Who invented unemployment?

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Who invented unemployment?

Postby Algr » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:29 pm

Humans have spent most of history in hunter gatherer societies. It seems to me that in such societies, there is no status that would be equivalent to "unemployment" as we know it today. If you want to hunt, you hunt. If you want to gather nuts and berries, you do so. If you want to sit down and do nothing, you can. The others in your tribe might stop sharing their food with you, but no one would ever STOP you from working if you wanted to work.

Somehow we have evolved into a state where society can place any burden it likes on to those who want to be allowed to provide to themselves. We create an environment where it is impossible for everyone who wants to work to do so; where being allowed a job is often only possible by denying a job to others. Then we shame those who are unable to fit themselves into a structure we designed to be unable to support everyone.

So Dan, how did this happen?
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby raistian77 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:46 pm

It is a good question.

For a moment I thought you were heading in the "people on unemployment are lazy bastards" angle.

One of the problem is the benefits surrounding in moving manufacturing/customer service/.ect overseas. As we move more and more to countries where labor is cheap we will have to deal with a permanent unemployment class. As there will be more workers than there are jobs.
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby boethius » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:54 pm

Algr wrote:Humans have spent most of history in hunter gatherer societies. It seems to me that in such societies, there is no status that would be equivalent to "unemployment" as we know it today. If you want to hunt, you hunt. If you want to gather nuts and berries, you do so. If you want to sit down and do nothing, you can. The others in your tribe might stop sharing their food with you, but no one would ever STOP you from working if you wanted to work.

Somehow we have evolved into a state where society can place any burden it likes on to those who want to be allowed to provide to themselves. We create an environment where it is impossible for everyone who wants to work to do so; where being allowed a job is often only possible by denying a job to others. Then we shame those who are unable to fit themselves into a structure we designed to be unable to support everyone.

So Dan, how did this happen?


Read Belloc's The Servile State.

Short answer is Capitalism, which ironically deprived the mass of people of their capital and turned them into wage slaves.
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby Algr » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:01 pm

raistian77 wrote:For a moment I thought you were heading in the "people on unemployment are lazy bastards" angle.


Cool, how'd I manage that?
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby raistian77 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:19 pm

Algr wrote:
raistian77 wrote:For a moment I thought you were heading in the "people on unemployment are lazy bastards" angle.


Cool, how'd I manage that?



It seems to me that in such societies, there is no status that would be equivalent to "unemployment" as we know it today. If you want to hunt, you hunt. If you want to gather nuts and berries, you do so. If you want to sit down and do nothing, you can. The others in your tribe might stop sharing their food with you, but no one would ever STOP you from working if you wanted to work.


Have not seen enough of your posts to determine an idea of your opinions.

That quoted section reminded me of arguments I have heard before stating that being unemployed is a choice.
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby nmoore63 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:05 pm

You can buy land in eastern washington for $1000/acre

and hunt and gather to your hearts content.
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:13 pm

Might be a good place for socialists to all move and create a kind of mirror image of New Hampshire.
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby Algr » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:31 pm

nmoore63 wrote:You can buy land in eastern washington for $1000/acre and hunt and gather to your hearts content.
Dr. Strangelove wrote:Might be a good place for socialists to all move and create a kind of mirror image of New Hampshire.

So, you've thought about this then?

"How much area do you need in order live sustainably as a hunter/gatherer? ... The quick and easy answer is that traditional peoples used on average, about 10 square miles per person. 10 square miles is 6,400 acres - that is for one person."

http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/201 ... -land.html

Conservatives are always ready to dump people into the wilderness.
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby boethius » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:09 pm

Algr wrote:
Dr. Strangelove wrote:Might be a good place for socialists to all move and create a kind of mirror image of New Hampshire.

So, you've thought about this then?

"How much area do you need in order live sustainably as a hunter/gatherer? ... The quick and easy answer is that traditional peoples used on average, about 10 square miles per person. 10 square miles is 6,400 acres - that is for one person."

http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/201 ... -land.html

Conservatives are always ready to dump people into the wilderness.


You are new if you think Doc S. is a conservative :lol:
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:33 pm

Algr wrote:
nmoore63 wrote:You can buy land in eastern washington for $1000/acre and hunt and gather to your hearts content.
Dr. Strangelove wrote:Might be a good place for socialists to all move and create a kind of mirror image of New Hampshire.

So, you've thought about this then?

"How much area do you need in order live sustainably as a hunter/gatherer? ... The quick and easy answer is that traditional peoples used on average, about 10 square miles per person. 10 square miles is 6,400 acres - that is for one person."

http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/201 ... -land.html

Conservatives are always ready to dump people into the wilderness.



(1) Actually, both of us think about survival all the time.

(2) Unlike Nick, I am *not* a conservative (at least politically). I guess I am *personally* conservative with respect to personal morality (at least, I try to be). I would rather live in a nation where everybody can learn to stay on their side of the fence, and leave one another be (which seems to be idyllic daydreaming at this point). But when it comes to economics, I am further left than most people here.

Of course, I don't confuse a police state coercing people to sustain a capitalistic insurance market with socialism.. that might be the source of your confusion. :empty:
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby wise_owl » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:15 pm

I would say the rise of settled communities and agriculture were probably the start, augmented by the beginnings of trade.

