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The Abolition of Work | The Anarchist Library

No one should ever work.

Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil youd care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.

That doesnt mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play; in other words, a ludic conviviality, commensality, and maybe even art. There is more to play than childs play, as worthy as that is. I call for a collective adventure in generalized joy and freely interdependent exuberance. Play isnt passive. Doubtless we all need a lot more time for sheer sloth and slack than we ever enjoy now, regardless of income or occupation, but once recovered from employment-induced exhaustion nearly all of us want to act. Oblomovism and Stakhanovism are two sides of the same debased coin.

The ludic life is totally incompatible with existing reality. So much the worse for reality, the gravity hole that sucks the vitality from the little in life that still distinguishes it from mere survival. Curiously or maybe not all the old ideologies are conservative because they believe in work. Some of them, like Marxism and most brands of anarchism, believe in work all the more fiercely because they believe in so little else.

Liberals say we should end employment discrimination. I say we should end employment. Conservatives support right-to-work laws. Following Karl Marxs wayward son-in-law Paul Lafargue I support the right to be lazy. Leftists favor full employment. Like the surrealists except that Im not kidding I favor full unemployment. Trotskyists agitate for permanent revolution. I agitate for permanent revelry. But if all the ideologues (as they do) advocate work and not only because they plan to make other people do theirs they are strangely reluctant to say so. They will carry on endlessly about wages, hours, working conditions, exploitation, productivity, profitability. Theyll gladly talk about anything but work itself. These experts who offer to do our thinking for us rarely share their conclusions about work, for all its saliency in the lives of all of us. Among themselves they quibble over the details. Unions and management agree that we ought to sell the time of our lives in exchange for survival, although they haggle over the price. Marxists think we should be bossed by bureaucrats. Libertarians think we should be bossed by businessmen. Feminists dont care which form bossing takes so long as the bosses are women. Clearly these ideology-mongers have serious differences over how to divvy up the spoils of power. Just as clearly, none of them have any objection to power as such and all of them want to keep us working.

You may be wondering if Im joking or serious. Im joking and serious. To be ludic is not to be ludicrous. Play doesnt have to be frivolous, although frivolity isnt triviality: very often we ought to take frivolity seriously. Id like life to be a game but a game with high stakes. I want to play for keeps.

The alternative to work isnt just idleness. To be ludic is not to be quaaludic. As much as I treasure the pleasure of torpor, its never more rewarding than when it punctuates other pleasures and pastimes. Nor am I promoting the managed time-disciplined safety-valve called leisure; far from it. Leisure is nonwork for the sake of work. Leisure is the time spent recovering from work and in the frenzied but hopeless attempt to forget about work. Many people return from vacation so beat that they look forward to returning to work so they can rest up. The main difference between work and leisure is that work at least you get paid for your alienation and enervation.

I am not playing definitional games with anybody. When I say I want to abolish work, I mean just what I say, but I want to say what I mean by defining my terms in non-idiosyncratic ways. My minimum definition of work is forced labor, that is, compulsory production. Both elements are essential. Work is production enforced by economic or political means, by the carrot or the stick. (The carrot is just the stick by other means.) But not all creation is work. Work is never done for its own sake, its done on account of some product or output that the worker (or, more often, somebody else) gets out of it. This is what work necessarily is. To define it is to despise it. But work is usually even worse than its definition decrees. The dynamic of domination intrinsic to work tends over time toward elaboration. In advanced work-riddled societies, including all industrial societies whether capitalist or Communist, work invariably acquires other attributes which accentuate its obnoxiousness.

Usually and this is even more true in Communist than capitalist countries, where the state is almost the only employer and everyone is an employee work is employment, i. e., wage-labor, which means selling yourself on the installment plan. Thus 95% of Americans who work, work for somebody (or something) else. In the USSR or Cuba or Yugoslavia or any other alternative model which might be adduced, the corresponding figure approaches 100%. Only the embattled Third World peasant bastions Mexico, India, Brazil, Turkey temporarily shelter significant concentrations of agriculturists who perpetuate the traditional arrangement of most laborers in the last several millenia, the payment of taxes (= ransom) to the state or rent to parasitic landlords in return for being otherwise left alone. Even this raw deal is beginning to look good. All industrial (and office) workers are employees and under the sort of surveillance which ensures servility.

But modern work has worse implications. People dont just work, they have jobs. One person does one productive task all the time on an or-else basis. Even if the task has a quantum of intrinsic interest (as increasingly many jobs dont) the monotony of its obligatory exclusivity drains its ludic potential. A job that might engage the energies of some people, for a reasonably limited time, for the fun of it, is just a burden on those who have to do it for forty hours a week with no say in how it should be done, for the profit of owners who contribute nothing to the project, and with no opportunity for sharing tasks or spreading the work among those who actually have to do it. This is the real world of work: a world of bureaucratic blundering, of sexual harassment and discrimination, of bonehead bosses exploiting and scapegoating their subordinates who by any rational-technical criteria should be calling the shots. But capitalism in the real world subordinates the rational maximization of productivity and profit to the exigencies of organizational control.

The degradation which most workers experience on the job is the sum of assorted indignities which can be denominated as discipline. Foucault has complexified this phenomenon but it is simple enough. Discipline consists of the totality of totalitarian controls at the workplace surveillance, rotework, imposed work tempos, production quotas, punching -in and -out, etc. Discipline is what the factory and the office and the store share with the prison and the school and the mental hospital. It is something historically original and horrible. It was beyond the capacities of such demonic dictators of yore as Nero and Genghis Khan and Ivan the Terrible. For all their bad intentions they just didnt have the machinery to control their subjects as thoroughly as modern despots do. Discipline is the distinctively diabolical modern mode of control, it is an innovative intrusion which must be interdicted at the earliest opportunity.

Such is work. Play is just the opposite. Play is always voluntary. What might otherwise be play is work if its forced. This is axiomatic. Bernie de Koven has defined play as the suspension of consequences. This is unacceptable if it implies that play is inconsequential. The point is not that play is without consequences. This is to demean play. The point is that the consequences, if any, are gratuitous. Playing and giving are closely related, they are the behavioral and transactional facets of the same impulse, the play-instinct. They share an aristocratic disdain for results. The player gets something out of playing; thats why he plays. But the core reward is the experience of the activity itself (whatever it is). Some otherwise attentive students of play, like Johan Huizinga (Homo Ludens), define it as game-playing or following rules. I respect Huizingas erudition but emphatically reject his constraints. There are many good games (chess, baseball, Monopoly, bridge) which are rule-governed but there is much more to play than game-playing. Conversation, sex, dancing, travel these practices arent rule-governed but they are surely play if anything is. And rules can be played with at least as readily as anything else.

Work makes a mockery of freedom. The official line is that we all have rights and live in a democracy. Other unfortunates who arent free like we are have to live in police states. These victims obey orders or-else, no matter how arbitrary. The authorities keep them under regular surveillance. State bureaucrats control even the smaller details of everyday life. The officials who push them around are answerable only to higher-ups, public or private. Either way, dissent and disobedience are punished. Informers report regularly to the authorities. All this is supposed to be a very bad thing.

And so it is, although it is nothing but a description of the modern workplace. The liberals and conservatives and libertarians who lament totalitarianism are phonies and hypocrites. There is more freedom in any moderately deStalinized dictatorship than there is in the ordinary American workplace. You find the same sort of hierarchy and discipline in an office or factory as you do in a prison or monastery. In fact, as Foucault and others have shown, prisons and factories came in at about the same time, and their operators consciously borrowed from each others control techniques. A worker is a part time slave. The boss says when to show up, when to leave, and what to do in the meantime. He tells you how much work to do and how fast. He is free to carry his control to humiliating extremes, regulating, if he feels like it, the clothes you wear or how often you go to the bathroom. With a few exceptions he can fire you for any reason, or no reason. He has you spied on by snitches and supervisors, he amasses a dossier on every employee. Talking back is called insubordination, just as if a worker is a naughty child, and it not only gets you fired, it disqualifies you for unemployment compensation. Without necessarily endorsing it for them either, it is noteworthy that children at home and in school receive much the same treatment, justified in their case by their supposed immaturity. What does this say about their parents and teachers who work?

The demeaning system of domination Ive described rules over half the waking hours of a majority of women and the vast majority of men for decades, for most of their lifespans. For certain purposes its not too misleading to call our system democracy or capitalism or better still industrialism, but its real names are factory fascism and office oligarchy. Anybody who says these people are free is lying or stupid. You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid monotonous work, chances are youll end up boring, stupid and monotonous. Work is a much better explanation for the creeping cretinization all around us than even such significant moronizing mechanisms as television and education. People who are regimented all their lives, handed off to work from school and bracketed by the family in the beginning and the nursing home at the end, are habituated to heirarchy and psychologically enslaved. Their aptitude for autonomy is so atrophied that their fear of freedom is among their few rationally grounded phobias. Their obedience training at work carries over into the families they start, thus reproducing the system in more ways than one, and into politics, culture and everything else. Once you drain the vitality from people at work, theyll likely submit to heirarchy and expertise in everything. Theyre used to it.

We are so close to the world of work that we cant see what it does to us. We have to rely on outside observers from other times or other cultures to appreciate the extremity and the pathology of our present position. There was a time in our own past when the work ethic would have been incomprehensible, and perhaps Weber was on to something when he tied its appearance to a religion, Calvinism, which if it emerged today instead of four centuries ago would immediately and appropriately be labeled a cult. Be that as it may, we have only to draw upon the wisdom of antiquity to put work in perspective. The ancients saw work for what it is, and their view prevailed, the Calvinist cranks notwithstanding, until overthrown by industrialism but not before receiving the endorsement of its prophets.

Lets pretend for a moment that work doesnt turn people into stultified submissives. Lets pretend, in defiance of any plausible psychology and the ideology of its boosters, that it has no effect on the formation of character. And lets pretend that work isnt as boring and tiring and humiliating as we all know it really is. Even then, work would still make a mockery of all humanistic and democratic aspirations, just because it usurps so much of our time. Socrates said that manual laborers make bad friends and bad citizens because they have no time to fulfill the responsibilities of friendship and citizenship. He was right. Because of work, no matter what we do we keep looking at our watches. The only thing free about so-called free time is that it doesnt cost the boss anything. Free time is mostly devoted to getting ready for work, going to work, returning from work, and recovering from work. Free time is a euphemism for the peculiar way labor as a factor of production not only transports itself at its own expense to and from the workplace but assumes primary responsibility for its own maintenance and repair. Coal and steel dont do that. Lathes and typewriters dont do that. But workers do. No wonder Edward G. Robinson in one of his gangster movies exclaimed, Work is for saps!

Both Plato and Xenophon attribute to Socrates and obviously share with him an awareness of the destructive effects of work on the worker as a citizen and a human being. Herodotus identified contempt for work as an attribute of the classical Greeks at the zenith of their culture. To take only one Roman example, Cicero said that whoever gives his labor for money sells himself and puts himself in the rank of slaves. His candor is now rare, but contemporary primitive societies which we are wont to look down upon have provided spokesmen who have enlightened Western anthropologists. The Kapauku of West Irian, according to Posposil, have a conception of balance in life and accordingly work only every other day, the day of rest designed to regain the lost power and health. Our ancestors, even as late as the eighteenth century when they were far along the path to our present predicament, at least were aware of what we have forgotten, the underside of industrialization. Their religious devotion to St. Monday thus establishing a de facto five-day week 150200 years before its legal consecration was the despair of the earliest factory owners. They took a long time in submitting to the tyranny of the bell, predecessor of the time clock. In fact it was necessary for a generation or two to replace adult males with women accustomed to obedience and children who could be molded to fit industrial needs. Even the exploited peasants of the ancient regime wrested substantial time back from their landlords work. According to Lafargue, a fourth of the French peasants calendar was devoted to Sundays and holidays, and Chayanovs figures from villages in Czarist Russia hardly a progressive society likewise show a fourth or fifth of peasants days devoted to repose. Controlling for productivity, we are obviously far behind these backward societies. The exploited muzhiks would wonder why any of us are working at all. So should we.

To grasp the full enormity of our deterioration, however, consider the earliest condition of humanity, without government or property, when we wandered as hunter-gatherers. Hobbes surmised that life was then nasty, brutish and short. Others assume that life was a desperate unremitting struggle for subsistence, a war waged against a harsh Nature with death and disaster awaiting the unlucky or anyone who was unequal to the challenge of the struggle for existence. Actually, that was all a projection of fears for the collapse of government authority over communities unaccustomed to doing without it, like the England of Hobbes during the Civil War. Hobbes compatriots had already encountered alternative forms of society which illustrated other ways of life in North America, particularly but already these were too remote from their experience to be understandable. (The lower orders, closer to the condition of the Indians, understood it better and often found it attractive. Throughout the seventeenth century, English settlers defected to Indian tribes or, captured in war, refused to return. But the Indians no more defected to white settlements than Germans climb the Berlin Wall from the west.) The survival of the fittest version the Thomas Huxley version of Darwinism was a better account of economic conditions in Victorian England than it was of natural selection, as the anarchist Kropotkin showed in his book Mutual Aid, A Factor of Evolution. (Kropotkin was a scientist a geographer whod had ample involuntary opportunity for fieldwork whilst exiled in Siberia: he knew what he was talking about.) Like most social and political theory, the story Hobbes and his successors told was really unacknowledged autobiography.

The anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, surveying the data on contemporary hunter-gatherers, exploded the Hobbesian myth in an article entitled The Original Affluent Society. They work a lot less than we do, and their work is hard to distinguish from what we regard as play. Sahlins concluded that hunters and gatherers work less than we do; and rather than a continuous travail, the food quest is intermittent, leisure abundant, and there is a greater amount of sleep in the daytime per capita per year than in any other condition of society. They worked an average of four hours a day, assuming they were working at all. Their labor, as it appears to us, was skilled labor which exercised their physical and intellectual capacities; unskilled labor on any large scale, as Sahlins says, is impossible except under industrialism. Thus it satisfied Friedrich Schillers definition of play, the only occasion on which man realizes his complete humanity by giving full play to both sides of his twofold nature, thinking and feeling. As he put it: The animal works when deprivation is the mainspring of its activity, and it plays when the fullness of its strength is this mainspring, when superabundant life is its own stimulus to activity. (A modern version dubiously developmental is Abraham Maslows counterposition of deficiency and growth motivation.) Play and freedom are, as regards production, coextensive. Even Marx, who belongs (for all his good intentions) in the productivist pantheon, observed that the realm of freedom does not commence until the point is passed where labor under the compulsion of necessity and external utility is required. He never could quite bring himself to identify this happy circumstance as what it is, the abolition of work its rather anomalous, after all, to be pro-worker and anti-work but we can.

The aspiration to go backwards or forwards to a life without work is evident in every serious social or cultural history of pre-industrial Europe, among them M. Dorothy Georges England In Transition and Peter Burkes Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe. Also pertinent is Daniel Bells essay, Work and its Discontents, the first text, I believe, to refer to the revolt against work in so many words and, had it been understood, an important correction to the complacency ordinarily associated with the volume in which it was collected, The End of Ideology. Neither critics nor celebrants have noticed that Bells end-of-ideology thesis signaled not the end of social unrest but the beginning of a new, uncharted phase unconstrained and uninformed by ideology. It was Seymour Lipset (in Political Man), not Bell, who announced at the same time that the fundamental problems of the Industrial Revolution have been solved, only a few years before the post- or meta-industrial discontents of college students drove Lipset from UC Berkeley to the relative (and temporary) tranquility of Harvard.

