Are corporations and the 40 hour work week the modern form of slavery?

Capitalism is broken and very hard to fix, if you are shlubbing for the man in a 40 hour work week your days are numbered and the herd is thinning. As soon as they can farm your position out to the cheapest worker they will, won’t be long before white collar works starts going to the third world the way factory work has.

[quote=“Shaktipalooza”][quote=“headhonchoII”]The 40 hour work week was one of the great achievements of western labour movements.
Now it is being rolled back in many countries.

What makes one a slave is either abject poverty OR the inability to save a good whack more than you earn.[/quote]

I would agree with that. 40 hours and the OP thinks it’s slavery??? Really???

Americans, and ever more people around the world, are very good at putting themselves into debt slavery. I know many people in the US making well into six figures. If they were to lose their jobs they’d be just a couple of missed mortgage payments from the streets. Amazing when you think about it.

I do think debt as a business model is encroaching nearly every aspect of life. Even software companies are moving towards a subscription model for their products. You NEVER own the software, you just pay a monthly service fee for its use.[/quote]

That is one thing I hate in the United States. Everything you need is a contract. People expect you to agree to pay for future goods and services you may not want telephone contracts, rental contracts, etc.

Some people won’t even allow you to break a rental contract with two months notice.

Won’t be long? Hell, it’s well under way. That’s what brought us to Taiwan in the first place.

If self employed, you pay the overhead with the first 40 hours. The hours after that is the profit.

My definition of slavery in the context of this thread: 1) having to be in a certain place at a certain time doing a certain task and wearing “task clothes”, and 2) having a boss aka master.

Regardless of the number of hours/week, satisfy those two conditions, and it’s the modern form of slavery, even for professionals. Wall St. lawyers are slaves, esp. the jr. lawyers slavishly clawing their way to elusive partnership.

Employment law is still taught in law school in “master / servant” terms.

[quote=“trubadour”]You old hacks!
It’s always the same - some dude comes along and says “hey, maybe this ain’t right” and all the old hacks pile in to say “oooooo, its better than in MY day” “in my day we’d of LOVED to [insert daily reality]” like they never even saw the Life of Brian.
I’m with the OP, and the OP is right. In fact, up until you sign an employment contract you are free, assuming you don’t have to pay rent and you can live on fresh air and rain water. But, after you sign, you really do sign your freedom over for the amount of hours required. Actually there is a very long and complicated history involved until we get to the point where ‘liberty’ is something that people have the right to buy and sell, and yet more until we get to the point when that state of affairs become so normal. You sell yours. You sell your freedom for your wage. The 40 hour work week is indeed one of the modern forms of slavery.[/quote]
Sod off, ye daft bugger! You Scoti . . . oh, wait, you’re not Sandman. WTF.

The “40 hour work week” is a product of the Great Depression. Prior to that, people worked six days a week, and all the hours they could be flogged into. See, for example, Lochner v. New York, one of the great Constitutional Law cases, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state law limiting bakery employees to a mere 60 hours per week was unconstitutional, because it interfered with the freedom to contract.

But in the GD, the government tried to promote a “share the work” ethic – 40 hours a week meant that businesses would have to hire two people to do the job that one was already doing. And the U.S. Supreme Court got browbeaten into letting FDR do whatever socialistic crap he wanted, which is how we ended up bankrupt and enslaved to out-of-control state bureaucracies.

Nowadays, the special little flowers out there all think that even 40 is too much, and they should be able to pull a France – 35 hours a week, retire at 60, get full pension benefits, and screw the Germans out of their hard-saved capital in order to finance it all.

So, anyway, 40 hour workweeks are sort of the opposite of slavery.

Won’t be long? Hell, it’s well under way. That’s what brought us to Taiwan in the first place.[/quote]

True, but Taiwan really isn’t third world, and you aren’t doing your work for wages that you deem completely unacceptable (maybe you could get more back home, but you came here to make money). What I am talking about is shit like entire accounting firms doing all their basic CPA shit (tax returns etc…) in India and places where you can get people with BComs or BBAs in accounting and pay them peanuts. ‘Functional’ white collar jobs will become a thing of the past in Western countries much the way factory work is.

I agree with DD, white collar work is under threat too. A lot of admin jobs have been eliminated by software already where the bosses get you to key in your own data and it generates the reports for you IE CRM systems. Few managers have secretaries or assistants in the West. In Taiwan they still have people working these positions. I still use a travel agent too in Taiwan and it saves a huge amount of hassle. In our European HQ they often have managers running around booking the flights themselves, getting quotes, arranging visas, it’ wastes a lot of time. Mainly it’s about frontloading the work processes.

