Monday, June 29, 2015
Post Workists and What it Means
To change the abundance of labor in the world is to put more money in the pockets of the laborer to buy the products their fellow workers are making. Otherwise, when there are more products than money, there is slump in the economy. Austerity policies, low wages and automation (robots) were also of concern in the 1950s when Henry Ford II, CEO of Ford, took Walter Reuther, head of the United Auto Workers Union, on a tour of a new engine plant. Ford gestured to a fleet of new machines and said, “Walter, how are you going to get these robots to pay union dues?” The union leader turned to Ford and said, “Henry, how are you going to get robots to buy your cars?” This type of change in the labor has created a new type of working class that swings from task to task in order to make ends meet while enduring the loss of labor rights and bargaining rights. They are called “precariat” workers, a group of workers who live on the verge of collapse due to the instability of the nature of their jobs. In this group are writers, academics, and economists. They are called “post-workist,” who cheer for the end of labor. Post workists are right about some important things: paid labor does not always map social good, for example. They believe the end of wage labor will allow for a golden age of well-being. The post workists also think colleges could re-emerge as cultural centers rather than job preparation institutions. The word “school” comes from “skhole,” the Greek word for leisure. We used to teach people to be free now we teach them to work, and if they don’t have a paid job they are useless, so now when we are about out of jobs for all the workers, what are workers supposed to feel? The post workists argue that the wage slaves in the U.S. works so hard because their culture has brained washed them to feel guilty when they are not being productive for the man, but this guilt will fade as work ceases to be the norm. This could change the future not only of consumption, but of creativity as technology returns tools to the assembly line to individuals, democratizing the means of mass production. This was and is the dream of the International Workers of the World. Some things that need to be done now are a minimum wage of $15 to $18 an hour, free education, stipends paid to every workers/student older than 18 years to cover basic needs from rent of our Commons, which is owed to all, new labor laws and protection of voting rights.