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Labor's Enclosure -: Understanding Capitalism & Factor Imbalance

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Labor Day - The need to understand the gross imbalance of political, economic, and social power between labor and capital that has warped society, economy, and capitalism itself.


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By Kent Welton, Nov 28, 2008

A servile state exists for a dependent, landless, wage-bound and unfree labor, or any equally repressed capital, where one "factor" (i.e., capital or labor) acquires dominance in our affairs. A necessary balance, and balancing dynamic, is then diminished or destroyed. As a result we are unable to fairly mediate "our" economy and secure a just society. Real freedom and effective democracy is then replaced with fascism.

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"The servile state is that in which we find so considerable a body of families and individuals distinguished from free citizens by the mark of compulsory labor as to stamp a general character upon society, and all the chief characters, good or evil, attaching to the institution of slavery will be found permeating such a state, whether the slaves be directly and personally attached to their masters, only indirectly attached through the medium of the state, or attached in a third manner through their subservience to corporations or to particular industries... and the distinguishing mark of the slave proceeds from the special action upon him of a positive law which separates within the general body of the community one body of men, the less free, from another, the more free, in the function of contract... we are re-establishing the slave."3

Hilaire Belloc

"The state did not originate in any form of social agreement... The state originated in conquest and confiscation, as a device for maintaining the stratification of society permanently into two classes - an owning and exploiting class, relatively small, and a propertyless dependent class... No state in history originated in any other manner, or for any other purpose than to enable the continuous economic exploitation of one class by another."4

Albert Jay Nock

A servile state exists for a dependent, landless, wage-bound and unfree labor, or any equally repressed capital wherever one "factor" (i.e., capital or labor) acquires hegemony in our affairs. A necessary balance of social power, and balancing dynamic, is thus diminished or destroyed. As a result, we are unable to either fairly define or mediate "our" economy and secure a just balance in society. In this way freedom, democracy, and progress are deformed, denied, and destroyed.

Today we are caught in yet another state of gross factor imbalance wherein we are again re-creating a servile state - i.e., this time with wage-labor imprisoned by a ruthless and amoral global capital. As in the past, the reason for this dismal condition is that no equally-potent freedom, or compensating social and political force, exists to offset the force of capital.

Further, a globalization of markets and new communications technology has, in a still very disparate and undemocratic world, given wings to capital - enabling long-distance exploitation and extortion to further aggravate imbalance. The consequence of these changes is that capital alone is now supreme in our lives.

In the absence of natural freedom upon the land or any countervailing factor powers, capital is then driven by competition toward a complete dismantling of labor's freedom and effective democracy - all to secure a total, and most profitable, enclosure of wage-labor. Inevitably, however, reaction against such crude exploitation and repression arises.
Driven by the need to revenge one's enclosure and exploitation mankind has a habit of bypassing The Middle Way to bury factor balance and substitute one polarized, half-state, tyranny after another. In any case, understanding the nature of a servile, neo-slave, state is essential if we are to progress toward any meaningful restorations of both natural liberty and justice for all.

In the nature of things, humanity's, post-enclosure, yearnings for re-enfranchisement and independence upon the land may be our only constant. Caught in a servile state and wage-bound condition the rights and needs of the enclosed becomes the eternal subtext of nearly all debate and conflict. The nature of reform is thus driven by the nature of imbalance, and by our disparate freedoms and enfranchisements. The more reform fails the faster we move toward repression, tyranny, collapse and violent solutions.

The challenge is to find ways and devices by which society avoids the sins and traumas of the past while moving to real reform, re-enfranchisement, factor balance, free and democratic markets, free cooperatives and sustainable societies. Otherwise, on an increasingly overcrowded planet, we are destined to diminish and destroy our quantums of freedom, space, and potential for both market cornucopias and cooperative havens in a sustained peace and plenty.

While we may appreciate the many wonders of industrial-age and high-tech economies, and seek out urban life and society, we cannot blind ourselves to the opportunities and freedoms lost - and so the problems birthed due to changes in mankind's historic freedom upon an open commons or private estates providing independence from a neo-slave "free market."

We need not worship at the altar of growth, nor condemn the engine of ingenuity, to realize that natural and social enfranchisement is a desirable "set" and "setting" enabling effective freedom and responsibility. To simply assume that a laissez-faire economy, or labor's cuffing of capital, is ever benign or beneficial - without reference to the condition of the wage-earning majority and their environment - is to ensure dependency, desperation, tyranny, and conflict become the inevitable product.

To discern the nature of a non-servile state, we must re-examine both the naive premises of classical, free-market, economics and lofty promises of communal endeavors. Only in this way may we produce either a theory or practice capable of birthing balance and a full-spectrum freedom.

Unfortunately, factor imbalances have resulted in one despotism after another, all claiming infallibility and divine right to order society and control our lives. All such one factor, one religion, belief systems can only manufacture their own antithesis and demise as they become increasingly undemocratic and self-defeating ends unto themselves.

