Wage Slavery

Wage slavery refers to a situation perceived as quasi-voluntary slavery, where a person's livelihood depends on wages, especially when the dependence is total and immediate. It is a negatively connoted term used to draw an analogy between slavery and wage labor; highlighting unequal distributions of behavioral enrichment by focusing on similarities between owning and employing a person. The term wage slavery has been used to criticize economic exploitation and social stratification, with the former seen primarily as unequal bargaining power between labor and capital (particularly when workers are paid comparatively low wages, e.g. in sweatshops), and the latter as a lack of workers' self-management, fulfilling job choices and leisure in an economy. The criticism of social stratification covers a wider range of employment choices bound by the pressures of a hierarchical society to perform otherwise unfulfilling work that deprives humans of their "species character" not only under threat of starvation or poverty, but also of social stigma and status diminution.

The exchange of money and debt for work traces back to the disintegration of the "playful" work in hunter-gatherer gift economies and the establishment of prostitution as a "fundamental feature of human civilization". Similarities between wage labor and slavery were noted in ancient Rome by Cicero, while the pervasive practice of voluntary slavery in medieval Russia indicates the previous historical coexistence of slavery and voluntary choice. Before the American Civil War, Southern defenders of African American slavery invoked the concept of wage slavery to favorably compare the condition of their slaves to workers in the North. With the advent of the industrial revolution, thinkers such as Proudhon and Marx elaborated the comparison between wage labor and slavery in the context of a critique of societal property not intended for active personal use, while Luddites emphasized the dehumanization brought about by machines.

The introduction of wage labor in 18th century Britain was met with resistance – giving rise to the principles of syndicalism. Historically, some labor organizations and individual social activists have espoused workers' self-management or worker cooperatives as possible alternatives to wage labor.

Read more about Wage Slavery:  History, Treatment in Various Economic Systems, Opinions On Psychological Effects, Workers' Self-management, Criticism, Schools of Economics

Other articles related to "wage slavery, wage, slavery, wages":

Wage Slavery - Schools of Economics
... In mainstream, neoclassical economics philosophy, wage labor is seen as the voluntary sale of one's own time and efforts, just like a carpenter would sell a chair, or ... Post Keynesian economics perceives wage slavery as resulting from inequality of bargaining power between labor and capital, which exists when the economy does not "allow labor to organize and form a strong ...
Noam Chomsky/to Do - Thought - Politics
... socialism Marxism Marxism–Leninism Labor history Labor unions Labor laws Minimum wage Socialism Portal Politics Portal Part of a series on Libertarian socialism Concepts Anti-authoritarianism Anti-capitalism ... Participatory economics Planned economy Really Really Free Market Wage slavery Workers' self-management By region Africa Argentina Australia Brazil Canada China Cuba Ecuador England France Germany ... He contends that there is little moral difference between chattel slavery and renting one's self to an owner or "wage slavery" ...
Errico Malatesta - Political Beliefs
... Mutualism Participatory economics Planned economy Really Really Free Market Wage slavery Workers' self-management By region Africa Argentina Australia Brazil Canada China Cuba Ecuador England France Germany ...
Noam Chomsky/Comments From Chomsky - Thought - Politics
... Marxism–Leninism Labor history Labor unions Labor laws Minimum wage Socialism Portal Politics Portal Part of a series on Libertarian socialism Concepts Anti-authoritarianism Anti-capitalism ... economics Planned economy Really Really Free Market Wage slavery Workers' self-management By region Africa Argentina Australia Brazil Canada China Cuba Ecuador England France Germany Greece India Iceland Ireland ... He contends that there is little moral difference between chattel slavery and renting one's self to an owner or "wage slavery" ...
Refusal Of Work - The Concept of Wage Slavery
... Wage slavery refers to a situation where a person's livelihood depends on wages, especially when the dependence is total and immediate ... term used to draw an analogy between slavery and wage labor, and to highlight similarities between owning and employing a person ... The term 'wage slavery' has been used to criticize economic exploitation and social stratification, with the former seen primarily as unequal bargaining power between ...

Famous quotes containing the words slavery and/or wage:

    Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a very good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it, by being a slave himself.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865)

    I think it is a wise course for laborers to unite to defend their interests.... I think the employer who declines to deal with organized labor and to recognize it as a proper element in the settlement of wage controversies is behind the times.... Of course, when organized labor permits itself to sympathize with violent methods or undue duress, it is not entitled to our sympathy.
    William Howard Taft (1857–1930)