G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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I chuckle when progressives who’ve most likely never held real blue collar jobs act as if they know anything about the work world.
Amanda Marcotte recently wrote about the Alex Castellanos-Rachel Maddow excursion. After a long paragraph lamenting Castellanos’ style of argumentation (big meanie face!), Marcotte writes this:
Considering how much effort conservatives put into fighting labor, you can see why this myth might arise, but in reality, the war on labor is less about actual cost-saving and more about an ideological commitment to keeping the little guy down.
Marcotte gets it completely and utterly wrong. Managing labor is almost completely about economics and hardly ever about preserving clean and neat class lines.
I draw on my own experience as a plebe and that of the other plebes with whom I’m friends. At work, my bosses watch hours and cut people off of their shifts because they want to save money. They never say “oh, you’re making way too much money, we can’t have you doing well for yourself.” It’s a completely preposterous assertion that only a person with a theoretical understanding of the workplace would make.
Besides cost containment (there are arguments to be made against such managerial decisions, but I think they’re completely economic ones) one other front in this so-called battle is similar to the one between young people and full-grown adults; the inexperienced verses the experienced; challengers and incumbents. In every realm of social interaction there is a proving ground. Some people will forever be pure wage laborers. But to consider them an intractable class – to assert that the same people who are in the labor pool at point A will be the same people in the labor pool at point B (plus prole kids, minus prole deaths) – is pretty much wrong. If there is an opportunity to escape from that labor pool on up to a higher level of status, then this argument about keeping labor down or keeping people in their places is a non-starter.
Just as I don’t get to show up for the first time at an old neighborhood bar and be the most popular guy around, I don’t get to enter the workforce as a big swinging dick. But there will always be unpopular bar newbies, though they don’t have to always stay that way.