BNP support NOT linked to immigration

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Yes yes, but you're collapsing into an 'everything is relative' zone there (or would if you continued along that line of argument).

Well the simple fact is that it is - things we think of as basic necessary amenities were considered luxuries in recent historical times. Though I concede that this isn't really a fruitful road to go down as you soon end up in "Just be grateful you don't have rickets and weren't working down the coal mine when you were three" territory, so I'll leave it there.

I think it's clear, in 2013, that as 'we' (the West) can provide clean water and food to live to everyone on the planet, 'we' should (or rather, facilitate it happening by giving shitloads of money - obv as above, this won't happen).

Is this really the case, though? About food, I mean? The global flow of food is generally from developing countries to developed ones, isn't it? And surely I'm not the first person to point out how problematic it is to approach all questions of overseas poverty simply by throwing aid at them. I mean it completely destroys the local economy and ends up causing aid dependency, which is exactly what you don't want if you're trying to promote meaningful development. The countries that are now developed didn't get that way by being given "shitloads of money" - they achieved it primarily through the development of industry.

And in terms of rich people buying to let, you could cap the number of houses they'd allowed to do this with, and improve rental laws in favour of the renter.

Just some sort of sensible cap on the amount of rent you can charge for a given property type in a given area would make a huge difference.

Only thing I'd say - while mixed families are a barometer, the sexualisation of race can be one of the most fucked up things ever...

Of course you can never tell these things from the outside, but it generally looks like ordinary married (or not) couples where one parent - perhaps the dad, perhaps the mum - is non-white while the other is white. Rather than white girls fetishizing the hypersexual Negro or whatever.

Are we talking Cowley Road btw (that's the area I know), or further east?

Yeah, Cowley Road and environs, not Cowley proper/Blackbird Leys further east, which I gather is a bit of a shithole.
 
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baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
1/ Yeah, it's not a fruitful line of enquiry to say the least. First, starvation/death form preventable disease sucked in whatever era. Second, whether diseases now weren't preventable 200 years ago is neither here nor there - we're not comparing eras, but rather rich and poor areas in the same era.

2/ The major flow in the world is of resources (of many kinds) out of the majority world into the minority world. I wasn't being entirely serious about throwing money at the issue, obviously - cessation of resource exploitation would work way better. As would leaving people to sort out their own affairs, rather than stealing from poorer nations and then sending money back as 'aid'. But first the West needs to stop stealing - that's at the root of this all. Talking about 'aid dependency' is naive at best, patronising and disingenous in the extreme at worst - just send back the fucking money/resources that're being stolen, or better still don't fucking steal it. Aid doesn't destroy economies; an international structure devoted to theft and appropriation does.

Rather than handing back 'aid' as if giving pocket money to a child, and then worrying whether people might become dependent on the scraps being sent in the absence of any other choice, the real wealth available to them being systematically siphoned off to countries thousands of miles away. Much more truthful to talk about the dependency of Westerners upon consumer goods/a certain kind of unsustainable lifestyle, rather than designate poor people as the ones who are 'dependent'. It is that first kind of dependency that is the problem.

3/ Rent caps, definitely. Agreed.

4/ Sure, but structurally-rooted racism doesn't need to be blatant, to be present and to infect any relationship. We'd hardly assume that all married men had transcended sexism. I've witnessed a fair number of mixed couples where the white person has done something (or more likely, not done something) unforgivable re race. I say unforgivable, but of course abuses don't prevent relationships from persisting, when society totally condones those same abuses.

Of course this can be true in friendship too, I know. I guess I was trying to get to an idea of what a mixed society would actually mean (don't have an easy answer)

5/ Well, Blackbird Leys is (or at least, was) one of the poorest areas in southern England, no?
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
What's "patronising" about the idea of aid dependency? It's a pretty well established phenomenon, isn't it?

There's the added depressing problem that aid is very often just hoovered up by local elites and the people it was meant to help end up never seeing a penny of it.

