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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: July ::
Re: Exploitation of Actors
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1391  Thursday, 13 July 2000.

[1]     From:   Andrew W. White <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 09:46:13 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1385 Re: Exploitation of Actors

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 15:13:01 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1385 Re: Exploitation of Ac

[3]     From:   Jane Drake Brody <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 11:04:32 EDT
        Subj:   Re: Exploitation of Actors

[4]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 13:52:56 -0400
        Subj:   Re: "Exploitation of Actors"

[5]     From:   Sophie Masson <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Jul 2000 08:15:35 +1000
        Subj:   Exploitation of actors/Marx

[6]     From:   Michael Meyers <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Jul 2000 00:46:25 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 11.1385 Re: Exploitation of Actors


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew W. White <
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Date:           Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 09:46:13 -0400
Subject: 11.1385 Re: Exploitation of Actors
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1385 Re: Exploitation of Actors

Perhaps we should try to come up with a common definition of the term
"exploitation," so that we can at least agree on what we're debating
here. My definition, with a nod to Marx:

"The systematic denial of labor's legitimate self-interest."

I believe some old economist named Smith talked about the economy
functioning out of mutual self-interest; what Smith abhorred is
precisely what happened then as now: the joyless accumulation of wealth
among upper management and shareholders at the expense of those who
actually make profit possible.  Whether we are actors or not, the
legitimate interests of working people and consumers are routinely
ignored in this "free market" system, and misery and joyless
wealth-accumulation will continue until some sort of balance is
achieved.

A commentator on the NPR radio program _Marketplace_ (broadcast in the
USA) recently noted, without a trace of irony, that corporate executives
marvel at the authoritarian system of the Chinese, and indeed this man
went on to remark how like China most corporations really are.  There
were no subsequent complaints, no sarcastic remarks by way of reply.
The man had hit the nail on the head, and nobody dared admit it.

Cheers,
Andy White
Arlington, VA

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 15:13:01 +0100
Subject: 11.1385 Re: Exploitation of Actors
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1385 Re: Exploitation of Actors

Andrew White wrote

> I would be especially curious if Dr. Egan could
> point to a version of this lawsuit in print -- it
> would be interesting to see how the defendants
> accounted for themselves, if at all.

G E Bentley prints bits from it in _The Profession of Player in
Shakespeare's Time_ (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1984), the stuff about
hired men's shortfalling pay being on pages 109-112.

Bentley gives as his source a call number for the Public Record Office
(PRO C24/500/103) and I can't find him discussing these documents about
the lawsuit (although he discusses other documents about it) in
_Jacobean and Caroline Stage_, so I assume that these were discovered
between publication of JCS and 1984.  If anyone knows of a subsequent
full transcription I'd be interested.

Gabriel Egan

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jane Drake Brody <
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Date:           Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 11:04:32 EDT
Subject:        Re: Exploitation of Actors

I am appalled at this need to mention Marx's religion/ethnicity in the
following statement.

<< Capitalism wasn't invented by a Jewish scholar who decided from his
lofty
intellectual height that the world ought to be a mirror of his
scientific
imagination. >>

Especially when one refers to the statement following several line later

"There is no cult of the future, be it Christianity or Communism., that
will guarantee otherwise."

Does this imply that one is either Christian or Communist?

Amazing the questions these lists raise!

Jane Drake Brody

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 13:52:56 -0400
Subject:        Re: "Exploitation of Actors"

Ed Taft asks us to "consider the phenomenal growth of the American and
English [British?] economies from about 1825 to the early 1900s" as
evidence that restricted economies can be successful:  "This growth
should not have happened because trade and tariff barriers in both
countries were both numerous and high in an attempt to protect their
basic industries."

What Ed forgets is that the 19th Century was a period of unparalleled
geographic and economic growth in North America and the British Empire.
Both the US and UK were expanding over vast previously underutilized
territories -- I almost said "underexploited."   Like war, this sort of
expansion is very forgiving of economic repressions which would be
severely punished in mature and stable economies.  For an example of
what unnatural trade barriers can do to an established peacetime economy
consider the Smoot-Hawley tariff adopted in the US in the late 1920s.
Most economists now regard that as the principal cause of the Great
Depression.  Fortunately, Ed's idols, Truman and Humphrey, were not
given the chance they both wanted to try it again.

Mike Jensen says that "Marx and Engels got one central thing right. They
noticed that economics had a profound impact on history ...." Needs no
ghost come from the grave to tell us this.  It seems to me that every
serious historian from Herodotus understood that trade, distribution of
wealth and economic upheavals have something to do with political and
social history.

