Humans like to bottle up knowledge into simple narratives. Stories to be told around the campfire or to help us understand the world. Our conception of history is shaped by two grand narratives which sweep beyond their remit to inform our politics and society as well. The fall from grace and march of progress do make for appealing stories, but with one major caveat. They aren’t real.
As workers without the freedom of capital, we have two choices. Either we sell ourselves to an employer in whatever role the labour market has decreed for us, or we starve. Most of us take the first option. We rent out our bodies and minds to the slave owners, bound by contract to obey their bidding. But this isn’t enough for the capitalists. Like the medieval aristocrats, they don’t want to be seen as the petty tyrants they are. The term ‘benevolent job creator’ fits much more nicely. So it isn’t enough that we rent out our bodies and minds. Capital wants our spirit as well.