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People are slaves to the modern workforce

Photo: Genessa Gutzait· The Sentry

A man is only worth his weight in labor

The Industrial Revolution, which occurred between the late 18th and early 19th centuries, changed the face of labor forever. Large corporations were able to use technology in place of workers that not only cut their workforces in half but allowed them to pay those that remained less money. 

While the Industrial Revolution was a long time ago, it is the reason the state of work in modern America is the way it is today. For most people, when asked if they are happy with their job, the resounding answer is no. Even worse, people are paid next to nothing for their misery.

The problem is this: they have no other choice. It sounds wonderful to declare that those who work hard and don’t give up will achieve their goals, but in practice, this is not always the case. It’s like children playing sports who are told they can go professional one day if they work hard enough, but in reality, fewer than two percent of NCAA student athletes go on to play at the professional level. Similarly, only a tiny percent of Americans can be CEOs, presidents of successful companies, or even semi-successful business people. 

Because money rules all, American society is one that values people as workers rather than individuals. When people are asked about themselves, their initial response is, invariably, what they do for work—as if mankind exists on Earth solely to sit in a cubicle, crunch some numbers, make cheap toys, etc. Everyone knows a person who has retired but found that they were bored and no longer had any meaning in life and so decided to come out of retirement and return to work. 

The Industrial Revolution rid most jobs of satisfaction and pride, and the shadow that stands behind the whole thing is the shade of an ideology, an ideology that declares people are not people but laborers to be exploited for profit, batteries to be used until they are too old and ineffective—at which point they are discarded, to be replaced by a new battery—perhaps, a college student fresh with their degree whose fate will only ride out the same cycle. 

The current labor system has managed to convince the vast majority of America that this is the only way and that those who oppose it are evil, such as was the case with the Vietnam War. Americans were continually fed propaganda about the evils of communism, while in reality, soldiers were fighting so that rich capitalists did not have their wealth threatened by a worker uprising at home.

This is not to suggest that communism is the way forward because time and time again it has been proven not to be. However, Marx’s diagnoses of the issues surrounding capitalism remain accurate today, and they must be taken into account when economic reform inevitably comes.

If the American people ever want to be anything more than slaves to this tyrannical economic beast, every person must resist being exploited like a machine and demand that they be treated as a human being. As Hunter S. Thompson once said, “It is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it.”

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