Labor-destroying Strategies

It’s currently fashionable to exploit the labor of small kids or elderly people in retirement homes, paying them literally cents an hour and save enormously on labor costs this way. Here is one such sweatshop. Here is another

There’s nothing we can do to stop this because, as you know, it’s all about choice. If vulnerable 90-year-olds or clueless 9-year-olds “choose” to be exploited by some rancid piece of human garbage, then that’s to be celebrated because choice is the God of consumerism. But at least we can spit on these products and shame the freaks who buy them and support exploitative practices and erosion of labor market. 


7 thoughts on “Labor-destroying Strategies”

  1. It’s quite a trick of virtuous consumption.

    “I’m not buying labor from underpaid seniors and children, I’m ’empowering’ them by buying their ‘artisan’ handcrafts in the American economy!”

    Nobody has tried this with prisoners…yet.


  2. Maybe you can take comfort in the fact that, of your two examples, one has closed down and the other has yet to make a profit.


    1. It wasn’t always that way here in the Queen City. Before term limits on City Council, things worked pretty well. We had a core group of Councilmembers who didn’t have to do silly things for name recognition to ensure reelection — thinking here particularly of Council in the early 1980s: Sterne, Mann, Guckenberger, Strauss, Spencer. Everyone knew them and they were highly trusted, and they would win re-election after re-election.

      Since there are nine seats, there was also new blood after every election cycle. Some turned out to be keepers, like Qualls (before she was forced out by term limits and went to Havard and became a staunch neo-liberal). Others proved they weren’t up to the task and quietly went their way when their term was up.

      The core group included a good mix of parties (all three, Democratic, Republican and Charterite), and both women and African-Americans were represented. The mayor was a ceremonial post, chosen by the Council members themselves; they did a nice job taking turns. Back then, the City Manager was more powerful and ran the established day-to-day affairs.

      The Councilmenbers had a huge amount of institutional memory among themselves, knew how to work together, could stand up to the big business interests because they had staying power. I don’t think the Anna Louise Inn, for example, would have been evicted under the old system because Council had more soft power. Now, if you are the Port Authority, or Western Southern, or any of that ilk, and you don’t like what Council is doing, just wait a few years and it will be a new cast, and you will probably get your way. Because the leadership of the private sector doesn’t turn over as frequently as the leadership of the City.

      As I remember, but cannot find documentation for (the Enquirer’s archives being impossible to navigate), the push to institute term limits came from outside, in much the same way as the current ideas to divide California into two states, or have it secede from the rest of the country, also come from out-of-staters. For some reason (sarcasm), no one has ever pushed for term limits in any of the well-to-do suburbs; in mine, Blue Ash, most of the time no one even runs against the (Republican) incumbents.

      This isn’t to say that things were perfect under the old system: we did in fact give Ken Blackwell his start. And Jerry Springer (though he was a good Councilmember and Mayor, and also a very good local news anchor in the time between his political career and his infamous talk show).

      And I don’t think there is any going back. Most people don’t seem to remember or know it was ever any different.

      Sorry to the non-locals for all the inside baseball in the comment.


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