Demonstrators holding sign saying "Silenced by wage slavery'
"Wage slavery" by quinn.anya is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Have ambition, work hard, make money, and the world will be your oyster.

That’s the spiel, anyway. The dream. It’s so deeply ingrained in most of us that we don’t even consider it, let alone question it or dare to challenge its validity.

The fact, however, is that the vast majority of workers are trapped in jobs that are destroying their souls because they need to pay the bills. And those bills, along with the price of everything (from houses to food to fuel), keep going up. And if wages are going up (which they aren’t in all cases), they’re not going up by anywhere near enough. For every person who gets to live the dream, there are millions more who are enslaved in perpetual misery. The rat race is never-ending.

The gap between rich and poor is growing, and has been for decades. Hundreds of millions in the developed world are getting poorer, added to those hundreds of millions in the developing world who have been living in poverty for generations. And these people are working, and working hard. And yet, it’s not enough…

The capitalist system inculcates a necessity for perpetual growth. New products and services need to be developed and marketed and people need to buy them. It’s an endless, and vicious, cycle summed up perfectly by the adage:

Buying things you don’t need with money you don’t have to impress people you don’t like.

And this is what people do on a daily basis. Getting into debt and digging themselves deeper into holes they will never be able to climb back out of. Keeping up with the Joneses is literally killing people.

More than half of the world’s wealth is held by fewer than 100 individuals. We’re not talking about the 1% here. We’re not even talking about 0.1%. We are in fact talking about 0.0001%. It’s utterly mind-blowing and ridiculous and obscene.

There is enough money in the world for no one to be poor. There is enough food in the world for no one to go hungry. There is enough energy in the world for no one to be without running water or electricity. That there are literally billions living poverty, starving and without running water or electricity is a choice. I happen to think it’s a pretty crappy one.

It doesn’t matter what your political beliefs or perspectives are, a truly miniscule minority getting exponentially richer while the majority get poorer is simply not a situation which is sustainable. A crash is absolutely inevitable.

Nothing is going to change if we leave things the way they are. And the results will be catastrophic.

People, and the planet, need to be more important than profits. This needs to be a fundamental, unalterable principle on which we agree.

We need to act, and we need to act now. We need to be the change.

If you tolerate this, then your children will be next.

– Manic Street Preachers

Image from Unsplash

Originally published on

2 thought on “Wage-Slavery”
  1. Absolutely agree Tan. The 2008 crash was predicated precisely on the notion of people buying things they could not afford. Banks encouraged this and then states jumped in to save the banks. Meanwhile, the real victims of this, ordinary people, were thrown to the wolves. The system overheats because it is designed to do so. We put up with it because we are told there is no alternative. There is an alternative of course. It’s called socialism and it’s never been more relevant!

    1. Thanks David. It’s a completely unsustainable state of affairs. You are right to point out the 2008 crash. I fear far worse is to come unless we can affect real change.

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