‘So when you spend a dollar that’s ten seconds of my time. And when ya spend a billion that’s my life and that’s a crime’
– The Coup, ‘Lazymuthafucka’
All this waste and harm takes place because employers can take the output of our work and make more money from it than they pay out in wages and costs. This is the driving force behind capitalism and our exploitation as workers. So why do bosses act they way they do?
First up, it is rare that the person directly managing you is a capitalist boss in the real sense of the word. Foremen, team leaders, gaffers – no matter what they’re called workplaces often have layer upon layer of management, each watching the layer of workers below them. Managers are in the same boat as every other worker in terms of having their needs withheld from them by the capitalist class, and so in that way we share an interest. However, unlike other workers, they are being employed to represent the class interests of those above them, making sure the work gets done as specified and that the workers don’t organise against the bosses. To make their job worthwhile they have to believe that those workers under them require what amounts to a glorified babysitter, causing management to not only act against workers interest but also their own.
When we look at the real capitalists we can see that competition between different sets of bosses is taking place on a global scale. Those who attempt to give their staff a better quality of life in one part of the world will find they are undercut by employers elsewhere and so will lose profits. If the director of a company doesn’t squeeze as much value out of the work of their employees for as low a wage as possible then they’ll be replaced by someone who will. Capitalism creates these external drives, known as market forces, that cause bosses to be ruthless.