argumate:

discoursedrome:

collapsedsquid:

discoursedrome:

I guess also the problem I have with “people who can fire workers are class enemies” is that, like, wanting job security is totally reasonable, but in practice if you give a union free rein they handle this either by rendering their business nonfunctional, or by intentionally making hiring nearly impossible and having dead-end makework positions where people who would otherwise be fired can get shunted into. Neither of those is really solving the underlying problem, they’re just pushing it around. One of the main sources of anti-union resentment in the general public is their reputation for protecting the positions of incompetent people so that they can’t be replaced by competent people (often because the competent people have the wrong sex, race, or religion), and outright saying “you can’t be part of this or any union if you can fire people” seems likely to exacerbate that, especially if you can be in the union if you have the power to prevent someone from being hired.

You also just run into the problem here that the tendency toward diffusing responsibilities and relying on the “wisdom of markets” won’t stop with firing – you already see workplaces where everyone is encouraged to think of everyone else as their rivals and try to get them fired, and the obvious next step would be to diffuse responsibility for hiring and firing decisions via some sort of vote/credit system, subject to predetermined number and rate of firings from on high. If only someone can figure out a way to determine how good it was to fire someone, you could start giving out bonuses for getting people fired, like they do with recruitment!

Firing is sort of the original sin of capitalism in socialist thought, the fact that you can be separated from what makes you able to make a living, and the reserve army of labor is the way that exploitation happens.

In this school of thought the idea of stack ranking, that you should fire 10% of your employees every year is a formalizing and individualized way of how the economy as a whole works. Employees get sucked into zero-sum competition with other employees and potential employees.

I think then the objection I have to this is that if you want the thing that enables you to make a living to be inalienable, it’s not viable to make that thing something like “I’m a metalworker” unless you’re prepared to put all your points into exclusionism. These things change naturally, and when unions try to prevent them from changing it often just leads to the change happening all at once in a seismic shift that ruins everybody’s lives. (I like syndicalism in theory but my main wariness toward it is that it looks like blue-collar guildism, and this is how guildism went as well, right?)

It seems to me that if you take the idea of all workers having a shared class consciousness seriously, you should focus less on preventing people from being fired and more on making it safer to be fired, making it easier to change what type of worker you are without destroying your life. If the unemployed are non-people in a framework, the framework is fucked, and making it harder for the people under one’s protection to become unemployed won’t unfuck it.

“the most efficient workers should own the means of production”

Firing is sort of the original sin of capitalism in socialist thought, the fact that you can be separated from what makes you able to make a living, and the reserve army of labor is the way that exploitation happens.

That’s not Capitalism though. If you’re completely alone on a desert island, living by your wits and knowledge of the land, you can still be separated from that and die slowly by starvation through e.g. an accident that costs your hand, or a lightning-strike that burns down the orchard you have carefully grown over the last five years.

And even if we exclude that and only talk about “jobs” – that’s not Capitalism though. People got fired before Capitalism was invented, in the Mercantilist systems that went before. The classical case is a maid on a large farm who gets fired and has to seek into the city because she gets pregnant, or a farmhand who gets turned out because he’s too obviously fooling around with the maids.

And even if we exclude that and talk only about the period after capital-C Capitalism is around, let’s say 1950 forward, that’s not Capitalism though. The Soviets famously had trouble in early WW2 because they fired their entire officer corps out of a cannon –

And if we exclude all that, ok, yes, in the Capitalist system, people can decide you charge more for your labor than they gain from obtaining your labor and decide to end that relationship. Notice that if the capitalist in this relationship wasn’t there, you’d never have had that relationship in the first place so I’m not seeing how getting rid of them will help anything.

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