5/ Well, Blackbird Leys is (or at least, was) one of the poorest areas in southern England, no?

Well of course it's poor. It has a rep for huge crime rates and general social dysfunction, which in general go hand in hand with poverty.
 
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Slothrop

Tight but Polite
2/ The major flow in the world is of resources (of many kinds) out of the majority world into the minority world. I wasn't being entirely serious about throwing money at the issue, obviously - cessation of resource exploitation would work way better. As would leaving people to sort out their own affairs, rather than stealing from poorer nations and then sending money back as 'aid'. But first the West needs to stop stealing - that's at the root of this all. Talking about 'aid dependency' is naive at best, patronising and disingenous in the extreme at worst - just send back the fucking money/resources that're being stolen, or better still don't fucking steal it. Aid doesn't destroy economies; an international structure devoted to theft and appropriation does.
Can you clarify / give examples for what you mean by "being stolen" here?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Not to answer for baboon, but I guess he's talking about things like foreign-owned companies extracting mineral wealth from third-world countries and paying their workers an absolute pittance, that sort of thing.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Not to answer for baboon, but I guess he's talking about things like foreign-owned companies extracting mineral wealth from third-world countries and paying their workers an absolute pittance, that sort of thing.

yeah, pretty much. How can, for example, the DRC be one of the poorest countries in the world, whilst being one of the most mineral-rich? Hmm...

There are some brilliant books about the 'shadow economy' around (i.e. all the flows of cash under the counter, which of course include huge profits from natural resources) - the one I read and can recommend:

Nordstrom, C. (2004) Shadows of War: Violence, Power, and International Profiteering in the Twenty-First Century (Berkeley: University of California Press) - happily, she's a brilliant writer too, it's written in more of an anecdotal style than anything overly academic.

http://www.globalwitness.org/ - lots of stuff here I'm sure.
 
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baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
What's "patronising" about the idea of aid dependency? It's a pretty well established phenomenon, isn't it?

There's the added depressing problem that aid is very often just hoovered up by local elites and the people it was meant to help end up never seeing a penny of it.

Well of course it's poor. It has a rep for huge crime rates and general social dysfunction.

Re elites in developing world countries, totally agreed. But then those elites are often chosen, more or less, by the West - see what's happening in Mali at present - the West is militarily upholding an unelected junta, from what I can tell). Leaders genuinely in favour of improving the lot of their own people, don't tend to go down well with the West, because a natural result of that is that the leader in question wouldn't simply allow Western companies to come in and take what they want (with generous payoffs for the elites, natch). They tend to get dubbed 'socialist' or 'communist', as if these were dirty words! A

'Aid dependency' - well-established by people with an investment in it being well-established, yep, i.e. those with an interest in keeping power relations precisely as skewed as they have always been. But from any kind of viewpoint that wants people's lots to improve, it's deeply suspicious.

Maybe an analogy is best, with the way the Right in the UK talks about the benefits system, and so-called 'welfare dependency'. So poor people are prevented from getting jobs (in which they will anyway be little more than slave labourers) by the economic cataclysm prompted by reckless exploitation of the finance system blah blah. Then the same poor people are told that while they will still be given money to live (benefits/aid), they should really be trying to get a job (that doens't exist), and that their benefits will be withdrawn because we don't want to get you dependent upon money to eat, do we?

It's the same absurd abusive (and implicitly threatening with destitution) logic, except in an international context. EXCEPT, on top of everything else, the original wealth is being nicked from the poor in the 'developing world' in the first place! And then they're told they're becoming dependent upon aid. 'Patronising' is not the right word, you're right; a stronger word is needed.

re Blackbird Leys, I mean that it's only a shithole in the sense that it's poor. And huge crime rates because it's poor. Poverty is the cause of all the other stuff, which I'm sure we're in agreement about anyways.
 