As Bell notes, Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, for all his enthusiasm for the market and the division of labor, was more alert to (and more honest about) the seamy side of work than Ayn Rand or the Chicago economists or any of Smiths modern epigones. As Smith observed: The understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose life is spent in performing a few simple operations… has no occasion to exert his understanding… He generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. Here, in a few blunt words, is my critique of work. Bell, writing in 1956, the Golden Age of Eisenhower imbecility and American self-satisfaction, identified the unorganized, unorganizable malaise of the 1970s and since, the one no political tendency is able to harness, the one identified in HEWs report Work in America, the one which cannot be exploited and so is ignored. That problem is the revolt against work. It does not figure in any text by any laissez-faire economist Milton Friedman, Murray Rothbard, Richard Posner because, in their terms, as they used to say on Star Trek, it does not compute.

If these objections, informed by the love of liberty, fail to persuade humanists of a utilitarian or even paternalist turn, there are others which they cannot disregard. Work is hazardous to your health, to borrow a book title. In fact, work is mass murder or genocide. Directly or indirectly, work will kill most of the people who read these words. Between 14,000 and 25,000 workers are killed annually in this country on the job. Over two million are disabled. Twenty to twenty-five million are injured every year. And these figures are based on a very conservative estimation of what constitutes a work-related injury. Thus they dont count the half million cases of occupational disease every year. I looked at one medical textbook on occupational diseases which was 1,200 pages long. Even this barely scratches the surface. The available statistics count the obvious cases like the 100,000 miners who have black lung disease, of whom 4,000 die every year, a much higher fatality rate than for AIDS, for instance, which gets so much media attention. This reflects the unvoiced assumption that AIDS afflicts perverts who could control their depravity whereas coal-mining is a sacrosanct activity beyond question. What the statistics dont show is that tens of millions of people have heir lifespans shortened by work which is all that homicide means, after all. Consider the doctors who work themselves to death in their 50s. Consider all the other workaholics.

Even if you arent killed or crippled while actually working, you very well might be while going to work, coming from work, looking for work, or trying to forget about work. The vast majority of victims of the automobile are either doing one of these work-obligatory activities or else fall afoul of those who do them. To this augmented body-count must be added the victims of auto-industrial pollution and work-induced alcoholism and drug addiction. Both cancer and heart disease are modern afflictions normally traceable, directly, or indirectly, to work.

Work, then, institutionalizes homicide as a way of life. People think the Cambodians were crazy for exterminating themselves, but are we any different? The Pol Pot regime at least had a vision, however blurred, of an egalitarian society. We kill people in the six-figure range (at least) in order to sell Big Macs and Cadillacs to the survivors. Our forty or fifty thousand annual highway fatalities are victims, not martyrs. They died for nothing or rather, they died for work. But work is nothing to die for.

Bad news for liberals: regulatory tinkering is useless in this life-and-death context. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was designed to police the core part of the problem, workplace safety. Even before Reagan and the Supreme Court stifled it, OSHA was a farce. At previous and (by current standards) generous Carter-era funding levels, a workplace could expect a random visit from an OSHA inspector once every 46 years.

State control of the economy is no solution. Work is, if anything, more dangerous in the state-socialist countries than it is here. Thousands of Russian workers were killed or injured building the Moscow subway. Stories reverberate about covered-up Soviet nuclear disasters which make Times Beach and Three-Mile Island look like elementary-school air-raid drills. On the other hand, deregulation, currently fashionable, wont help and will probably hurt. From a health and safety standpoint, among others, work was at its worst in the days when the economy most closely approximated laissez-faire.

Historians like Eugene Genovese have argued persuasively that as antebellum slavery apologists insisted factory wage-workers in the Northern American states and in Europe were worse off than Southern plantation slaves. No rearrangement of relations among bureaucrats and businessmen seems to make much difference at the point of production. Serious enforcement of even the rather vague standards enforceable in theory by OSHA would probably bring the economy to a standstill. The enforcers apparently appreciate this, since they dont even try to crack down on most malefactors.

What Ive said so far ought not to be controversial. Many workers are fed up with work. There are high and rising rates of absenteeism, turnover, employee theft and sabotage, wildcat strikes, and overall goldbricking on the job. There may be some movement toward a conscious and not just visceral rejection of work. And yet the prevalent feeling, universal among bosses and their agents and also widespread among workers themselves is that work itself is inevitable and necessary.

I disagree. It is now possible to abolish work and replace it, insofar as it serves useful purposes, with a multitude of new kinds of free activities. To abolish work requires going at it from two directions, quantitative and qualitative. On the one hand, on the quantitative side, we have to cut down massively on the amount of work being done. At present most work is useless or worse and we should simply get rid of it. On the other hand and I think this is the crux of the matter and the revolutionary new departure we have to take what useful work remains and transform it into a pleasing variety of game-like and craft-like pastimes, indistinguishable from other pleasurable pastimes, except that they happen to yield useful end-products. Surely that shouldnt make them less enticing to do. Then all the artificial barriers of power and property could come down. Creation could become recreation. And we could all stop being afraid of each other.

I dont suggest that most work is salvageable in this way. But then most work isnt worth trying to save. Only a small and diminishing fraction of work serves any useful purpose independent of the defense and reproduction of the work-system and its political and legal appendages. Twenty years ago, Paul and Percival Goodman estimated that just five percent of the work then being done presumably the figure, if accurate, is lower now would satisfy our minimal needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Theirs was only an educated guess but the main point is quite clear: directly or indirectly, most work serves the unproductive purposes of commerce or social control. Right off the bat we can liberate tens of millions of salesmen, soldiers, managers, cops, stockbrokers, clergymen, bankers, lawyers, teachers, landlords, security guards, ad-men and everyone who works for them. There is a snowball effect since every time you idle some bigshot you liberate his flunkeys and underlings also. Thus the economy implodes.

Forty percent of the workforce are white-collar workers, most of whom have some of the most tedious and idiotic jobs ever concocted. Entire industries, insurance and banking and real estate for instance, consist of nothing but useless paper-shuffling. It is no accident that the tertiary sector, the service sector, is growing while the secondary sector (industry) stagnates and the primary sector (agriculture) nearly disappears. Because work is unnecessary except to those whose power it secures, workers are shifted from relatively useful to relatively useless occupations as a measure to assure public order. Anything is better than nothing. Thats why you cant go home just because you finish early. They want your time, enough of it to make you theirs, even if they have no use for most of it. Otherwise why hasnt the average work week gone down by more than a few minutes in the past fifty years?

Next we can take a meat-cleaver to production work itself. No more war production, nuclear power, junk food, feminine hygiene deodorant and above all, no more auto industry to speak of. An occasional Stanley Steamer or Model-T might be all right, but the auto-eroticism on which such pestholes as Detroit and Los Angeles depend on is out of the question. Already, without even trying, weve virtually solved the energy crisis, the environmental crisis and assorted other insoluble social problems.

Finally, we must do away with far and away the largest occupation, the one with the longest hours, the lowest pay and some of the most tedious tasks around. I refer to housewives doing housework and child-rearing. By abolishing wage-labor and achieving full unemployment we undermine the sexual division of labor. The nuclear family as we know it is an inevitable adaptation to the division of labor imposed by modern wage-work. Like it or not, as things have been for the last century or two it is economically rational for the man to bring home the bacon, for the woman to do the shitwork to provide him with a haven in a heartless world, and for the children to be marched off to youth concentration camps called schools, primarily to keep them out of Moms hair but still under control, but incidentally to acquire the habits of obedience and punctuality so necessary for workers. If you would be rid of patriarchy, get rid of the nuclear family whose unpaid shadow work, as Ivan Illich says, makes possible the work-system that makes it necessary. Bound up with this no-nukes strategy is the abolition of childhood and the closing of the schools. There are more full-time students than full-time workers in this country. We need children as teachers, not students. They have a lot to contribute to the ludic revolution because theyre better at playing than grown-ups are. Adults and children are not identical but they will become equal through interdependence. Only play can bridge the generation gap.

I havent as yet even mentioned the possibility of cutting way down on the little work that remains by automating and cybernizing it. All the scientists and engineers and technicians freed from bothering with war research and planned obsolescence would have a good time devising means to eliminate fatigue and tedium and danger from activities like mining. Undoubtedly theyll find other projects to amuse themselves with. Perhaps theyll set up world-wide all-inclusive multi-media communications systems or found space colonies. Perhaps. I myself am no gadget freak. I wouldnt care to live in a pushbutton paradise. I dont want robot slaves to do everything; I want to do things myself. There is, I think, a place for labor-saving technology, but a modest place. The historical and pre-historical record is not encouraging. When productive technology went from hunting-gathering to agriculture and on to industry, work increased while skills and self-determination diminished. The further evolution of industrialism has accentuated what Harry Braverman called the degradation of work. Intelligent observers have always been aware of this. John Stuart Mill wrote that all the labor-saving inventions ever devised havent saved a moments labor. Karl Marx wrote that it would be possible to write a history of the inventions, made since 1830, for the sole purpose of supplying capital with weapons against the revolts of the working class. The enthusiastic technophiles Saint-Simon, Comte, Lenin, B. F. Skinner have always been unabashed authoritarians also; which is to say, technocrats. We should be more than sceptical about the promises of the computer mystics. They work like dogs; chances are, if they have their way, so will the rest of us. But if they have any particularized contributions more readily subordinated to human purposes than the run of high tech, lets give them a hearing.

What I really want to see is work turned into play. A first step is to discard the notions of a job and an occupation. Even activities that already have some ludic content lose most of it by being reduced to jobs which certain people, and only those people are forced to do to the exclusion of all else. Is it not odd that farm workers toil painfully in the fields while their air-conditioned masters go home every weekend and putter about in their gardens? Under a system of permanent revelry, we will witness the Golden Age of the dilettante which will put the Renaissance to shame. There wont be any more jobs, just things to do and people to do them.

The secret of turning work into play, as Charles Fourier demonstrated, is to arrange useful activities to take advantage of whatever it is that various people at various times in fact enjoy doing. To make it possible for some people to do the things they could enjoy it will be enough just to eradicate the irrationalities and distortions which afflict these activities when they are reduced to work. I, for instance, would enjoy doing some (not too much) teaching, but I dont want coerced students and I dont care to suck up to pathetic pedants for tenure.

Second, there are some things that people like to do from time to time, but not for too long, and certainly not all the time. You might enjoy baby-sitting for a few hours in order to share the company of kids, but not as much as their parents do. The parents meanwhile, profoundly appreciate the time to themselves that you free up for them, although theyd get fretful if parted from their progeny for too long. These differences among individuals are what make a life of free play possible. The same principle applies to many other areas of activity, especially the primal ones. Thus many people enjoy cooking when they can practice it seriously at their leisure, but not when theyre just fueling up human bodies for work.

Third other things being equal some things that are unsatisfying if done by yourself or in unpleasant surroundings or at the orders of an overlord are enjoyable, at least for a while, if these circumstances are changed. This is probably true, to some extent, of all work. People deploy their otherwise wasted ingenuity to make a game of the least inviting drudge-jobs as best they can. Activities that appeal to some people dont always appeal to all others, but everyone at least potentially has a variety of interests and an interest in variety. As the saying goes, anything once. Fourier was the master at speculating how aberrant and perverse penchants could be put to use in post-civilized society, what he called Harmony. He thought the Emperor Nero would have turned out all right if as a child he could have indulged his taste for bloodshed by working in a slaughterhouse. Small children who notoriously relish wallowing in filth could be organized in Little Hordes to clean toilets and empty the garbage, with medals awarded to the outstanding. I am not arguing for these precise examples but for the underlying principle, which I think makes perfect sense as one dimension of an overall revolutionary transformation. Bear in mind that we dont have to take todays work just as we find it and match it up with the proper people, some of whom would have to be perverse indeed. If technology has a role in all this it is less to automate work out of existence than to open up new realms for re/creation. To some extent we may want to return to handicrafts, which William Morris considered a probable and desirable upshot of communist revolution. Art would be taken back from the snobs and collectors, abolished as a specialized department catering to an elite audience, and its qualities of beauty and creation restored to integral life from which they were stolen by work. Its a sobering thought that the grecian urns we write odes about and showcase in museums were used in their own time to store olive oil. I doubt our everyday artifacts will fare as well in the future, if there is one. The point is that theres no such thing as progress in the world of work; if anything its just the opposite. We shouldnt hesitate to pilfer the past for what it has to offer, the ancients lose nothing yet we are enriched.

The reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps. There is, it is true, more suggestive speculation than most people suspect. Besides Fourier and Morris and even a hint, here and there, in Marx there are the writings of Kropotkin, the syndicalists Pataud and Pouget, anarcho-communists old (Berkman) and new (Bookchin). The Goodman brothers Communitas is exemplary for illustrating what forms follow from given functions (purposes), and there is something to be gleaned from the often hazy heralds of alternative/appropriate/intermediate/convivial technology, like Schumacher and especially Illich, once you disconnect their fog machines. The situationists as represented by Vaneigems Revolution of Daily Life and in the Situationist International Anthology are so ruthlessly lucid as to be exhilarating, even if they never did quite square the endorsement of the rule of the workers councils with the abolition of work. Better their incongruity, though than any extant version of leftism, whose devotees look to be the last champions of work, for if there were no work there would be no workers, and without workers, who would the left have to organize?

So the abolitionists would be largely on their own. No one can say what would result from unleashing the creative power stultified by work. Anything can happen. The tiresome debaters problem of freedom vs. necessity, with its theological overtones, resolves itself practically once the production of use-values is coextensive with the consumption of delightful play-activity.

Life will become a game, or rather many games, but not as it is now a zero/sum game. An optimal sexual encounter is the paradigm of productive play, The participants potentiate each others pleasures, nobody keeps score, and everybody wins. The more you give, the more you get. In the ludic life, the best of sex will diffuse into the better part of daily life. Generalized play leads to the libidinization of life. Sex, in turn, can become less urgent and desperate, more playful. If we play our cards right, we can all get more out of life than we put into it; but only if we play for keeps.

No one should ever work. Workers of the world… relax!

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The Abolition of Work | The Anarchist Library

The Abolition of Man | work by Lewis | Britannica.com

The Abolition of Man, in full The Abolition of Man; or, Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools, a book on education and moral values by C.S. Lewis, published in 1943. The book originated as the Riddell Memorial Lectures, three lectures delivered at the University of Durham in February 1943. Many people regard this as Lewiss most important book. In it he argues that education, both at home and in schools, needs to be conducted in the context of moral law and objective values.

Throughout the book Lewis argues for an objectivist position in aesthetics and morality, contending that qualities and values inhere in things and positions and are not just projected onto them. Two objectivists may disagree about whether a work of art or a human act is good or not, but both believe there are agreed-upon standards by which the work or act is to be judged. Unlike subjectivists, objectivists hold common principles on which to base their judgments.

The doctrine of objective values, which Lewis calls the Tao, is the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are. Lewis uses the Chinese term Tao for what he elsewhere in The Abolition of Man refers to as Natural Law or Traditional Morality in order to emphasize the universality of traditional values: people throughout history and around the world believe in the same objective values. (Lewis also explores these ideas in the first chapter of Mere Christianity.) He illustrates such universality in an appendix that offers quotations from widely varying cultures, ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, showing agreement on the need for general beneficence and on specific duties to parents, elders, and children, and agreement that loyalty and justice are consistently praised while disloyalty, lying, theft, and murder are consistently condemned.

