You're Working Too Fast!

by Andy Carloff - Date: 2009-12-26 - Word Count: 692 Share This!

"Very often the idler is but a man to whom it is repugnant to make all his life the eighteenth part of a pin, or the hundredth part of a watch, while he feels he has exuberant energy which he would like to expend elsewhere. Often, too, he is a rebel who cannot submit to being fixed all his life to a work-bench in order to procure a thousand pleasures for his employer, while knowing himself to be far the less stupid of the two, and knowing his only fault to be that of having been born in hovel instead of coming into the world in a castle."

--Peter Kropotkin,
"The Conquest of Bread," 1892, Chapter 12, Part IV

In every age, there has always been massive unemployment. There have always been teeming crowds begging for work, hoping for even the lowest paying job. Even when the economy is soaring, and profits are peaking, there are still billions without bread, millions without homes. Whether founded on imperialism or shared wealth, all social orders have had the ugly characteristic of want and poverty.

Why is there so much misery? Why is it that there is so many who beg for work, when there are so many empty lands? Every age, we invent new tools to replace the old, and our ability to grow food increases. The labor of one farmer today can produce food for themselves and a hundred families. We continue to reduce the amount of time it takes to mine ore, to harvest wheat, to shape molten iron into every useful form. But why is it that there are still so many who want work, so many who are begging to cultivate the land beneath their feet?

"A panic comes, industry is paralyzed, because with machinery you can produce so much more than your paltry wage will allow you to consume. You make all things in great abundance, but you can not consume them. You can only consume that part of your product which your wage, the price of your labor power, will buy. If you cannot consume what you produce, it follows that in time there is bound to be overproduction, because the few capitalists cannot absorb the large surplus. The market is glutted, business comes to a standstill and mills and factories shut down. At such a time Chicago is hit, and hit hard; and you workingmen find yourselves out of employment, a drug on the market. Nobody wants your labor power, because it cannot be utilized at a profit to the capitalist who owns the tools, and when he cannot use your labor power at a satisfactory profit to himself he doesn't buy it."

--Eugene Victor Debs,
"Class Unionism," 1905

The problem is that the business owner always takes away a great profit from his possession, leaving the the worker with a pitiful wage. The destitute laborers spend almost every penny of their pay, to satisfy their necessities, and to have some luxury to forget their daily, eight-hour sacrifice. But the individual capitalist swims in wealth, and they horde it up. The workers, unable to buy all that they can produce, soon are making too much. Then, some of them are laid off, and these, too, cease to reliable and consistent consumers. Consumption falls again, the work force is decreased, this repeats, and then we have the beginning, cyclical effects of a recession.

Part of the difficulty is that you are working too fast! If you didn't produce so much, they would be able to hire back the other laborers. The real essential problem is that industry is owned and organized by the wealthy class -- it is directed towards the profit and interest of the landlord and the banker. But the practical, everyday problem is that every laborer makes so much more than they personally consume. Of course, you'll get fired if you slow down... unless all workers slow down together. Our power is best realized in the one, big union!

"Only if he is willing to accept of the hazards of living by his faith or his wits can the man without money avoid living as a slave to the clock."

--George Woodcock, 1944
"The Tyranny of the Clock"


Related Tags: fatigue, stress, employment, career, work, labor, employee, employer, toil, exhaustion, restless, employed, tense, overworked, exhausted, employ

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