‘Workers of the World Unite!’ Karl Marx
A lot of people discuss unions and free markets like they are available for all, without caring whether the goods and resources are actually worthy of purchase.
But these days, it seems like the goods are meant to break down so they have to be continuously remade. To keep grunt workers employed. Rather than skilled employees showing their craft.
And the goods sold most frequently are ones for our convenience, to speed up our day. Fast meals, fast cleaning, fast interaction (social media, esp text mssgs), fast driving…. So we can work longer hours.
The price depends on how often the product or service is used, how easily they can reproduce it/at what cost, how easily they can train and replace the workers. How much they can expect people will pay for the product and how much competition there is. How many benefits workers expect for producing these items/which often is dependent on the country’s laws where the workers live, and how easily/cheaply the raw goods can be shipped to them.
It leaves one wondering if craftsmanship is still critical in the market. Do they still want bespoke items? Or is mass production key in the free market? While it’s true that mass production is good for trade/convenience, it’s not good for tourism, which is the other big source of revenue in the world economy. But it seems like that has lost it’s hold in the minds of the world leaders.
For eg: How many countries have a McDonalds in their inner city? Or how many don’t? Do they serve Turkish, Columbian or Arabic coffee styles with their burgers? Do they have green or black tea? Do they change the sides and fixings? Do they have Kosher, Halal or vegan options? Do they serve the community they land in or global travellers?
It often seems like the workers that are treated well are ones who cannot be easily replaced. The rest are dropped off in vans from the nearest slum and chained to the assembly line. What do the groups of workers now do for the growth and safety of their workers, protections and services of their labour force? Do they still have mutual aid and benefit packages? Or is it more like a coral of grunts, easily replaceable. Therefore no real reason to invest in them.
And if a labour group actually has enough members to represent, they might form a political party. Such as the New Democrats in Canada. If they remain small, they are more likely to care about their workers. But as they grow, they become a corporation in their own right. Then they side with management more than the traditional values of the group. Though maybe we should be grateful they aren’t mobsters? Or are they? They seem more likely to reach for a Tommy gun than a worker’s aid form these days. And heaven help those who can’t work anymore. Check the garbage heap for them.
Maybe we need to go back to the cottage industry, so we can have variety and workers will seem less disposable. And at least families will see each other over the work and meal tables.
Because the laws and ‘common sense’ have shown they aren’t enough anymore.
Guilds – artisans gathering to determine the quality of their work and degree of workers – master, journeyman, apprenticeship
Unions – textile and engineering workers. Still quality
Colonies – artists living together to share materials and resources
Coops – insurance, materials, loans, market stalls, community kitchens and gardens