Kade Morton is a security consultant and open source enthusiast. In his spare time, when he isn’t volunteering for Mozilla, he’s working on his own open-source decentralized application, Aletheia. Follow him on twitter @cypath
In a recent CoinDesk op-ed, Sandro Ro urges the blockchain community to “construct and act by a new culture whereby our companies care deeply about its people and society’s problems and act accordingly.”
Making work more rewarding for employees is an arguably noble goal, but it’s one that I believe is doomed to fail.
Moreover, particularly in the blockchain space, it misses the point of this era’s innovations.
A critical look at employment
According to the oracle of the age, Wikipedia, slavery is any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. A slave is unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement and works without remuneration (unless you count room and board).
In the modern form of employment we work under, employment contracts stipulate what we must and must not do. It’s very close to ownership. A lot of people are unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement because work is often hard to find.
Sure, people can quit. But quitting without another job can literally kill you. We need money to survive. We live in a world with enough resources to go around, but we need some way to distribute them since we don’t trust each other to share equally. So, humankind invented money, items granted for effort expended that can be exchanged for resources.
Money is effectively a ledger. It’s incredibly unequal, but it’s still a record of a transaction.
And money is the remuneration many would say, so working is not slavery by our definition. However, examine the situation many are in. People work for food, housing and health care. But homeownership, a healthy diet and proper medical care are a dream for many, and only