Saturday, 14 June 2008

Wage-Slaves

There comes a time in almost every person's life when they have to start working. I believe that as far as most human beings are concerned, the moment one decides to look for a job is also the time when a person decides to join the millions of wage-slaves spread all over the planet.

What are the implications of becoming a wage-slave? Most wage-slaves spend most of their waking hours from, at least, Monday to Friday carrying out a specific number of activities in return for a particular amount of money. Given the greed for profit normally exhibited by private employers, salaries are often fairly low when analysing a country's cost of living. Indeed, according to a recent article published in one of the Maltese newspapers, Illum, "39% of the Maltese population fail to get to the end of the month with the salaries they are earning". According to the same article, "a further 18.3% stated that they are not always able to get to the end of the month". Although some people might say that many individuals spend their income impulsively and without proper financial planning, there are clearly several cases of workers who barely ever go out to relax and who still face huge difficulties in trying to make ends meet.

Apart from earning ridiculously low salaries, numerous wage-slaves frequently complain of having little job security. Such feelings are often heightened by the news reports from various parts of the world which talk about thousands of jobs being slashed. When talking about those workers who want to have a child or who end up being burdened with bank loans in view of the fact that their salaries do not allow them to save any money, the lack of job security seems to cause a great deal of anxiety in their lives. Many couples often have to face a huge amount of pressure as they try to map a stable future for themselves.

There are cases whereby the struggle to survive experienced by the typical wage-slave often creates a cycle of poverty. This is how it works for many people. A person finds a job and starts working. After a while, that individual might think that if they switch to another job, they might be able to get a better income. Sadly, in order to obtain a much better job, a certain level of expertise is usually required. This expertise, which is often of an academic nature, can usually only be obtained via further studies. As specialised educational courses are rarely ever free in capitalist countries, one would need a great deal of money to enrol. The fees that are charged by numerous academic institutions for several courses are clearly beyond the reach of thousands of wage-slaves. Furthermore, several courses require the students to enrol on a full-time basis given the demanding nature of the academic work that has to be done. When a person is trying to make ends meet with a relatively low salary per month, how is it possible to expect that worker to stop working in order to attend a full-time course? Some might suggest that such people could apply for a loan. This is not really a good option for two reasons. First, it increases an individual's debt, making life much harder for the worker should they lose their job (it also increases the person's amount of fixed expenses per month). Second, if one had to apply for a loan to cover the course fees as well as the survival expenses for a number of months, the amount that would have to be borrowed from the bank would be enormous! Consequently, many wage-slaves end up going round in circles; they might benefit from small increases as a result of extra work experience, but several of them tend to end up feeling that significant improvements are beyond their reach.

In view of the above, it is not surprising to come across a shocking amount of resignation when talking to many wage-slaves. Several workers seem to believe that they will never be "as good" as some other people. This belief often leads to a great deal of pessimism when talking about self-improvement.

It is not easy to be a wage-slave. Like millions of other wage-slaves, I am also facing several difficulties to achieve certain goals in my life. I would like to obtain a Master's degree, but I do not know how I am going to get the money to do so. I would like to clear my bank loans as quickly as possible, but when I look at my monthly salary, it looks as though this will take several years. I would like to travel more often and see other parts of the world, but my salary makes that extremely hard to accomplish.

As the prices of various items continue to increase and as numerous salaries remain stagnant, when are the wage-slaves of the world going to unite to say "Enough is enough!"?

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3 comments:

KEITH CHIRCOP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandro Vella said...

Hi Keith,

the link is not working.

Sandro

KEITH CHIRCOP said...

Thanks, Sandy.

So true, Red. Have a look at my
first post ever
and tell me if you agree.