The first lecture begins with a critique of a composition textbook published a few years earlier. Lewiss concern about the book is that while it teaches writing, it also subtly advocates subjectivism. Such moments occur, for example, when the textbook refers to an observer who calls a waterfall sublime; Lewis quotes the textbooks claim that, in such observations, [w]e appear to be saying something very important about something, and actually we are only saying something about our own feelings. Lewis points in particular toward the textbooks use of the words appear and only: dismissive words such as these suggest that predicates of value are merely projections of the inner state of the speaker and have no significance. Lewis replies that the speaker is not just expressing his own feelings but asserting that the object is one that merits those emotions.

On this ground Lewis argues the importance of objectivism for education. Children are not born with knowledge of appropriate reactions; those reactions must be nurtured. According to Lewis, The little human animal will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred at those things which really are pleasant, likeable, disgusting, and hateful. Thus, teachers and parents who are objectivists teach their children principles of right and wrong, because if a child knows right principles, Lewis claims, he or she will respond in particular situations with the right sentiments and will know the right thing to do.

Right sentiments is a key concept in the book: by it Lewis means emotions conform[ing] to Reason. As he explains it, The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it. When childrens emotions have been so trained, their moral impulses can be trusted to lead them correctly. For Lewis the ability to have right sentiments is what separates humans from animals, but such training of the hearttraining of the emotions, what Lewis refers to as the chestis lacking in modern education, with its emphasis on the intellect. The failure to nurture right sentiments ultimately results in the abolition of man, Lewis contends, because modern education produces what may be called Men without Chests.

Lewis goes on to argue that the lack of sentiment in modern thought is particularly dangerous when it is extended to science and the social sciences. The modern sciences teach people how to analyze natureto dissect it, literally and figuratively. Thus does science turn nature into an object, Lewis laments, instead of treating it with respect or care as a living being. What worries Lewis most is the tendency for the sciences to regard human beings as a part of nature. Such an understanding of people allows them to be treated as things to analyze and experiment on. That allows some people to gain power over other people. If that happens, Lewis asks, what principles will guide their use of such power? If they are objectivists, the Tao will guide them. If they are not, Lewis fears, they will have no absolute guidelines or trained sentiments to restrain them. (Lewis later embedded these ideas in a novel, That Hideous Strength [1945], which depicts England being taken over by a totalitarian force that has almost unlimited power and uses it without moral principles of restraint.)

In The Abolition of Man, Lewis urges a new attitude for sciencetreating it as a Thou (citing the philosopher Martin Buber), not an It having a personal relationship with nature, a love of Truth rather than a desire for power. The degree of power humankind has attained makes such a change in attitude necessary and makes it crucial, Lewis argues, that the world return to having the Tao at the centre of education.

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The Abolition of Man | work by Lewis | Britannica.com

Prison abolition movement – Wikipedia

The prison abolition movement is a loose network of groups and activists that seek to reduce or eliminate prisons and the prison system, and replace them with systems of rehabilitation that do not place a focus on punishment and government institutionalization[1].

It is distinct from conventional prison reform, which is the attempt to improve conditions inside prisons; however, relying on prisons less could improve their conditions by reducing overcrowding.[2]:3

Supporters for prison abolition work toward non-reformist reforms[3], such as ending solitary confinement and the death penalty, stopping construction of new prisons, and the eradication of cash bail.[4] Some organizations such as the Anarchist Black Cross seek total abolishment of the prison system, not intending to replace it with other government-controlled systems. Many anarchist organizations believe that the best form of justice arises naturally out of social contracts or restorative justice.

Prominent social activist Angela Davis, outspoken critic of the prison-industrial complex, openly supports prison abolition.[5] In her work, she writes: “Mass incarceration is not a solution to unemployment, nor is it a solution to the vast array of social problems that are hidden away in a rapidly growing network of prisons and jails. However, the great majority of people have been tricked into believing in the efficacy of imprisonment, even though the historical record clearly demonstrates that prisons do not work.”[6] Her relevancy in this movement is attested by her close involvement with groups moving to abolish the Prison-Industrial Complex (PIC).[7]

Critical Resistance, co-founded by Angela Davis and Ruth Wilson Gilmore, is an American organization working towards an “international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe.”[8] Other similarly motivated groups such as the Prison Activist Resource Center (PARC), a group “committed to exposing and challenging all forms of institutionalized racism, sexism, able-ism, heterosexism, and classism, specifically within the Prison Industrial Complex,” [9] and Black & Pink, an abolitionist organization that focuses around LGBTQ rights, all broadly advocate for prison abolition.[10] Furthermore, names such as the Human Rights Coalition, a 2001 group that aims to abolish prisons,[11][12] and the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, a grassroots organization dedicated to dismantling the PIC,[13] can all be added to the long list of organizations that desire a different form of justice system.[14]

Every other year after Ruth Morris organized the first one in Toronto in 1983,[15] The International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA) gathers activists, academics, journalists, and “others from across the world who are working towards the abolition of imprisonment, the penal system, carceral controls and the prison industrial complex (PIC),”[16] to discuss three important questions surrounding the reality of prison abolition ICOPA was one of the first penal abolitionist conference movements, similar to Critical Resistance in America, but “with an explicitly international scope and agenda-setting ambition.”[17]

Anarchists wish to eliminate all forms of state control, of which imprisonment is seen as one of the more obvious examples. Anarchists also oppose prisons because a significant number of inmates are non-violent offenders[18]. Numbers show incarceration rates affect mainly poor people and ethnic minorities, and do not generally rehabilitate criminals, in many cases making them worse.[19] As a result, the prison abolition movement often is associated with humanistic socialism, anarchism and anti-authoritarianism.

In October 2015, members at a plenary session of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) released and adopted a resolution in favor of prison abolition.[20][21]

Proposals for prison reform and alternatives to prisons differ significantly depending on the political beliefs behind them. Proposals and tactics often include:

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime published a series of handbooks on criminal justice. Among them is Alternatives to Imprisonment which identifies how the overuse of imprisonment impacts fundamental human rights, especially those convicted for lesser crimes.

Social justice and advocacy organizations such as Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) at the University of California, San Diego often look to Scandinavian countries Sweden and Norway for guidance in regards to successful prison reform because both countries have an emphasis on rehabilitation rather than punishment.[22] According to Sweden’s Prison and Probation Service Director-General, Nils berg, this emphasis is made popular among the Swedish because the act of imprisonment is considered punishment enough.[23] This focus on rehabilitation includes an emphasis on promoting normalcy for inmates, a charge lead by experienced criminologists and psychologists.[24] In Norway a focus on preparation for societal re-entry has yielded “one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world at 20%, [while] the US has one of the highest: 76.6% of [Americans] prisoners are re-arrested within five years”.[25] The Scandinavian method of incarceration seems to be successful: the Swedish incarceration rate decreased by 6% between 2011 and 2012.[26]

In place of prisons, some abolitionists propose community-controlled courts, councils, or assemblies to control the problem of social crime.[27] They argue that with the destruction of capitalism, and the self-management of production by workers and communities, property crimes would largely vanish. A large part of the problem, according to some, is the way the judicial system deals with prisoners, people, and capital. They argue that there would be fewer prisoners if society treated people more fairly, regardless of gender, color, ethnic background, sexual orientation, education, etc. This is evidenced by the creation of private prisons in America and corporations like CoreCivic, formerly known as Correction Corporation of America (CCA). Its shareholders benefit from the expansion of prisons and tougher laws on crime. More prisoners is seen as beneficial for business.[28]

Many organizations and abolitionists in the United States advocate community accountability practices an alternative to the criminal justice system. Organizations such as INCITE! and Sista II Sista that support women of color who are survivors of interpersonal violence argue that the criminal justice system does not protect marginalized people who are victims in violent relationships. Instead, victims, especially those who are poor, people of color, or trans or gender non-conforming, can experience additional violence at the hands of the state.[29] Instead of relying on the criminal justice system, these organizations work to implement community accountability practices, which often involve collectively-run processes of intervention initiated by a survivor of violence to try to hold the person who committed violence accountable by working to meet a set of demands.[30]

Prison abolitionists such as Amanda Pustlinik take issue with the fact that prisons are used as a “default asylum” for many individuals with mental illness.[31] One question that is often asked by some prison abolitionists is:

“Why do governmental units choose to spend billions of dollars a year to concentrate people with serious illnesses in a system designed to punish intentional lawbreaking, when doing so matches neither the putative purposes of that system nor most effectively addresses the issues posed by that population?” [31]

This question is often one of the major pieces of evidence that prison abolitionist claim highlights the depravity of the penal system. Many of these prison abolitionists often state that mentally ill offenders, violent and non-violent, should be treated in mental hospitals not prisons.[32] In the United States, there are more people with mental illness in prisons than in psychiatric hospitals.[33] By keeping the mentally ill in prisons they claim that rehabilitation cannot occur because prisons are not the correct environment to deal with deep seated psychological problems and facilitate rehabilitative practices.[32] Individuals with mental illnesses that have led them to commit any crime have a much higher chance of committing suicide while in prison because of the lack of proper medical attention.[34] The increased risk of suicide is said to be because there is much stigma around mental illness and lack of adequate treatments within hospitals.[34] The whole point of the penal system is to rehabilitate and reform individuals who have willingly transgressed on the law. According to many prison abolitionists however, when mentally ill persons, often for reasons outside of their cognitive control, commit illegal acts prisons are not the best place for them to receive the help necessary for their rehabilitation.[32] For many prison abolitionists, if for no other reason than the fact that mentally ill individuals will not be receiving the same potential for rehabilitation as the non-mentally ill prison population, prisons are considered to be unjust and therefore violate their Sixth Amendment and Fifth Amendment Rights, in the U.S., and their chance to rehabilitate and function outside of the prison.[31][31][32][35] In America, by violating an individual’s rights as a citizen, prison abolitionists see no reason for prisons to exist, and again, offer another reason people within the movement demand for the abolition of prisons.[31][32][35]

After the Attica prison massacre, the inmates of Walpole prison formed a prisoners’ union to protect themselves from guards, end behavioural modification programs, more visitation rights, work assignments and the ability to send money to their families and advocate for the prisoner’s right for education and healthcare. The union also ended race-related violence within the prison, creating a general truce between ethnic truce and an agreement to kill any inmate who broke said truce. During the black prisoner’s Kwanzaa celebration, the black prisoner’s were placed under lockdown, angering the whole facility and leading to a general strike. Prisoners refused to work or leave their cells for three months, leading to the guards beating prisoners, putting prisoners in solitary confinement, denying prisoners medical care and food.[36]

The strike ended in the prisoners’ favour as the superintendent of the prison resigned. The prisoners were granted more visitation rights and work programs. Angered by this, the prison guards went on strike and abandoned the prison, hoping that this would create chaos and violence throughout the prison. But the prisoners were able to create an anarchist community where recidivism dropped dramatically and murders and rapes fell to zero. The guards retook the prison after two months, leading to many prison administrators and bureaucrats quitting their jobs and embracing the prison abolition movement.[37]

Opponents of the abolition argue that none of the arguments above address the protection of non-criminal population from the effects of crime, and from particularly violent criminals.

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Prison abolition movement – Wikipedia

Abolitionism – United States American History

The abolitionist movement called for the end of the institution of slavery and had existed in one form or another since colonial times; the early case had been stated most consistently by the Quakers. Most Northern states abolished the institution after the War for Independence, reacting to moral concerns and economic unfeasibility.

The movement gained new momentum in the early 19th century as many critics of slavery hardened their views and rejected their previous advocacy of gradualism (the slow and steady progress towards the goal of freedom for slaves) and colonization (finding land in Africa for former slaves). As the movement grew and became more formally organized, it sparked opposition in both the North and the South; Northern mill owners depended upon slave-produced cotton every bit as much as the Southern plantation owners.

Undeterred, many abolitionists defied the original Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, as well as the later Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and actively sought to assist runaway slaves in their quest for freedom, most notably through the auspices of the Underground Railroad.

Abolitionist leaders included such figures as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and William Lloyd Still.

Garrison adopted a militant tone which differed strikingly from the more timid proposals of prior abolitionists, who generally favored “colonization” of blacks away from white society. Garrison demanded the immediate end of slavery without compensation to slaveowners and equal rights within mainstream society for everyone, regardless of race.

Garrison`s efforts led to the formation of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. He wrote its initial declaration, which appeared on December 14, 1833, reading in part:

Within five years, the society had 1,350 local chapters. The success of the abolition movement in the North, and the large amount of propaganda that it generated, enraged the South. South Carolina took the step of declaring that

They further petitioned the federal government to have the post office stop the distribution of abolitionist literature. Congress decided that this would be unconstitutional, but in practice it was not unusual for Southern postmasters to prevent the delivery of offending material.

After the Reverend Elijah Lovejoy, editor of an Abolitionist newspaper in St. Louis, moved it in 1836 to Alton, Illinois, the citizens of Alton destroyed in on three occasions. On the fourth, on November 7, 1837, the mob murdered Lovejoy. His associate Edward Beecher, brother of Henry Ward Beecher, wrote in the narrative of the Alton riots, which appeared in 1838, “The true spirit of intolerance now stood exposed. Events were so ordered by the Providence of God as to strip off every disguise. It now became plain that all attempts to conciliate and to discuss were vain; and nothing remained but to resist or to submit.”

One of the early leaders of the Abolitionist movement was Theodore Weld, who helped organize the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, and whose 1839 work, Slavery As It Is, inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom`s Cabin.

Although some in the Abolitionist Movement, especially Garrison, felt that women should play a prominent role, that position was resented by many. When in 1840, Garrison and his followers elected a woman to the American Anti-Slavery Society`s business committee, a split in the organizations resulted. The departing members explained themselves:

It is interesting to note that abolitionists anticipated an argument later used by the Confederacy. Just as Southerners eventually concluded that their institution of slavery could not be protected under the Constitution while the number of free states grew, abolitionists argued that since slavery could not be abolished under the existing Constitution, it was the obligation of the north to secede! In 1843, the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society endorsed disunion by a vote of 59 to 21. They argued that no principled abolitionist could either vote or hold office under the Constitution as it then existed. In 1845, the group published a pamphlet to that effect with an introduction by Wendell Phillips.

—- Selected Quotes —-

Quotes regarding Abolitionism.

By Stephen A. DouglasAbolitionism proposes to destroy the right and extinguish the principle of self-government for which our forefathers waged a seven years’ bloody war, and upon which our whole system of free government is founded. Speech in the U.S. Senate, March 3, 1854By Susan B. AnthonyMany Abolitionists have yet to learn the ABC of woman’s rights. Written in her journal, 1860By John C. CalhounAbolition and the Union cannot exist. As the friend of the Union, I openly proclaim it, and the sooner it is known the better. The former may now be controlled, but in a short time it will be beyond the power of man to arrest the course of events.Senate Speech in 1837By Jefferson DavisDo they find in the history of St. Domingo, and in the present condition of Jamaica, under the recent experiments which have been made upon the institution of slavery in the liberation of the blacks, before God, in his wisdom, designed it should be done do they there find anything to stimulate them to future exertion in the cause of abolition ? Or should they not find there satisfactory evidence that their past course was founded in error? 1850 speech

– – – Books You May Like Include: —-

Abolitionism and the Civil War in Southwestern Illinois by John J. Dunphy.Southwestern Illinois played a fierce and pivotal role in the national drama of a house divided against itself. St. Clair County sheltered Brooklyn, f…From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad by Jacqueline L. Tobin.The Underground Railroad was the passage to freedom for many slaves, but it was full of dangers. There were dedicated conductors and safe houses, but …Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby.At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage t…Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth.This inspiring memoir, first published in 1850, recounts the struggles of a distinguished African-American abolitionist and champion of women’s rights…Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War by Eric Foner.Since its publication over four decades ago, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men has been recognized as a classic, an indispensable contribution to our u…Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America’s First Civil Rights Movement by Fergus M. Bordewich.Interweaving thrilling personal stories with the politics of slavery and abolition, this work shows how the Underground Railroad gave birth to America…Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass.Born into a family of slaves, Frederick Douglass educated himself through sheer determination. His unconquered will to triumph over his circumstances …A Shopkeeper’s Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837 by Paul E. Johnson.A quarter-century after its first publication, A Shopkeeper’s Millennium remains a landmark work–brilliant both as a new interpretation of the intima…

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Abolitionism – United States American History

Granville Sharp (1735-1813): The Civil Servant: The …

Granville Sharp was a civil servant and political reformer. He was one of the 12 men who, in 1787, formed the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade and was the first chairman of the Society. His interest in the issue, however, went back much further.

