It’s barely even an analogy honestly, they’re essentially the same thing – they differ more in degree than kind, if that
Imagine if you had a slave and you wanted to get the most income possible out of them – it just makes sense to let them go work at their highest valued profession, and you’d want to incentivize them to work as hard as possible so you wouldn’t want to just take 100% of what they earned – there’d be some revenue-maximizing point, higher depending on how much they were earning, probably
Now realize that you’re a government and you have a taxpayer
This is literally now slavery worked in places in the Caribbean in the 18th century.
This is a classic instance of the worst argument in the world.
When people think about slavery they imagine:
– being unable to choose what work you do, or when you do it
– being subject to unimaginable physical privation
– hard work not giving you any reward
– being discarded when you are too old/sick to work
Most of the modern welfare state is designed to reduce this, by providing unemployment benefits, pensions, socialised medicine, labour laws, etc.
You might disagree with the existence of these policies for other reasons, but trying to equate welfare with slavery is just ridiculous bullshittery.
Going the other way, it’s basically excusing slavery! It fits right in with the idea that owners wouldn’t beat their slaves because that would be damaging their own assets; owners beat their slaves all the fucking time, and people’s revealed preferences demonstrate they would prefer any other kind of work to slavery.
This whole argument is asshattery of the finest order.
There were and are more forms of slavery than 19th century American plantations. I believe Roman slavery actually lacks all of the characteristics you list, does that mean it’s the worst argument in the world to say the Romans has slavery?
@sadoeconomist at least was directly making an analogy with slavery in the US, but yes there were different kinds of slavery across history, with different levels of unpleasantness for the people involved. The actual degree of unpleasantness is an important factor in any assessment of these systems! Equating them all based on a hazy notion of self-ownership makes slavery a meaningless term, and a pointless comparison.
If you had to choose between being a wage-slave in a modern welfare state and being an actual goddamned slave in the common understanding of the term, most people would consider that a fairly significant choice to make.
But but eternal and unbendingprinciples