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'The Gig Economy' Is the New Term for Serfdom


#1

'The Gig Economy' Is the New Term for Serfdom

Chris Hedges

A 65-year-old New York City cab driver from Queens, Nicanor Ochisor, hanged himself in his garage March 16, saying in a note he left behind that the ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft had made it impossible for him to make a living. It was the fourth suicide by a cab driver in New York in the last four months, including one Feb. 5 in which livery driver Douglas Schifter, 61, killed himself with a shotgun outside City Hall.


#2

The is “no” compassion in Income Inequality.

Only Greed.


#3

The inequality issues that vex the country (and the world) call for an FDR-like persona to take the stage. Bernie was the closest to that mold and was ostracized by the powerful because he threatened their order. A 1929-like collapse also looms to threaten their order. The avarice of the affluent will ultimately doom them, as it alway does (guillotines, anyone?). :musical_note:“When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn.”:musical_note:


#4

“The ruling capitalists will be as vicious as they were in the past. Nothing enrages the rich more than having to part with a fraction of their obscene wealth. Consumed by greed, rendered numb to human suffering by a life of hedonism and extravagance, devoid of empathy, incapable of self-criticism or self-sacrifice, surrounded by sycophants and leeches who cater to their wishes, appetites and demands, able to use their wealth to ignore the law and destroy critics and opponents, they are among the most repugnant of the human species.”

Nobody writes it like Chris Hedges. Such written gems should not be wasted on such a pathetic citizenry as we have in the US. Chris Hedges is our very own modern prophet. We ignore his warning, not at our peril, but at our certain doom. He lays it right out there, the central salient fact of our existence when he writes:

“The reign of the all-powerful capitalist class has returned with a vengeance. The job conditions of working men and women, thrust backward, will not improve until they regain the militancy and rebuild the popular organizations that seized power from the capitalists.”

You really can’t make it much clearer then that. Yet most Americans remain utterly oblivious to his message as they soak in the social programming of the Oligarchs. We have lost the class war, a war most of the sheep are not even aware happened, let alone that they had lost. How far down is this societies ignorance and apathy going to allow them to take us? As far as I can tell…all the way…


#5

Actually history shows us that the elites virtually always get away with it. The French Revolution was a true aberration. But that doesn’t keep me from wishing you are correct.


#6

It will indeed be “a 1929-like collapse”, where our bank deposits will be lost to Dodd Frank’s “bail in” (the GOP nor Dimcritters will never repeal that part of Dodd-Frank), and the elites profit handsomely as they almost always did from the “panics” they orchestrated during each decade from 1800-1929, and through taxpayers and the working class funding bailouts during most of the past century.


#7

Learning requires an intellect capable of repeating what one has learned.

The ability to tackle a complex issue such as Income Inequality also requires an understanding of compassion for those less fortunate.

Sadly, “they,” those necessary to address and implement actions needed to make these changes happen, are too busy robbing America to care.

WiseOwl, I’m afraid that the Robber Barons in Washington DC only understand one language.

Force.


#8

Although history books continue to celebrate the global abolition of legalized slavery during the 19th century, there are more slaves worldwiide today than there have ever been, not counting the defacto slaves (serfs) that Hedges’ article addresses, making the human condition at best no better than it was a century or two centuries ago despite our being able to now travel and communicate faster.

At least the elites who were legal slave owners during previous centuries had to buy their slaves and keep them somewhat healthy., otherwise they would devalure that investment. Today’s neofeudal elites and slaveholders have no such incentives. They have little investment in their slaves and serfs. Today’s slaves and serfs are totally expendable.


#9

I consider it a luxury that I have lived in NYC since 1960 and sold my last car in 1962. Since then I have used public transportation, walked a lot, and can’t even remember when I last used a taxi which I think of as for tourists and the rich. I do feel sorry for the ill and elderly who rely on taxis to get them to doctors appointments and such.

I loved the last taxi strike as, for a while, it cut vehicular traffic in half. Still, there are many people who must use taxis although they may not be able to really afford them, and even fewer will be able to as they’re gigged into poverty.

Socialists warned that capitalism cannot be reformed and that any reforms would be taken back as soon as possible. But in the 1930’s enough chose to listen to FDR instead of staging a revolution and, even today, many still believe that capitalism can be reformed.

Capitalists are doing what they’ve always done which is to screw everyone to get ever richer. In Amerika the myth is that everyone should do well if they work hard enough while every study that has ever been done has shown that very few rise above the level they were born into.

It’s really so simple. The rich and capitalism are the enemy. The only solution is to destroy capitalism and replace it with socialism and now with capitalists destroying the environment, it has become a choice between socialism or the extinction of the human race.

The “gig economy” is the very last gig?


#10

Please say more about more slaves worldwide now.
Thanks.