At a time when most abolitionists argued that the Slave Trade was wrong because of the terrible conditions in whichenslaved peoplewere kept, he (along with Anthony Benezet) went further, arguing that the very nature of slavery itself was evil.

He also used his skills to fight a series of legal battles to preventenslaved peoplebeing taken out of England by force. Many black people resisted enlavement and many escaped from their owners’. However, whether they had escaped, been abandonedor had always been free, they were in constant danger of capture or recapture by slave-hunters’.

In 1767,Granville Sharp and his brother William (a surgeon) helped a badly injured man, Jonathan Strong, whohad been brought to London from Barbados by a plantation owner named David Lisle. Strong had been thrown onto the streets after being beaten about the head with a pistol. He was so badly injured that he was nearly blind and he could hardly walk. They took him to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. After he regained his health, they helped him to find work as a messenger.

Quite by chance, the man that had assaulted him, saw him and, without capturing him, sold him for 30 to a Jamaican planter. Two slave hunters kidnapped and imprisoned Strong while they waited for a ship to take him to the Caribbean. Strong enlisted Granville Sharp’s help. Sharp demanded that Strong be taken before the Lord Mayor, who declared him a free man.

In 1769, Sharp published his findings in a pamphlet: ‘A representation of the injustice and dangerous tendency of tolerating slavery in England’. Sharp devoted himself to fighting the notion that an enslaved personremained, in law, the property of his master, even on English soil. He did this both by his writings and in the courts of law.

He became the leading defender ofAfrican people in London and saved manyAfrican people from being sent back to slavery in the West Indies, often at his own expense. In 1771 a slave, James Somerset, who had been brought from Jamaica to Britain, ran away. He was recaptured and put on a ship bound for Jamaica. Sharp intervened and put the case before Lord Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice of England. Sharp hoped this case would finally settle whether it was lawful to hold people as slaves in England and Wales. After many months of legal argument, Mansfield finally decided that a master had no right to force an enslaved person to return to a foreign country. Somerset was freed.

Although this judgment did not actually state that slavery was illegal in England, it laid down the important notion that an enslaved personcould not be forcibly removed fromEngland. London’s African community celebrated this important victory; they had followed the case closely and made sure that there was always an Africandelegation in court.

Sharp was also involved in other legal cases, such as the slave ship Zong(seeThe Middle Passage).Cases such as this help to raise public awareness of the horrors of slavery and started to turn public opinion against the slave trade. In May 1787, he joined with Thomas Clarkson and nine Quakers, to form the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade and continued to work for abolition until the act was passed in 1807. However, Granville Sharp was not to see the final abolition of slavery in the British Colonies, as he died on 6th July, 1813.

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Granville Sharp (1735-1813): The Civil Servant: The …

The Abolition of Man | work by Lewis | Britannica.com

The Abolition of Man, in full The Abolition of Man; or, Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools, a book on education and moral values by C.S. Lewis, published in 1943. The book originated as the Riddell Memorial Lectures, three lectures delivered at the University of Durham in February 1943. Many people regard this as Lewiss most important book. In it he argues that education, both at home and in schools, needs to be conducted in the context of moral law and objective values.

Throughout the book Lewis argues for an objectivist position in aesthetics and morality, contending that qualities and values inhere in things and positions and are not just projected onto them. Two objectivists may disagree about whether a work of art or a human act is good or not, but both believe there are agreed-upon standards by which the work or act is to be judged. Unlike subjectivists, objectivists hold common principles on which to base their judgments.

The doctrine of objective values, which Lewis calls the Tao, is the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are. Lewis uses the Chinese term Tao for what he elsewhere in The Abolition of Man refers to as Natural Law or Traditional Morality in order to emphasize the universality of traditional values: people throughout history and around the world believe in the same objective values. (Lewis also explores these ideas in the first chapter of Mere Christianity.) He illustrates such universality in an appendix that offers quotations from widely varying cultures, ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, showing agreement on the need for general beneficence and on specific duties to parents, elders, and children, and agreement that loyalty and justice are consistently praised while disloyalty, lying, theft, and murder are consistently condemned.

The first lecture begins with a critique of a composition textbook published a few years earlier. Lewiss concern about the book is that while it teaches writing, it also subtly advocates subjectivism. Such moments occur, for example, when the textbook refers to an observer who calls a waterfall sublime; Lewis quotes the textbooks claim that, in such observations, [w]e appear to be saying something very important about something, and actually we are only saying something about our own feelings. Lewis points in particular toward the textbooks use of the words appear and only: dismissive words such as these suggest that predicates of value are merely projections of the inner state of the speaker and have no significance. Lewis replies that the speaker is not just expressing his own feelings but asserting that the object is one that merits those emotions.

On this ground Lewis argues the importance of objectivism for education. Children are not born with knowledge of appropriate reactions; those reactions must be nurtured. According to Lewis, The little human animal will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred at those things which really are pleasant, likeable, disgusting, and hateful. Thus, teachers and parents who are objectivists teach their children principles of right and wrong, because if a child knows right principles, Lewis claims, he or she will respond in particular situations with the right sentiments and will know the right thing to do.

Right sentiments is a key concept in the book: by it Lewis means emotions conform[ing] to Reason. As he explains it, The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it. When childrens emotions have been so trained, their moral impulses can be trusted to lead them correctly. For Lewis the ability to have right sentiments is what separates humans from animals, but such training of the hearttraining of the emotions, what Lewis refers to as the chestis lacking in modern education, with its emphasis on the intellect. The failure to nurture right sentiments ultimately results in the abolition of man, Lewis contends, because modern education produces what may be called Men without Chests.

Lewis goes on to argue that the lack of sentiment in modern thought is particularly dangerous when it is extended to science and the social sciences. The modern sciences teach people how to analyze natureto dissect it, literally and figuratively. Thus does science turn nature into an object, Lewis laments, instead of treating it with respect or care as a living being. What worries Lewis most is the tendency for the sciences to regard human beings as a part of nature. Such an understanding of people allows them to be treated as things to analyze and experiment on. That allows some people to gain power over other people. If that happens, Lewis asks, what principles will guide their use of such power? If they are objectivists, the Tao will guide them. If they are not, Lewis fears, they will have no absolute guidelines or trained sentiments to restrain them. (Lewis later embedded these ideas in a novel, That Hideous Strength [1945], which depicts England being taken over by a totalitarian force that has almost unlimited power and uses it without moral principles of restraint.)

In The Abolition of Man, Lewis urges a new attitude for sciencetreating it as a Thou (citing the philosopher Martin Buber), not an It having a personal relationship with nature, a love of Truth rather than a desire for power. The degree of power humankind has attained makes such a change in attitude necessary and makes it crucial, Lewis argues, that the world return to having the Tao at the centre of education.

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The Abolition of Man | work by Lewis | Britannica.com

Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

There are two main streams available under this new TSS visa program:

There is also a Labour Agreement stream for exceptional cases where standard visa programs are not available and there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market.

This new visa is part of the Government’s significant reform package to strengthen the integrity and quality of Australia’s temporary and permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programs. The implementation of these reforms began in April 2017 and will be completed in March 2018.

Key reforms include:

Further information on reforms is available:

More detailed information is available on the TSS visa page.

1 Employers in regional Australia will have access to a broader range of occupations when the TSS visa is introduced. Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will also be retained

2 Set at AUD53,900 at 12 January 2018.

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Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

There are two main streams available under this new TSS visa program:

There is also a Labour Agreement stream for exceptional cases where standard visa programs are not available and there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market.

This new visa is part of the Government’s significant reform package to strengthen the integrity and quality of Australia’s temporary and permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programs. The implementation of these reforms began in April 2017 and will be completed in March 2018.

Key reforms include:

Further information on reforms is available:

More detailed information is available on the TSS visa page.

1 Employers in regional Australia will have access to a broader range of occupations when the TSS visa is introduced. Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will also be retained

2 Set at AUD53,900 at 12 January 2018.

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Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

Granville Sharp (1735-1813): The Civil Servant: The …

Granville Sharp was a civil servant and political reformer. He was one of the 12 men who, in 1787, formed the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade and was the first chairman of the Society. His interest in the issue, however, went back much further.

At a time when most abolitionists argued that the Slave Trade was wrong because of the terrible conditions in whichenslaved peoplewere kept, he (along with Anthony Benezet) went further, arguing that the very nature of slavery itself was evil.

He also used his skills to fight a series of legal battles to preventenslaved peoplebeing taken out of England by force. Many black people resisted enlavement and many escaped from their owners’. However, whether they had escaped, been abandonedor had always been free, they were in constant danger of capture or recapture by slave-hunters’.

In 1767,Granville Sharp and his brother William (a surgeon) helped a badly injured man, Jonathan Strong, whohad been brought to London from Barbados by a plantation owner named David Lisle. Strong had been thrown onto the streets after being beaten about the head with a pistol. He was so badly injured that he was nearly blind and he could hardly walk. They took him to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. After he regained his health, they helped him to find work as a messenger.

Quite by chance, the man that had assaulted him, saw him and, without capturing him, sold him for 30 to a Jamaican planter. Two slave hunters kidnapped and imprisoned Strong while they waited for a ship to take him to the Caribbean. Strong enlisted Granville Sharp’s help. Sharp demanded that Strong be taken before the Lord Mayor, who declared him a free man.

In 1769, Sharp published his findings in a pamphlet: ‘A representation of the injustice and dangerous tendency of tolerating slavery in England’. Sharp devoted himself to fighting the notion that an enslaved personremained, in law, the property of his master, even on English soil. He did this both by his writings and in the courts of law.

He became the leading defender ofAfrican people in London and saved manyAfrican people from being sent back to slavery in the West Indies, often at his own expense. In 1771 a slave, James Somerset, who had been brought from Jamaica to Britain, ran away. He was recaptured and put on a ship bound for Jamaica. Sharp intervened and put the case before Lord Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice of England. Sharp hoped this case would finally settle whether it was lawful to hold people as slaves in England and Wales. After many months of legal argument, Mansfield finally decided that a master had no right to force an enslaved person to return to a foreign country. Somerset was freed.

Although this judgment did not actually state that slavery was illegal in England, it laid down the important notion that an enslaved personcould not be forcibly removed fromEngland. London’s African community celebrated this important victory; they had followed the case closely and made sure that there was always an Africandelegation in court.

Sharp was also involved in other legal cases, such as the slave ship Zong(seeThe Middle Passage).Cases such as this help to raise public awareness of the horrors of slavery and started to turn public opinion against the slave trade. In May 1787, he joined with Thomas Clarkson and nine Quakers, to form the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade and continued to work for abolition until the act was passed in 1807. However, Granville Sharp was not to see the final abolition of slavery in the British Colonies, as he died on 6th July, 1813.

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Granville Sharp (1735-1813): The Civil Servant: The …

Hedonism – Wikipedia

Hedonism is a school of thought that argues that pleasure and happiness are the primary or most important intrinsic goods and the aim of human life.[1] A hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain), but when having finally gained that pleasure, happiness remains stationary.

Ethical hedonism is the idea that all people have the right to do everything in their power to achieve the greatest amount of pleasure possible to them. It is also the idea that every person’s pleasure should far surpass their amount of pain. Ethical hedonism is said to have been started by Aristippus of Cyrene, a student of Socrates. He held the idea that pleasure is the highest good.[2]

The name derives from the Greek word for “delight” ( hdonismos from hdon “pleasure”, cognate[according to whom?] with English sweet + suffix – -ismos “ism”). An extremely strong aversion to hedonism is hedonophobia.

In the original Old Babylonian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was written soon after the invention of writing, Siduri gave the following advice “Fill your belly. Day and night make merry. Let days be full of joy. Dance and make music day and night […] These things alone are the concern of men”, which may represent the first recorded advocacy of a hedonistic philosophy.[3]

Scenes of a harper entertaining guests at a feast were common in ancient Egyptian tombs (see Harper’s Songs), and sometimes contained hedonistic elements, calling guests to submit to pleasure because they cannot be sure that they will be rewarded for good with a blissful afterlife. The following is a song attributed to the reign of one of the pharaohs around the time of the 12th dynasty, and the text was used in the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties.[4][5]

Let thy desire flourish,In order to let thy heart forget the beatifications for thee.Follow thy desire, as long as thou shalt live.Put myrrh upon thy head and clothing of fine linen upon thee,Being anointed with genuine marvels of the gods’ property.Set an increase to thy good things;Let not thy heart flag.Follow thy desire and thy good.Fulfill thy needs upon earth, after the command of thy heart,Until there come for thee that day of mourning.

Democritus seems to be the earliest philosopher on record to have categorically embraced a hedonistic philosophy; he called the supreme goal of life “contentment” or “cheerfulness”, claiming that “joy and sorrow are the distinguishing mark of things beneficial and harmful” (DK 68 B 188).[6]

The Cyrenaics were an ultra-hedonist Greek school of philosophy founded in the 4th century BC, supposedly by Aristippus of Cyrene, although many of the principles of the school are believed to have been formalized by his grandson of the same name, Aristippus the Younger. The school was so called after Cyrene, the birthplace of Aristippus. It was one of the earliest Socratic schools. The Cyrenaics taught that the only intrinsic good is pleasure, which meant not just the absence of pain, but positively enjoyable sensations. Of these, momentary pleasures, especially physical ones, are stronger than those of anticipation or memory. They did, however, recognize the value of social obligation, and that pleasure could be gained from altruism[citation needed]. Theodorus the Atheist was a latter exponent of hedonism who was a disciple of younger Aristippus,[7] while becoming well known for expounding atheism. The school died out within a century, and was replaced by Epicureanism.

The Cyrenaics were known for their skeptical theory of knowledge. They reduced logic to a basic doctrine concerning the criterion of truth.[8] They thought that we can know with certainty our immediate sense-experiences (for instance, that I am having a sweet sensation now) but can know nothing about the nature of the objects that cause these sensations (for instance, that the honey is sweet).[9] They also denied that we can have knowledge of what the experiences of other people are like.[10] All knowledge is immediate sensation. These sensations are motions which are purely subjective, and are painful, indifferent or pleasant, according as they are violent, tranquil or gentle.[9][11] Further they are entirely individual, and can in no way be described as constituting absolute objective knowledge. Feeling, therefore, is the only possible criterion of knowledge and of conduct.[9] Our ways of being affected are alone knowable. Thus the sole aim for everyone should be pleasure.

