The slave was precious to his master because of the money he had cost him... They were worth at least as much as they could be sold for in the market... It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil whose fruits they will not eat and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live... It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him... what effective gain [has] the suppression of slavery brought [him ?] He is free, you say. Ah! That is his misfortune... These men... [have] the most terrible, the most imperious of masters, that is, need. They must therefore find someone to hire them, or die of hunger. Is that to be free? ~ Simon Linguet (7/14/1736 to 6/27/1794) French journalist and advocate, 1763.
I have, in comments on a Conservative blog referred to workers toiling for low amounts of money as "wage slaves. In response, a sick individual who calls himself dmarks (real name Dennis Marks) responded with the following...
|Dennis Marks: "Wave slave" is one of those phrases made up by people completely ignorant of economics that does two bad things... 1) it levels a nasty insult at working people. 2) It trivializes real slavery, by implying that experience of real slaves isn't any worse than that of some kid from a well-fed family working at Starbucks whose only worry that he might not be able to afford trading in his iPhone 4S for an iPhone 5. (2/21/2013 AT 4:14pm).|
This is really sick, disgusting stuff. It trivializes poverty. Wage slavery is real. Wikipedia describes it as "a situation perceived as quasi-voluntary slavery, where a person's livelihood depends on wages, especially when the dependence is total and immediate".
For individuals living in poverty, a low-paying job CAN accurately be described as "wage slavery", as the dependence on their wages are total and immediate. But notice that Mr. Marks denies the fact that poverty even exists, claiming that the troubles of a person earning a low salary have to do with them needlessly and foolishly upgrading their iPhone!
This is what Conservatives usually do when confronted with the ugly realities their self-centered greedy worldview (when put into practice by Republican legislators) creates. First they deny that poverty exists, by talking about the "poor" having things like microwaves and refrigerators (to start. Then they go to another level by claiming that poor people are buying widescreen TVs and iPhones).
This is what is known as blaming the victim. If the victim is responsible for their own predicament (those making low wages made - and continue to make - poor life choices), then the greedy Conservative is absolved of any responsibility or uncomfortable guilty feelings. There is no need for any compassion what-so-ever.
However, An article on the National Center for Law and Economic Justice website (a national non-profit organization dedicated to "advancing the cause of economic justice for low-income families, individuals, and communities across the country") reports, that "Census figures released in September 2012 reveal record-high numbers of people continue to live in poverty in the United States".
According to the report, "46.2 million people, [or] One out of seven people... were living in poverty in the United States in 2011 - the largest number of persons counted as poor in the 53 years of poverty measurements".
Shameful, huh? The wealthiest country on the planet and poverty is at an all time high. Yet, we have Conservatives like Dennis denying that poverty even exists! He further makes light of my use of the term "wage slave" by referring to a minimum wage earner's child as "well-fed". The truth is that 21.9 percent of children live in poverty, and "more than 20 million US children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry" (20 Facts About Child Hunger).
The reason Conservatives like Dennis deny the plight of the working poor is because they do not wish to pay slightly higher taxes to combat poverty. They also do not want to pay slightly more for their goods and services, so they rail against raising the minimum wage (many even call for eliminating it all together). They claim that a minimum wage HURTS low wage earners (because employers will be "forced" to fire them, or not hire them at all). This is categorically false, as I pointed out in my previous post. (It is also why they support job-destroying free trade agreements).
So why do these individuals deny the facts so emphatically? The answer is greed, plain and simple. Dennis' feigning concern over the trivialization of slavery is SO transparent. The term "wage slave" does NOT imply that the experience of real slaves wasn't (or isn't) worse, but his rejection of the term DOES trivialize poverty.
In Dennis' world slavery is awesome when the slave masters have no need for any concern at all regarding whether or not their slaves have adequate food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Clearly empathy is a completely foreign concept to these individuals, which is why they have to pretend to be offended on behalf of people living in bondage, or pretend Liberals are jingoistic when they express concern about the outsourcing of good-paying American jobs (yes, this is another ridiculous claim Dennis regularly makes).
When Conservatives like Dennis spout this nonsense it is because they are trying to cover for their selfishness and greed - it's the same reason they accuse the president of being a "socialist" when he's actually a Conservative Democrat.