[lbo-talk] Von Hayek was wrong

Mark DeLucas mkdelucas at gmail.com
Tue Apr 5 03:58:55 PDT 2011

"it was an observation that workers who are already privileged in some way can afford to work for free."

Seems like a necessary connection to me. Of course, there's the weaselly "in some way", which to Joanne might mean, has boyfriend/can afford two square meals a day. Maybe she means, has an earned income -- but that doesn't jibe with the stated fantasy (or, in your words, sensible point) that all -- wait, I mean, most -- unpaid workers are idlers drawing from their trusts.

But your quite right that the exact demographic make-up of the free-working population is a peripheral issue, although you yourself manage to miss the mark. It isn't in fact "a matter of isolating and thus stripping workers with some “privileges” (healthcare, collective bargaining capabilities, job security, so on)". Free-work is just another invidious, if in the scheme of things fairly unimportant, consequence of a much larger socio-economic reconfiguration (partly aimed at "stripping workers with some 'privileges'") that has been decades in the making -- and this is essentially true only to the extent that said reconfiguration can be blamed for the increasing scarcity of non-service white-collar jobs. Because people aren't working for free, as Joanne would have it, as a lark in lieu of taking a post-graduate European tour, but because their non-service employment prospects are grim enough that they'll even stoop to working unpaid. Outlaw free-work and none of the other bad things go away.

On Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 9:39 PM, // ravi <ravi at platosbeard.org> wrote:

> On Apr 4, 2011, at 9:11 PM, Mark DeLucas wrote:
> >> "any time phrases like “I am talking to a baby boomer” appear in
> >> counter-“argument”s, it is pretty much an admission of unwillingness (or
> >> inability) to engage with the content."
> >>
> > Does it happen a lot Ravi? Very high-minded of you though; very much to
> be
> > respected.
> Thank you, boss. I accept all compliments! :-) And as for your query: does
> what happen a lot? Arguing against the person and that sort of thing? You
> would be surprised how prevalent it is. There ought to be a vaccination
> against it.
> > And indeed I was bowled over by Joanne's extremely detailed and
> > well-evidenced "argument" that free-workers are necessarily creatures of
> > privilege, which is why literally the only words I wrote were "Of course
> > you're a boomer”.
> But did she really write “necessarily”? This is what she wrote in
> clarification of her first post:
> > Some who work for free are desperate; some are the children of those who
> can afford to support the kid for another year or two until they can get the
> paying job.
> I don’t see “necessarily” there. This seems a fairly sensible point to
> raise (see my earlier quote from Medawar). And fairly central I would think
> - in that it is a matter of isolating and thus stripping workers with some
> “privileges” (healthcare, collective bargaining capabilities, job security,
> so on).
> —ravi
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