What’s wrong with employment?
For almost 300 years and until today, when Joe wants Bloe to work for him, he hires Bloe and pays him a wage or a salary. (I shall appreciate if you explain to me the difference between the two.) Such hiring is taking place in all developed countries, while in less developed countries different forms of slavery and feudalism still exist. When someone is hired, his labour is utilized in the mode of employment; let’s call it an employment mode of labour utilization’, as opposed to the former feudal mode and still former slavery mode.
While the introduction of the employment mode of labour utilization was a step forward from the feudal mode, let alone from the slavery mode, because it ushered in a precipitous rise in human productivity with the ensuing rise in the general standard of living, three hundred years later the employment mode of labour utilization turned into a major obstacle to further progress of human productivity and general wealth.
Contrary to the view of those who overlook the historical perspective, both slavery and the subsequent feudalism started as beneficial modes of labour utilization at their respective times. Both ushered in higher levels of human productivity, each lasted for centuries and millennia and both were abolished because the next mode of labour utilization has proven itself to be more productive and safer to oversee.
So why was employment so efficient when it started and why it is now due for the scrap hip?
The first employee was a hungry beggar from the village, where he left behind his elder brother who inherited the family home and the patch of land rented from the landlord. The beggar was in possession of nothing beyond the shirt on his back. When the owner of a factory invited him from the cold of the street to work for a wage, the beggar saw the employer as his benefactor. The long working hours in filth and danger of the factory were an improvement in comparison with the cold and hunger of his former homeless life. The new employee earned the money to rent a corner and eventually raise a family. He did not perceive his labour as of any value because this labour only acquired its value with its employment. The employee perceived his labour as no investment and his entire wage as his newly acquired profit. The employee felt that he makes a profit on no investment. This employee did not revolt, neither against his working conditions, nor against long workdays, and did his best on the job. His alternative to employment was his former beggar’s life.
This is not the employee’s alternative today. Weekends, holidays, unemployment insurance and welfare, medical care, severance pay and his children education helped the employee to post a value to his labour. When employed, the employee is paid for his labour the market value of this labour on the labour market. Any profit this labour produces above this market value goes to the employer.
A beginner on the job always tries his best, because his position is uncertain and because he may perceive, rightly or mistakenly, that the labour he sells to his employer is short of its market value. However, with time on the job, as the employee feels more steady on the job and as he gains proficiency in his work, his desire to raise his productivity weakens. If he does not stop raising his productivity, his peers, and often his supervisor, make sure he does.
A thick book can be written about the troubles the phenomenon of limited productivity causes to our society ! that besides the direct consequence: stagnation of general wealth.
This is what is wrong with employment.
Hence, one day one employer will realize that and instead of usurping the profit on his employee’s labour, will leave it to the producer of this labour ! the worker. This worker will stop being an employee: he will stop selling his labour for the wage. He will invest his labour into the enterprise with the view to make as much profit on it as possible. Now the worker turns into an entrepreneur who utilizes the company’s means of production to produce profit on his labour. Now the worker and the company become partners to the production process (albeit not to the company itself) and make the same rate of profit, each on their respected properties: labour of the worker and means of production of the company. Such an arrangement does not limit the progress of human productivity any more. The general wealth will start growing again and a host of social troubles that became inherent to our society will fall to the sidelines.
You may want to continue familiarizing yourself with the post-employment, entrepreneurial mode of labour utilization from my website: ProfitOnJob.com