Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fries with that? Or, Do we Hang together?

There has long been a debate about how slaves were treated in colonial America, records kept by slave holders suggested that they were grossly under fed. Archaeological digs however suggest that the 'masters' provisions were only a supplement to what slaves could grow for themselves, or harvest from the wild. But those were different times, land was plentiful, extensive gardens presented no problem, game and wilderness plantlife were plentiful.

Today we live in a much more dystopian landscape. While today's slave might be called a 'sales associate' or 'your server', they must still try to find enough to eat. This sage advice comes from the McDonald's 'employee only access' website, "to keep from feeling hungry, break up your available food into small portions and spread them out". Ronald McDonald doesn't even bother to have a canned food drive for his employees like the starving workers at Walmart get.

Mickey D's does have a number of tips for how its employees can get government assistance, no mention of the fact that a business that profits billions should at least be able to feed its slaves. In fact McDonald's could double its wages and only add 17 cents to a Dollar Menu item. At this pay scale McDonald's employees could afford to eat and have disposable income to stimulate the rest of the economy.

This "workers should have enough to eat" concept isn't in the billionaire's game plan, the whole point of high unemployment is to drive down wages to the point that people will not just work for food, but that in order to have enough to eat they are willing to kill those who oppose the billionaires. Jay Gould, a 19th century Railroad Baron, is quoted with articulating this concept, he said, "I can hire half of the 'working class' to kill the other half." It really wasn't a new concept with him, this has always been the Conservative way. Liberals fought the British East India Company in the 18th century and the Confederates in the 19th over this very idea.

Conservatives constantly conflate 'free markets' with a 'free people', citing Communism and other nonsense. In an actual 'free market' you can buy slaves, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars were fought and won by Liberals over this concept of 'freedom'. It has always been an imperfect implementation, but now we're in danger of going back to a truly 'free market'. You could wake up in factory complex with the slogan, "Work will set you free" above the gate, ("Arbeit macht frei" in German). The sign above the drive-though might not actually say, 'Arbeit macht frei, and would you like fries with that'. But that is exactly what they mean.

Twitter @BruceEnberg -  "we will all hang together, or hang separately" - attributed to Benjamin Franklin


macnow said...

Of course it would be even worse if said future employee of McDonald's runs frantically out screaming:

"It's people. The Big Mac (Soylent Green) is made out of people. They're making our food out of people. Next thing they'll be breeding us like cattle for food. You've gotta tell them. You've gotta tell them!"

Haven't posted in a while, but boy when I do...

: - }

Roman Law said...

Bruce this is all sport to the entrenched Oligarchs who are so used to having things their way. But for how much longer isn't that the question?

After all Rome, like our present empire, was built on the backs of its slaves and the Oligarchs of their time, much like the ones we have today, blindly believed the party would last forever until heathens with pitch forks decided they had enough.

Ronmac said...

All this talk about slaves getting enough to eat has got me thinking.

Years ago I was in a place called Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania.

Ujiji was famous as the 1871 meeting place between Stanley and Livingston ("Dr Livingston, I presume.")

But it was famous for something else too. Ujiji was a staging ground for the Arab slave traders. For hundreds of years, slave caravans wound their way out of the hills of Ujiji and marched hundreds of miles to the island of Zanzibar on the coast where they were sold off as slaves to the kingdoms on the Persian Gulf. (Estimates vary between 11-18 million).

Very few ever survived these overland treks. All the better. That meant the traders could command top dollar for the survivors, the "weaker links" having been weeded out, leaving only the strongest and the fittest.

Bleeding heart liberals may view this as cruel. But look at it from another perspective. This is simply the "free market" working it's magic, bringing a very desirable product to the marketplace -in this case "household associates" who could provide many years of service without breaking down.

Applying this principle today, a reduction in the number of "sales associates" could in turn could lead to increased wages. In every dark cloud there is always a silver lining.