Subject: Re: slavery and freedom
From: Thomas Lord <>
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2008 15:22:05 -0700

John McDermott wrote:
> Your last statement is indeed true. However you miss the issue. A 
> situation perceived by both parties as win-win is not exploitation (if 
> both parties are of sound mind and there is no coercion).  Even if an 
> impartial outside observer does not see the win-win nature, and thinks 
> one side is getting a better deal, if it is still win-win to the 
> participants, it is not exploitation.

I strongly disagree.   It is easy to imagine (and observe) situations 
where both parties perceive a win-win but there is no doubt exploitation 
is happening.   Your claim seems silly.

>> Consider the "battered spouse syndrome":  victims of exploitation
>> *often* express attitudes of contentment with or preference for
>> their situation.   We recognize, anyway, that they are indeed
>> exploited, regardless of their attitude.
> This is not an example of a win-win situation where both parties are 
> of sound mind. There may also be coercion.

Even a sound mind can only contemplate what it actually sees.

Isolation is an example of a non-coercive technique that exploiters use 
to create the perception of a win-win in the exploited.

Isolation is worth mentioning in this context because it relates to 
hegemony in the press:  if the press' hegemony is de facto centrally 
controlled then the community to that press in some sense isolated and 
thus primed to be exploited.   This is the theory behind state-run 
propaganda machines -- to isolate the population in order to exploit them.

That is why the resemblance of the open source celebrity phenomenon to 
the hollywood studio system is alarming: it amounts to a centralization 
of press hegemony in the trade press.

>> The attitudinal surveys are irrelevant to the questions at hand.
> Only if you can show that the participants are not of sound mind or 
> you can show coercion. 

I would like to recommend to you the book "The Politics of Reality" by 
Marilyn Frye.   It is focused on questions related to feminism and so it 
contains a lot that explores the nature of oppression and 
exploitation.   It's an unusual book in that genre for the simplicity, 
clarity, and straightforwardness of the argumentation and expression -- 
it's really good work.   It's short.

> If the surveys show that they are in a perceived win-win situation, 
> then they are relevant. [And the notion of win-win is really all about 
> perception isn't it?]
I dis-recommend reading any more Ayn Rand :-)


>> -t
> --John McDermott, CPLP, CCP
> Learning and Performance Consultant
> jjm at
> V: +1 575/377-6293  Please call for fax access.