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Forum Post: Anti-Self-Employment

Posted 10 years ago on May 30, 2013, 1:34 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I would like to hear from both pro-socialists and pro-capitalists any arguments against the promotion of society becoming composed of self-employed individuals. Without condemning or advocating either capitalism or socialism, what reasons does either a pro-capitalist or pro-socialist present against pursuing a society in which everyone, be they sole proprietors, partnerships, or collectives, is self-employed?

Apparently I need to add this as well.

If you as a pro-capitalist or a pro-socialist have no argument against the idea of universal self-employment, then please acknowledge that as well.

As of June 3, 2013, there has been one clear affirmation of universal self-employment being in conformity with the ideals of socialism.



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[-] 3 points by Trilaksana (27) 10 years ago

Well in Socialism you could have a collectively self employed company. Socialism is a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/socialism?s=t I think if everyone worked individually and there were no collective businesses then we'd have difficulty creating the amount of wealth that exists. However I think collective self employed companies with some mix of sole proprietors and partnerships would be wonderful. However this really isn't any different from Libertarian Socialism.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

So, based on your statement, you're pro-socialist and see universal self-employment as being in conformity with socialism. Correct?

[-] 3 points by Trilaksana (27) 10 years ago


[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

Thank you for your contribution. For some reason, getting others to specifically respond to the question is like pulling teeth.

[-] 2 points by Trilaksana (27) 10 years ago

I don't think people really read haha. I had the same issue in a thread I started it was as though only one person comprehended what I wrote.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

we can't be self employed unless we have money to employ ourselves

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

This is about ideals. Capitalists have ideals and socialists have ideals and both condemn the other for their ideals yet so far, the advocates of neither have condemned the ideal of universal self-employment. If universal self-employment is an ideal in conformity with both perspectives, then the differences of both perspectives should be looked at in the light of their commonality. Starting with a central ideal that both perspectives agree upon will reveal the true nature of the disagreements between the two.

[-] 1 points by MichaelB (128) 10 years ago

The disagreement between the two sides is over the ownership of the mens of production. No one cares if you're employed by yourself, someone else, or work as part of a community effort.

If each individual owns the means of production he uses, then it's hard for the capitalist to complain. If no one holds the power from ownership over another it's hard for the socialist to complain. The premiss doesn't offer much to argue about.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

Exactly. A focus on what one might expect to be a shared ideal should make the focus on the ownership of the means of production irrelevant IF both perspectives are truly in support of universal self-employment. It's only if one or both of those perspectives aren't in support of universal self-employment that a clash on the ownership of production becomes an issue.

[-] 0 points by MichaelB (128) 10 years ago

It might be the problem is with the word universal. Seems dictatorial or at the very least limits choice when applied in this case.

I don't see how ownership of the means of production can't be irrelevant when you seek to engage groups who define themselves based on ownership.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

Well there's universal education, universal health care, universal suffrage, none of which sound dictatoral to me.

In the absence of universal self-employment, there's the employment of at least some individuals by other private individuals resulting in the whole ownership of production issue and the employee's financial dependency upon an employer. With universal self-employment, the same person who had been an employee is now an independent contractor financially dependent only upon her/himself in obtaining either clients or a major steady client and determining for her/himself when to work and not to work.

The possible problems I see with all advocates of both groups truly being in support of universal self-employment is that some may only be in support of a limited self-employment in order to benefit from paying low wages to those dependent upon employment while others may only be in support of collective and not individual self-employment not wanting to see anyone become more prosperous as individuals. If these less than admirable possible desires aren't factors in one of the two kinds of advocates not being in support of universal self-employment, it would be enlightening to become aware of what is.

In short, if everyone, not just some, own their own means of production either as individuals or as collectives, therefore making everyone self-employed, the two perspectives should be in agreement unless there's something else in addition to cause disagreement.

[-] 0 points by MichaelB (128) 10 years ago

Most of which offer something to the individual. Universal self employment would seem to restrict behavior.

For typical businesses the matter is probably irrelevant, employee or private contractor become terms without a significant distinction. For operations requiring large capital investment it would be impractical or simply an illusion.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

How would universal self-employment seem to restrict behavior?