#11

Capitalism isn’t interested in full employment and good wages for everyone.
It would disrupt the economic theory, which is theirs, and, is right, because they say so. They are in control. Those not in control are wrong, wrong, wrong.
Capitalism isn’t interested in creating a just and fair society. That would run against its foundational principles. And you can’t work against capitalism because that is bad, because they say so.
Capitalism is a complex ideology that includes the assumption that any ideological opposition to its supremacy is automatically wrong and/or communist (they love that rhetoric don’t they).
Capitalism means never having to say you’re sorry when the other guy is getting totally screwed, because you’re just doing your job.
Capitalism is like heaven - free from any human constraints, floating above the suffering caused by ignorance and aggression.


#12

Totally agree.
I guess the taxi drivers could always become welders or maybe we should all go out and vote out all the Congressmen who are unwilling to support a universal social safety net. Novel idea that!


#13

True except for one difference: today’s slaves are not someone else’s property.


#14

A quick search brought up these:

https://www.freetheslaves.net/about-slavery/slavery-today/


#15

There a big push here in Vancouver to get UBER into the city which remains the largest City where they have not yet been allowed to set up shop. When this discussed on local talk shows the local hosts are all gaga about the good that Uber can do and they always have a spokeperson for the firm to proclaim how wonderful it will all be. Rarely is the other side allowed airtime.

I suspect that as with all media these days it not the conscience of the people hosting these shows speaking, but the advertising dollars they hope will come their way.

Capitalism uses the tools of coercion to make the masses desperate for an income and any income, no matter the consequences. This ensures that those at the top of the pyramid receive ever higher margins on their investment. Whether those “profit margins” lead to more suicides, more violence, greater levels of mental illness, ecosystem destruction, the extinction of species , or the destruction of our air and water is of NO concern to them unless they can see it as another means by which they can generate more profits.

The system called Capitalism is represented best by the thing they call “The Corporation” seen in the USA as a person. The Corporation is formed as a means by which profits can be maximized and potential losses minimized via the concept of “Limited Liability”. Limited liability means the person who has invested in said firms will lose no more money then his investment in the same wherein those investors are shielded from litigation and responsibility for the harm that these Corporations might do. In other words the Corporation is an entity that claims “Persons Rights” while being free to act without conscience. In essence if one wants to see it as a “person” it is a Sociopath.

It has been created in the image of the Sociopaths that now run this world . It is the reflection of their ideals and values which are in essence “Make all the money you can and damn the consequences and suffering that it might cause”.


#16

My impression is that the system works like a psychopath-filter: not filtering them out, but sifting them to the top, in control. As an engineer, I’ve long wondered how the autonomous vehicle craze could square with the usual ethics of engineering. Non-engineers may be surprised to consider that professional ethics is essential in any engineering workplace - where people who claim to foresee what they cannot foresee or know what they do not know are just a hindrance to getting any work done.

So the flashy, hubristic autonomous car craze gushes all over the business section and fools throw their money around - but how could engineers be in on this? It turns out that one particularly psychopathic genius has motivated much of this, including the Google/Uber lawsuit. Just as in other professional communities, amongst engineers it’s also the case that the psychopaths rise to the top.


#17

It’s the “owner/operator” scam. I worked for a truck line back in the early 80’s that played that game like pros. They would have a driver buy a used ex Coca-Cola tractor and get paid x amount for each pickup and delivery. Didn’t matter that for a pickup a driver would have to drive 30 miles for a minimum shipment where he actually lost a lot of money. He financed the tractor, paid for his own insurance, healthcare, fuel & maintenance. A lot of companies have been using this practice more and more and with modern technology it’s making billions. In the 50’s & 60’s companies used “piece work” when manufacturing was still big in the country. We are destined to become like Mexico or South America. And, the fucking morons in this country elect a fucking piece of white trash. Go fucking figure.


#18

The eloquent and perspicacious Mr. Hedges! When will the American public wake up and realize who is the real enemy? Our country was not conquered by some outside foreign enemy like communism, Russia or any other foreign powers you care to name. It has been conquered from within by a cabal of war, criminals and their fawning parasites ever since 11/22/63.


#19

This is just the way corporate execs like it: due to economic despair, we’re killing ourselves and each other, and the focus is off of them.

Let’s not forget this is also part of the reason for “right to work” laws–to pit union members against those who don’t want to pay the dues.

Same thing with Obamacare: blame the deadbeats who can’t afford insurance, and never mind the insurance companies who are screwing everybody.


#20

Suspira, we are neighbours in Lotusland. I’ve been here 35 years and it’s heartbreaking to see how ugly this town has become. We are being densified within an inch (cm) of our lives. At least I had a good career here in a union job, so I am among the very fortunate. Just wanted to say hi, and I appreciate your thoughtful and articulate comments here.