How To Legally Own Another Person
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

cost and profit centre workers

«That’s the price you pay by associating people to a specific P/L, turning individuals into profit centers»

Your distinction between “free” traders and “slave” employees subject to “job assessments” is the same as one that I have made for a long time between “profit centre” subcontractors and “cost centre” servants. The main difference is that there is an obvious metric for “profit centre” subcontractors, the “P/L”, and there isn’t for “cost centre” servants, other than gross cost, therefore highly political “job assessments”, usually based not on demonstrating hard-to-measure successes, but avoiding easy-to-prove screw-ups.

But there is another dimension to the argument: that “profit centre” subcontractors are in effect lone “hunters” and group “hunting” is usually a lot more productive and according to some hypothesis human males have evolved as cursorial group hunters. That requires “team players” and in a cursorial group hunt the contribution of each member is not directly related to the product, but perhaps mostly to dominance (politics) within the group. And this raises the complicated issues of accounting for multi-venture multi-year companies, and all the clever tricks that can be done with that.

Which suggests to me that “free” traders and “slave” employees is a more complicated topic than “skin in the game”, even if the latter is quite important indeed as you have written so well.