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baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Another thing I think is really important (and deserves its own thread) is the bias towards right-wing ideas that is inscribed into academia, as a result of rich, right-wing people having more money to fund research. So, personally speaking, when I was studying this stuff (war in the DRC specifically), very obvious, coherent criticisms of Western multinationals were to be found not in the 'star' journals, but in smaller journals no-one has ever heard of.

That documentary 'Inside Job' (the one narrated by Matt Damon) had a really interesting segment on how academics were being bought off in 2006-7 or whenever to pretend that the Icelandic economy was in excellent shape, whereas any basic analysis showed that to be ludicrous. Harvard academics signed off on these papers, paid for by the banks, and then loads of people invested, cos, like, Harvard says it's true.

And that's a blatant example, of course. More generally, ion a day-to-day basis, pressure is on academics to endorse hegemonic ideas and not to state really obvious criticisms of them. So you get articles going on about why the DRC is so poor, yet somehow neglecting to mention that, perhaps, you know, we might like to look at what's happening to all those minerals (without just blaming those devilish Rwandans and leaving it at that, the scoundrels - cos, of course, they just kept the diamonds in their rooms as keepsakes...). Objectively, the level of scholarship is often risible.

Would be interested to get the views of any Dissensian academics.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Maybe an analogy is best, with the way the Right in the UK talks about the benefits system, and so-called 'welfare dependency'. So poor people are prevented from getting jobs (in which they will anyway be little more than slave labourers) by the economic cataclysm prompted by reckless exploitation of the finance system blah blah. Then the same poor people are told that while they will still be given money to live (benefits/aid), they should really be trying to get a job (that doens't exist), and that their benefits will be withdrawn because we don't want to get you dependent upon money to eat, do we?

It's not that there are literally no jobs - otherwise immigrants wouldn't be coming here in their droves to do them. What there is, is jobs that pay less than what a lot of people are prepared to work for. No-one is literally "prevented" from doing jobs, but they may feel disinclined to do them if the wages they'd receive don't compare favourably to benefits they get from being unemployed. Why do you think so many east Europeans work here as seasonal farm labourers? It's because they've come from countries that don't have a social-security safety net, or at best a very minimal one. Unemployed Brits aren't being prevented by force from doing those jobs, are they?

Also I think you're grossly abusing the concept of "slavery" here. A slave has no choice not to work, and (the recent egregious "Workfare" scandal excepted) no-one is holding a gun to anyone's head and saying stack shelves, or else.

I understand that you're angry over Tory rhetoric about feckless scroungers and all the rest of it and I feel the same way, but I think you go so far the other way as to be unrealistic. I've been unemployed before and I could have walked straight down to the local Tesco at any time and asked if they had any vacancies. Did I? Course I fucking didn't. You can hardly blame people for not wanting to do menial jobs for very little money, especially in societies with enormous inequality and a high cost of living. There is obviously a real problem here and the way to solve it would be for these kinds of vital but unglamorous jobs to pay a decent living wage, rather than chipping away at the benefits system.

And yes, it goes without saying that to blame the present crisis on overly generous social spending rather than idiotic casino capitalism is an enormous lie, I mean that's not even open to debate among anyone who's seen the figures involved.
 
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baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
I should have qualified - job that pays a living wage and is recompensed to any reasonable extent. I agree, I should have qualified, but you got my drift anyways. And as you say (and I understand why, of course), economic immigration/world inequalities influence this, and create conditions where living wages are much less likely to be paid. Solution - enforce the living wage and acknowledge the realities of 'illegal' immigration/easy exploitation of both immigrants coming here to work and people already in the UK. Of course there is no political will to do this.

I was saying 'little more than slave labourers', rather than actual slaves - wage slavery, really. Which the wikipedia page describes as 'quasi-voluntary slavery', which is more useful a term than I'd have come up with on my own. The illusion of choice - I don't think it's an gross abuse of the concept at all (although qualification is necessary, agreed) - in fact it's a very useful linkage, in the sense that chains need not be literal**. But I think you agree with this in general from what you've said above, just not the use of the term.

