AnCom & Exploitation

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    Spooner Bookman
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    AnCom & Exploitation

    Below is an offshoot of a much broader conversation with @empifur, and/or @jacob. One part of that convo that I was curious about was regarding AnCom and their idea of ‘exploitation’. It seems to play a central role in the ideology, but it also seems to be used differently than how I understand it. So I pulled this portion of the conversation out and made this post in the hopes we could discuss it more specifically so that I can get a better feel for this portion of AnCom thinking. Anyone who wants to answer for AnCom should feel free to chime in!

    . . . . . .

    AnCom Claim #8: With wage labor, the capitalist ‘claims ownership’ over the ‘means of production’ – which is synonymous with ‘the means of living’. The capitalist only agrees to allow ‘workers’ into the ‘factory’ on one condition: they must accept money from the capitalist for their ‘means of living’ as opposed to selling the products/services themselves as a ‘means of living’.

    AnCap: Is your assumption that if the ‘capitalist’ that owned the ‘factory’ where I am currently one of the ‘workers’ called us together and said, “I apologize for exploiting y’all, I hereby renounce my ownership, this is all yours,” we workers would then take over our ‘factory’ and sell the products/services ourselves? (Can you think of any reason why we not only wouldn’t, but couldn’t do as AnCom suggests?)

    AnCom: It depends on what the workers wanted to do. Taking over the factory would definitely be an option.

    AnCap: You say, ‘It depends on what the workers wanted to do.’ What if the workers – for whatever reason – wanted to continue the original arrangement whereby the capitalist continues to ‘exploit’ us? What happens then?

    AnCom: AnCom would not stop them. I think that people definitionally don’t like being exploited though. (This could potentially get to some tricky ideas about what people “really” want as versus what they are just “conditioned” to want.)

    AnCap: What exactly is ‘exploitation’?

    AnCom: ‘Exploitation’ is defined as (1) ‘Action that uses a person against AnCom’s conception of fairness’ or as (2) ‘action which treats a person as a means rather than an end’ or as (3) ‘action of one person which benefits another person by virtue only of the latter holding power.’”

    AnCap: How does the person you’re communicating with know when you are using which of the three definitions?

    AnCom: All of these get at the idea of ‘using people unfairly’, so if you want one simple encompassing definition, there ya go. How would you define exploitation?

    AnCap: I’m fine with that definition.

    To return to my hypothetical: my capitalist boss hands over the factory to us, the workers, per AnCom’s request, but we decide we would like to continue the previous arrangement with our capitalist boss.

    I posed this hypothetical to my comrades and given the choice, every worker at my factory agreed they would prefer to maintain the arrangement as-is. When I asked why, each worker rattled off the exact same list of reasons.

    Can you guess what was on their list of reasons?

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