Cyrenaicism deduces a single, universal aim for all people which is pleasure. Furthermore, all feeling is momentary and homogeneous. It follows that past and future pleasure have no real existence for us, and that among present pleasures there is no distinction of kind.[11] Socrates had spoken of the higher pleasures of the intellect; the Cyrenaics denied the validity of this distinction and said that bodily pleasures, being more simple and more intense, were preferable.[12] Momentary pleasure, preferably of a physical kind, is the only good for humans. However some actions which give immediate pleasure can create more than their equivalent of pain. The wise person should be in control of pleasures rather than be enslaved to them, otherwise pain will result, and this requires judgement to evaluate the different pleasures of life.[13] Regard should be paid to law and custom, because even though these things have no intrinsic value on their own, violating them will lead to unpleasant penalties being imposed by others.[12] Likewise, friendship and justice are useful because of the pleasure they provide.[12] Thus the Cyrenaics believed in the hedonistic value of social obligation and altruistic behaviour.

Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of Epicurus (c. 341c. 270 BC), founded around 307 BC. Epicurus was an atomic materialist, following in the steps of Democritus and Leucippus. His materialism led him to a general stance against superstition or the idea of divine intervention. Following Aristippusabout whom very little is knownEpicurus believed that the greatest good was to seek modest, sustainable “pleasure” in the form of a state of tranquility and freedom from fear (ataraxia) and absence of bodily pain (aponia) through knowledge of the workings of the world and the limits of our desires. The combination of these two states is supposed to constitute happiness in its highest form. Although Epicureanism is a form of hedonism, insofar as it declares pleasure as the sole intrinsic good, its conception of absence of pain as the greatest pleasure and its advocacy of a simple life make it different from “hedonism” as it is commonly understood.

In the Epicurean view, the highest pleasure (tranquility and freedom from fear) was obtained by knowledge, friendship and living a virtuous and temperate life. He lauded the enjoyment of simple pleasures, by which he meant abstaining from bodily desires, such as sex and appetites, verging on asceticism. He argued that when eating, one should not eat too richly, for it could lead to dissatisfaction later, such as the grim realization that one could not afford such delicacies in the future. Likewise, sex could lead to increased lust and dissatisfaction with the sexual partner. Epicurus did not articulate a broad system of social ethics that has survived but had a unique version of the Golden Rule.

It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly (agreeing “neither to harm nor be harmed”),[14] and it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.[15]

Epicureanism was originally a challenge to Platonism, though later it became the main opponent of Stoicism. Epicurus and his followers shunned politics. After the death of Epicurus, his school was headed by Hermarchus; later many Epicurean societies flourished in the Late Hellenistic era and during the Roman era (such as those in Antiochia, Alexandria, Rhodes and Ercolano). The poet Lucretius is its most known Roman proponent. By the end of the Roman Empire, having undergone Christian attack and repression, Epicureanism had all but died out, and would be resurrected in the 17th century by the atomist Pierre Gassendi, who adapted it to the Christian doctrine.

Some writings by Epicurus have survived. Some scholars consider the epic poem On the Nature of Things by Lucretius to present in one unified work the core arguments and theories of Epicureanism. Many of the papyrus scrolls unearthed at the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum are Epicurean texts. At least some are thought to have belonged to the Epicurean Philodemus.

Yangism has been described as a form of psychological and ethical egoism. The Yangist philosophers believed in the importance of maintaining self-interest through “keeping one’s nature intact, protecting one’s uniqueness, and not letting the body be tied by other things.” Disagreeing with the Confucian virtues of li (propriety), ren (humaneness), and yi (righteousness) and the Legalist virtue of fa (law), the Yangists saw wei wo, or “everything for myself,” as the only virtue necessary for self-cultivation. Individual pleasure is considered desirable, like in hedonism, but not at the expense of the health of the individual. The Yangists saw individual well-being as the prime purpose of life, and considered anything that hindered that well-being immoral and unnecessary.

The main focus of the Yangists was on the concept of xing, or human nature, a term later incorporated by Mencius into Confucianism. The xing, according to sinologist A. C. Graham, is a person’s “proper course of development” in life. Individuals can only rationally care for their own xing, and should not naively have to support the xing of other people, even if it means opposing the emperor. In this sense, Yangism is a “direct attack” on Confucianism, by implying that the power of the emperor, defended in Confucianism, is baseless and destructive, and that state intervention is morally flawed.

The Confucian philosopher Mencius depicts Yangism as the direct opposite of Mohism, while Mohism promotes the idea of universal love and impartial caring, the Yangists acted only “for themselves,” rejecting the altruism of Mohism. He criticized the Yangists as selfish, ignoring the duty of serving the public and caring only for personal concerns. Mencius saw Confucianism as the “Middle Way” between Mohism and Yangism.

Judaism believes that mankind was created for pleasure, as God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of EdenEden being the Hebrew word for “pleasure.” In recent years, Rabbi Noah Weinberg articulated five different levels of pleasure; connecting with God is the highest possible pleasure.

Christian doctrine current in some evangelical circles, particularly those of the Reformed tradition.[16] The term was first coined by Reformed Baptist theologian John Piper in his 1986 book Desiring God: My shortest summary of it is: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Or: The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. Does Christian Hedonism make a god out of pleasure? No. It says that we all make a god out of what we take most pleasure in. [16] Piper states his term may describe the theology of Jonathan Edwards, who referred to a future enjoyment of him [God] in heaven.[17] In the 17th century, the atomist Pierre Gassendi adapted Epicureanism to the Christian doctrine.

The concept of hedonism is also found in the Hindu scriptures.[18][19]

Utilitarianism addresses problems with moral motivation neglected by Kantianism by giving a central role to happiness. It is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall good of the society.[20] It is thus one form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its resulting outcome. The most influential contributors to this theory are considered to be the 18th and 19th-century British philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Conjoining hedonismas a view as to what is good for peopleto utilitarianism has the result that all action should be directed toward achieving the greatest total amount of happiness (see Hedonic calculus). Though consistent in their pursuit of happiness, Bentham and Mill’s versions of hedonism differ. There are two somewhat basic schools of thought on hedonism:[1]

Contemporary proponents of hedonism include Swedish philosopher Torbjrn Tnnsj,[21] Fred Feldman.[22] and Spanish ethic philosopher Esperanza Guisn (published a “Hedonist manifesto” in 1990).[23]

A dedicated contemporary hedonist philosopher and writer on the history of hedonistic thought is the French Michel Onfray. He has written two books directly on the subject (L’invention du plaisir: fragments cyraniques[24] and La puissance d’exister: Manifeste hdoniste).[25] He defines hedonism “as an introspective attitude to life based on taking pleasure yourself and pleasuring others, without harming yourself or anyone else.”[26] Onfray’s philosophical project is to define an ethical hedonism, a joyous utilitarianism, and a generalized aesthetic of sensual materialism that explores how to use the brain’s and the body’s capacities to their fullest extent — while restoring philosophy to a useful role in art, politics, and everyday life and decisions.”[27]

Onfray’s works “have explored the philosophical resonances and components of (and challenges to) science, painting, gastronomy, sex and sensuality, bioethics, wine, and writing. His most ambitious project is his projected six-volume Counter-history of Philosophy,”[27] of which three have been published. For him “In opposition to the ascetic ideal advocated by the dominant school of thought, hedonism suggests identifying the highest good with your own pleasure and that of others; the one must never be indulged at the expense of sacrificing the other. Obtaining this balance my pleasure at the same time as the pleasure of others presumes that we approach the subject from different angles political, ethical, aesthetic, erotic, bioethical, pedagogical, historiographical.”

For this he has “written books on each of these facets of the same world view.”[28] His philosophy aims for “micro-revolutions”, or “revolutions of the individual and small groups of like-minded people who live by his hedonistic, libertarian values.”[29]

The Abolitionist Society is a transhumanist group calling for the abolition of suffering in all sentient life through the use of advanced biotechnology. Their core philosophy is negative utilitarianism. David Pearce is a theorist of this perspective and he believes and promotes the idea that there exists a strong ethical imperative for humans to work towards the abolition of suffering in all sentient life. His book-length internet manifesto The Hedonistic Imperative[30] outlines how technologies such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, pharmacology, and neurosurgery could potentially converge to eliminate all forms of unpleasant experience among human and non-human animals, replacing suffering with gradients of well-being, a project he refers to as “paradise engineering”.[31] A transhumanist and a vegan,[32] Pearce believes that we (or our future posthuman descendants) have a responsibility not only to avoid cruelty to animals within human society but also to alleviate the suffering of animals in the wild.

In a talk David Pearce gave at the Future of Humanity Institute and at the Charity International ‘Happiness Conference’ he said “Sadly, what won’t abolish suffering, or at least not on its own, is socio-economic reform, or exponential economic growth, or technological progress in the usual sense, or any of the traditional panaceas for solving the world’s ills. Improving the external environment is admirable and important; but such improvement can’t recalibrate our hedonic treadmill above a genetically constrained ceiling. Twin studies confirm there is a [partially] heritable set-point of well-being – or ill-being – around which we all tend to fluctuate over the course of a lifetime. This set-point varies between individuals. [It’s possible to lower an individual’s hedonic set-point by inflicting prolonged uncontrolled stress; but even this re-set is not as easy as it sounds: suicide-rates typically go down in wartime; and six months after a quadriplegia-inducing accident, studies[citation needed] suggest that we are typically neither more nor less unhappy than we were before the catastrophic event.] Unfortunately, attempts to build an ideal society can’t overcome this biological ceiling, whether utopias of the left or right, free-market or socialist, religious or secular, futuristic high-tech or simply cultivating one’s garden. Even if everything that traditional futurists have asked for is delivered – eternal youth, unlimited material wealth, morphological freedom, superintelligence, immersive VR, molecular nanotechnology, etc – there is no evidence that our subjective quality of life would on average significantly surpass the quality of life of our hunter-gatherer ancestors – or a New Guinea tribesman today – in the absence of reward pathway enrichment. This claim is difficult to prove in the absence of sophisticated neuroscanning; but objective indices of psychological distress e.g. suicide rates, bear it out. Unenhanced humans will still be prey to the spectrum of Darwinian emotions, ranging from terrible suffering to petty disappointments and frustrations – sadness, anxiety, jealousy, existential angst. Their biology is part of “what it means to be human”. Subjectively unpleasant states of consciousness exist because they were genetically adaptive. Each of our core emotions had a distinct signalling role in our evolutionary past: they tended to promote behaviours that enhanced the inclusive fitness of our genes in the ancestral environment.”[33]

Russian physicist and philosopher Victor Argonov argues that hedonism is not only a philosophical but also a verifiable scientific hypothesis. In 2014 he suggested “postulates of pleasure principle” confirmation of which would lead to a new scientific discipline, hedodynamics. Hedodynamics would be able to forecast the distant future development of human civilization and even the probable structure and psychology of other rational beings within the universe.[34] In order to build such a theory, science must discover the neural correlate of pleasure – neurophysiological parameter unambiguously corresponding to the feeling of pleasure (hedonic tone).

According to Argonov, posthumans will be able to reprogram their motivations in an arbitrary manner (to get pleasure from any programmed activity).[35] And if pleasure principle postulates are true, then general direction of civilization development is obvious: maximization of integral happiness in posthuman life (product of life span and average happiness). Posthumans will avoid constant pleasure stimulation, because it is incompatible with rational behavior required to prolong life. However, in average, they can become much happier than modern humans.

Many other aspects of posthuman society could be predicted by hedodynamics if the neural correlate of pleasure were discovered. For example, optimal number of individuals, their optimal body size (whether it matters for happiness or not) and the degree of aggression.

Critics of hedonism have objected to its exclusive concentration on pleasure as valuable.

In particular, G. E. Moore offered a thought experiment in criticism of pleasure as the sole bearer of value: he imagined two worldsone of exceeding beauty and the other a heap of filth. Neither of these worlds will be experienced by anyone. The question, then, is if it is better for the beautiful world to exist than the heap of filth. In this Moore implied that states of affairs have value beyond conscious pleasure, which he said spoke against the validity of hedonism.[36]

In Quran, God admonished mankind not to love the worldly pleasures, since it is related with greedy and source of sinful habit. He also threatened those who prefer worldly life rather than hereafter with Hell.

Those who choose the worldly life and its pleasures will be given proper recompense for their deeds in this life and will not suffer any loss. Such people will receive nothing in the next life except Hell fire. Their deeds will be made devoid of all virtue and their efforts will be in vain.

“Hedonism”. Encyclopdia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.

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Hedonism – Wikipedia

Abolitionism – U-S-History.com

The abolitionist movement called for the end of the institution of slavery and had existed in one form or another since colonial times; the early case had been stated most consistently by the Quakers. Most Northern states abolished the institution after the War for Independence, reacting to moral concerns and economic unfeasibility.

The movement gained new momentum in the early 19th century as many critics of slavery hardened their views and rejected their previous advocacy of gradualism (the slow and steady progress towards the goal of freedom for slaves) and colonization (finding land in Africa for former slaves). As the movement grew and became more formally organized, it sparked opposition in both the North and the South; Northern mill owners depended upon slave-produced cotton every bit as much as the Southern plantation owners.

Undeterred, many abolitionists defied the original Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, as well as the later Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and actively sought to assist runaway slaves in their quest for freedom, most notably through the auspices of the Underground Railroad.

Abolitionist leaders included such figures as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and William Lloyd Still.

Garrison adopted a militant tone which differed strikingly from the more timid proposals of prior abolitionists, who generally favored “colonization” of blacks away from white society. Garrison demanded the immediate end of slavery without compensation to slaveowners and equal rights within mainstream society for everyone, regardless of race.

Garrison`s efforts led to the formation of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. He wrote its initial declaration, which appeared on December 14, 1833, reading in part:

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They further petitioned the federal government to have the post office stop the distribution of abolitionist literature. Congress decided that this would be unconstitutional, but in practice it was not unusual for Southern postmasters to prevent the delivery of offending material.

After the Reverend Elijah Lovejoy, editor of an Abolitionist newspaper in St. Louis, moved it in 1836 to Alton, Illinois, the citizens of Alton destroyed in on three occasions. On the fourth, on November 7, 1837, the mob murdered Lovejoy. His associate Edward Beecher, brother of Henry Ward Beecher, wrote in the narrative of the Alton riots, which appeared in 1838, “The true spirit of intolerance now stood exposed. Events were so ordered by the Providence of God as to strip off every disguise. It now became plain that all attempts to conciliate and to discuss were vain; and nothing remained but to resist or to submit.”

One of the early leaders of the Abolitionist movement was Theodore Weld, who helped organize the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, and whose 1839 work, Slavery As It Is, inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom`s Cabin.

Although some in the Abolitionist Movement, especially Garrison, felt that women should play a prominent role, that position was resented by many. When in 1840, Garrison and his followers elected a woman to the American Anti-Slavery Society`s business committee, a split in the organizations resulted. The departing members explained themselves:

It is interesting to note that abolitionists anticipated an argument later used by the Confederacy. Just as Southerners eventually concluded that their institution of slavery could not be protected under the Constitution while the number of free states grew, abolitionists argued that since slavery could not be abolished under the existing Constitution, it was the obligation of the north to secede! In 1843, the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society endorsed disunion by a vote of 59 to 21. They argued that no principled abolitionist could either vote or hold office under the Constitution as it then existed. In 1845, the group published a pamphlet to that effect with an introduction by Wendell Phillips.

