There’s nothing wrong with sharing the wealth that’s produced from the effort which is done by all.

        • J Lou
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          4 months ago

          Anti-capitalism does not fail because of the many senses of working *for* someone else. What anti-capitalists means by working for someone else in this case is a specific set of property relations where workers jointlyuse up the inputs to produce the output, but are denied the property rights to the produced outputs and liabilities for the used-up inputs. Having the choice to be individually or jointly self-employed does not undo the violations of inalienable rights of employees

      • J Lou
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        4 months ago

        This is falling for the capitalist consent vs. coercion framing. Capitalism doesn’t have to be coercive to be wrong. Even some perfectly voluntary capitalism with a UBI would still be wrong because capitalism inherently violates workers’ inalienable rights to workplace democracy and to get the fruits of their labor (surplus). The much stronger framing is alienable vs. inalienable rights. An inalienable right is one that the holder can’t give up even with consent.

        • @UnderpantsWeevil
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          74 months ago

          Capitalism doesn’t have to be coercive to be wrong.

          Capitalism is, necessarily, coercive. You can find other things wrong with it, but this is an inherent characteristic of reserving ownership to a “landed” class.

          Even some perfectly voluntary capitalism with a UBI would still be wrong because capitalism inherently violates workers’ inalienable rights to workplace democracy

          But it achieves that end through the process of “Capital Strikes” (ie, lockouts, hiring freezes, speculative hording, etc). And capital strikes are only possible via coercive force (ie, putting a guy with a gun in an industrial site who shoots any worker that tries to enter and engage in production).

          The much stronger framing is alienable vs. inalienable rights.

          Rights are legal fictions. There is no such thing as an inalienable right in a material sense. You show me a right, I’ll show you a guy with a gun who can alienate it.

          • AutistoMephisto
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            24 months ago

            Here’s the thing: as long as poverty exists, poverty exists as a threat to get people to do things without their full consent. In some cases, like in the case of sex work, that can be actual sex, in which case, it cannot be faithfully said that all sex is fully consensual as long as it’s agreed to out of survival fears. In other cases, like for example minimum wage labor, people are accepting minimum wages out of fear of having nothing, and so they accept anything. This complete lack of bargaining power is behind low wages, dangerous conditions, terrible hours, poor treatment, etc.

          • J Lou
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            4 months ago

            Alienated ≠ violated
            An inalienable right isn’t one that should not be alienated, but rather can’t be alienated. For labor’s rights, responsibility can’t be alienated at a material level. Consent isn’t sufficient to transfer responsibility to another. For example, a contract to transfer responsibility for a crime is invalid regardless of consent.

            Legal rights can be fictions but also can be based on ethics.

            Workers consent to employment unlike kings. Inalienability shows it’s invalid

            • @UnderpantsWeevil
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              14 months ago

              Consent isn’t sufficient to transfer responsibility to another.

              These are legalistic concepts, not materialistic concepts.

              For example, a contract to transfer responsibility for a crime is invalid regardless of consent.

              A contract is valid when it is enforced. And any cartel boss will tell you how “illegal” contracts are regularly enforced between criminal organizations.

              Past that, the very subject of crime and enforcement is subjective, as illustrated by the various states of the drug trade, human trafficking, and stolen property. More than one pawn shop has subsisted primarily on fenced goods. The legality of their stock does not appear to inhibit the success of their business.

              Legal rights can be fictions but also can be based on ethics.

              Ethics has no material basis.

              Workers consent to employment unlike kings.

              This doesn’t mean anything.

              • J Lou
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                4 months ago

                Consent and responsibility are descriptive not legal concepts there.

                Opposing coercion is an ethic. Certain material facts logically imply ethics. A brain has finitely many states it can be in. The whole state space is finitely representable. Minds can be mathematically modeled completely in principle. The concept of strong attractors and flows in the space of all possible minds is thus coherent. The transcendent truth about ethics is unknowable, but that doesn’t allow denial of moral realism.

                  • J Lou
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                    14 months ago

                    Sure, consent and responsibility can be legal concepts. De facto responsibility, which is the “who did the deed” sense of responsibility, is what can’t be transferred even with consent. Responsibility in this sense is descriptive. Property and contract play no role in determining who is de facto responsible for an action

                    The moral claim is that the de facto responsibility should match legal responsibility. This is why contract to transfer legal responsibility is invalid @microblogmemes

    • @surewhynotlem
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      74 months ago

      It only tracks because you can’t get consent from nature. You could have gotten consent from fellow humans. The humans who put this structure in place were people that could be negotiated with and spoken to. Not some blind force.

    • @[email protected]
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      54 months ago

      Is your argument is that our needs have been imposed by nature rather than society and therefore our society is not coercive? I think this doesn’t work because our option to meet our needs in the traditional way has been removed; in most cases living as a hunter-gatherer has been rendered impossible (natural sources of food depopulated/destroyed) and illegal (all land is privately or publicly owned and you can’t live on it without meeting expensive requirements).

      And even if that coercive situation hadn’t been created, it would still be our collective responsibility to remove unnecessary naturally imposed hardships that cannot be efficiently dealt with on an individual level.

    • @Mango
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      24 months ago

      I can keep a good attitude in bad weather, but when it’s a felony conviction because every stage of the process is just people looking to profit, I’m mad about it.

    • @[email protected]
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      24 months ago

      Hunter/gatherers worked less hours and ate better food then those working the land. But the coercion here is meant by one group making others work more then necessary so they can get richer. Just because there are difficulties in nature, doesn’t mean it’s ok for humans to make it harder for other humans.

    • @[email protected]
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      4 months ago

      But we aren’t hunter & gatherers anymore (not that back then there were capitalist). That age is gone (for now).

      Nothing about capital (something someone can own & accumulate) is required to have and sustain cities, technology, services, etc. And it all comes from the propaganda that people are lazy & don’t work if they don’t have to (the opposite is true, but the distinction is that often what you want to do can’t be monetized for various & fairly random bullshit reasons - like, you will always find people that will want to bake/cook/serve, but most of the people that would enjoy that just get a different job that pays better & the ones that don’t like it get stuck with it … and we all get the worst part of that deal, even as consumers, except the people with incentive to maximize sales & minimize wages … like that is a good long-term goal for society or something).