quote of the day12 Jun 2005
Kevin Carson, on parish workhouses:
The workhouses, appropriately called prisons, were a way of imposing forced labor on the surplus population. This population was prevented by the Laws of Settlement (a virtual internal passport system) from migrating to parishes where labor in demand. At first glance, this might appear to cause hardship to factory owners, who were located mainly in labor-poor areas; but fortunately for them, the government conducted what amounted to slave labor markets, auctioning off children from the workhouses of overpopulated parishes and shipping them like cattle to the factories of the industrial districts of the North and West. To call this “market freedom,” a term properly reserved for voluntary agreements between free and equal parties, is positively perverse; it is understandable, though, given the kind of pro-corporate and pro-sweatshop apologetic that usually passes for “libertarian” commentary these days. The worst enemies of real free markets are the people who use the term most.