**
"Before the American Civil War, Southern defenders of African American slavery invoked the concept of wage slavery to favorably compare the condition of their slaves to workers in the North.With the advent of the industrial revolution, thinkers such as Proudhon and Marx elaborated the comparison between wage labor and slavery in the context of a critique of societal property not intended for active personal use;

Abraham Lincoln and the republicans did not challenge the notion that those who spend their entire lives as wage laborers were comparable to slaves, though they argued that the condition was different, as laborers were likely to have the opportunity to work for themselves in the future, achieving self-employment"
- from Wikipedia, just thought it was interesting to show that the comparison between wage labour and slavery was well established even at the time of the Atlantic Slave Trade, among various groups. And in the present system, how likely is it that someone forced into wage labour will suddenly become self-employed?

Not to mention that for the majority of black Americans, actual slavery has simply been replaced over the years by an overarching system of wage labour and prison/similar for those who resist.

Chomsky on this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oztdRo9GLLk Gist: "Free people do not rent themselves to others."


PS No-one was holding a gun to anyone's head during Workfare, only a metaphorical gun of the type of which I'm talking - threat of destitution. Even in Workfare, the threat was implicit (or at least the Tories try to deny it was actually there, and that there are all other kinds of considerations that need to be taken into account, it's not as simple as losing benefits blah blah blah), in the same way as the more general threat is now implicit: 'we are cutting benefits, take a job whatever it is, or else'. And not accepting workfare is far from the only morally repugnant way in which people are being pushed off benefits, there are loads of ways this can happen - Lewis put me onto a great book recently, Ivor Southwood's Non-Stop Inertia, which details this better than I ever could. People are effectively forced into jobsearching even where it is pointless, etc etc, else they forfeit benefits. The very state of being on benefits is being made untenable, by pushing people into a state of constant surveillance.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Well what's the alternative? I can see that on a micro scale, collective ownership of enterprises would mean that profits are shared by the workers rather than skimmed off to pay dividends to investors (leaving aside the fact that above a certain size of business, a certain amount of capital is generally required even to get going in the first place and it's hard to see how this can be raised without investment). OK, great. But someone still has to hold to keys to the cash box. Extend that to the macro level and you've basically got Soviet/Maoist-style tyranny where private enterprise is banned and everyone is simply a wage-slave of the state rather a private company. I mean look at China today, the country is no less capitalist than ours, they're just far more efficient at it.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Well what's the alternative? I can see that on a micro scale, collective ownership of enterprises would mean that profits are shared by the workers rather than skimmed off to pay dividends to investors (leaving aside the fact that above a certain size of business, a certain amount of capital is generally required even to get going in the first place and it's hard to see how this can be raised without investment). OK, great. But someone still has to hold to keys to the cash box. Extend that to the macro level and you've basically got Soviet/Maoist-style tyranny where private enterprise is banned and everyone is simply a wage-slave of the state rather a private company. I mean look at China today, the country is no less capitalist than ours, they're just far more efficient at it.

Well, that's what needs to be thought about - that's the whole project of making a better world, right? The answer is never going to be simple, to dismantle a system that is all-consuming. Some of the stuff we've talked about would be a start (drastic limitations on ownership, proper checks and balances rather than the judiciary being in thrall to the politicians etc etc). Just because the answers are hard to reach, and hazy at this point because we have both been brought up and indoctrinated into a particular all-encompassing system (although it has got worse during our lifetimes, I would argue), doesn't mean that they shouldn't be sought. Anyone who thinks (and I'm not at all implying this is what you said) the capitalist world in 2013 is the best world possible, would be so pessimistic as to be clinically depressed in a very real sense. It's only even bearable for us because we are at the very top of the tree, the top 1%, in terms of the world. Can't argue, with Goethe, again, as quoted on another thread: "“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free" - this is exactly what the current system of capitalism relies upon to safeguard the power of those at the very top (so the 1% of the 1%, or however you want to phrase it)

