(un)common ground

a commonplace book

Capitalism Isn’t Designed for Loyalty

The takeaway here: loyalty doesn’t exist in a capitalist economic system.

Erik Devaney, “When Did Passion Become Mandatory?: The Case for Separation of Work and Love,” Medium.com

On the historical shift from fatalistic work ethic (pre-capitalist?) to capitalist work ethic.

Devaney claims that a worker in such a system will almost always choose an economically better work situation than the status quo. This fact could arguably be at the core of any and all office fiction, which is usually an existentialist sort of narrative about the self-aware office peon vs. the non-self-aware consensus of the supervisors or the board. We understand this as a culture, but the momentum of course is already there. We look in awe on those capitalists who insist on their own subjectivity, their own path, their own decisions (a problematic perception to say the least; but the cultural valuation, I’d say, still holds); but we simultaneously hold this antiquated value of workplace loyalty. Maybe it’s generational? It seems my grandparent’s generation (as well as that of my parents, I suppose) sometimes bemoan the loss of a certain loyalistic work ethic. Maybe this stems from conflicts between Christian values of humility and loyalty and the capitalist/consumerist ([mis]perceived[?] as Christian) values of acquisitiveness (or dessert) via labor.

Also, the innate disloyalty of capitalism works both ways: employees might readily leave their companies for more money, but employers might also just as readily (if not more so) give up their employees for the same. This happens all the time.


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This entry was posted on October 22, 2015 by and tagged , , , .
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