Workforcing — Captive Labor and the New Slavery

Paul B. Hartzog
Jun 21, 2018 · 8 min read

Workforcing

In other words, the intersection of global labor patterns, robotization, artificial intelligence, climate change, market & capital failures, etc. produces a crisis in which the forces of capitalism must go to extreme lengths to exploit the maximum value from the existing sources of labor. Furthermore, where existing sources of labor fall short, capitalism must seek out new sources of labor using new techniques that mimic the methods previously used for the capture and enslavement of victimized and criminalized populations throughout history — methods which are no longer legally available due to the abolition of slavery, and the rise of child labor laws, human rights, and other documents of human liberation and security.

  1. criminalize a group of people, through their activities, conditions, or status
  2. construct a pipeline by which the criminalized become indentured
  • For-profit immigrant centers => to be filled with criminalized immigrants
  • For-profit refugee camps => to be filled with climate refugees
  • For-profit workhouses => to be filled with the unemployed
  • For-profit homeless shelters => to be filled with the homeless
  • For-profit student centers => to be filled with debt-burdened graduates
  • For-profit orphanages => to be filled with children
  • etc.
  • If there are too many elements then the population, facing resource limits (carrying capacity), will decrease to the stable equilibrium, which represents a saturation point for that system or ecology.

Prisons

It’s no secret that for-profit prisons are big business. It’s also no secret that the school-to-prison pipeline effectively funnels marginalized and disenfranchised populations into those prisons at a frightening pace.

  • to issue harsher sentences to extract maximum value per sentence

Immigrants

Immigration is a little trickier to handle. First, you have to “criminalize” immigration. Some forms of immigration are always legal according to international law (e.g. political asylum), but a nation-state’s acquiescence to international law is always voluntary. There is no supranational world government or authorized use of force at the level of nation-states. Nation-states’ relation to each other is an anarchical one and all influence is peer-to-peer using horizontal sanctions and actions, not enforcement by a global government that is “above” national sovereignty.

Refugees

Climate change will displace billions worldwide. Most obvious, it will displace populations as a result of changing physical environments — rising sea levels, increasing weather volatility, tornados, hurricanes, droughts, water pollution, soil depletion, etc. Less obviously, those changes will create both social and political upheavals, clashes between populations over remaining resources, which will, in turn, create a secondary class of refugees.

The Unemployed

Receiving unemployment benefits already entails a plethora of conditions. You have to have worked a certain amount and contributed to the system. In some states there are exclusions for people who only worked part-time or have other sporadic income. In addition, you have to document your time job-seeking (you must be constantly seeking a job, rather than figuring out what to do next, or learning a new skill, etc.)

The Homeless

The homeless are yet another population-in-waiting ready to be pipelined. The homeless are already discriminated against, subject to frequent illegal search and seizures, and constantly charged with falsified claims and kept mired in paperwork and court dates. (Homeless people are falsely charged disproportionately relative to other populations). In most instances the charges are dropped, and yet the harassment continues.

The Rest

Obviously, there is no shortage of target populations that this pattern could be used against. I have listed several others at the beginning of this article: students, children.

Workforcing — A Compassionate Final Solution?

To reiterate the process:

  1. criminalize groups of people, through their activities, conditions, or status
  2. construct pipelines by which the criminalized become indentured
  3. When systems saturate, identify new target populations and repeat

With the right conditions and the right ontology you can extract the maximum of work from a criminalized population, with little political risk, simply by stripping them of their human status, and thereby their rights.

Admittedly, this entire essay may seem preposterous. However, we’ve seen the situation in the USA become more and more preposterous every single day. A year ago, a month ago, a week ago, no one could imagine things getting worse. Social media is full of cries of “Preposterous!” And yet here we are.

Culturing

This is just a bucket for things I put on Medium that don’t fit into my other buckets. The term “culturing” brings to mind both growth in a petri dish as well as forays into contemporary culture, so…

Paul B. Hartzog

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Futurist on politics, economics, complex systems, networks, cooperation, & commons, or “that CommonsWealth guy.”

Culturing

Culturing

This is just a bucket for things I put on Medium that don’t fit into my other buckets. The term “culturing” brings to mind both growth in a petri dish as well as forays into contemporary culture, so…