I would say that changes have to be made at the personal level, in order to stop kids imbibing the ideology of capitalism from day one, and therefore believing that 'this is the way people are', rather than it being a specific ideological system. Introducing psychotherapy and its (still totally radical, depressingly enough) ideas into the school curriculum would be a start, so that the psychotic accumulation of wealth/things can be understood for what it is, rather than something to be aimed towards. Society gets better at a stroke - people stop punishing others and/or relentlessly seeking status at their expense as an alternative to sorting out their own issues. Or at least they get better at it). ***

Of course China is capitalist - but I don't understand your connection and how that follows from the previous sentence about 'Soviet-style tyranny' (which is a tired thing to say when you trot it out without any discussion of what life was/is actually like for people, certainly in comparison to Russia now under capitalism - the discussion needs to be had, not just buried under dismissive phrases. There's a great article on this that I annoyingly can't find at the moment. Sure lots of things were fucked up, but what happened post-1992 was worse for the majority). China's not more efficient at it necessarily, they're in the earlier stages and therefore can commit more human rights abuses/pay ultra-low wages with impunity. Like Britain during the Industrial Revolution, I guess.

A certain model of capitalism certainly 'won' on the world stage, but that connotes nothing about whether it is the best system for human beings to live under (it obviously isn't, as the most powerful people are the ones who are truly mentally ill in their pursuit of money at all costs. The world is run by people who would be considered psychotic addicts** in any other scenario, essentially. And they hold those keys to the cash box....).

** and this point has been made again and again by lots of people, not just by me and Bret Easton Ellis

*** my personal view is that the reason socialist revolutions never work is because the people leading them have studied Marx but never Freud (I oversimplify, I'm not a Freudian, but you get the point). Without the other, each one is effectively useless (Erich Fromm wrote well on this). It is of course interesting that both are still utterly radical 150 and 100 years after their main body of work (or however long it is) - shows how utterly reactionary Western society has become.
 
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craner

Beast of Burden
I don't think more Freud (one of the most specious thinkers to affect the Twentieth Century) would've really helped matters along; in fact, you could argue that when Marxists did get hold of him, it rather retarded (or neutuered) their praxis. For example, Althusser. The extent to which French neo-Marxist philosphers maimed the left in the 70s and 80s (and not just in France) is a remarkable and almost untold story. And that was partly to do with Freud.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
I don't think more Freud (one of the most specious thinkers to affect the Twentieth Century) would've really helped matters along; in fact, you could argue that when Marxists did get hold of him, it rather retarded (or neutuered) their praxis. For example, Althusser. The extent to which French neo-Marxist philosphers maimed the left in the 70s and 80s (and not just in France) is a remarkable and almost untold story. And that was partly to do with Freud.

I'd like to hear more of that story - I have no doubt that taking/retaining the wrong parts of Freud (the areas in which his thought was reactionary) could have catastrophic effects.

My intention was certainly not to defend Freud in total, or Freudians in general**, although I think to describe Freud as specious would be to disregard the fact that some of his ideas were remarkable and that he remains an incredibly important figure. My point was more than without reforming the internal reality of people, a reform of society can only ever be partial (and often lapses into failure/goes into reverse). And the reverse is true - no point of going through psychoanalysis if it doesn't encourage you to see society more clearly as well as yourself (as in essence, questioning presumptions about yourself will inevitably lead to a similar questioning of presumptions in a wider context). Or rather, you have a shit analyst if that's not the result.*

*The problem is, sadly, that so many psychoanalysts are unwilling to interrogate their own, overwhelmingly bourgeois, social circumstances (and social inequality in general). And what hope is there for the client if the analyst is in denial about 'difficult' things about him/herself.