—- Selected Quotes —-

Quotes regarding Abolitionism.

By Stephen A. DouglasAbolitionism proposes to destroy the right and extinguish the principle of self-government for which our forefathers waged a seven years’ bloody war, and upon which our whole system of free government is founded. Speech in the U.S. Senate, March 3, 1854By Susan B. AnthonyMany Abolitionists have yet to learn the ABC of woman’s rights. Written in her journal, 1860By John C. CalhounAbolition and the Union cannot exist. As the friend of the Union, I openly proclaim it, and the sooner it is known the better. The former may now be controlled, but in a short time it will be beyond the power of man to arrest the course of events.Senate Speech in 1837By Jefferson DavisDo they find in the history of St. Domingo, and in the present condition of Jamaica, under the recent experiments which have been made upon the institution of slavery in the liberation of the blacks, before God, in his wisdom, designed it should be done do they there find anything to stimulate them to future exertion in the cause of abolition ? Or should they not find there satisfactory evidence that their past course was founded in error? 1850 speech

– – – Books You May Like Include: —-

Abolitionism and the Civil War in Southwestern Illinois by John J. Dunphy.Southwestern Illinois played a fierce and pivotal role in the national drama of a house divided against itself. St. Clair County sheltered Brooklyn, f…From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad by Jacqueline L. Tobin.The Underground Railroad was the passage to freedom for many slaves, but it was full of dangers. There were dedicated conductors and safe houses, but …Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby.At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage t…Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth.This inspiring memoir, first published in 1850, recounts the struggles of a distinguished African-American abolitionist and champion of women’s rights…Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War by Eric Foner.Since its publication over four decades ago, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men has been recognized as a classic, an indispensable contribution to our u…Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America’s First Civil Rights Movement by Fergus M. Bordewich.Interweaving thrilling personal stories with the politics of slavery and abolition, this work shows how the Underground Railroad gave birth to America…Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass.Born into a family of slaves, Frederick Douglass educated himself through sheer determination. His unconquered will to triumph over his circumstances …A Shopkeeper’s Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837 by Paul E. Johnson.A quarter-century after its first publication, A Shopkeeper’s Millennium remains a landmark work–brilliant both as a new interpretation of the intima…

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Abolitionism – U-S-History.com

Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

There are two main streams available under this new TSS visa program:

There is also a Labour Agreement stream for exceptional cases where standard visa programs are not available and there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market.

This new visa is part of the Government’s significant reform package to strengthen the integrity and quality of Australia’s temporary and permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programs. The implementation of these reforms began in April 2017 and will be completed in March 2018.

Key reforms include:

Further information on reforms is available:

More detailed information is available on the TSS visa page.

1 Employers in regional Australia will have access to a broader range of occupations when the TSS visa is introduced. Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will also be retained

2 Set at AUD53,900 at 12 January 2018.

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Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

There are two main streams available under this new TSS visa program:

There is also a Labour Agreement stream for exceptional cases where standard visa programs are not available and there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market.

This new visa is part of the Government’s significant reform package to strengthen the integrity and quality of Australia’s temporary and permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programs. The implementation of these reforms began in April 2017 and will be completed in March 2018.

Key reforms include:

Further information on reforms is available:

More detailed information is available on the TSS visa page.

1 Employers in regional Australia will have access to a broader range of occupations when the TSS visa is introduced. Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will also be retained

2 Set at AUD53,900 at 12 January 2018.

See the original post here:

Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

Granville Sharp (1735-1813): The Civil Servant: The …

Granville Sharp was a civil servant and political reformer. He was one of the 12 men who, in 1787, formed the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade and was the first chairman of the Society. His interest in the issue, however, went back much further.

At a time when most abolitionists argued that the Slave Trade was wrong because of the terrible conditions in whichenslaved peoplewere kept, he (along with Anthony Benezet) went further, arguing that the very nature of slavery itself was evil.

He also used his skills to fight a series of legal battles to preventenslaved peoplebeing taken out of England by force. Many black people resisted enlavement and many escaped from their owners’. However, whether they had escaped, been abandonedor had always been free, they were in constant danger of capture or recapture by slave-hunters’.

In 1767,Granville Sharp and his brother William (a surgeon) helped a badly injured man, Jonathan Strong, whohad been brought to London from Barbados by a plantation owner named David Lisle. Strong had been thrown onto the streets after being beaten about the head with a pistol. He was so badly injured that he was nearly blind and he could hardly walk. They took him to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. After he regained his health, they helped him to find work as a messenger.

Quite by chance, the man that had assaulted him, saw him and, without capturing him, sold him for 30 to a Jamaican planter. Two slave hunters kidnapped and imprisoned Strong while they waited for a ship to take him to the Caribbean. Strong enlisted Granville Sharp’s help. Sharp demanded that Strong be taken before the Lord Mayor, who declared him a free man.

In 1769, Sharp published his findings in a pamphlet: ‘A representation of the injustice and dangerous tendency of tolerating slavery in England’. Sharp devoted himself to fighting the notion that an enslaved personremained, in law, the property of his master, even on English soil. He did this both by his writings and in the courts of law.

He became the leading defender ofAfrican people in London and saved manyAfrican people from being sent back to slavery in the West Indies, often at his own expense. In 1771 a slave, James Somerset, who had been brought from Jamaica to Britain, ran away. He was recaptured and put on a ship bound for Jamaica. Sharp intervened and put the case before Lord Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice of England. Sharp hoped this case would finally settle whether it was lawful to hold people as slaves in England and Wales. After many months of legal argument, Mansfield finally decided that a master had no right to force an enslaved person to return to a foreign country. Somerset was freed.

Although this judgment did not actually state that slavery was illegal in England, it laid down the important notion that an enslaved personcould not be forcibly removed fromEngland. London’s African community celebrated this important victory; they had followed the case closely and made sure that there was always an Africandelegation in court.

Sharp was also involved in other legal cases, such as the slave ship Zong(seeThe Middle Passage).Cases such as this help to raise public awareness of the horrors of slavery and started to turn public opinion against the slave trade. In May 1787, he joined with Thomas Clarkson and nine Quakers, to form the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade and continued to work for abolition until the act was passed in 1807. However, Granville Sharp was not to see the final abolition of slavery in the British Colonies, as he died on 6th July, 1813.

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Granville Sharp (1735-1813): The Civil Servant: The …

Granville Sharp (1735-1813): The Civil Servant: The …

Granville Sharp was a civil servant and political reformer. He was one of the 12 men who, in 1787, formed the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade and was the first chairman of the Society. His interest in the issue, however, went back much further.

At a time when most abolitionists argued that the Slave Trade was wrong because of the terrible conditions in whichenslaved peoplewere kept, he (along with Anthony Benezet) went further, arguing that the very nature of slavery itself was evil.

He also used his skills to fight a series of legal battles to preventenslaved peoplebeing taken out of England by force. Many black people resisted enlavement and many escaped from their owners’. However, whether they had escaped, been abandonedor had always been free, they were in constant danger of capture or recapture by slave-hunters’.

In 1767,Granville Sharp and his brother William (a surgeon) helped a badly injured man, Jonathan Strong, whohad been brought to London from Barbados by a plantation owner named David Lisle. Strong had been thrown onto the streets after being beaten about the head with a pistol. He was so badly injured that he was nearly blind and he could hardly walk. They took him to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. After he regained his health, they helped him to find work as a messenger.

Quite by chance, the man that had assaulted him, saw him and, without capturing him, sold him for 30 to a Jamaican planter. Two slave hunters kidnapped and imprisoned Strong while they waited for a ship to take him to the Caribbean. Strong enlisted Granville Sharp’s help. Sharp demanded that Strong be taken before the Lord Mayor, who declared him a free man.

In 1769, Sharp published his findings in a pamphlet: ‘A representation of the injustice and dangerous tendency of tolerating slavery in England’. Sharp devoted himself to fighting the notion that an enslaved personremained, in law, the property of his master, even on English soil. He did this both by his writings and in the courts of law.

He became the leading defender ofAfrican people in London and saved manyAfrican people from being sent back to slavery in the West Indies, often at his own expense. In 1771 a slave, James Somerset, who had been brought from Jamaica to Britain, ran away. He was recaptured and put on a ship bound for Jamaica. Sharp intervened and put the case before Lord Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice of England. Sharp hoped this case would finally settle whether it was lawful to hold people as slaves in England and Wales. After many months of legal argument, Mansfield finally decided that a master had no right to force an enslaved person to return to a foreign country. Somerset was freed.

Although this judgment did not actually state that slavery was illegal in England, it laid down the important notion that an enslaved personcould not be forcibly removed fromEngland. London’s African community celebrated this important victory; they had followed the case closely and made sure that there was always an Africandelegation in court.

Sharp was also involved in other legal cases, such as the slave ship Zong(seeThe Middle Passage).Cases such as this help to raise public awareness of the horrors of slavery and started to turn public opinion against the slave trade. In May 1787, he joined with Thomas Clarkson and nine Quakers, to form the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade and continued to work for abolition until the act was passed in 1807. However, Granville Sharp was not to see the final abolition of slavery in the British Colonies, as he died on 6th July, 1813.

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Granville Sharp (1735-1813): The Civil Servant: The …

Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

There are two main streams available under this new TSS visa program:

There is also a Labour Agreement stream for exceptional cases where standard visa programs are not available and there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market.

This new visa is part of the Government’s significant reform package to strengthen the integrity and quality of Australia’s temporary and permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programs. The implementation of these reforms began in April 2017 and will be completed in March 2018.

Key reforms include:

Further information on reforms is available:

More detailed information is available on the TSS visa page.

1 Employers in regional Australia will have access to a broader range of occupations when the TSS visa is introduced. Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will also be retained

2 Set at AUD53,900 at 12 January 2018.

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Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

There are two main streams available under this new TSS visa program:

There is also a Labour Agreement stream for exceptional cases where standard visa programs are not available and there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market.

This new visa is part of the Government’s significant reform package to strengthen the integrity and quality of Australia’s temporary and permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programs. The implementation of these reforms began in April 2017 and will be completed in March 2018.

Key reforms include:

Further information on reforms is available:

More detailed information is available on the TSS visa page.

1 Employers in regional Australia will have access to a broader range of occupations when the TSS visa is introduced. Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will also be retained

2 Set at AUD53,900 at 12 January 2018.

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Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

Abolitionism – U-S-History.com

The abolitionist movement called for the end of the institution of slavery and had existed in one form or another since colonial times; the early case had been stated most consistently by the Quakers. Most Northern states abolished the institution after the War for Independence, reacting to moral concerns and economic unfeasibility.

The movement gained new momentum in the early 19th century as many critics of slavery hardened their views and rejected their previous advocacy of gradualism (the slow and steady progress towards the goal of freedom for slaves) and colonization (finding land in Africa for former slaves). As the movement grew and became more formally organized, it sparked opposition in both the North and the South; Northern mill owners depended upon slave-produced cotton every bit as much as the Southern plantation owners.

Undeterred, many abolitionists defied the original Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, as well as the later Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and actively sought to assist runaway slaves in their quest for freedom, most notably through the auspices of the Underground Railroad.

Abolitionist leaders included such figures as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and William Lloyd Still.

Garrison adopted a militant tone which differed strikingly from the more timid proposals of prior abolitionists, who generally favored “colonization” of blacks away from white society. Garrison demanded the immediate end of slavery without compensation to slaveowners and equal rights within mainstream society for everyone, regardless of race.

Garrison`s efforts led to the formation of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. He wrote its initial declaration, which appeared on December 14, 1833, reading in part:

Within five years, the society had 1,350 local chapters. The success of the abolition movement in the North, and the large amount of propaganda that it generated, enraged the South. South Carolina took the step of declaring that

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They further petitioned the federal government to have the post office stop the distribution of abolitionist literature. Congress decided that this would be unconstitutional, but in practice it was not unusual for Southern postmasters to prevent the delivery of offending material.

After the Reverend Elijah Lovejoy, editor of an Abolitionist newspaper in St. Louis, moved it in 1836 to Alton, Illinois, the citizens of Alton destroyed in on three occasions. On the fourth, on November 7, 1837, the mob murdered Lovejoy. His associate Edward Beecher, brother of Henry Ward Beecher, wrote in the narrative of the Alton riots, which appeared in 1838, “The true spirit of intolerance now stood exposed. Events were so ordered by the Providence of God as to strip off every disguise. It now became plain that all attempts to conciliate and to discuss were vain; and nothing remained but to resist or to submit.”

One of the early leaders of the Abolitionist movement was Theodore Weld, who helped organize the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, and whose 1839 work, Slavery As It Is, inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom`s Cabin.

Although some in the Abolitionist Movement, especially Garrison, felt that women should play a prominent role, that position was resented by many. When in 1840, Garrison and his followers elected a woman to the American Anti-Slavery Society`s business committee, a split in the organizations resulted. The departing members explained themselves:

It is interesting to note that abolitionists anticipated an argument later used by the Confederacy. Just as Southerners eventually concluded that their institution of slavery could not be protected under the Constitution while the number of free states grew, abolitionists argued that since slavery could not be abolished under the existing Constitution, it was the obligation of the north to secede! In 1843, the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society endorsed disunion by a vote of 59 to 21. They argued that no principled abolitionist could either vote or hold office under the Constitution as it then existed. In 1845, the group published a pamphlet to that effect with an introduction by Wendell Phillips.

—- Selected Quotes —-

Quotes regarding Abolitionism.

By Stephen A. DouglasAbolitionism proposes to destroy the right and extinguish the principle of self-government for which our forefathers waged a seven years’ bloody war, and upon which our whole system of free government is founded. Speech in the U.S. Senate, March 3, 1854By Susan B. AnthonyMany Abolitionists have yet to learn the ABC of woman’s rights. Written in her journal, 1860By John C. CalhounAbolition and the Union cannot exist. As the friend of the Union, I openly proclaim it, and the sooner it is known the better. The former may now be controlled, but in a short time it will be beyond the power of man to arrest the course of events.Senate Speech in 1837By Jefferson DavisDo they find in the history of St. Domingo, and in the present condition of Jamaica, under the recent experiments which have been made upon the institution of slavery in the liberation of the blacks, before God, in his wisdom, designed it should be done do they there find anything to stimulate them to future exertion in the cause of abolition ? Or should they not find there satisfactory evidence that their past course was founded in error? 1850 speech

– – – Books You May Like Include: —-

Abolitionism and the Civil War in Southwestern Illinois by John J. Dunphy.Southwestern Illinois played a fierce and pivotal role in the national drama of a house divided against itself. St. Clair County sheltered Brooklyn, f…From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad by Jacqueline L. Tobin.The Underground Railroad was the passage to freedom for many slaves, but it was full of dangers. There were dedicated conductors and safe houses, but …Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby.At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage t…Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth.This inspiring memoir, first published in 1850, recounts the struggles of a distinguished African-American abolitionist and champion of women’s rights…Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War by Eric Foner.Since its publication over four decades ago, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men has been recognized as a classic, an indispensable contribution to our u…Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America’s First Civil Rights Movement by Fergus M. Bordewich.Interweaving thrilling personal stories with the politics of slavery and abolition, this work shows how the Underground Railroad gave birth to America…Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass.Born into a family of slaves, Frederick Douglass educated himself through sheer determination. His unconquered will to triumph over his circumstances …A Shopkeeper’s Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837 by Paul E. Johnson.A quarter-century after its first publication, A Shopkeeper’s Millennium remains a landmark work–brilliant both as a new interpretation of the intima…

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Abolitionism – U-S-History.com

Workhouse – Wikipedia

In England and Wales a workhouse, colloquially known as a spike, was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment. The earliest known use of the term dates from 1631, in an account by the mayor of Abingdon reporting that “wee haue erected wthn our borough a workehouse to sett poore people to worke”.[1]

The origins of the workhouse can be traced to the Poor Law Act of 1388, which attempted to address the labour shortages following the Black Death in England by restricting the movement of labourers, and ultimately led to the state becoming responsible for the support of the poor. But mass unemployment following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the introduction of new technology to replace agricultural workers in particular, and a series of bad harvests, meant that by the early 1830s the established system of poor relief was proving to be unsustainable. The New Poor Law of 1834 attempted to reverse the economic trend by discouraging the provision of relief to anyone who refused to enter a workhouse. Some Poor Law authorities hoped to run workhouses at a profit by utilising the free labour of their inmates, who generally lacked the skills or motivation to compete in the open market. Most were employed on tasks such as breaking stones, crushing bones to produce fertiliser, or picking oakum using a large metal nail known as a spike, perhaps the origin of the workhouse’s nickname.

