Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The evil of class privilege


Rudolf Steiner:  "Whoever works in a social organism which is based on the division of labor never really earns his income by himself; he earns it through the work of all the participants in the social organism. A tailor who makes his own coat does not do so in the same sense as a person living in a primitive society who must provide for all his necessities himself. He makes the coat in order to be able to make clothes for others; and the coat's value for him depends on the others' work performance. The coat is actually a means of production. Some would call this hair-splitting. They cannot, however, continue to hold this opinion as soon as they observe how commodity values form in the economic process. They then see that it is not even possible to work for oneself in an economic organism based on the division of labor. One can work only for others, and let others work for oneself. One can no more work for oneself than one can devour oneself. However, arrangements may be made which are in contradiction to the principle of the division of labor. This occurs when goods are produced merely in order to turn over to an individual as property what he is able to produce only because of his position in the social organism. The division of labor exerts pressure on the social organism which has the effect of causing the individual in it to live according to the conditions prevalent in the overall organism; economically, it precludes egoism. Should egoism be present nevertheless in the form of class privilege and the like, an untenable situation arises which leads to severe disturbances in the social organism. We are living under such conditions today."