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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Where Are Aristotle's "Natural Slaves" Today?

Aristotle (in)famously held that certain people are natural slaves. But we must look closely at what he meant by that. My recollection is that he focused on those people's inability to direct their own efforts successfully.

My question: Would Aristotle have considered employment as an underling in a modern corporation simply an ingenious way of managing natural slaves so that they don't feel the yoke of their slavery as much? It seems to me that the key thing for him was not their being owned, but their being other-directed in their work. If that is so, than he might look at the position of a line cook at McDonald's and think, "Yes, just as I thought: some people can only work successfully when someone else plans all of their work for them."

I'm not wondering if you agree with that, I'm wondering is that what Aristotle would think today?

2 comments:

  1. I think the idea might apply for people who become complacent within that role you describe.

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  2. Anyone who has a direct boss(board of directors, customers, etc.=indirect) while not being a boss yourself.

    ReplyDelete