Larry Weiss

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sophie Masson <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Jul 2000 08:15:35 +1000
Subject:        Exploitation of actors/Marx

It's all very well to yawn before the oh-so-wearisome catalogue of other
people's tragedies, but I fail to understand just why people who would
like to ignore the cruelties of Communism always bring the cruelties of
Christianity or Islam into the equation--one does not cancel the other
out, surely?  No-one, after all, would seek to explain or wave away the
cruelties of Nazism thus. The point I was making was that Marx could not
be trusted as a guide not just because of the application--or the
'misappropriation', if you like, of his ideas by people who most
definitely described themselves as Marxists, and firmly believed they
were good Marxists, but also because he misread completely the culture
he was basing his ideas on--industrialising Britain, with its fluid and
ambiguous structure. Marxism was only ever 'tried' in countries with
peasant/landlord/small middle class structures precisely because Marx's
notions of the industrial proletariat were so utterly out of whack with
reality.

The point is too that _any_ ideology which reduces people to the level
of abstractions, especially when it has the aim of making a paradise on
earth, a paradise to be firmly described and delineated by true
believers only, is bound to cause a terrible human tragedy. It is that
which turns ordinary people, and not just psychopaths, into
monsters--the failure to see others--all others-- as fully human, which
can justify anything, however gruesome, by an appeal to ideology. And
surely we cannot pretend that Marx's ideas did _not_ serve as such an
ideology for the Maos, Lenins, Stalins, Pol Pots and so on of the 2oth
cent. and their devoted followers. And the point of view which, in the
name of the defence of said abstract ideas, forgets that all those
boring statistics of political and ideological murder conceal real
people, each with a name, a history, an individuality, certainly does
nothing to endear Marx--or any other 'abstract thinker'--to me. It is
why I distrust ideology--and ideologists, whether of the right, left, or
in between. Some might say that is a cop-out or that everyone must have
an ideology; but it is that I just cannot think of statistics, I'm
afraid it's all boringly personal for me, and so it is only in works
such as Shakespeare's that I find the truth told, in all its many,
uncomfortable, ambiguous forms.

It is no surprise that people in those countries marked by
Marxist-inspired oppression found Shakespeare's plays so relevant and so
real. WS' plays never forget that we are all--even the victim, even the
oppressor, even the monster-- we are all human. And  that there are
constant, universal truths of the conflicts in human nature   which
cannot be described by ideology, and never  will be.  As to the
exploitation of actors--of course they are, sometimes, in some ways, but
then so are, and were, writers. And the word, exploitation, with all of
its ideological connotations, doesn't even begin to describe what the
truth of the matter is.

Sophie Masson.
Author site: http://members.xoom.com/sophiecastel/default.htm

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Meyers <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Jul 2000 00:46:25 -0500
Subject: 11.1385 Re: Exploitation of Actors
Comment:        RE: SHK 11.1385 Re: Exploitation of Actors

A few comments:

David Siar <
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 > writes,

"The rapidly increasing social inequalities (the 358 billionaires in the
world who, according to recent UN estimates, command assets equivalent
to 2.3 billion of the world's poorest population) obscenely demonstrate
the truth of Marx's contention"

The increase in social inequalities is caused by the current rapid
technology change in the market -- moving from an industrial society to
an "information" society.  The same thing has happened before during all
periods of rapid technology change [e.g. Rockefeller, et. al.].   The
reason is that short term companies can garner "monopoly rents" because
they get a lock on technology [e.g. Bill Gates].   Longer term other
firms come into the market to compete with these firms destroying these
"monopoly rents" [e.g. Linux] and driving profits down to the cost of
capital.

Bottom line, rising social inequalities has nothing to do with Marx, but
everything to do with the normal dynamics of capitalism.  And whether
the government wants to temper this normal phenomenon is a question of
public policy.   Even, if the government does nothing the situation will
correct over a period of years [assuming the government is diligent in
breaking up any permanent monopolies]

Geralyn Horton <
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 > writes,

Michael Meyers writes: "This disparity in pay between men and women is
because women tend to prefer careers where there is an over supply of
labor."

What studies?  Cite your sources, gentlemen!

One example of this disparity in pay between men/women is that fewer
than 28% of the computer-information science bachelor's degrees went to
women in 1997 [US Educ Dept statistics].   Currently there are over
800,000 US jobs in this sector open, resulting in rising salaries with
most of the rewards going to men -- just because women don't want this
type of career.   Geralyn, you want women to earn more?   Have them
major in computer science!  The pay is there, equal to men's -- the
women are not there.

>I refer you to: 70% of all film roles go to men, and only 9% of film >and TV roles go to women over 40.

Geralyn, this has to do with the fact that the movie going audience
wants to watch men and women under 40.   You may not like the public's
taste but that's the way it is.   This preference for men and women
under 40 is discrimination by the viewers of movies, not discrimination
per se by the movie producers.

Cheers all, my heart warmed that I'm not the only anti-Marxist on this
board.

Michael
 

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