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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Monday, June 27, 2005

Stumbling and Mumbling on Contract Feudalism

Chris Dillow observes "that many workers now have more and better capital equipment at home than they do at work." Which

destroys the traditional reason for going out to work; in industrial societies we had to go to factories because that was where the machinery was.

With this reason no longer applying for many of us, one would expect to have seen an explosion in the numbers of people working from home. After all, there are enormous costs to having workplaces separate from our homes; commuting and rent to name but two.

However, teleworking is still rare....

Of course, there are lots of things keeping us working in offices: data-feeds; the desire to see colleagues (so I'm told); a need to get away from the kids; and the vain hope that there might be a meeting that isn't a complete waste of time. But I suspect the main obstacle to the growth of teleworking is not technology but power. Offices (and maybe factories too) exist not because they are technically efficient but because they provide easy ways for the boss class to supervise and control workers.

Chris takes advantage of the opportunity to promote Stephen Marglin's brilliant essay, "What Do Bosses Do?" (which I've attempted to hawk myself--but it's worth recommending again and again).


Anonymous joanne said...

I have often wondered why we are still following an industrial model of work in an increasingly post-industrial economy.

June 27, 2005 10:22 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Probably the same reason we're following an industrial model of education (transporting the human raw material to a central processing facility, instead of electronically transporting the information to where the people are). People are a lot easier to control when you herd them all into one place.

June 27, 2005 10:51 PM  

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