[-] 0 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 9 years ago

Leo ... MB is saying that using the word universal,,, is implying that all must be self-employed

[-] 0 points by MichaelB (128) 10 years ago

How could it not? No matter what it is you wish to encourage there is likely always going to be some who don't wish to do it.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

There will always be some who don't want to be economically compelled to do anything to maintain themselves but given a choice between having control over their own work decisions or being subject to someone else's work decisions, I would think that most people would consider not having control over their own work decisions to be more behaviorally restrictive.

[-] 3 points by Sandy0621 (175) 10 years ago

Just let society evolve naturally, you can't build a society then force people to adapt and fit into it. Try to educate people, keep them informed, try to get them to engage politically, then get out of the way and let people decide their own future and the design of their society for themselves.

Individuals, small groups, governments don't build societies they develop slowly over time based on what seems to work for the majority. When you use the phrase "a society in which everyone", I believe you've guaranteed failure. You're going to need some kind of government action or legislation to force some to conform to the vision you're creating. No matter how well intentioned that will seem heavy handed even tyrannical to many and it often leads to negative unintended consequences.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau 21.7 million businesses out of 27.8 million are already sole proprietors (roughly 15% of all U.S. workers work for themselves). If people see that as the way for them to go the number will grow. The same goes for cooperatives or the typical capitalistic enterprise with employees. People will gravitate toward what works for them as individuals.

Society will change slowly over generations. People will see what works and what doesn't. Bumps in the road like "corporations are people" will be encountered and addressed. It won't be fast or easy and it likely won't please everyone, but what evolves naturally has a better chance of succeeding then what a small group can legislate. Let people see what is possible, what works, what doesn't and decide for themselves.

[-] 2 points by Buttercup (1067) 10 years ago

Depends on what you consider 'evolve naturally'. And 'heavy handed even tyrannical' is relative.

No major socio-economic and/or political change (or even some relatively minor legislation) has come about easily and been accepted by an overwhelming majority of society. The slaves weren't freed without a fight. Women didn't get the right to vote until they fought for it. Blacks didn't get the right to vote until they fought for it. Workers didn't get safe working conditions until they fought for it. The environment didn't get protected from pollution until environmentalists fought for it. These things didn't just evolve as though they were forgone conclusions in the natural progress of things. Just because it seems common sense to us now (most of us anyway). At the time it wasn't common sensical. It was radical. If you consider these events as evolving naturally - I guess we have a different idea of 'naturally'. But in these examples, and in many more cases, the 'fight' that was necessary, and the resulting social/political change and decisions, comes well before the overwhelming mass acceptance of those ideas and decisions.

Ending slavery, workers rights, labor laws (child labor laws!), minimum wage, environmental protection legislation - at the time all seemed 'heavy handed even tyrannical'. Pres. Lincoln was viewed as an evil tyrannical maniacal dictator. By half the country! My gawd. In the 70's, just switching to unleaded gasoline was going to lead to economic ruin, the end of the US economy as we know it and the earth was going to spin off it's orbit. It was government overreach and positively tyrannical that the government would dictate switching to unleaded gas.

'Bumps in the road like "corporations are people" will be encountered and addressed' - not likely without a fight/significant pressure. Corporations are people is completely benign compared to slavery. And that required a civil war to end. Jeesuz. We've enslaved other human beings and denied the vote to a majority of society. Switching to unleaded gasoline didn't require of civil war, but it was considered 'heavy handed even tyrannical'. The idea of 'heavy handed even tyrannical' is relative. Depends on who you talk to and at what time.

[-] 1 points by Sandy0621 (175) 10 years ago

We can and should react to any injustice we see. I see a major distinction between being a woman unable to vote and fighting for that right and someone sitting on the sidelines asking for arguments for and against moving society one way or another in what looks like an academic exercise. Don't sit and try to plan for others might be a better way to express it. Let those involved in society work out their solutions.

[-] 1 points by Buttercup (1067) 10 years ago

'an academic exercise' - for decades the prospect of women being able to vote was little more than an academic exercise as well.

It wasn't viewed as an injustice to the vast majority of people. That's the point. It was only a tiny fraction of people that viewed it as an injustice. For which the idea of changing it was mostly an academic exercise. For a long long time. More or less, most everything starts as an academic exercise.

'Let those involved in society work out their solutions' - we're all involved in society.

[-] 1 points by Sandy0621 (175) 10 years ago

I looked at the initial question differently. I'll use women's rights instead of the idea of sole proprietorships to try to make my position clear. I see the original proposition as similar to asking people to list arguments why we should have a society in which all women go out to work. You could just as easily use all women stay home and care for a family, the word ALL is the critical one.