Beggars have been a part of society for some time, and in a way serve on the lower strata of society often intentionally. It's true however, that the broadest, most wide-spread implementation of 'Unemployement' has been under labour economies, blossoming with the industrial revolution, which simaltanteously destroyed the old agricultural systems, while generating a huge need for labour, and more importantly, a need for 'flexible' labour. i.e. People who were unemployed who could be employed at a moments notice.

Under capitalism, full employement is bad, because it drives up the wages. Theoretically in an isntance of 100% employement, the 'Market' would correct itself till there were enough unemployed people to keep capital flowing.
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby Kolokol888 » Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:28 am

I think the original premise is false. There was unemployment in hunter gatherer societies; the sick, the lame, the old, the young, the stupid etc.

There is nothing that prevents anyone from working. Can't find a job... open your own business or go door to door and ask people if they want their lawns cut.

It's just you probably won't be able to earn enough to survive. The unemployment, as I think you understand it, is a result of the ressource investment and/or skill required to perform work of actual value. Remember work has no value in itself, it's the fruits of that work that has value.

The thing is with 6 billion people around pretty much all ressources are taken and all opportunities exploited unless you are really quick. Perhaps one could see unemployment in a hunter gatherer sense as if there were no animals around to hunt, but then they would just move to a different area. Today there's already people living in those areas.
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby boethius » Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:34 am

Kolokol888 wrote:I think the original premise is false. There was unemployment in hunter gatherer societies; the sick, the lame, the old, the young, the stupid etc.


Depends how you define "unemployment". To me, unemployment means a person who is willing and able to work and create value, but is prevented from doing so by the small group of people who control all the physical capital (Capitalists or The State or both, depending on where in the world you live).

In a world where all the capital you need is a sharp stick to stab an animal with, and the ability to roam free over hunting land, there cannot be unemployment.

In a world where anyone with a few chickens or pigs or goats can graze that livestock on the commons at no cost, and can gather fallen firewood and grasses from those commons to build fires and grass-roofed huts...there will be no unemployment.

In a world where every bit of land, air, sea, and every physical tool is owned or controlled or regulated by capitalists and/or the State, then a person's ability to work is determined by the will of the Capitalists and/or the State.
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby Kolokol888 » Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:44 am

boethius wrote:
Kolokol888 wrote:I think the original premise is false. There was unemployment in hunter gatherer societies; the sick, the lame, the old, the young, the stupid etc.


Depends how you define "unemployment". To me, unemployment means a person who is willing and able to work and create value, but is prevented from doing so by the small group of people who control all the physical capital (Capitalists or The State or both, depending on where in the world you live).

Well what is "able to work"? Employment means selling your labor for a price. If no one is willing to pay for your services are you then still "able to work"? The capilists and others don't prevent you from working, they just aren't interested in purchasing your labor (at the moment).


In a world where all the capital you need is a sharp stick to stab an animal with, and the ability to roam free over hunting land, there cannot be unemployment.
That's what I meant; ressources needed to create something of value

In a world where anyone with a few chickens or pigs or goats can graze that livestock on the commons at no cost, and can gather fallen firewood and grasses from those commons to build fires and grass-roofed huts...there will be no unemployment.
Well if you consider that an income. I think most would consider that exteme poverty today

In a world where every bit of land, air, sea, and every physical tool is owned or controlled or regulated by capitalists and/or the State, then a person's ability to work is determined by the will of the Capitalists and/or the State.
Ownership of land came in to existance because land was and is scarce. The benefit of living 10.000 years ago was that so much land wasn't being used by humans. Land is a ressource, the most important scarce ressource there is. Imagine a world without landownership. Who gets to farm that particuallar plot of land?(when there's 150 who wants to, but only one plot) First come first serve? (which is no different than private property)


I don't think anybody has an interest in preventing anyone from working. But you can hardly blame the capitalist for not hiring you, if he can't turn a profit on your work. Sometimes the worker falsly believes his work is more valuable than it really is.

That being said there are a few mechanism that make it harder to get above the employable value threshhold. Minimum wage, cost of firering somebody, patent / copyright law and protected professions. Protected professions are good in somecases like lawyer, accountant, medicine to ensure skill and protect consumers. They are bad when it's protectionism like guilds - you have those in the US?, I know it's up for debate right now in Germany.

Such constrictions on the jobmarket are very valid issues to debate, but pretending the evil capitalist conspiring to prevent the good salt of the earth people from working is silly and frankly a bit childish. Or at the least you should show your hand and argue up front for communism, where all work is considered of equal value
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Re: Who invented unemployment?

Postby Occam » Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:19 pm

Unemployment is the unfortunate side effect of our economic, educational, and legal structures. It is extremely difficult to live the hunter-gatherer lifestyle in America, because to hunt and gather you must have land, and to get land you must have money, and to get money you must have a job.

Further, instead of learning how to hunt/gather/survive when we are children, we are instead imprisoned in these places called "schools," where our minds are filled with propaganda and generally useless information that adds nothing to our ability to survive outside of school. At best, school can prepare you for a job, but if you are unable to find a job, perhaps because you learned the wrong thing in school, then what are you?

You are a hunter gatherer with no hunting or gathering skills, nor land to hunt or gather on. You are a casualty of a highly productive, yet extremely fragile system that rewards some but leaves many in the dust. We call this state of existence "unemployed."
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