“We used to own our slaves, now we just rent them.”
The American anthropologist David Graeber once remarked that the difference between wage labor existing today and slavery is rather small. In the past people were so in debt that they had to sell their lives to others in order to survive. Nowadays people are so in debt that they rent their bodies for periods of time to their employers. In a world where student loans can become so colossal that you have to work for your creditor for years, only in order to remain hopeful that paying your debts is possible at all, the distinction between labor and slavery becomes simply a dispute of legal vocabulary.
As a consequence of the economic crisis, most of the European youth find themselves in the situation Graeber describes. Youth unemployment is massive, especially in the southern countries of the…
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