August 9, 2021

Once We Were Workers

Workers vs bosses. More of us than of them.

No one says, "Consumers of the world unite". 

However, most of us know who should be coming together in a show of strength. You know, the people that make all that money for the gazillionaires.

The workers.

Economist Richard Wolf has added to my ideas about how we all became "consumers" over everything else, and it makes a lot of sense.

The label of consumer did not just replace the idea of the people as citizens, as I previously thought.

More importantly, Wolf says, it replaced the identity of the "worker". 

This is how pre-consumerist era people thought of themselves, in contrast to the others - the bosses.

"If you think of yourself as a "worker" you right away understand that you're a worker and somebody else is a boss. 
It's an identity that explains and contains in it the differences amongst us. 
"Consumer" doesn't work like that, because the boss consumes and the employee consumes. And this is an attempt to say we're all in it together... 
So "worker" is an identity in our society that leads you right to understanding our differences. 
"Consumer" tries to erase all of that." 
Richard D. Wolff

The worker designation lets us know about our capacity as important producers. It shows that we are the most important part of the capitalist enterprise. 

No workers - no profit. 

But we are all consumers. Or, we are all citizens. We are all the same, in other words.


Once we were workers, which is very different from being a boss. An owner.

We are not all the same, and we are not all on the same side.

Labelling us consumers, or even citizens, hides all of that.

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