Saturday, 13 December 2014

TFP Is Waxing Distributist?

Here is the set of paragraphs which temporarily gives me some hope:

That is to say that a job implies limited commitment on the part of employer and employee alike. It is an individualistic commercial contract based upon the rule of money as the standard upon which all is judged. Since the job is a mere unit of labor, the employer is free to shuffle these units around at will, even offshore. On their part, employees often assume an indifferent attitude towards their jobs—as willing pairs of hands—since their employment represents nothing more than the financial means to secure the pursuit of happiness and self-gratification.

What is missing is the human element that has been hollowed out of the economy. Our economy has taken on a mechanical character where people really don’t matter anymore since they are but numbers in bureaucratic databases or statistics in political campaigns.

Of course, there are times when people need “jobs” as temporary avenues to secure sufficient income to live. But the job should not be the norm. It cannot become a panacea for all our economic ills. Indeed, creating jobs for jobs’ sake tells people they are expendable.

Work is something different; it confers dignity and value. Because work involves a passion for something, it goes deep into the soul. Work is not all about money. It involves relationships, honor and loyalty that bind together employer and employee, producer and consumer, and even families and generations. Work looks for craftsmanship, profession and calling. It includes God since real work takes on a prayer-like character.

If employer is uncle and employee nephew, and employee is likely to inherit business when childless uncle leaves off, or until his children grow up or likely to get his uncle's aid in purchasing another business when the cousins take over the one he is employee in, that employee is very likely to be loyal and very unlikely to be a Trade Unionist.

This is more or less the norm of small business among Immigrants, very much North African ones, a little less usual among Black Africans, but still not uncommon. There was another norm in Europe.

An employee was usually not a relative of his employer, but he was one of some few employees at least in one's own generation, one of which had a hope to succeed his master as the better fitted to do so, by becoming after making a master piece (technical meaning here!) recognised by the guild as a master.

When on the other hand employer comes from something richer than middle class, one small set of employees from middle class and a greate set of employees from "working class" (i e blue collar), the employee is likely enough to see the work as a pile of work to be done. In order to get a wage.

So, TFP could naturally hence look for one of two solutions:

  • 1) more companies are small and employing essentially social equals of employer (even the cobbler's assistant being essentially equal to the cobbler, unlike his relation to ECCO directors and owners);
  • 2) workers loving their work and their employers even if the scale is not very human.

In the latter case, they are not far from the Henry Ford they pretend to denounce:

The term “job” calls to mind the scandalously inhuman statement of industrialist Henry Ford who reportedly said: “Why is it every time I ask for a pair of hands, they come with a brain attached?”

In the latter case, they are basically asking Henry Ford (or, since he died in the meantime, his likes today) to do serious efforts to convert every one who looks for a job and whose brain attached to the hands is a Trade Unionist brain into one looking for interesting work and as loyal to the Henry Ford's of today as the nephew to his uncle. And, unlike Chesterton, equally condemning of the Trade Unionist, since also asking worker to be so "converted" by his employer. They might even promote measures worse than his, like hoping psychology might deal with Trade Unionist minds.

As they themselves admit, providing a job is sometimes needed: "as temporary avenues to secure sufficient income to live." Precisely as some others, while living more modestly, use begging.

Well, if the jobs provided are of the type "one employer to fifty workers" or even worse "one executive director to 100 shareholders not actively involved to 1000 workers", then it is reasonable to assume that human nature being what it is, they will come looking for a pile of work to be done and hope the pile is not too large and the pay is not too small.

Trying to convert fifty workers from that attitude means refusing to try to convert their one employer into something half like understanding of the human condition, even when it comes disguised in the trappings of another class than his own.

Happy are those whose jobs correspond to their work—and there are still many on all levels of society.

I am that while writing. I am less so while begging to continue to write.

Btw, even in work as one one is concerned with for its sake and not just for the pay, realistically speaking, there are things like piles of work to be done. That is even true of home making.

Anyway, my own hope for my own case, getting some printer to take a risk (self-publishing as usually done is both costly beyond me and presumes one has a place to store the books), is by the nature of the case marginal. Tractors may develop so as to make farmers as rare as writers, but as far as I know, this is not yet the case, and historically speaking it is more like 100 farmers or more to each writer.

So, getting back from my own case to the general one ... I have given a proposal in which finding a new job corresponds to finding work that is usually both healthy and engaging - for the strong. A company closes down a factory because it is bankrupt? Well, then it cannot do very much about it. But a company closes down a factory because it finds cheaper labour elsewhere (the kind of meanness towards workers which corresponds to a Trade Unionist attitude sometimes verging toward meanness) ... i e it still has money ... well, they could try to buy off the workers discharged by buying them a piece of land, no commercial requirements, just they can live off the land and perhaps do good as farmers, collectively or individually as they want to.

Governments could also tell someone "ok, you produced in France, fine, you paid normal taxes for producers in France, no more, fine, now you want to produce in Morocco instead because wages are lower there, even that is fine ... but then you will, I suppose, find it fine as well if we fine you* for that by charging customs as well, right?"

That is not the same as Governments subsidising for tax money building projects all over the towns, where the labour often enough goes to immigrants who are vagrant builders. Especially the case when they were instead of building actually tearing down a Church.

But governments could also, as Chesterton and Lyndon LaRouche between them suggested:

  • 1) grant small business exceptions from regulations made by Trade Unionist lobbies since soundly applicable to big business (already done here : businesses are classed in small as 1 to 5 employees or simply self employed, medium size as 5 to 50 employees and large as above 50, and they have different regulations);
  • 2) grant prospective future owners of small businesses more favourable conditions, as in curbing or abolishing taking of interest on loans, or as price regulating so that saving to buy a business without taking a loan becomes easier - also a good idea for housing;
  • 3) simply free small business from regulations practically excluding them, as requiring equipment hygienically necessary only on larger scales, but of everyone even the smallest scale, as allowing unpasteurised milk to be sold in vicinity so it is sold between milking and noon same day (ok, exact hour may depend on climate and season, noon example is taken from hit Bombay).

Of course TFP is right that lots cannot be made by government efforts but needs to be done by individual initiative if it is to be done correctly.

For instance, I can relate to a man preferring to stay on the dole or on study loan rather than taking a boring job, what shall I say about people who cannot even envisage business starting (like I offer as a writer for publishers, or like cooperatives could start coffee rooms**)? Latin was more fun than taking a job in packing and unpacking, and it helps me time after time as a writer, but the dole (which is far more common than Latin studies!) is hardly a better position than a business ... Unless we are getting to the times when business owners (if that is what the passage in Apocalypse refers to) will be required to take the mark of the beast just in order to buy and sell (on a more than retail scale) - but can we be sure the passage means that***? And cannot - or could not up to recently - some more numerous business owners with fewer employers each postpone that sad event?°

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Lucy of Sicily

Source: TFP : The Big Pile of Work That Must Get Done
Written by John Horvat II / Created: 04 December 2014

* Pronounce with an accent intended to convey the meaning of "pun intended"! Unfortunately French lacks this word play.

** Can't resist mentioning they can also be pronounced Moor Eeffocs! If the words are seen from inside.

*** I see signs of some people wanting me to live off food alms and not be able to buy what I want in a shop. They may pretend to be saving me from drunkenness, but as per me being a writer you can count on alcohol being a minor of my expenses, not the major one.

° I might of course be as unrealistic as Jill Pole in The Last Battle ...

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