I don't want some small group to sit around and debate if all women (or any group in society) should all do one thing or another the same way. You seem, correctly, concerned about rights. The way I saw the original question it had more to do with taking rights away then fighting for them.

Let society answer these questions as it develops and evolves. Let women go to work on not as they choose. Let people be self employed or not at their choice. I didn't see the question as should we work toward rights for any particular group or as addressing any particular wrong. I saw it as should we encourage everyone to fit into the same mold. My response was no, stay out of societies development. I wasn't clear in that. I probably should have said don't try to make a one size fits all society.

Obviously we're all part of society and should participate. Should that participation extend to making everyone follow the same path? With some things the answer is yes, we shouldn't be allowed to murder. With other things the answer is no, we should be allowed to voice different opinions and live different lifestyles.

My entire response to the original question was focused on the word everyone. We should not spend time trying to engineer a society where everyone is pushed into the same mold. If people all want it will happen on its own, let them discover it on their own.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

There's no force implied in asking pro-socialists and pro-capitalists for any arguments they may have against merely promoting/pursuing a society of USE (Universal Self-Employment).

[-] 1 points by Sandy0621 (175) 10 years ago

Oh no certainly not. I'm sorry I didn't mean to imply that you meant to use force yourself.

My feeling on the original question is to just educate and encourage people nothing more. No pushing or suggesting people to become capitalists, sole proprietors, or socialists. Allow society to develop naturally, essentially mindlessly or undirected on its own.

The idea of some level of legal coercion enters into this as part of my argument. If anyone is going to attempt to nudge society in a particular direction then some legal force is going to be needed. My argument would be that this is not likely to be well received by society, often has led to negative outcomes in the past, and should be avoided.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

I'm not seeing where any level of legal coercion is required for the mere promotion/pursuit of an ideal. There are already plenty of private institutions promoting ideals without legislative support.

As for society developing naturally, when is it ever the case that a civil society develops without the competition of conflicting interests seeking the advantage of authoritative influence?

However, none of this deals with the question at hand which is what arguments if any are there from the perspectives of capitalism and socialism against universal self-employment? Are there any such arguments to be offered by the proponents of either perspective?

[-] 0 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

Good post and packages the topic with its dependancies. This one part needs some attention.

"Society will change slowly over generations. People will see what works and what doesn't."

There are some cognitive distortions there. Generalizations, society can also change fairly quickly depending on events. Even simple information can do it. Seeing as MSM runs our info systems, it not surprising we don't know enough to do any more than change slowly.

If what works is seen, does that exclude another that is unseen but also works, perhaps better. This is an extension of "you don't know what you don't know." This is why free speech is abridged.

Now, what if there was an entire mini society working very hard to make sure you do not learn what you don't know? What is the public capacity for change now?

Okay, how would you feel about our capacity for change if you knew what you don't know?

See why I picked those 2 sentences out?

[-] 1 points by Sandy0621 (175) 10 years ago

Society can certainly change a different rates or at least seem to change based on an individual perspective and the type and degree of change you wish to talk about. For example the Civil War could be said to have ended slavery in a short space of time, but the support for that change had built slowly over generations. Revolutions end monarchies quickly, but the forces driving people to revolution build over time.

I'm not really concerned with what the exact precise change is, and I know I'm responding outside to the choices and directions given in the opening question. I'm responding to the idea that human beings are capable of actually directing society to some preconceived direction. I'm not saying that it can't be done, but I doubt it can be done as intended and I don't believe it should be attempted at all.

So when it's asked, "what reasons does either a pro-capitalist or pro-socialist present against pursuing a society in which everyone, be they sole proprietors, partnerships, or collectives, is self-employed?" My response is we should not be trying to pursue any particular type of society at all. It's better to get people informed and involved and let them build their own life.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

The idea that human beings are capable of actually directing society to some preconceived direction isn't present here to be responded to although that in fact is what factions of urbanized human beings are always engaged in doing. The only idea being presented here is that at least one of two perspectives may be in opposition to the idea of universal self-employment. Either one is against it, both are against it, or neither is against it. The question pertains to the natures of those perspectives as to be revealed by the adherents of those perspectives, not about what anyone has any intention of directing others into doing.

