Welcome to CLAWS. We're a pro-leisure and anti-wage-slavery collective of people dedicated to answering the question "why work?"
We actively promote alternatives to the wage slavery mindset and what we call "The Cult of the Job" which equates a job with "making a living".
If you start asking yourself "why work?" you may discover the connection between wage slavery, misunderstandings of leisure, lifestyles based on consumption, corporate welfare, education that often amounts to little more than conditioning, and the global social and economic crises we are now facing. We hope that the materials we feature here will encourage critical thinking about such things.
Does a 40 hour work week constitute wage slavery?
Yes, if you feel you are trapped into it without self-sufficient alternatives. No, if you choose to do it because you want what it offers.
Richard Stallman made some interesting comments that touch on wage slavery and quality of life in his 29 May 2001 talk at New York University. I've included some excerpts here, and the full transcript can be found at
''...So I looked for another alternative, and there was an obvious one. I
could leave the software field, and do something else. Now I had no other
special noteworthy skills, but I'm sure I could have become a
waiter. [Laughter] Not at a fancy restaurant, they wouldn't hire
me, [Laughter] but I could be a waiter somewhere. And many programmers,
they say to me "the people who hire programmers demand this, this and
this -- If I don't do those things, I'll starve." It's literally the word
they use. Well, you know, as a waiter, you're not going to
starve. [Laughter] So, really they're in no danger...''
''So, I was looking
for some way I could make money through my work on free software,
and therefore I started a free software business. I announced "send me
$150 dollars, and I'll mail you a tape of Emacs." And the orders began
dribbling in. By the middle of the year they were trickling in.''
''I was getting 8 to 10 orders a month. And, if necessary, I could have
lived on just that, because I've always lived cheaply; I live like a
student, basically. And I like that, because it means that money is not
telling me what to do. I can do what I think is important for me to do.
It freed me to do what seemed worth doing. So, make a real effort to
avoid getting sucked into all the expensive lifestyle habits of typical
Americans. Because if you do that, then people with the money will
dictate what you do with your life. You won't be able to do what's really
important to you.''
Call me a slave of consumerism, if you like, but I sort of like having money, and (more to the point) the things you can buy with money. I could live like a student again if I had to, but I couldn't ask my wife to do that with me. Or my kids, when they come along. A better alternative to wage slavery is to do what you love doing and find a way to get paid for it (ie, do it as a job). -- RobertWatkins
I've been giving this a lot of thought. I hate the feel of GoldenHandcuffs
. My wife and I both freelance, so we could live anywhere. I've seen houses in rural Illinois that are cheaper than downpayments in Chicago. If we decided to bite the bullet, we could leave the city, set up in a small town, and cut our expenses by 60%. -- SeanOleary
(soon to be Farmer
Land prices are completely artificial since you could take the inhabitants of 10 cities of 100,000 and move them into a single city of 1 million. What would change would be 1) people would be happier because they would have more of everything available, 2) services would be cheaper, 3) less land and other natural resources would be used, but 4) prices would rise for no good reason. Prices on land in the city are higher because people like living in cities. And because of that, many people can't afford to live in cities even though in terms of physical resources it costs less to live in cities than in towns. Capitalism is so vile, it's incredible there are people who aren't socialists. (No, that's not capitalism. It's feudalism. Take away land monopoly--you'll have something like a free market, and the cost of living somewhere, anywhere, will drop substantially: http://www.henrygeorge.org.
) Apparently, if you eliminated capitalism, 60% of people's living expenses would disappear in a puff of smoke. And if you eliminate the car industry by creating CarFree
cities, and the military industry, and the bloated pharmaceutical industry and the corporate mass media ... what would you have left? 5 hours a workingweek probably.
How could all 1,000,000 peoples of the new super city be happy? Very likely some of those people liked the size of 100,000 population cities as the pollution is not a lot, the prices are not high, and the down town core is not littered with massive sky scrapers. Some folks like the townships of 25,000 people, while some like the cities with 100,000 while some prefer the bustling cities with millions of others. If we all were happier in big cities because of the reasons stated above, no small towns would exist. Big cities may be fun to visit, but I sure would not want to live in one.
The prices in cities are high for artificial reasons, as already stated above. Pollution is only a problem with cars which the CarFree
city remedies, as already stated above. And while North America is fond of skyscrapers, Europe isn't. You make no argument that hasn't already been refuted if you only understood what was being said. You merely claim that "some people like small towns" without providing a single reason why they would do so.
Perhaps one reason is that not everyone likes being crushed up against a million other people they don't know. Some people like having a little space. Some people don't like the rudeness and impersonality of cities. There are any number of reasons to prefer small towns over large cities.
For every advantage of small towns, there is a corresponding disadvantage. Cities are impersonal? Well, towns are prying and intrusive. Cities have too little physical space? Well, towns have too little mental space ("small-town" mentality is a clich� for a reason).
If that's true, then the reverse is also true--at best, you're just saying that each has its benefits and drawbacks. This still runs counter to your assertion that people would be happier in cities than outside them. I think you'd have to look at things like aggregate and per-capita psychological statistics, suicide rates, etc. to get a real, objective opinion--and intuitively, I don't think that cities would come out ahead, although I'm willing to be disproved.
I think that one of the important aspects of this page is to make you think
about wage slavery. View it as a mindset. Hold it in your mind for awhile. There are
alternatives, and they're not as unthinkable as they might first appear. -- BrentNewhall
Me, I'm considering become a juggler at ren faires. Probably make what I would at Mc
Donalds, but I wouldn't have to work. -- AnonymousDonor
No, actually, you would be working. You'd just be doing something that doesn't seem like work to you. -- BrentNewhall
First lets identify problems with the current system:
- You are either hired or not hired. There is no in-between, such as working half days for a while.
- Telecommuting is usually not an option (partially due to offshoring)
- Not much negotiating room, such as trading a window office for less wages, etc.
- Not allowed to rotate among multiple things to break up the monotony.
- Don't feel free to speak our minds
- Cannot compete with low-wage countries
- Minimum investment of at least something over half of 5/7ths of your waking life
My biggest problem is that minimum investment. Part-time workers don't get insurance or other benefits. If they have to buy their own, their pay may just barely cover it. On top of that, they're considered less valuable than full-time workers. And pay scales are targeted at full-time producing a decent standard of living. What's the basis of this determination of how much of our time we should
wage slavery is more about living an inhuman life and participating in the exploitative systems to survive. We don't have freedom to choose our values. We must choose those values that help us to make money. we cant ensure a safe environment for our loved ones. We can't protect them from exploitation, pollution, traffic accidents, etc.
See also: http://www.whywork.org