** though in the scale of psychoanalytical cuntery, Lacan and his acolytes loom above everyone.
 
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baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Probably can at some stage - it looks interesting. I reject the idea of a single 'language of psychoanalysis', but that might just be the blurb and not what Gellman says. The splits within the discipline are legendary, in terms of language as well as almost everything else. One of the things I like about the best psychoanalytic writers is precisely that they are able to debunk the medicalisation of so-called 'mental health conditions', medicalisation which occurs partly through the privileging of a certain kind of scientificised language (the idea of 'schizophrenia' for example, has been hugely influential. And also of depression as some medical condition rather than just as a learned mode of behaviour through, primarily, families). I would say these terms from psychiatry have become far more mainstream than psychoanalytic concepts, a lot of which are barely acknowledged. Obv this may be completely not what the book is about, just a comment.

Also problematic: "makes unsubstantiated claims concerning its therapeutic efficacy". In my experience the claims made are often pretty conservative, and anyways, vary hugely within psychoanalysis as a whole.

From a reader review: "His description of transference is so awful I felt it dishonest in that it's description only served his argument. Although published in the 1980's, he also ignores recent developments and focuses almost singularly on Freud and his, very human, failings." May not be true, but in my experience critiques of psychoanalysis that purport to be addressing the whole discipline generally do something similar. Does he address Winnicott, Bowlby*, Fairbairn, Laing...? And having a terrible grasp of the basic concepts...well, that's quite typical in my experience among people who set out to rubbish the whole discipline. It's almost as if they've made their minds up beforehand!

* Attachment theory, or rather what I know of it as I'm hardly an expert, is full of concepts that I have found completely revelatory. They explain so much about, well, how people are. Who'd have guessed parents could be so influential!?
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
OK, so some ideas about slavery, freedom and all the rest.

First, the claim that "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free". A snappy soundbite, for sure, but is it true? I believe I am considerably more free than, say, most black people in Alabama were in 1800. Or the average woman in modern-day Iran - in fact, the average person in modern-day Iran, full stop. Or, you know, the North Koreans. Would you quibble with this? Or would you seriously claim that my conception of my own (relative) freedom actually makes me *less* free than someone who is literally a slave, or a subject in a totalitarian (be it fascist, theocratic, Marxist-Leninist...) state?

Another problem with it is that it's unfalsifiable, in that anyone's claim to freedom can simply be turned around and use as evidence for their unfreedom. This can equally well be done from a religious perspective as from an anti-capitalist one; I'm sure plenty of Christian fundamentalists are convinced the 99.5% of the world that doesn't follow their own narrow interpretation of that particular religion are enslaved by Satan. And Satan, being the Father of Lies, has as his most powerful weapon the illusion of freedom and self-mastery. Can you see the similarity in approach here?

And without wishing to get bogged down in a very well-trodden what-is-freedom debate, I think it is worth giving some thought to what we actually mean by the word. I'm sure I don't have to point out that absolute universal freedom is logically impossible in any society bigger than a single person living on a desert island. I'm not free to run out into the street and stab to death the first person I come across, or at least, in practical terms, I wouldn't be free for much longer if I did. This is a good thing, isn't it? Rights that ensure our freedom from the violence of others necessarily curtail the freedom to commit violence, at the very least. And in economic terms, rights that ensure our freedom from exploitation necessarily curtail the freedom to exploit; but where does 'exploitation' begin? Your definition seems to encompass any form of employment by a private enterprise...

The reason I mentioned 'Soviet-style tyranny' on the last page is a result of your extremely broad definition of "slavery" (which I still vehemently disagree with, BTW). You seem to be using the term to cover pretty much any situation whereby one person employs another. So in order to abolish "slavery", you'd basically have to ban all private enterprise other than self-employment - which is a bit ironic since self-employed people naturally tend to be economically quite right-wing.