[-] 1 points by Sandy0621 (175) 10 years ago

I get hung up on almost anything that employes words like universal. In your initial question it was the word everyone, "a society in which everyone, be they sole proprietors, partnerships, or collectives, is self-employed".

I'm opposed to any one size fits all type of society, unless it somehow were to occur by chance on it's own. It has little to do with socialism or capitalism.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

The question addresses capitalists and socialists specifically on their own perspectives of an idea. The question doesn't concern a one size fits all society beyond inquiring if a particular issue is in disagreement with the one size fits all societies of the perspectives being addressed. That's the issue and so far neither perspective has been represented as being opposed to the notion though adherents of each may claim that the other is.

[-] 1 points by Sandy0621 (175) 10 years ago

Sorry if I didn't interpret things as you intended. As I said I focused on the word "everyone". I believe the hypothetical itself is flawed from the start. You solicit arguments to "pursue" a society where "everyone" is X. Unless X is some needed morally imperative quality we should not attempt to make everyone be any one particular thing.

In this case, self employment, doesn't meet that moral imperative standard. Action in either direction, for or against it, is uncalled for and I don't see it as desirable. The pros and cons are all irrelevant to me.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

No, I don't solicit arguments to "pursue" a society where "everyone" is X. I solicit arguments from two specific perspectives against an "X". Either "X" is in conformity with one or both of the perspectives or "X" is contrary to one or both of the perspectives. That's the only thing relevant to the question being asked and so far advocates for either perspective have declined to claim or deny "X". That, in itself, is relevant, as so far neither advocates seem to want to claim universal self-employment as a subject in conformity with their own perspectives yet neither seems to want to go on record for presenting what could be an unpopular argument.

[-] 0 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

I agree, but again, what one does not know, limits the perceptions of what is possible, probable or proper.

"It's better to get people informed and involved and let them build their own life."

Herein is where corporate control of technology, gov manipulation of education, deprives us of being informed.

The general structure of change, as it occurs naturally makes sense. However, every now and then factions will manipulate, exploit and deceive over very long periods making a situation that must be remedied before society can naturally, positively find its path.

Because of the dumbing down, and other unreasonable fears that have been hammered into us over 2 thousand years, we need to enforce a preconweived direction found in our constitution, carrying principles and also guarantees freedoms and rights.

People need the right information to "build a lifestyle" which is sustainable and through ART5 we can assure that the info needed for survival and evolution with understanding of it, will eventually return.

[-] 2 points by wickerman (62) 9 years ago

Good post Leo, too bad everyone choose to discuss something else. I personally support a regulated form of capitalism, and Universal self employment sounds like it would fit right in.

[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 9 years ago

In one way or another, call it what you want, people are going to have to work within the framework of some organization. As soon as there is organization, there has to be management. Some people doing work, others telling others what to do. The concept of "self-employed" suddenly becomes a mute point.

[-] 1 points by Kavatz (464) from Edmonton, AB 10 years ago

I think everyone should be an entrepreneur, self employed. At the same time, if people can afford to and are willing to, they should work for someone else. If a person feels the time is right to get educated, that should be encouraged. If a person would rather do absolutely nothing now or forever, that should be supported by government.

Government should not only support people who choose to permanently relax, it should provide the means (basic human needs, rights and more for free).

I like capitalism, but as sure as the next age will come, capitalism will come to pass. It's not but a phase in evolution. The market system naturally had to experience money, as so far it has proven to be the path of least resistance.

The monetary market system has been the most efficient way to get money for your goods/services. That is why we have it.

We're now experiencing the short moment in evolution where taking advantage of the system is resulting in our own destruction. The market was evolution seeking least resistance, and the end of capitalism will be evolution seeking corrective direction.

You find this behavior in everything, even in a lightning bolt, which is all we are in an eternity.

So though I'm max socialist, I'm still fond of capitalism. Yet I'm ready to embrace the end of capitalism and the monetary economy. I would trade the money-based economy for a scientifically-motivated, love-motivated society in a heartbeat.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

self employed people still must be paid by those with money

[-] 0 points by JaniceMilano (-5) 10 years ago

The difference between capitalism and socialism/communism is that the means of production are private in the former, and owned by the people in the latter. That means you couldn't have a private proprietor in a socialist or communist framework. That's reserved for capitalism.

