Capitalism is not freedom. Capital is a condition of freedom under capitalism.
What does that mean?
In order to have “freedom” of choice, you must have capital (wealth/property).
For example, those with capital can choose not to work.
Those without capital must find employment in order to buy food, clothes, shelter, etc. or to maintain acceptable living standards, although workers often live in poverty anyway. This means they have to sell their ability to work. The capitalist exploitsthe worker.
Employment does not provide workers with a wage that would allow them to accumulate enough capital to leave employment. This is a form of coercion, which holds the capitalist economy together.
In other words, the purpose of the wage is to ‘keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer’.
When I took the Myers Briggs personality test a couple years ago, I was typed as an INTJ. I was not shocked when I scored a perfect 100 in Introversion, Thinking, and Judging.
But I had no knowledge of the Myers Briggs test or other personality typing test back when I worked in customer service. I only knew that I was very different than other co-workers.
I always managed to fake sympathy and compassion for my customers. Despite being very introverted, I won multiple “Best Customer Service” awards at multiple places I worked. Because of my excellent work, I was quickly promoted.
I moved to a new city, and applied to become a shift manager at a major retail store. I included my awards in with my resume when job hunting, so it didn’t take long for me to get called in for an interview. During the interview, I was asked “So how good are you at customer service and leadership?”. I responded, “About as good as you would expect someone with that many awards.”
I don’t think the interviewer realized I had very skillfully dodged the question.
I was hired. My crew consisted of 20 people who were going to be reporting to me.
During the orientation, I walked them around the store and showed them various jobs they could be scheduled to perform. I ended the tour at the trash compactor. Smelly place! Handling trash is not a glamorous job. I concluded the orientation by telling them my method for assigning them jobs during the day.
“All I ask is that you give me an honest days work. That means clocking in on-time, working your entire shift, and not creating problems that require someone else do your job for you.”
“If you show up early for work, I will let you pick whatever open position you like. You can do the job you want because you showed up early.
If you show up on-time, you do the job that I assign to you. I will try to schedule you for a job you like, but I can’t always guarantee you will get that job, because someone might get here ahead of you and take it.
If you show up late for work, I put you on trash detail.”
It was an amazing, thinly veiled threat. And it was one that I frequently used on employees who showed up late.
I was a manager that people feared, but I very quickly got the results the store manager wanted. Before long, the employees who came in late decided to quit their job - most of them complained about their horrible manager when they quit - and others were hired.
It didn’t take long before I had cherry-picked the best 20 employees, and I had them honed into a great team! All of them got there on-time or earlier and picked the nice jobs (door welcomer, shelf stocker, print center, phone kiosk). Everyone was happy. I got awards, and various employees on my team frequently got customer service awards.
But Who Does Trash?
I am 100% introvert. I can put on a smile and fake it, but dealing with people wears me so thin! Because I fake it so well, I get awards for great service. I detest customer service!
So I did the trash. When I did my personal tour of the store, that was the job I picked out for myself, and I found that I liked doing trash.
Customers avoid the trash guy! No one walks up to a guy pushing 500 pounds of garbage around and asks for help. I never had to field questions about where to find a Christmas toy that was somewhere between aisle 5 and 500. I didn’t have to deal with the customers that had the screaming baby that everyone nearby wanted to strangle.
There was the occasional spill, but those rare instances were the only times I needed to rub shoulders with the general population. While I pushed around my trash bin, I would occasionally check up on my team and see how they were doing (”Everything okay? Great! Keep up the good work!”).
It was a big irony that I was threatening my employees with a job that I wanted to do, but this had interesting effects on my team. I was simultaneously the most feared and the most respected shift manager in the store. They respected the manager who was willing to do trash, while they feared having to do it themselves.