Sorry if I've misconstrued you but that seems to be the inescapable conclusion of your argument.
 
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baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
But the quote in question says 'more hopelessly enslaved' rather than 'more enslaved'. It's making a very good point about how, if you can't even see the things enslaving you (construed broadly, including chains of the mind), then you have no chance whatsoever of ever escaping those binds. If you can at least conceptualise of what it is that is limiting your freedom (albeit that this is something massive), then you have a chance of eventually being free. Which is pretty obviously true, I think. Sure, it's expressed with a rhetorical flourish, but it makes a useful point.

You're right that claims to freedom/unfreedom are unfalsifiable, sure. Doesn't make it not worth discussing.

I think the points about employment are well worth considering. Of course they go against decades of hegemonic thinking, which makes it difficult to even raise these questions without people getting defensive.

"Self-employed people naturally tend to be economically quite right-wing" - I don't understand this at all. My aim would certainly be to be self-employed, and I don't think I'm going to suddenly turn into a Thatcher worshipper!

I'd simply say that (economic/wage) slavery is a (very long) continuum, which is the predominant mode of labour interaction in the world today. Of course I'm very near one end, so that the extent to which I am not free to do as I please is relatively minor (although still appreciable - most people in the UK have to work a certain number of days in order to afford to live, simply because that is the way the capitalist imperative of accumulation forces everything to be set up - it has little to do with genuine need. A three-day week would easily be possible if people had been driven less mad, and I'm sure you'd agree that this would give everyone appreciably more freedom.). Many billions are deep in slavery around the world - it's the logical consequence of a consumer capitalist system such as we have now.

Whatever language we wish to work, it is clear that the system we live under now (whether you want to call it capitalism, consumerism, or whatever) dramatically limits what people are free to do with their lives, by threatening destitution unless they comply with that system, and work five days a week (or however many necessary) to pay bills and buy the stuff they're/we're continually told that they must buy in order to 'be fulfilled'/assuage self-esteem difficulties etc etc (these goods of course being produced largely by people who are in the depths of slavery). And who are they (mostly) working to enrich? Usually not themselves to any significant degree (which would be the point of cooperative arrangements) - rather, the people who are, to all intents and purposes, their masters. It's a desperately poor vision of the possibilities of human beings, and one that seems to belong in 1813 rather than 2013. What happened to the better future?
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
OK, well about self-employment first: I read something recently about how, if you look at a breakdown of the British electorate by employment type, self-employed people are (by what margin, I don't know) more likely to vote Tory and less likely to vote Labour than the population as a whole. Which I think makes sense, in that people who voted Labour - at least, historically - did so because they were employees who wanted a bigger slice of the cake and because business regulations benefited them. Whereas, as an employer, you're in charge of the cake and regulation tends to make your life more difficult. It's all just simple Randian self-interest. :D

Though I guess there's a distinction between being self-employed in the sense of running a one-man show, e.g. being a freelancer or consultant of some sort, and of running a small business that employs other people. I guess once you get above a certain size of business you're more likely to be a PLC, in which case the boss is no longer self-employed but is in a sense an employee of the board of investors.

(Also, I think there's a fair stretch of the economic spectrum between being just right-of-centre and being a "Thatcher worshipper" - but anyway.)

About the necessity of a five-day week, or of doing paid work in general. Of course it would be nice if this were unnecessary, but - at the risk of asking a clichéd question - what's the alternative? Utopian socialist ideas tend to describe a future society where everyone works together for the common good, and where no-one is exploited by anyone else - but there's still work to be done. At the most basic level, crops don't grow and harvest themselves. Maybe if wealth were directly available to the workers who create that wealth rather than being extracted by investors then we could all work a three-day or two-day week and enjoy the same standard of living, I don't know, but work would still have to be done.

Edit: sorry, I see you mention a three-day week in your post above. Well if I could earn the same money working three days a week instead of five then that would be great, who wouldn't want that?!
 
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