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Surprise: Business, not Government, now telling us all what to do in and away from Work.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 15:46
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(Before It's News)

Republicans are always falsely claiming that Democrats want government to tell us all what to do. 

Ridiculous, I know, but those fabrications have taken our eye off the real “takeover;” what Republicans want more than anything is to hand complete control over to business, where they will tell us all what to do, in and away from work. Think about it, it makes sense. 
Two different studies look at what is really happening and what some would like to see happen:

New Republic: Real household wages in the United States have remained stagnant since the 1970s. Young people find an employment landscape defined by unpaid internships, temporary work, and low pay.

In Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It), Elizabeth Anderson, a professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan, explores how the discipline of work has itself become a form of tyranny, documenting the expansive power that firms now wield over their employees in everything from how they dress to what they tweet. James Livingston, a historian at Rutgers, goes one step further in No More Work: Why Full Employment Is a Bad Idea … both books make a powerful claim: that our lives today are ruled, above all, by work. We can try to convince ourselves that we are free, but as long as we must submit to the increasing authority of our employers and the labor market, we are not.

That’s why Republicans are always harping about the job creators, drug tests for the unemployed, training programs for food stamps…etc…they want employers, not government, to control what we do in and away from work:

Anderson’s most provocative argument is that large companies, the institutions that employ most workers, amount to a de facto form of government, exerting massive and intrusive power in our daily lives. Unlike the state, these private governments are able to wield power with little oversight, because the executives and boards of directors that rule them are accountable to no one but themselves. Although they exercise their power to varying degrees and through both direct and “soft” means, employers can dictate how we dress and style our hair, when we eat, when (and if) we may use the toilet, with whom we may partner and under what arrangements. Employers may subject our bodies to drug tests; monitor our speech both on and off the job; require us to answer questionnaires about our exercise habits, off-hours alcohol consumption, and childbearing intentions; and rifle through our belongings. If the state held such sweeping powers, Anderson argues, we would probably not consider ourselves free men and women.

Employees, meanwhile, have few ways to fight back. Yes, they may leave the company, but doing so usually necessitates being unemployed or migrating to another company and working under similar rules. Workers may organize, but unions have been so decimated in recent years that their clout is greatly diminished.

Note this important point:

As corporations have worked methodically to amass sweeping powers over their employees, they have held aloft the beguiling principle of individual freedom, claiming that only unregulated markets can guarantee personal liberty. Instead, operating under relatively few regulations themselves, these companies have succeeded at imposing all manner of regulation on their employees. That is to say, they use the language of individual liberty to claim that corporations require freedom to treat workers as they like. 

Many workers, in fact, have little sense of the legal scope of their employer’s power. Most would be shocked to discover that they could be fired for being too attractive, declining to attend a political rally favored by their employer, or finding out that their daughter was raped by a friend of the boss—all real-life examples cited by Anderson.

Universal Basic Income? Milton Friedman was a big backer of the “negative tax” idea:

Instead of idealizing work and making it the linchpin of social organization, Livingston suggests, why not just get rid of it? Since people in this new world would no longer have to earn a salary, they would, Livingston envisions, receive some kind of universal basic income

UBI is a slippery concept, adaptable to both the socialist left and libertarian right, but it essentially entails distributing a living wage to every member of society. In most conceptualizations, the income is indeed basic—no cases of Dom Pérignon—and would cover the essentials like rent and groceries. Individuals would then be free to choose whether and how much they want to work to supplement the UBI. 

Leftist proponents tend to advocate pairing UBI with a strong welfare state to provide nationalized health care, tuition-free education, and other services. Some libertarians view UBI as a way to pare down the welfare state, arguing that it’s better simply to give people money to buy food and health care directly, rather than forcing them to engage with food stamp and Medicaid bureaucracies. 

The article concludes:

Both Livingston and Anderson reveal how much of our own power we’ve already ceded in making waged work the conduit for our ideals of liberty and morality. The scale and coordination of the institutions we’re up against in the fight for our emancipation is, as Anderson demonstrates, staggering. Employers hold the means to our well-being, and they have the law on their side. Individual efforts to achieve a better “work-life balance” for ourselves and our families miss the wider issue we face as waged employees. – Miya Tokumitsu is a lecturer of art history at the University of Melbourne and a contributing editor at Jacobin.She is the author of Do What You Love. And Other Lies about Success and Happiness.

A former liberal radio talk host who likes to ask the “follow-up question” at Democurmudgeon.blogspot.com



Source: http://democurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2017/04/surprise-business-not-government-now.html

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