posted on Apr, 19 2004 @ 01:46 PM
I don't think you understand what the author is talking about. Something is clearly wrong within the corporate, working enviroment, and she is
talking about bettering that. Not stopping work altogether.
Look at these parts:
In our society, then, work is defined as the act by which an employee contracts out her or his labour power as property in the person to an
employer for fair monetary compensation. This way of describing work, of understanding it as a fair exchange between two equals, hides the real
relationship between employer and employee: that of domination and subordination. For if the truth behind the employment contract were widely known,
workers in our society would refuse to work, because they would see that it is impossible for human individuals to truly separate out labour power
from themselves. "property in the person" doesn't really exist as something that an individual can simply sell as a separate thing. Machinists
cannot just detach from themselves the specific skills needed by an employer; those skills are part of an organic whole that cannot be disengaged from
the entire person, similarly, sex appeal is an intrinsic part of exotic dancers, and it is incomprehensible how such a constitutive, intangible
characteristic could be severed from the dancers themselves. A dancer has to be totally pre sent in order to dance, just like a machinist must be
totally present in order to work; neither can just send their discrete skills to do the work for them. Whether machinist, dancer, teacher, secretary,
or pharmacist, it is not only one's skills that are being sold to an employer, it is also one's very being. When employees contract out their labour
power as property in the person to employers, what is really happening is that employees are selling their own self determination, their own wills,
their own freedom. In short, they are, during their hours of employment, slaves.
What is a slave? A slave is commonly regarded as a person who is the legal property of another and is bound to absolute obedience. The legal lie
that is created when we speak of a worker's capacity to sell property in the person without alienating her or his will allows us to maintain the
false distinction between a worker and a slave. A worker must work according to the will of andther. A worker must obey the boss, or ultimately lose
the job. The control the employer has over the employee at work is absolute, There is in the end no negotiation -- you do it the boss' way or you hit
the highway. It is ludicrous to believe that it is possible to separate out and sell "property in the person" while maintaining human integrity. To
sell one's labour power on the market is to enter into a relationship of subordination with one's employer -- it is to become a slave to the
employer/master. The only major differences between a slave and a worker is that a worker is only a slave at work while a slave is a slave twenty-four
hours a day, and slaves know that they are slaves, while most workers do not think of themselves in such terms.
We must increase the amount of free work in our lives by doing what we want, alone and with others, whether high art or mundane maintenance. We
need to tear ourselves away from drinking in strict exchange terms: I will do this for you if you will do that for me. Even outside our formal work
hours, the philosophy of contract and exchange permeates our ways of interacting with others. This is evident when we do a favour for someone -- more
often than not, people feel uncomfortable unless they can return the favour in some way, give tit for tat. We must resist this sense of having to
exchange favours. Instead, we need to be and act in ways that affirm our own desires and inclinations. This does not mean being lazy or slothful
(although at times we may need to be so), but rather calls for self-discipline. Free work actually demands a great deal of self-discipline, as there
is no external force making us work, but only our own internal desire to partake in an activity that motivates our participation.
And destroy it we must. If one's identity is based on work, and work is based on the employment contract, and the employment contract is a falsehood,
then our very identities have at their foundation a lie. In addition, the labour market is moving towards an ever-increasing exploitative form of
work: it is predicted that by the year 2000, fifty percent of the labour force will be engaged in temp work -- work which is even less selfdirected
than permanent full-time jobs. Bob Black has it right when he proclaims that "no one should ever work."(6) Who knows what kinds of creative activity
would be unleashed if only we were free to do what we desired? What sorts of social organizations would we fashion if we were not stifled day in and
day out by drudgery? For example, what would a woman's day look like if we abolished the wage system and replaced it with free and voluntary
activity? Bob Black argues that "by abolishing wage-labor and achieving full unemployment we undermine the sexual division of labor,"(7) which is
the linchpin of modern sexism. What would a world look like that encouraged people to be creative and self-directed, that celebrated enjoyment and
fulfillment? What would be the consequences of living in a world where, if you met someone new and were asked what you did, you could joyfully reply
"this, that and the other thing" instead of "nothing?" Such is the world we deserve.