by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
“Old Jack trembled. He tried to answer, but was unable to speak. If he had been a slave and had failed to satisfy his master, the latter might have tied him up somewhere and thrashed him. Hunter could not do that; he could only take his food away.”
This is taken from “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” by Robert Trussel.
Old Jack is in fear of losing his job, as all the workers are, not just in the book but also in real life, and that almost all of the time. And the author is pointing out, as he frequently does, that even slaves have some level of security. That a slave master buys his slaves and therefore has some concern as to whether they live or die. If you just pay by the hour, and there are plenty out of work, you don't care if they live or die. You can always replace one with another.
This is, I am afraid to say, the way the cookie crumbles in capitalism and only a change of system will ever change this. Though this must a change of system where workers truly own the means of production and not where the means of production end up in the hands of the state.
In the latter event, as it was done under Stalin and later, only means that the workers exchange one slave master for another and still remain slaves. Only when the means of production are in the hands of the workers is the reward for their labor truly theirs and it is such a system that we must create if we ever want to get away from inequality.
This new kind of system, as it has been envisaged by many so-called Utopians, such as Robert Owen, for example, is possible and everyone can have enough work, enough to eat, a place to live, but enough and not that having not enough and others too much.
However big your house, your car, your TV, etc., our graves, in general, are all the same size (well, almost) and they are all about six foot down. The last shirt – translated from German – does not have any pockets and we can take nothing of our wealth over into the afterlife, if there is such a thing as afterlife.
If everyone has enough of everything for life then there is also no need to try and accumulate wealth or other possessions, to pass on to descendents so that they can have a better life, and thus the race to have more, more and still more will be futile.
A system like that can and will only work, however, if all who can work do work and if work is seen as an honor while it is at the same time a requirement, a duty. And where all work is equally valued and regarded in the same standing regardless whether it is manual work or brain work.
He who works with his hands is equally valuable as he who works with his mind though in today's society, unfortunately, the manual worker is regarded as inferior by not just those that work with their intellect but by almost everyone, and manual work is even seen as inferior by those who perform it and this is a shame, a shame on our society as it is at the moment.
We should also take to heart, even though I am not a believer, the statement in the Bible that says “the laborer is worthy of his hire” and also the section where the owner pays everyone the same regardless of how long, in time, they worked for him that day. It can also work in this new society that everyone gets the same pay, the same benefits and can live a good life without needing to fear for his job, health and his life and that of his family.