Wednesday, May 3, 2006

A Market Anarchist on: what is exploitation ? part 2

In part 1, I discussed the social aspects of exploitation. Now I want to discuss the more personal aspects - what kinds of exploitation exist in our personal lives, and how we come to accept it, and why market anarchy requires such a frame shift.

Exploitation is a feature of relationships - be they personal, economic or social. So to understand exploitation we have to look at how it is expressed in relationships.

The first and most important exploitative relationship is that of the parent and the child. Raising a child necessarily involves exploitation at a certain level, because the child must be restricted from expressing his innate values - such as for example his curiosity in wanting to cross the street. So I'm not saying that every single instance of exploitation must necessarily be a social evil.

But beyond that, the parenting system is exploitative because the parent is not really accountable to anyone, especially given that the child cannot defend himself against abuse. Historically, parenting has been a festering cesspool of social repression : child sacrifice, sexual slavery, child mutilation, physical beatings, and the inculcation of fear (most of these methods still being used today).

Parenting is the basis of a person's psyche. So the repression of the parenting system has repercussions in our whole lives. For one, it makes it a lot easier to accept exploitation in our adult lives.

But even with this in place, the government needs a system of thought control in place to keep the beliefs alive. It needs to control the schools, the media, the academia and the arts. And it needs to constantly manipulate people's behaviour. So it seems that we have the advantage of being a natural position. People are naturally able to see coercion for what it is, and only an incredible amount of repression and indoctrination can change that.

Now, I admit that it is very effective, even on me. The first time I was exposed the idea that all war is morally wrong, I had to wrap my mind around it. When you've been blasted by propaganda for all your life, it takes a while to return to the state of being able to recognize government coercion for what it is. You have to first fully accept that you have to be honest about it. But when you make that commitment, breaking free of the propaganda is not so hard.

Does parenting prepare you for government belief ? I think so. Children believe that what takes place in their household is a universal. If people are raised to believe that meaningful human relationships must be exploitative, then they will accept the exploitation perpetrated in society.

Now, it is true that most relationships are relationships of power. This is something perfectly natural for hierarchical beings such as ourselves, and something which to a certain extent is perfectly healthy. This does not mean that relationships must be exploitative. To undo this idea, we have to first undo the intuitive notion of exploitation that relies on concentration of power. I will talk about this on a future entry.

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