Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Anecdoting on My Underclass

Is it a given that only by bread and bludgeon will the world work willingly? Foodies with their fat-ass finance finagling, whose production for the masses amounts at most to a dream that one day some miserable few will rise beyond the reach of the nightstick, the working class symbol of which says that you will work because you have to eat, as acquisition by other means means being impoverished or imprisoned?

There seems shrinking sentiment among libertarians of late that universal basic income would be deleterious to the effectiveness of this approach. Compare this to the traditional libertarian attitude toward minimum wage and you'd think that the provision of minimal wealth to the under-masses would be for the greater economic good as long as it doesn't come directly from the employer. Still, it's a collective approach in contrast to their invisible Rand, not that classical liberals are by any means of one mind here, being classically liberal and all.

As far as I'm aware, solidarity as a slogan has roots in the labor movement. Whenever a reference to the rights and responsibilities of the citizen class, I've seen unity as the preferred nomenclature. Can this consensus and harmony and teamwork transfer from theoretical democracy and vocal ensemble and factory floor into each for the other?

Early in my arrival here I taught employees consisting of as stark a division as I can imagine is possible within gatherings of monoglots bound by a common native language. Not a division of labor, though I could observe the common difference in attitude between engineers and service personnel, to take one example, and of course among any of those between managers and supervisors and subordinates; not a division of race or gender, though this too showed obvious distinctions; not a division of politics, though it did become clear enough that, issue by issue, people will fall all over the ideological spectrum; but a chasm featuring former indoctrinates of a socialist regime on one side of the table and on the other sde the continued project of know-it-all undergraduates of the free market with social considerations of last resort.

Though hardly scientific, neither group as I could tell took work less seriously or was more prone to apathy or malingering, but I did discern that the one-time citizens of the GDR evinced an ethics with a view toward self-reliance for the sake of responsibility to the community compared to their opposite number who, while able to work together, did so more often just to get by, or get the upper hand.

So I ask again if the only rational way to keep labor cooperating is through motivations of individual survival or potential wealth.  My suspicion is that if you're raised to believe it, then, yeah, it is. The frequently cited generational gap between voters is far less significant here than the divide between those who couldn't imagine still going to work if they were independently wealthy and those who work because everyone else is counting on them.

And, oh yeah, among those employees from the east and the west, neither has cornered the market on cynicism about the way things are or are headed, though, in my opinion, those who have lived both sides have a more realistic view as to why.