In socialism/communism, the government (in case of a system with hierarchy) or the people as a whole (in case of anarchy), would decide what production facilities are needed and how many people would be needed to work there. Everyone would own these "companies" and the products they create.

You could be self-employed in the sense that you could decide for which one of these you would work and how many hours you would work. However, you could not own these "companies'.

A simple example is that no one owns hospitals in Canada. They are owned by the government, which is basically a representative of everyone. People pay taxes to pay for the hospitals. Everyone can benefit from the services without further pay. Doctors, nurses, etc... can choose for which hospital they want to apply for work.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

Nothing is asked about a difference between capitalism and socialism. What either of those perspectives is about is best answered by the adherents of those perspectives. The question put to the adherents of those perspectives that has yet to be answered by either of them at the date of this writing is what argument does either of them have against universal self-employment. Either one or both of those perspectives sees universal self-employment as something contrary to that perspective or neither of them sees universal self-employment as being contrary to those perspectives.

Not really interested in hearing what the adherents of one perspective have to say about the other. There are already plenty of conversations going on on this forum involving just that. The question at hand addresses what is either a major difference between the two or an actual commonality between the two and so far adherents from both perspectives have shown a commonality in putting forth no argument against the notion of universal self-employment.

[-] 0 points by Forward (-2) 10 years ago

Capitalism thrives from self employment. The problem is the cost of starting a biz. The first time entrepreneur is to biz what illegal immigrants are to labor, exploitable and voiceless.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

Based on your statement, would it be correct to conclude that you're pro-capitalist and see universal self-employment as being in conformity with capitalism?

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

The question isn't about mere self-employment. The question pertains to the mere pursuit of universal self-employment. Is the social pursuit of universal self-employment in the interests of either a capitalist or a socialist or is it against the interests of either perspective?

[-] -1 points by Forward (-2) 10 years ago

Socialism does not allow for self employment. Your reply is invalid.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

On the contrary, to simply ask a question is not an invalid reply but to make a blanket statement about a term that covers a wide spectrum of perspectives is indeed invalid without sufficient support.

[-] 0 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 10 years ago

Most self-employed people become slaves to their suppliers working their butts off for the landlord as they say, it can work if you are the producer as well say an artist or craftsman or farmer.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

So is your reply simply being offered up as an observation or is it being offered as either a capitalist or socialist argument against the pursuit of universal self-employment?

[-] 0 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 10 years ago

Observation, I feel understanding what is, is a needed step toward useful action, there is a group of people working toward greater self reliance here:


you may be aware of their efforts already.

[-] 0 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 10 years ago

No arguments from me on either of those.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

Well, so far, there seems to be no argument put forth from anyone of either perspective against the pursuit of universal self-employment. If both perspectives are actually in positive agreement on such an issue, it casts their characteristic opposition to each other in a different light.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 10 years ago

Do you think it should be illegal or taboo to work for yourself?

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

I'm looking for pro-capitalist or pro-socialist arguments against Universal Self-Employment (USE) if there are any.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

As a long term unemployed no

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 10 years ago

but if you are working for yourself, then you arent unemployed. and anyways, shouldnt someone, anyone, everyone have the right to Not work if they choose to do so?

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

obviously some work must be done to feed and shelter ourselves

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 10 years ago

our problems stem from our honoring ownership more than work, that's why work pays the highest taxes and owners pay the lowest

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

most money changes hands through other means than taxes

[-] 0 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 10 years ago

The rule holds, in most transactions, when pricing items either wholesale or retail labor costs are typically less than gross profit and is distributed to far fewer people.

[-] 2 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 10 years ago

That is wrong on so many levels in so many businesses....whats your overhead look like....service or product....etc etc etc...How do you compare labor to gross profit...on a weekly basis, per product, piece work, job completion?

[-] -1 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 10 years ago

Go back to sleep OTP and let the grownups have a chat, I really am not inclined to give you a freshman course in business.

[-] -1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 10 years ago

Its still stands that your comment is probably one of the dumbest things Ive seen on the internet in a while. On multiple levels.

Mindless talking heads on tv, mindless talking posters on the internet.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 10 years ago


[-] -1 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

Is the tax code anti self employment? I know it's anti independent.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

Only if the tax code imposes heavier taxes for the self-employed would it be anti-self-employment.

[-] 0 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

It allows no deductions for what the self employed does for themselves in business. Only if the self employed hires some one to do it is there a deduction.