Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Monday, May 29, 2017

Who's Jobs?

So I was reading about the guy in Portland who stabbed up a two men who objected to the verbal harassment of two Muslims on a train. The article showed that he was a Bernie Sanders supporter and has images of many of his Facebook posts. I want to discuss one of them:

That last one: give people back their jobs. "Their jobs". As if employees somehow own the jobs for which they were employed to do. No. A person owns their labour as it is the production of their bodies. Since slavery is not legal, no one can be compelled to give away their bodies and therefore their labour (with due recognition of 13th amendment exceptions). That is all a person owns. Said person can choose to sell his labour to other persons. Said person can decide to sell the product of their labour (goods) to other persons. Said person, if they have enough capital may decide to labour for themselves to increase that capital (ie: advantaged gambling). A lot of people do not understand that the entity that "owns" a job is a business. I will refer the reader to Rich Dad Poor Dad where the author shows that an employee is one who "has a job" and a self-employed person who "owns a job". The image above imagines that most Americans are self-employed and "own" a job when they actually just "have a job". That is, they are selling their labour for a wage. When the wage-giver no longer needs the labour, they can end the job. After all THEY own it.

This is, of course, a relatively new thing. Before mass industrialization, the vast majority of people were owners of their jobs. Most people engaged in farming or some skilled trade such as iron working and carpentry. In a more modern America you got people such as electricians, mechanics, and the like. But as industrialization swept the western world people shifted from self-employment (owning their jobs) to working for some corporation.

With the rise of automation, many people are slowly waking up to the fact that they do not own jobs. A machine can do your job and doesn't require a salary or any benefits. As machines get better and better, more humans will find themselves displaced from the labour market. And please understand that "labour market" means a [super]market where people offer their labour, people are NOT offering jobs because they do not own a job.

This is why it is misguided to hate on "rich" people. You'll note that many governments that "nationalized" businesses in the name of "owning the means of production" thought they owned some magic "job". Then later when the business fails, the people riot. Why? because the govt. didn't create the job.

The rich create businesses. More accurately they create systems. The business is a physical manifestation of said system. The system requires x amount of labour (the jobs). So jobs are a product of the system. Too many people think that jobs just magically appear on the internet job sites. No, they are the product of someone taking a significant risk to finance a system. If a system can run without the creation of "jobs", it will not produce any. You may want to sell your labour to said system, but no system is required to hire you.

To repeat: You do not own a job. It is not "yours".

This is why though I sympathize with the $15/hour movement, I see it as a long term loser. All this does for the long term is lead the actual job owners to seek to lower the cost of the "jobs". Companies are already responding to these pressures and it will only accelerate.