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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/3232/striking-for-more-hours/

Striking for More Hours

February 27, 2005 by

Fascinating item on poor Chinese workers who are demanding more working hours. US companies have cut hours back under pressure from lobbying organizations. (Via LRC)

{ 5 comments }

Yves Grassioulet February 28, 2005 at 7:07 pm

Yes, a crucial article that underlines the pitfalls of current conservative and post-marxist democracies and economies… that still believe in infinite growth. Outsourcing can higher company’s and state’s benefits when correctly “managed”. Nike pretend to follow occupational health and safety rules abroad, when they don’t realize that people are surviving, as in Western countries. They bring jobs, money power, faked freedom to people who are starving for comfort, sure they’ll ask for more! We’re all consumers in these parts. Current occupational sciences tell us that work environments can be risky for employees, people die at work, kill their boss, get depressed, mob, get injured or intoxicated… But it’s also a way to accomplish ourselves, bizarre? For fuck sake, most of us are being used for sole profit making, like in one big post-taylorist nightmare, when we know we could be free! This is where Chinese workers are heading, like us. Management sciences are fairy tales. Jonas’ principle of responsability and onthological ethics, the condition for buiding a true post-modern anarchist society.

Michael A. Clem March 1, 2005 at 12:26 pm

Okay…So can we say that the Taiwanese employees don’t know what’s best for themselves, and that therefore people like Yves should force them to work 60 hours a week or less?? Isn’t that the kind of paternalistic outlook freedom-lovers should try to avoid?

What’s lacking is an understanding of the situation that the Taiwanese workers are in, which is most likely not the same kind of situation American or European workers are in. Whatever else may need to be done to help these Taiwanese workers, I don’t think we should deny them the right to work (not necessarily the same thing as right-to-work laws).

Yves Grassioulet March 2, 2005 at 8:23 pm

Michael, have you read the article? It says: “The shorter hours have been requested by US companies so as to avoid criticism from various groups on long working hours. However, the mainly migrant workforce want to work longer hours so they can earn more.” So one hand, you have a private company starving for regaining a decent reputation, and on the other people who are looking for buyer power and probably struggling (like most of us). Fair enough, they’re not fighting for the same purpose. On one hand, you have profit makers, and on the other you get salaried people. Sure everyone better knows what’s good for her/him, that’s why we all ask for more. But more of what? Is money the condition of a free human being?

So, if I understand you, people that are asking for 100 hours a week should have the right to do so… Working 60 hours a week means spending 10 hours a day 6 days a week at work. Then you’ll have barely enough time to get some rest, recover from the previous days, spend your cash, share it, recover from it, and get back to the Grand Circus. But we’re all making the game rules and we’re all taking part. This is why we should reflect on the pitfalls of conservative capitalism. Not saying that we should impose any kind of paternalistic outlook upon what’s good or bad, but more asking ourselves whether salaried work have made us accomplished and responsible human beings. If so, in what way? But then, how to understand the struggling of democracies’ leftovers? Why do we all eat pesticide shit? Shall we call us colateral injuries? Money martyrs?

On the other hand, claiming that it should remain each once’s choice to be fucked without its conscious consent, for the sake of liberty (but which one are you talking about?), looks a bit short in perspective… And if they ask 100 hours a week, which means more than 14 hours a day all week long… Will that make them more free than before?

“Nah, again, it’s up to them, right because they’re free consumers, they shouldn’t know where they’re heading: burn-out, alienation and depersonalization. All what we need first is to try to better understand on how to explain their own socioeconomic environment and its consequences on their life dreams”

Would that be your freedom-lover moto?

Michael A. Clem March 3, 2005 at 10:47 am

They want to work 100 hours per week because, they, like most of us, are *not* in a free-market economy, and are not allowed to fully profit from their efforts. You don’t assume that Taiwan has a laissez-faire free market economy, do you?

Short of invading Taiwan, is there a practical solution to their problem, something that won’t leave them starving and/or unemployed? You forget that governments make the rules, businesses just play by the rules. My “freedom-lover motto” would be to get governments out of the rules-making business, so that people can discover that law is what is accepted, not what is imposed.

Yves Grassioulet March 5, 2005 at 8:42 pm

Ok, so you mean that in a free-market economy, they would automatically benefit from their efforts, whenever they would still be salaried people? Plus you would get governments out from the biz world. What is that? Some kind of a libertarian dream? You get on making profit without any regulation, while keeping governments alive? You would keep capitalism alive within a democratic state, away from any kind of corporate social responsability or ethics? “What is accepted” as a natural law? But “what is accepted” by whom in particular, money makers or salaried workers?

I would personally not trust “what is accepted” today in our capitalist economy, mainly because profit is simply the only factor that counts. This very short-term perspective, in addition to States’ own interests in companies’ benefit, probably explains most of world’s misery. Our capitalist democracies (let them be lefties/democrats or righties/repubicans) did not found the right answer to poverty, mainly because politics are still around sneeking for power, money and illusion.

Would market anarchy be the best alternative? Would some kind of post-modern anarchy fit for all freedom-lovers? And what about new kinds of economies that would heal the current desillusion, that would help starting de-growth? A gift economy, or a mix with what capitalism best brought us (a sense of comfort and importance as individuals)? Who would still believe in infinite growth, when we all know that it only legitimates those who are more interested in personal wealth and property? Do you believe we can build a fair humanity without raising the issue of collective wealth?

Do you feel free yourself in democracy?

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