I don’t think it’s possible or useful to outsource everything to India though. You can see that call centers still exist in the West and some companies have stopped moving their call centers overseas.

I wonder will major sales functions ever get outsourced? In theory they might but with sales you have to develop relationships with customers and that’s not easy to outsource efficiently. Certainly automated intelligent agents could make routine many sales tasks.

The same with marketing, marketing is already outsourced to contractors but Indians and Chinese don’t always have the cultural insight or understanding to fit into the Western mindset.

Pharmaceutical outsourcing is huge and CROs are appearing all over Asia.

I see medical outsourcing already growing very rapidly though, dentists in eastern Europe, plastic surgery in Thailand and Korea, heart surgery in Singapore, it’s just the start of a huge trend. Maybe whole countries could become giant nursing homes for elderly people in the future, a bit more advanced version of how Florida and Spain attract retirees, problem is countries in Asia are pretty far from the West for a quick visit.

Teaching and college education has got to be a big one once telepresence becomes more realistic. It’s already big but could become huge one the technology moves to the next level.

David Graber asks, ‘why haven’t factories of robots replaced factories of humans?’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QgSJkk1tng&feature=player_detailpage#t=1285s

“technology had to be shifted away from the old materialist base…towards less socially threatening industries” aka that work occupies the worker and keeps him under control. This is also relevant to what Marx said increasing mechanisation means declining profits for the capitalist.

This is a really interesting interview with David Graber again, who explains the discoveries he made in his research for his book Debt: The First 5000 Years - a fascinating read…

[quote=“Impaler”]
Sod off, ye daft bugger! You Scoti . . . oh, wait, you’re not Sandman. WTF.

The “40 hour work week” is a product of the Great Depression. Prior to that, people worked six days a week, and all the hours they could be flogged into. See, for example, Lochner v. New York, one of the great Constitutional Law cases, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state law limiting bakery employees to a mere 60 hours per week was unconstitutional, because it interfered with the freedom to contract.

But in the GD, the government tried to promote a “share the work” ethic – 40 hours a week meant that businesses would have to hire two people to do the job that one was already doing. And the U.S. Supreme Court got browbeaten into letting FDR do whatever socialistic crap he wanted, which is how we ended up bankrupt and enslaved to out-of-control state bureaucracies.[/quote]

I’ll take that as a compliment!
I’ll look into the history of the 40 hour work week.
Meantime, I think you might find Graber interesting.

I’m an extra-special little flower. I think that 20 is too much and that I should have been able to retire at 30 with full benefits. And I favor whatever economic arrangement benefits me the most and inconveniences me the least. Moreover,

[quote]. . . until I get something from somebody, sometime,
I don’t intend to do nothin’ for nobody, no time.[/quote]

Excuse me for being dumb, but I’d really like to know how to save more than I earn.

Excuse me for being dumb, but I’d really like to know how to save more than I earn.[/quote]

All you have to do is buy my book and attend my seminar and you too can learn the secret of how to save more than you earn, all for a reasonable fee, of course.

Well spotted, spend I should say. But GITs book sounds intriguing , where can I subscribe to your newsletter.

Apparently, excessive education won’t make you earn more.
Majority of the asian population believed that excessive education means higher income but what they didn’t realize is the debt that comes with excessive education.
Self employment may be a good choice if, only if you guys wanted stable income fast.
Self employment maybe hard but the outcome will be plentiful.

The interview I posted above was broadcast on PBS. No subscription necessary!

Some years back I was watching a documentary on slavery in the pre-Civil War South. I was surprised to learn just how common it was for white slave owners to rape their female slaves. I had known about such rapes of course, but I imagined it to be the acts of a minority of depraved men. But it was widespread, and the evidence is in the white genes that nearly every black American carries. It was also illegal for slave couples to marry, but secret marriages occurred nonetheless - meaning that slave husbands had to stand by while their wives were routinely raped by their masters. It would be bad enough, being forced to labor for all hours of daylight, beaten and lashed if you try to rest of disobey, then quickly tend to your own patch before all light is lost to provide your own meager substinence, only to be dragged away and raped, or watch this happen to your wife, night after night.

Fast forward a couple of centuries, and most Americans are spending their days working in climate-controlled offices, protected by a host of labor, safety, and environmental laws, free to quit anytime they please and find some other way to make a living, and with evenings, nights, weekends, national holidays, and vacations to look forward to.

I’d say the answer is no, corporations and the 40 hour work week are not slavery in any form. To call it such is to render the term meaningless.

Put well into perspective there, Goa Bohan.

You don’t even have to go back in history, abject poverty and slavery is alive and well in many forms all over the world. Even in Taiwan the 40 hour workweek does not really exist for most private workers.