Re: The Worker / Employer Relationship

banjo (
Mon, 04 Nov 1996 22:05:31 +0000

Banjo wrote:
> The implied ideology behind a "WE ARE ALL SELF-EMPLOYED" meme, is
> that the natural metaphor for human relationships is commerce. replied:
> I hear, in the real world, concrete level,street level,
> a rumor that folks be into just plain ol' loving. Why?
> Maybe cuz it feel damn good ; - )

damn right, and it's not just "plain ol' loving", what about
filial duties and conflicts, jealousy, hate, platonic friendships etc

Sarah Marr muses:
> (As an aside: The whole thing seems to me to be moving towards a description
> of social relations as performance, rather than static forms and functions.
> This seems valid, especially when one integrates this line of thought with
> current thoughts on sexuality and gender as performance.)

i feel uncomfortable with theories that try to wrap up something as
complex and self-referential as human relationships into a single
ideology/word/concept/meme/theory. I'm reminded of the Japanese
saying "when all you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail".

i value an extensive mental toolkit, and access to the artists who
can break molds and allow us fresh glimpses into what it means to
be human.

David Musick disagrees:
> I see in this response the idea that commerce and economics are something cold
> and impersonal and that to be engaged in these activities is equivalent to
> alienating oneself from others. This is a common view of economics. But it
> is a very superficial view.

i do not share this view, i just believe it of Economists ;)
Although Marxists say that engaging in these activities *is* alienating,
especially for wage earners.

David Musick goes on:
> All forms of economics and commerce are, at
> heart, agreements between people. Generally, "commerce" and "economics"
> refers to agreements to trade things or services. Economics and commerce are
> one form of agreements which people make with each other. I don't see how
> agreeing with other people alienates one from those people. Agreeing and
> having common goals generally pulls people together into closer and more
> intimate relationships, in my experience.
> I make a different interpretation of the meme, "We are all self-employed". To
> me, that phrase is equivalent to, "We are all responsible for our own lives".
> That is the implied ideology I see in the "Self-Employed" meme. We all have
> certain resources available to us, including time, materials, talents, skills,
> knowledge, etc. In running the business of our lives, we must choose how we
> will use our resources to achieve the desired effects in our lives. If our
> desire is to spend a lot of time with particular people whom we love very
> much, then we must organize our lives in such a way that we can accomplish
> that goal. And doing this is our own business, our own form of organization.
> "Business" in the general sense is simply a way of organizing resources to
> accomplish certain objectives. Business can be a cold, impersonal thing, or
> it can be a warm, loving, dynamic relationship between people. It all depends
> on how it's organized.
> Being self-employed doesn't mean that you can't work together with others.
> The most successful people are generally the ones who are good at working with
> others cooperatively, to the mutual benefit of everyone involved. I don't see
> how this alienates people.

OK, several things...
1) you seem to totally integrated the "Human Relations as Commerce" meme.
By your definition Romantic Love is Business.
2) are you married, in a Relationship, is this a relationship based on trade ?
3) im curious as to how you define success as in "The most successful people..."

4) Re:"We are all responsible for our own lives"
are we also responsible (to some extent) for the lives of our neighbours,
children, aging parents, the mentally ill, intellectually handicapped ???

Eric Watt Forste ponders:
> Perhaps commerce is the natural metaphor for relationships with
> human beings from outside one's immediate local culture. Considering
> the unsavory nature of most of the metaphors that many people in
> the world still resort to for their exorelationships, perhaps
> propagating the "commerce is natural" meme would be a big step
> forward.

i'm not denying that "commerce is natural", i'm only denying that
"commerce is all"

Eric Watt Forste continues:
> Of course, if you only hang out with fully-enlightened people, it
> would be (possibly) a step backward. But if you only hang out with
> enlightened people, then you *are* alienated from the human race.
> No one is born enlightened.

eh? what's enlightened ?

> Pushing the idea that your natural relationship with all the billions
> of people in the world that you do not and cannot know is commercial
> says nothing about your relationships with the people that you can
> and do know. Obviously those can be much more flexible and deeper.
> If you honestly wish to relate to your closest friends and relatives
> only on the same terms that you could relate to a stranger from
> Uruguay, then I think you're robbing yourself of opportunities for
> satisfying relationships with other human beings.

yup, although i don't think of the population of Uraguay in terms of
how i can make a profit from them.