So, wasoxygen and I go back and forth a lot on the issue of inequality, he being of the libertarian mind, and me being a bit more leftist, although by no means a commie. We have had many lengthy conversations by PM, but a question arose recently that I thought might be interesting to put to the community.

In the course of our conversations about unpaid internships, wasoxygen asked me why I oppose them. This is a lightly abridged version of the exchange:

    b_b: I think it's fair to say that I see unpaid internships as being akin to indentured servitude.

    wasoxygen: That is just another label. Why do you oppose indentured servitude? And please don't say because it is akin to slavery, or I will have to ask again. I know why I oppose slavery, but I don't want to make any assumptions about your position. Hopefully not simply because slavery is unpaid!

I think it's not really going out on a limb to say that the overwhelming majority of reasonable people oppose slavery in this day and age. But, the question made me realize that I'm not sure I'd ever been asked why slavery is bad, but rather, I've always taken it as axiomatic that slavery is morally abhorrent.

I wrote a reply after thinking on the topic for a bit, but I'd like to know some others' thoughts on the question. I'll post my response after a bit if anyone seems to be interested in the question at hand.


Because it is unpaid

Because it assumes that some humans are not as human as others.

Because it robs folks of their humanity

Because it degrades the morality of the owners.

Because it steals labor

Because it sets up power relationships that lead to sexual abuse

posted by b_b: 1663 days ago