Tough times

Tough-Times-Ahead

Every time there is an economic crisis and the system seems about to collapse, the new miracle recipes in question are always about reforming the market labour, because   the cost of labour nowadays seems to be far too high to make good profit. I am pretty sure that many manufacturers or even rulers might be longing for the good old times when in the societies of the past, slavery was common practice. The state of servitude greatly increased the wealth the countries, because it meant no cost labour with a much higher productive rate. More slaves, more profit had always been the equation for centuries and centuries. For example when Virginia started to be colonized the labour forces were recruited thanks to indentures, that is, a form of white servitude. They were restrictive contracts of employment that usually lasted four or five years in exchange for passage, accommodation, clothing, food but no cash wages. Many people didn’t endure the appalling conditions of work and climate and died, but the very few who resisted to the end of the indenture gained their freedom and often started to begin their own farm, or go into business. Once the white slaves had become owners and needed new cheap workforce, they turned to black slavery, importing slaves from Africa. Certainly the great ideals that spread during the Enlightenment were enemies to that system. All that talking about the rights of men and even women brought to the spreading of movements against slavery in the colonies and at the same time to the improvement of the working conditions at home thanks to a body of laws which protected the labourers. That put an end to the old system of slavery, but behind that mask of reform and respectability the crave for exploiting working forces was still well alive, because the cost of labour was growing higher and higher.  As it was impossible to go back to the old practice of slavery just the way it was, one day somebody must have come up with the greatest idea ever: instead of moving the masses to the business, why not moving the business to the masses!!!!! Needy masses, of course, particularly in those nations where the laws don’t dare hinder the sake of profit. Therefore factories close and re-open somewhere else where the workers cost less and above all don’t complain. This modern trend, called delocalization, pauperizes the manufacturing system of the country of origin increasing its unemployment rate and the poverty of workers.The question is: if the trend is making all of us somehow the new slaves, who will buy all the goods produced one day ? We need a good recipe, I guess.

MOB

The word MOB originates from the Latin mobile vulgus, in English “fickle crowd”, that is when a mass of people acts or reacts in an unpredicatable, and consequently, dangerous way. Rage and passions usually guide Mobs rather than reason, but the nature of these passions has to be analyzed. In England, the word MOB appears at the end of the seventeenth century and reflects the beginning of a great transformation. The country was slowly turning from rural into industrial, and the consequences of this change, at the very beginning, were not positive at all.
Primarly, the introduction of machines in the manifacturing system produced a form of skilled unemployment. It means that your skills were no longer required since machines needed less-skilled, consequently low-wage, labour. Furthemore they produced more, faster and never got ill !!! So many workers suddenly were driven out the productive chain and were no longer able to find financial support. In addition that primitive form of Welfare State represented  by the common lands was made uneffective thanks to the “Enclosure  Acts” , because lands were fenced and the people who lived and worked on these lands were chased way. So eighteenth century England was characterized by the shift of greedy, desperate masses of people, driven only by their NEEDS, northward, to the industrial districts where they could find a job and shelter at the bitter price of explotation. Movements like the Luddites started to protest against the introduction of machinery and were determined to destroy it . When these new working classes became more aware of their condition but also of their strenght, they started to stand for their rights just like Oliver Twist when he addressed the master /cook  with an unpredictable ” Please Sir, I want some more” and the less they were given ear the more they enraged, becoming dangerous: a MOB. So crowds become fickle when their needs are no longer guaranteed. The dynamics of the social /industrial change that England experienced in the eighteenth century are not so different of those of the twenty-first century. Industrial politics are in continuous transformation and many factories close.Governments both in Italy and France are trying to find a way to support the declying steel industry. Think about what’s going on with Ilva or Arcelormittal  these days!! Another modern phenomenon is delocalization. Factories close, and  reopen in countries were the cost of labour is cheaper. So once again we have exploitation, skilled unemployment with little hope to find an oppurtunity expecially in an age of global economical crisis. We never seem to learn from our errors. How many people have to suffer? Hove many people have to be deprived of their dignity before a solution can be found? And, is there a solution?