Life in a workhouse was intended to be harsh, to deter the able-bodied poor and to ensure that only the truly destitute would apply. But in areas such as the provision of free medical care and education for children, neither of which was available to the poor in England living outside workhouses until the early 20th century, workhouse inmates were advantaged over the general population, a dilemma that the Poor Law authorities never managed to reconcile.

As the 19th century wore on, workhouses increasingly became refuges for the elderly, infirm and sick rather than the able-bodied poor, and in 1929 legislation was passed to allow local authorities to take over workhouse infirmaries as municipal hospitals. Although workhouses were formally abolished by the same legislation in 1930, many continued under their new appellation of Public Assistance Institutions under the control of local authorities. It was not until the National Assistance Act of 1948 that the last vestiges of the Poor Law disappeared, and with them the workhouses.

The Poor Law Act of 1388 was an attempt to address the labour shortage caused by the Black Death, a devastating pandemic that killed about one-third of England’s population. The new law fixed wages and restricted the movement of labourers, as it was anticipated that if they were allowed to leave their parishes for higher-paid work elsewhere then wages would inevitably rise. According to historian Derek Fraser, the fear of social disorder following the plague ultimately resulted in the state, and not a “personal Christian charity”, becoming responsible for the support of the poor. The resulting laws against vagrancy were the origins of state-funded relief for the poor. From the 16th century onwards a distinction was legally enshrined between those who were able to work but could not, and those who were able to work but would not: between “the genuinely unemployed and the idler”. Supporting the destitute was a problem exacerbated by King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, which began in 1536. They had been a significant source of charitable relief, and provided a good deal of direct and indirect employment. The Poor Relief Act of 1576 went on to establish the principle that if the able-bodied poor needed support, they had to work for it.

The Act for the Relief of the Poor of 1601 made parishes legally responsible for the care of those within their boundaries who, through age or infirmity, were unable to work. The Act essentially classified the poor into one of three groups. It proposed that the able-bodied be offered work in a house of correction (the precursor of the workhouse), where the “persistent idler” was to be punished. It also proposed the construction of housing for the impotent poor, the old and the infirm, although most assistance was granted through a form of poor relief known as outdoor relief money, food, or other necessities given to those living in their own homes, funded by a local tax on the property of the wealthiest in the parish.[1]

The workhouse system evolved in the 17th century, allowing parishes to reduce the cost to ratepayers of providing poor relief. The first authoritative figure for numbers of workhouses comes in the next century from The Abstract of Returns made by the Overseers of the Poor, which was drawn up following a government survey in 1776. It put the number of parish workhouses in England and Wales at more than 1800 (approximately one parish in seven), with a total capacity of more than 90,000 places.[5] This growth in the number of workhouses was prompted by the Workhouse Test Act of 1723; by obliging anyone seeking poor relief to enter a workhouse and undertake a set amount of work, usually for no pay (a system called indoor relief), the Act helped prevent irresponsible claims on a parish’s poor rate. The growth in the number of workhouses was also bolstered by the Relief of the Poor Act 1782, proposed by Thomas Gilbert. Gilbert’s Act was intended to allow parishes to share the cost of poor relief by forming unions known as Gilbert Unions to build and maintain even larger workhouses to accommodate the elderly and infirm. The able-bodied poor were instead either given outdoor relief or found employment locally. Relatively few Gilbert Unions were set up, but supplementing inadequate wages under the Speenhamland system did become established towards the end of the 18th century. So keen were some Poor Law authorities to cut costs wherever possible that cases were reported of husbands being forced to sell their wives, to avoid them becoming a financial burden on the parish. In one such case in 1814 the wife and child of Henry Cook, who were living in Effingham workhouse, were sold at Croydon market for one shilling (5p); the parish paid for the cost of the journey and a “wedding dinner”.

By the 1830s most parishes had at least one workhouse, but many were badly managed. In his 1797 work, The State of the Poor, Sir Frederick Eden, wrote:

The workhouse is an inconvenient building, with small windows, low rooms and dark staircases. It is surrounded by a high wall, that gives it the appearance of a prison, and prevents free circulation of air. There are 8 or 10 beds in each room, chiefly of flocks, and consequently retentive of all scents and very productive of vermin. The passages are in great want of whitewashing. No regular account is kept of births and deaths, but when smallpox, measles or malignant fevers make their appearance in the house, the mortality is very great. Of 131 inmates in the house, 60 are children.

In lieu of a workhouse some sparsely populated parishes placed homeless paupers into rented accommodation, and provided others with relief in their own homes. Those entering a workhouse might have joined anything from a handful to several hundred other inmates; for instance, between 1782 and 1794 Liverpool’s workhouse accommodated 9001200 indigent men, women and children. The larger workhouses such as the Gressenhall House of Industry generally served a number of communities, in Gressenhall’s case 50 parishes. Writing in 1854, Poor Law commissioner George Nicholls viewed many of them as little more than factories:

These workhouses were established, and mainly conducted, with a view to deriving profit from the labour of the inmates, and not as being the safest means of affording relief by at the same time testing the reality of their destitution. The workhouse was in truth at that time a kind of manufactory, carried on at the risk and cost of the poor-rate, employing the worst description of the people, and helping to pauperise the best.

By 1832 the amount spent on poor relief nationally had risen to 7million a year, more than 10shillings per head of population, up from 2million in 1784.[a] The large number of those seeking assistance was pushing the system to “the verge of collapse”.[b] The economic downturn following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century resulted in increasing numbers of unemployed. Coupled with developments in agriculture that meant less labour was needed on the land,[17] along with three successive bad harvests beginning in 1828 and the Swing Riots of 1830, reform was inevitable. Many suspected that the system of poor relief was being widely abused, and in 1832 the government established a Royal Commission to investigate and recommend how relief could best be given to the poor.[17] The result was the establishment of a centralised Poor Law Commission in England and Wales under the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, also known as the New Poor Law, which discouraged the allocation of outdoor relief to the able-bodied; “all cases were to be ‘offered the house’, and nothing else”. Individual parishes were formed into Poor Law Unions, each of which was to have a union workhouse. More than500 were built during the next 50years, two-thirds of them by 1840. In certain parts of the country there was a good deal of resistance to these new buildings, some of it violent, particularly in the industrial north. Many workers lost their jobs during the major economic depression of 1837, and there was a strong feeling that what the unemployed needed was not the workhouse but short-term relief to tide them over. By 1838, 573 Poor Law Unions had been formed in England and Wales, incorporating 13,427parishes, but it was not until 1868 that unions were established across the entire country, the same year that the New Poor Law was applied to the Gilbert Unions.

Despite the intentions behind the 1834 Act, relief of the poor remained the responsibility of local taxpayers, and there was thus a powerful economic incentive to use loopholes such as sickness in the family to continue with outdoor relief; the weekly cost per person was about half that of providing workhouse accommodation.[c] Outdoor relief was further restricted by the terms of the 1844 Outdoor Relief Prohibitory Order, which aimed to end it altogether for the able-bodied poor. In 1846, of 1.33million paupers only 199,000 were maintained in workhouses, of whom 82,000 were considered to be able-bodied, leaving an estimated 375,000 of the able-bodied on outdoor relief. Excluding periods of extreme economic distress, it has been estimated that about 6.5per cent of the British population may have been accommodated in workhouses at any given time.[d]

The New Poor Law Commissioners were very critical of existing workhouses, and generally insisted that they be replaced. They complained in particular that “in by far the greater number of cases, it is a large almshouse, in which the young are trained in idleness, ignorance, and vice; the able-bodied maintained in sluggish sensual indolence; the aged and more respectable exposed to all the misery that is incident to dwelling in such a society”.

After 1835 many workhouses were constructed with the central buildings surrounded by work and exercise yards enclosed behind brick walls, so-called “pauper bastilles”. The commission proposed that all new workhouses should allow for the segregation of paupers into at least four distinct groups, each to be housed separately: the aged and impotent, children, able-bodied males, and able-bodied females. A common layout resembled Jeremy Bentham’s prison panopticon, a radial design with four three-storey buildings at its centre set within a rectangular courtyard, the perimeter of which was defined by a three-storey entrance block and single-storey outbuildings, all enclosed by a wall. That basic layout, one of two designed by the architect Sampson Kempthorne (his other design was octagonal with a segmented interior, sometimes known as the Kempthorne star), allowed for four separate work and exercise yards, one for each class of inmate. Separating the inmates was intended to serve three purposes: to direct treatment to those who most needed it; to deter others from pauperism; and as a physical barrier against illness, physical and mental. The commissioners argued that buildings based on Kempthorne’s plans would be symbolic of the recent changes to the provision of poor relief; one assistant commissioner expressed the view that they would be something “the pauper would feel it was utterly impossible to contend against”, and “give confidence to the Poor Law Guardians”. Another assistant commissioner claimed the new design was intended as a “terror to the able-bodied population”, but the architect George Gilbert Scott was critical of what he called “a set of ready-made designs of the meanest possible character”. Some critics of the new Poor Law noted the similarities between Kempthorne’s plans and model prisons, and doubted that they were merely coincidental. Augustus Pugin compared Kempthorne’s octagonal plan with the “antient poor hoyse”, in what Professor Felix Driver calls a “romantic, conservative critique” of the “degeneration of English moral and aesthetic values”.

By the 1840s some of the enthusiasm for Kempthorne’s designs had waned. With limited space in built-up areas, and concerns over the ventilation of buildings, some unions moved away from panopticon designs. Between 1840 and 1870 about 150 workhouses with separate blocks designed for specific functions were built. Typically the entrance building contained offices, while the main workhouse building housed the various wards and workrooms, all linked by long corridors designed to improve ventilation and lighting. Where possible, each building was separated by an exercise yard, for the use of a specific category of pauper.

Each Poor Law Union employed one or more relieving officers, whose job it was to visit those applying for assistance and assess what relief, if any, they should be given. Any applicants considered to be in need of immediate assistance could be issued with a note admitting them directly to the workhouse. Alternatively they might be offered any necessary money or goods to tide them over until the next meeting of the guardians, who would decide on the appropriate level of support and whether or not the applicants should be assigned to the workhouse.

Workhouses were designed with only a single entrance guarded by a porter, through which inmates and visitors alike had to pass. Near to the entrance were the casual wards for tramps and vagrants[e] and the relieving rooms, where paupers were housed until they had been examined by a medical officer. After being assessed the paupers were separated and allocated to the appropriate ward for their category: boys under 14, able-bodied men between 14 and 60, men over 60, girls under 14, able-bodied women between 14 and 60, and women over 60.[f] Children under the age of two were allowed to remain with their mothers, but by entering a workhouse paupers were considered to have forfeited responsibility for their families. Clothing and personal possessions were taken from them and stored, to be returned on their discharge. After bathing, they were issued with a distinctive uniform:[g] for men it might be a striped cotton shirt, jacket and trousers, and a cloth cap, and for women a blue-and-white striped dress worn underneath a smock. Shoes were also provided. In some establishments certain categories of inmate were marked out by their clothing, such as at Bristol Incorporation workhouse, where prostitutes were required to wear a yellow dress and pregnant single women a red dress; such practices were deprecated by the Poor Law Commission in a directive issued in 1839 entitled “Ignominious Dress for Unchaste Women in Workhouses”, but they continued until at least 1866. Some workhouses had a separate “foul” or “itch” ward, where inmates diagnosed with skin diseases such as scabies could be detained before entering the workhouse proper.

Conditions in the casual wards were worse than in the relieving rooms and deliberately designed to discourage vagrants, who were considered potential trouble-makers and probably disease-ridden. Vagrants who presented themselves at the door of a workhouse were at the mercy of the porter, whose decision it was whether or not to allocate them a bed for the night in the casual ward. Those refused entry risked being sentenced to two weeks of hard labour if they were found begging or sleeping in the open and prosecuted for an offence under the Vagrancy Act 1824.

A typical early 19th-century casual ward was a single large room furnished with some kind of bedding and perhaps a bucket in the middle of the floor for sanitation. The bedding on offer could be very basic: the Poor Law authorities in Richmond in the mid-1840s provided only straw and rags, although beds were available for the sick. In return for their night’s accommodation vagrants might be expected to undertake a certain amount of work before leaving the next day, such as at Guisborough, where men were required to break stones for three hours and women to pick oakum, two hours before breakfast and one after.[44] Until the passage of the Casual Poor Act 1882 vagrants could discharge themselves before 11 am on the day following their admission, but from 1883 onwards they were required to be detained until 9 am on the second day. Those who were admitted to the workhouse again within one month were required to be detained until the fourth day after their admission.

Inmates were free to leave whenever they wished after giving reasonable notice, generally considered to be three hours, but if a parent discharged him or herself then the children were also discharged, to prevent them from being abandoned. The comic actor Charlie Chaplin, who spent some time with his mother in Lambeth workhouse, records in his autobiography that when he and his half-brother returned to the workhouse after having been sent to a school in Hanwell, he was met at the gate by his mother Hannah, dressed in her own clothes. Desperate to see them again she had discharged herself and the children; they spent the day together playing in Kennington Park and visiting a coffee shop, after which she readmitted them all to the workhouse.

Some Poor Law authorities hoped that payment for the work undertaken by the inmates would produce a profit for their workhouses, or at least allow them to be self-supporting, but whatever small income could be produced never matched the running costs. Eighteenth-century inmates were poorly managed, and lacked either the inclination or skills to compete effectively with free market industries such as spinning and weaving. Some workhouses operated not as places of employment, but as houses of correction, a role similar to that trialled by Buckinghamshire magistrate Matthew Marryott. Between 1714 and 1722 he experimented with using the workhouse as a test of poverty rather than a source of profit, leading to the establishment of a large number of workhouses for that purpose. Nevertheless, local people became concerned about the competition to their businesses from cheap workhouse labour. As late as 1888, for instance, the Firewood Cutters Protection Association was complaining that the livelihood of its members was being threatened by the cheap firewood on offer from the workhouses in the East End of London.

Many inmates were allocated tasks in the workhouse such as caring for the sick or teaching that were beyond their capabilities, but most were employed on “generally pointless” work, such as breaking stones or removing the hemp from telegraph wires. Others picked oakum using a large metal nail known as a spike, which may be the source of the workhouse’s nickname. Bone-crushing, useful in the creation of fertiliser, was a task most inmates could perform, until a government inquiry into conditions in the Andover workhouse in 1845 found that starving paupers were reduced to fighting over the rotting bones they were supposed to be grinding, to suck out the marrow. The resulting scandal led to the withdrawal of bone-crushing as an employment for those living in workhouses and the replacement of the Poor Law Commission by the Poor Law Board in 1847. Conditions thereafter were regulated according to a list of rules contained in the 1847 Consolidated General Order, which included guidance on issues such as diet, staff duties, dress, education, discipline and redress of grievances.

