No argument: You are a slave to the work you need to do. Let you and I jump into why any other mode of thought is a delusion:
Getting Terms Straight
From the Cambridge Dictionary:
Slave – “a person who is legally owned by someone else and has to work for that person […] and has no personal freedom.”
Slavery – “the condition of being legally owned by someone else and forced to work for or obey them […] the system in which some people are owned by others.”
Free – “not having something that is unwanted or unpleasant.”
Work – “to do a job, especially the job you do to earn money […] to make a person or animal do a job.”
Job – “the regular work that a person does to earn money.” And, “a crime in which money or goods are stolen, or an action or activity that is dishonest or unpleasant.”
Money – “used to buy things, or the total amount of these that someone has.”
Making a leap in assuming you can connect the dots here, you need money to buy the things that make life survivable: Foods, clean water, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, etc.
All the above – at least in the United States – costs more than the means of production, and is actively denied a person without money. Without food, a person starves and suffers; without water, a person becomes sick and suffers; without clothing and shelter, a person is exposed and suffers; without medical treatment, a person suffers and dies.
(All this needs to be addressed further, so we go without mention of what makes life livable, e.g. means for recreation, time for rest.)
If prevention of suffering is one of if not the only fundamental Good in the world, then a person is obliged to have these things for themselves and those who depend on them. “Enslaved,” as the physical requirements of life are non-negotiable.
What Is Required, What Is Optional
Working in some way to cover the costs of merely existing is the obligation, the enslavement a living creature must carry out for the privilege of being alive.
This is a required enslavement, or experienced as a suffering (if the work be unpleasant) to prevent and reduce a greater suffering.
To care for others who are not able to provide for their existence – regardless of cause – is what a moral and just society is. Though not a total definition of a civilization ought be, without this care, “moral and just” must be left out of the society’s description.
Care for others is optional enslavement – we only have the morals we can afford.
Yet care for oneself, let alone others, is endangered when optional enslavement is required to earn the money to buy goods to sustain life.
What is that optional enslavement, not caring for others?
That enslavement is the excess beyond the cost of initiative, time, and material used to create the good, to exchange for the service. That is the money that funnels to one entity from many individuals. That is profit.
And profit is the name of the game in the United States – and by extension from the US’s economic and cultural global dominance, the world.
Treatment for This Condition
I am no financial planner, analyst, expert. This is not advice, because I do not know beyond a reasonable doubt the validity of the following. It seems to work out on the back of an envelope, though it is uncertain how it would apply to the facts of the world at large.
It is at least a start.
First, a definition of Profit – “money that a business [or person] earns above what it costs to produce and sell goods and services.”
Second, should there be profit? Yes – Communism tried to remove that incentive, and it led to a lot of suffering for entire populations. Profit can be the incentive to have taken the risk to do something that could fail. Yet, excess profit is excess optional enslavement to a job and thereby excess optional suffering for the unpleasantry of it.
- Capped Percentage of Profit per Good or Service Rendered
- No one action will be more than an X percentage of the cost to create and provide the good or service, X being greater than the profit that might be rendered through other investments – say, stock – within a standard deviation or three. This leaves room for living well while also having cushion to make prices competitive by lowering them from the profit margin.
- Progressive Tax of Profit Based on Market
- The bigger a single business gets, the less profitable by-percentage it gets, though the net amount continues to increase. It slows the formation of monopolies, allowing other companies to adjust and catch up, thereby encouraging competition. Further, production-cost-cutting is encouraged, as additional profit can be gained for a larger market share, benefiting the consumers while forcing innovation from the business and its competitors. Lastly, public funds are increased that can be reapplied where needed from the taxes, as is part of the responsibility of a society’s government (I forego chatting about such ideas here).
Compelled to Industry
Compel – “to force someone to do something.”
Industry – “the quality of regularly working hard […] in the production of goods for sale […] and makes a lot of money.”
You are compelled to industry, and therefor not free.
You are only as free by that which you can do without. Everyone is enslaved in some degree by the fact of being alive. Beyond those costs, and the costs of reasonable enjoyment in life, everything else is optional enslavement.
Yet the option is not yours.
By either or both through the means of your work or the profit for required goods and services, you are a slave to your work. This is the way of things, though it does not need to be so.