Rather than full-spectrum freedom and re-birth of natural liberty, all imperialisms redefine "freedom" in their own, closeted, terms. Authentic freedom and choice must then be effectively denied and any alternative worldviews demonized as enemy or "inefficient" in rewarding a ruling-class.

Regardless of ruling factor or dogma, freedom and human potential are then halved as majorities become enclosed, dependent, robbed of refuge, right, and alternatives to the prevailing system. In short, natural independence and/or communal enfranchisement is not a condition which defines most wage-laboring majorities in this late-stage industrial age.

Societies free from the tyranny of one factor or another have become the exception and not the rule. Our challenge here is to comprehend the dire consequences of this factor imbalance condition and discover how we remedy a dismal dynamic - i.e., one emerging from the disenfranchised and dependent estate of the vast majority of mankind, the very conditions producing tyranny, exploitation, conflict, war, and ruin.

"The prehistory of society, the social organization existing previous to recorded history, was all but unknown. Since then, Haxthausen discovered common ownership of land in Russia, Maurer proved it to be the social foundation from which all Teutonic races started in history, and by and by village communities were found to be, or to have been the primitive form of society everywhere from India to Ireland.. With the dissolution of these primeval communities society begins to be differentiated into separate and finally antagonistic classes."5

Friedrich Engels

"This original state of things, in which the labourer enjoyed the whole produce of his own labour, could not last beyond the first introduction of the appropriation of land and the accumulation of stock."6

Adam Smith

Enclosure's disenfranchisements and freedomless divisions of labor emerged with agricultural economy and patriarchal power structures -- all serving to birth gender and factor tyrannies, and imperial aggression. Caught in post-edenic swings between gender, factor, and religious tyrannies man-kind has done little more than destroy its equilibrium, balance, enlightenment, environment, and natural freedom.

Rather than natural freedom, and equilibrium between market and cooperative forms, imperial tyrannies of one stripe or another have done little more than maintain the power and right of one way of life - thus halving liberty and enfranchisement in the process. As a result, we become fixated upon the victory of one system, property-rights scheme, and factor ideology over another... and therein lies our problem.

As imbalance begat imbalance, and enclosure begat enclosure, only the extremes of right and rationale change position and come to power. For true believers of either camp, a balance of socio-economic right and opportunity is anathema, and so a limiting of the liberty of the other gender, factor, or culture takes precedence over a balance of freedom, right, opportunity, and responsibility.

Exactly this "victory" of one factor or culture over another means another sorry round in our continuing, common, defeat. As the pendulum arcs to yet another extreme, capital's triumph is ever seen by ruling classes as natural, righteous, and inevitable. As history has proven time and again, however, our indulgence in such ideological, self-serving, tripe could hardly be more dangerous or counterproductive.

In the nature of things pendulums do not hang at the end of their arc, as if suspended at a gravity-defying extreme due to our belief in one dogma or another. In fact, the momentum being accumulated for a return arc soon leaves us helpless in its wake. To the extent of a swing in one direction or another, momentum pushes us toward yet another extreme as real progress, and potential for balance, are perpetually bypassed.

In this unending chaos of extremes, we have a tendency not to see, or ignore until too late, the nature of one-factor oligarchies destined to give birth to riot, ruin, repression, and revolution. To the extent we never learn, and endure social conditions in which most have no effective freedom from the "free market," we only repeat the folly of the past.

Whether or not the world will once again brew the seeds of its destruction now depends upon our ability to implement new-old enfranchisements and design essential, factor-power, parities into our affairs. In any event, it is essential to understand that no paradigm of factor balance should be construed as being synonymous with, or equivalent to, pursuit of an impossible equality of result - with regard to economic reward.

When and where it exists, freedom allows for natural, merit-oriented, inequalities to emerge... to an extent deemed fair and desirable by a majority via democratic process. Talent and initiative should thus be rewarded - provided, however, that compulsion, disenfranchisement, exploitation, and lack of effective democracy are not part of the market schema, and so the very reasons why the outsized and outrageous "merit-based" reward emerges.

The imperial doctrines of laissez-faire and totalitarian communism do not emerge from either a social vacuum or any edenic culture. In fact, these extremes of factor ideology were born amidst the very same cultural settings and historical circumstances. In recent times, both laissez-faire capitalisms and fascist socialisms are essentially, British-born, tyrannies emerging from a mother oligarchy, and between which we have fluctuated for centuries in post-enclosure, industrial-age, society.

Despite lofty ideals, each factor's tyranny represents an attempt to secure a more efficient neo-slavery to benefit and protect a ruling class - regardless of whether it is aristocratic or bureaucratic in nature. As a rule, neither tyranny seeks to increase effective re-enfranchisement but, instead, to better their control over humanity.

In either case, until wage-earning majorities re-attain independence via natural freedom and/or communal enfranchisement, our "information-age" society is programmed for turmoil as dependency, disenfranchisement, enclosure, and political impotence feed fascism and revolution.

From Chapter 1, Cap-Com, The Economics Of Balance

Kent Welton,

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