Some Poor Law Unions opted to send destitute children to the British colonies, in particular to Canada and Australia, where it was hoped the fruits of their labour would contribute to the defence of the empire and enable the colonies to buy more British exports. Known as Home Children, the Philanthropic Farm school alone sent more than 1000 boys to the colonies between 1850 and 1871, many of them taken from workhouses. In 1869 Maria Rye and Annie Macpherson, “two spinster ladies of strong resolve”, began taking groups of orphans and children from workhouses to Canada, most of whom were taken in by farming families in Ontario. The Canadian government paid a small fee to the ladies for each child delivered, but most of the cost was met by charities or the Poor Law Unions.

As far as possible elderly inmates were expected to undertake the same kind of work as the younger men and women, although concessions were made to their relative frailty. They might alternatively be required to chop firewood, clean the wards, or carry out other domestic tasks. In 1882 Lady Brabazon, later the Countess of Meath, set up a project to provide alternative occupation for non-able-bodied inmates, known as the Brabazon scheme. Volunteers provided training in crafts such as knitting, embroidery and lace making, all costs initially being borne by Lady Brabazon herself. Although slow to take off, when workhouses discovered that the goods being produced were saleable and could make the enterprise self-financing, the scheme gradually spread across the country, and by 1897 there were more than 100 branches.

In 1836 the Poor Law Commission distributed six diets for workhouse inmates, one of which was to be chosen by each Poor Law Union depending on its local circumstances. Although dreary, the food was generally nutritionally adequate,[58] and according to contemporary records was prepared with great care. Issues such as training staff to serve and weigh portions were well understood.[58] The diets included general guidance, as well as schedules for each class of inmate. They were laid out on a weekly rotation, the various meals selected on a daily basis, from a list of foodstuffs. For instance, a breakfast of bread and gruel was followed by dinner, which might consist of cooked meats, pickled pork or bacon with vegetables, potatoes, yeast dumpling, soup and suet, or rice pudding. Supper was normally bread, cheese and broth, and sometimes butter or potatoes.

The larger workhouses had separate dining rooms for males and females; workhouses without separate dining rooms would stagger the meal times to avoid any contact between the sexes. Rations provided for the indoor staff were much the same as those for the paupers, although more generous. The master and matron, for instance, received six times the amount of food given to a pauper.

Education was provided for the children, but workhouse teachers were a particular problem. Poorly paid, without any formal training, and facing large classes of unruly children with little or no interest in their lessons, few stayed in the job for more than a few months. In an effort to force workhouses to offer at least a basic level of education, legislation was passed in 1845 requiring that all pauper apprentices should be able to read and sign their own indenture papers. A training college for workhouse teachers was set up at Kneller Hall in Twickenham during the 1840s, but it closed in the following decade.

Some children were trained in skills valuable to the area. In Shrewsbury, the boys were placed in the workhouse’s workshop, while girls were tasked with spinning, making gloves and other jobs “suited to their sex, their ages and abilities”. At St Martin in the Fields, children were trained in spinning flax, picking hair and carding wool, before being placed as apprentices. Workhouses also had links with local industry; in Nottingham, children employed in a cotton mill earned about 60 a year for the workhouse. Some parishes advertised for apprenticeships, and were willing to pay any employer prepared to offer them. Such agreements were preferable to supporting children in the workhouse: apprenticed children were not subject to inspection by justices, thereby lowering the chance of punishment for neglect; and apprenticeships were viewed as a better long-term method of teaching skills to children who might otherwise be uninterested in work. Supporting an apprenticed child was also considerably cheaper than the workhouse or outdoor relief. Children often had no say in the matter, which could be arranged without the permission or knowledge of their parents. The supply of labour from workhouse to factory, which remained popular until the 1830s, was sometimes viewed as a form of transportation. While getting parish apprentices from Clerkenwell, Samuel Oldknow’s agent reported how some parents came “crying to beg they may have their Children out again”. Historian Arthur Redford suggests that the poor may have once shunned factories as “an insidious sort of workhouse”.

Religion played an important part in workhouse life: prayers were read to the paupers before breakfast and after supper each day. Each Poor Law Union was required to appoint a chaplain to look after the spiritual needs of the workhouse inmates, and he was invariably expected to be from the established Church of England. Religious services were generally held in the dining hall, as few early workhouses had a separate chapel. But in some parts of the country, notably Cornwall and northern England,[69] there were more dissenters than members of the established church; as section 19 of the 1834 Poor Law specifically forbade any regulation forcing an inmate to attend church services “in a Mode contrary to [their] Religious Principles”, the commissioners were reluctantly forced to allow non-Anglicans to leave the workhouse on Sundays to attend services elsewhere, so long as they were able to provide a certificate of attendance signed by the officiating minister on their return.[69]

As the 19th century wore on non-conformist ministers increasingly began to conduct services within the workhouse, but Catholic priests were rarely welcomed.[69] A variety of legislation had been introduced during the 17th century to limit the civil rights of Catholics, beginning with the Popish Recusants Act 1605 in the wake of the failed Gunpowder Plot that year. But although almost all restrictions on Catholics in England and Ireland were removed by the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, a great deal of anti-Catholic feeling remained. Even in areas with large Catholic populations, such as Liverpool, the appointment of a Catholic chaplain was unthinkable.[69] Some guardians went so far as to refuse Catholic priests entry to the workhouse.

Discipline was strictly enforced in the workhouse; for minor offences such as swearing or feigning sickness the “disorderly” could have their diet restricted for up to 48hours. For more serious offences such as insubordination or violent behaviour the “refractory” could be confined for up to 24hours, and might also have their diet restricted. Girls were punished in the same way as adults, but boys under the age of 14 could be beaten with “a rod or other instrument, such as may have been approved of by the Guardians”. The persistently refractory, or anyone bringing “spirituous or fermented liquor” into the workhouse, could be taken before a Justice of the Peace and even jailed.[72] All punishments handed out were recorded in a punishment book, which was examined regularly by the workhouse guardians, locally elected representatives of the participating parishes with overall responsibility for the running of the workhouse.

Although the commissioners were responsible for the regulatory framework within which the Poor Law Unions operated, each union was run by a locally elected board of guardians, comprising representatives from each of the participating parishes, assisted by six ex officio members.[74] The guardians were usually farmers or tradesmen, and as one of their roles was the contracting out of the supply of goods to the workhouse the position could prove lucrative for them and their friends. Simon Fowler has commented that “it is clear that this [the awarding of contracts] involved much petty corruption, and it was indeed endemic throughout the Poor Law system”.

Although the 1834 Act allowed for women to become workhouse guardians provided they met the property requirement, the first female was not elected until 1875. Working class guardians were not appointed until 1892, when the property requirement was dropped in favour of occupying rented premises worth 5 a year.

Every workhouse had a complement of full-time staff, often referred to as the indoor staff. At their head was the governor or master, who was appointed by the board of guardians. His duties were laid out in a series of orders issued by the Poor Law Commissioners. As well as the overall administration of the workhouse, masters were required to discipline the paupers as necessary and to visit each ward twice daily, at 11 am and 9 pm. Female inmates and children under seven were the responsibility of the matron, as was the general housekeeping. The master and the matron were usually a married couple, charged with running the workhouse “at the minimum cost and maximum efficiency for the lowest possible wages”.

A large workhouse such as Whitechapel, accommodating several thousand paupers, employed a staff of almost 200; the smallest may only have had a porter and perhaps an assistant nurse in addition to the master and matron. A typical workhouse accommodating 225 inmates had a staff of five, which included a part-time chaplain and a part-time medical officer. The low pay meant that many medical officers were young and inexperienced. To add to their difficulties, in most unions they were obliged to pay out of their own pockets for any drugs, dressings or other medical supplies needed to treat their patients.

A second major wave of workhouse construction began in the mid-1860s, the result of a damning report by the Poor Law inspectors on the conditions found in infirmaries in London and the provinces. Of one workhouse in Southwark, London, an inspector observed bluntly that “The workhouse does not meet the requirements of medical science, nor am I able to suggest any arrangements which would in the least enable it to do so”. By the middle of the 19th century there was a growing realisation that the purpose of the workhouse was no longer solely or even chiefly to act as a deterrent to the able-bodied poor, and the first generation of buildings was widely considered to be inadequate. About 150 new workhouses were built mainly in London, Lancashire and Yorkshire between 1840 and 1875, in architectural styles that began to adopt Italianate or Elizabethan features, to better fit into their surroundings and present a less intimidating face. One surviving example is the gateway at Ripon, designed somewhat in the style of a medieval almshouse. A major feature of this new generation of buildings is the long corridors with separate wards leading off for men, women and children.

By 1870 the architectural fashion had moved away from the corridor design in favour of a pavilion style based on the military hospitals built during and after the Crimean War, providing light and well-ventilated accommodation. Opened in 1878, the Manchester Union’s infirmary comprised seven parallel three-storey pavilions separated by 80-foot-wide (24m) “airing yards”; each pavilion had space for 31beds, a day room, a nurse’s kitchen and toilets. By the start of the 20th century new workhouses were often fitted out to an “impressive standard”. Opened in 1903, the workhouse at Hunslet in West Riding of Yorkshire had two steam boilers with automatic stokers supplying heating and hot water throughout the building, a generator to provide electricity for the institution’s 1,130 electric lamps, and electric lifts in the infirmary pavilion.

As early as 1841 the Poor Law Commissioners were aware of an “insoluble dilemma” posed by the ideology behind the New Poor Law:

If the pauper is always promptly attended by a skilful and well qualified medical practitioner… if the patient be furnished with all the cordials and stimulants which may promote his recovery: it cannot be denied that his condition in these respects is better than that of the needy and industrious ratepayer who has neither the money nor the influence to secure prompt and careful attendance.

The education of children presented a similar dilemma. It was provided free in the workhouse but had to be paid for by the “merely poor”; free primary education for all children was not provided in the UK until 1918. Instead of being “less eligible”, those living in the workhouse were in certain respects “more eligible” than those living in poverty outside.

Hush-a-bye baby, on the tree top,When you grow old, your wages will stop,When you have spent the little you madeFirst to the Poorhouse and then to the grave

Anonymous verse from Yorkshire.

By the late 1840s most workhouses outside London and the larger provincial towns housed only “the incapable, elderly and sick”. By the end of the century only about 20 per cent of those admitted to workhouses were unemployed or destitute, but about 30 per cent of the population over 70 were in workhouses. The introduction of pensions for those aged over 70 in 1908 did not reduce the number of elderly housed in workhouses, but it did reduce the number of those on outdoor relief by 25 per cent.

Responsibility for administration of the Poor Law passed to the Local Government Board in 1871, and the emphasis soon shifted from the workhouse as “a receptacle for the helpless poor” to its role in the care of the sick and helpless. The Diseases Prevention Act of 1883 allowed workhouse infirmaries to offer treatment to non-paupers as well as inmates, and by the beginning of the 20th century some infirmaries were even able to operate as private hospitals.

A Royal Commission of 1905 reported that workhouses were unsuited to deal with the different categories of resident they had traditionally housed, and recommended that specialised institutions for each class of pauper should be established, in which they could be treated appropriately by properly trained staff. The “deterrent” workhouses were in future to be reserved for “incorrigibles such as drunkards, idlers and tramps”. On 24 January 1918 the Daily Telegraph reported that the Local Government Committee on the Poor Law had presented to the Ministry of Reconstruction a report recommending abolition of the workhouses and transferring their duties to other organizations.[90]

The Local Government Act of 1929 gave local authorities the power to take over workhouse infirmaries as municipal hospitals, although outside London few did so. The workhouse system was abolished in the UK by the same Act on 1 April 1930, but many workhouses, renamed Public Assistance Institutions, continued under the control of local county councils. At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 almost 100,000 people were accommodated in the former workhouses, 5,629 of whom were children.

The 1948 National Assistance Act abolished the last vestiges of the Poor Law, and with it the workhouses. Many of the workhouse buildings were converted into retirement homes run by the local authorities; slightly more than half of local authority accommodation for the elderly was provided in former workhouses in 1960. Camberwell workhouse (in Peckham, South London) continued until 1985 as a homeless shelter for more than 1,000 men, operated by the Department of Health and Social Security and renamed a resettlement centre.[96] Southwell workhouse, now a museum, was used to provide temporary accommodation for mothers and children until the early 1990s.

Philanthropist William Rathbone, 1850

The Poor Law was not designed to address the issue of poverty, which was considered to be the inevitable lot for most people; rather it was concerned with pauperism, “the inability of an individual to support himself”. Writing in 1806 Patrick Colquhoun commented that:

Poverty… is a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society, without which nations and communities could not exist in a state of civilisation. It is the lot of man it is the source of wealth, since without poverty there would be no labour, and without labour there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.

Historian Simon Fowler has argued that workhouses were “largely designed for a pool of able-bodied idlers and shirkers… However this group hardly existed outside the imagination of a generation of political economists”. Workhouse life was intended to be harsh, to deter the able-bodied poor and to ensure that only the truly destitute would apply, a principle known as less eligibility. Writing ten years after its introduction, Friedrich Engels described the motives of the authors of the 1834 New Poor Law as “to force the poor into the Procrustean bed of their preconceived notions. To do this they treated the poor with incredible savagery.”

The purpose of workhouse labour was never clear according to historian M. A. Crowther. In the early days of workhouses it was either a punishment or a source of income for the parish, but during the 19thcentury the idea of work as punishment became increasingly unfashionable. The idea took hold that work should rehabilitate the workhouse inmates for their eventual independence, and that it should therefore be rewarded with no more than the workers’ maintenance, otherwise there would be no incentive for them to seek work elsewhere.

The “dramatic possibilities” of the workhouse provided the inspiration for several artists including Charles West Cope, whose Board Day Application for Bread (1841), depicting a young widow pleading for bread for her four children, was painted following his visit to a meeting of the Staines Board of Guardians. The “quintessential workhouse yarn” is of course Oliver Twist (1838) by Charles Dickens, which contains the well-known request from Oliver to the master of the workhouse: “Please, sir, I want some more [food]”. Another popular piece of workhouse literature was the dramatic monologue In the Workhouse: Christmas Day (1877) by George Robert Sims, better known by its first line of “It is Christmas Day in the workhouse”. In chapter XXVII of his first novel Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), George Orwell gives a brief but vivid account of his stay in a London workhouse when he roamed the streets as a tramp during a short period in his late twenties. In 1931 an early version of this account had already been published as an essay (The Spike) in an issue of The New Adelphi.

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Workhouse – Wikipedia

Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …

On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

There are two main streams available under this new TSS visa program:

There is also a Labour Agreement stream for exceptional cases where standard visa programs are not available and there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market.

This new visa is part of the Government’s significant reform package to strengthen the integrity and quality of Australia’s temporary and permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programs. The implementation of these reforms began in April 2017 and will be completed in March 2018.

Key reforms include:

Further information on reforms is available:

More detailed information is available on the TSS visa page.

1 Employers in regional Australia will have access to a broader range of occupations when the TSS visa is introduced. Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will also be retained

2 Set at AUD53,900 at 12 January 2018.

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Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa Government …


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