Are we “freemen,” serfs or slaves? In Medieval times the services of a serf were preferred over that of a slave. For you see, a slave’s cost included provisions for housing, food and physical wellness. A serf provided for his own needs while paying taxes for access to the vassal lord’s land. If offered land ownership by the lord, he must consider if it was sufficient to meet his needs or if it was better to remain “non-free,” as a serf.
In recent years many have struggled trying to obtain the necessary provisions for themselves and their families. Being removed from the land leaves many dependent upon employment income or else community and government services.
Traditional 17th- and 18th-century economists realized capital only accumulates if given a surplus labor pool. Labor shortages lead to increased wage costs being passed on in the price of goods, resulting in destructive inflationary pressures. In the past, restrictive fiscal and monetary policies were employed to reduce economic growth whenever such low unemployment rates became evident.
Current economic conditions allow for record profits by some businesses enjoying low wage rates, possibly tax abatements and tax caps. Meanwhile, many families suffer from low incomes, reduced community services and possible loss of self worth.
Our world has limited life-sustaining capacities. What shall we do with those providing the necessary precondition for capital’s accumulation or those having insufficient incomes? Shall resources be available for all to be “freemen” or shall more become as Medieval serfs or slaves ... and “non-free?”
— Lynn Slagel