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Corporate America's Lords Have Turned American Workers Into Serfs

By       Message Michael Payne       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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The Feudal System, common in Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries, and capitalism are quite different except for a specific similarity; each system involves a hierarchy that includes lords at the top and serfs at the bottom. The system we call capitalism and the corporate lords who administer it, have transformed once valuable and productive manufacturing workers into no more than serfs.

Feudalism was a social, political and economic system in which the king was the supreme ruler. The lords, sometimes called barons, were appointed by the king to essentially run the system; to carry on commerce, primarily agricultural, generate taxes for the kingdom and, when necessary, provide men to fight in the kings' wars.

Lords allotted land, called fiefs, to vassals who utilized peasants and serfs to work the land, grow the crops and return a portion of the harvest to the lord as payment for rent. Peasants and serfs were much the same but peasants were a cut above as they had more privileges and less onerous duties. In this discussion we will specifically refer to those indentured workers as serfs.

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Some might say that trying to compare feudalism and capitalism is irrelevant and meaningless because the systems belong to completely different periods in history and they are so dissimilar. And, yet, I believe that there are some elements of each that are worth analyzing.

Both feudalism and capitalism depend heavily upon taxes generated by their populations to carry on the functions of government, to maintain infrastructure, to provide social services and, important in both systems, to conduct wars initiated by their rulers. So, in those ways the systems were very similar. Each system utilized labor as its foundation; feudalism with its serfs and capitalism with its workers.

And that's where the similarity ends. In the feudal system there was a long, uninterrupted, although dominating, relationship between lords and serfs with the latter having jobs for life, even though their tenure might be dangerous and short. Serfs were largely bound to the land and to their jobs. The lords did not want to lose them and, in fact, took steps to guarantee that they stayed in their employ in that very tightly controlled system of bondage.

In today's America the situation is exactly the opposite with the lords of Corporate America doing everything they can to destroy and end their relationship with American workers. These corporate lords have decided that they want a vastly different system for they feel no sense of connection or obligation to America's workers, otherwise known as American serfs.

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Without a doubt, the feudal lords needed their serfs, depended upon them. However, in America our corporate lords have no allegiance to the worker/serfs. They have learned that they can readily use peasants and serfs in other lands to produce far more "crops" at much lower labor rates, with no job benefits. This new, very profitable alliance is, of course, commonly referred to as outsourcing jobs to overseas nations, and it's working beautifully; not for American workers who are forced into unemployment, but certainly for the corporate lords who grossly enrich themselves.

Now let's discuss how the feudal system ended and how that relates to the continued erosion of our system of capitalism. The Black Death or bubonic plague ravaged North Africa, Asia and Europe beginning in 1349. It spread through many countries and was a large contributing factor in ending the feudal system, as it killed many millions of people. This deadly disease greatly weakened the system, causing a deterioration of the land and crops.

As time went by there was a natural evolutionary process whereby peasants and serfs who no longer had jobs became freedmen and gravitated to new types of employment as carpenters, stone masons, blacksmiths, tanners and other trades. So, in actuality, the feudal system ended on an upside as the masses of peasants and serfs were freed from their years of bondage and began entirely new lives and occupations. In the long run, this also benefited the nations of Europe as it enabled them to advance their commerce.

The American system of capitalism is headed in the exact opposite direction - downward. This system was once the envy of the world but, in recent decades, it has steadily eroded largely because of corporate greed and manipulation designed to garner enormous profits. While not of the scope of the Black Death, this erosion is still a deadly societal disease that has created a vast imbalance between the ultra-rich, including corporate lords, and the rest of America, primarily the disappearing middle class and the growing poverty-stricken segment of our nation. We might call this disease the Economic Death.

In our form of capitalism, as we all should know by now, it is imperative that the people buy the products and services that fuel our economy and contribute to our GDP. What did the corporate lords think was going to happen to the economy and their profits when they began the process of outsourcing American workers jobs to overseas nations? These actions have created a rapidly growing population of worker/serfs who previously had decent jobs and pay but are now being forced to take lower paying, less skilled jobs in the service sector.

In America today, when millions upon millions of workers can find no jobs and become desperate, they become prime targets for the predatory army recruiters. They often have no other alternative and so they provide a steady stream of serfs for America's military machine.

The corporate lords are hard at work stuffing their pockets and enriching their bottom lines and, though they refuse to acknowledge it, their actions and policies are bringing Economic Death to America and capitalism. The more they outsource the more workers go on unemployment or take lesser paying jobs, the less purchasing power they have and the less the contributions to the economy and corporate profits. This is a vicious circle that seemingly has no end and which will eventually bring disaster to our obsolete, unworkable capitalistic system.

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The most respected economists have stated that the healthiest economies in U.S. history have been those where worker employment has been high and where wages have been fair and reasonable because their purchasing power directly benefits the economy. Henry Ford was well aware of this fact and he paid his auto workers very good wages because he knew that many of them would, in turn, buy his Ford autos. That was one of the keys to his great success. Why can't Corporate America understand these basic tenets of economics?

Corporate America has chosen to completely ignore those astute economic principles and has taken an opposite misguided direction in which it somehow feels that it can destroy a sizable portion of the people's purchasing power and still remain extremely profitable. Before long, this disastrous, irrational logic will bring down this corporate dynasty and our economy with it. When these corporate lords wipe out the economic foundation of America, and the middle class, they will bring about their own demise.

It's called Economic Death.

Michael Payne


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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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