The Origin of Wage Slavery

“For a long time, the primary form of resistance to wage-labour was simply a persistent unwillingness to give up the varied activities and irregular rhythms of the day, the week and the year…These difficulties were resolved by the process of enclosure, a series of laws by which the ‘commons’—land held in traditional forms of collective ownership, to which local people had a web of overlapping rights of access, grazing and foraging—were privatised. Carried out in the name of ‘agricultural improvement’, enclosure was essential to the creation of a large class with no alternative to renting out their bodies at a daily or a weekly rate.”

— In Mooria Magasin, social thinker Dougald Hine writes about the advent of wage labor and the world before it. Is it possible, he asks, that we are in the midst of another transition from the current everyday economics of servitude to a new form of (making a) living? The article, A Five Hundred Year Moment? is one of the best I’ve read in a while.

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