As I write this, I currently work the graveyard shift at a casino. Recently, they made all staff go to a meeting where they introduced us to the new general manager of the casino. The leader of HR came on stage and introduced her. The new GM came on stage and briefly said hello, and walked off. The head of HR then said “aw, come on, they’ve all been so excited to meet you! Let’s get to know you more!” At this point I nearly gagged, but it gets worse.
She then came back on stage. The head of HR said “everyone here answered questions when we got hired, so you’ll have to tell us a bit about yourself!” This is a reference to the hiring process at the casino, where they don’t do typical interviews, they do “fun” interviews where they ask “fun questions”. For example, my question was if I’d rather be able to understand animals, or all human languages.
So the HR director asked her a few questions, but I cringed so hard my jaw broke, so I only remember the first one. He said “would you rather be able to fly, or have a million dollars?” What do you think the general manager of a large casino said? Of course, she said “fly”. I immediately turned to all my coworkers and said “no shit, she already has a million dollars.”
This anecdote, to me, perfectly illustrates the relationship between the capitalist class (or, since the GM isn’t “technically” bourgeois, the overclass, dominant class, 1%, however you want to think of it) and the HR departments they employ. The HR director was obviously acting like a complete sniveling turd, grinning ear to ear about our great leader. Meanwhile, the new GM was doing a coy “who me? no, couldn’t be” routine. As anyone with a shred of brains will immediately realize, they tell us HR departments are employed for us, but they’re really employed for them.
As I always try to emphasize on this blog and my other political writing, money (and currencies generally) are means of performing social relations, and all the money that flows towards HR Departments starts from the employer. Conversely, all the money that flows towards unions starts from the workers. This is why when I was hired at the casino, the HR Department continually told us that they were there for us (the workers), but if we ever considered unionizing, it would make it so the HR Department could no longer be there for us in the same way.
But ultimately, the real takeaway is that in a capitalist society, HR Departments are basically our government. Seriously, you could read this post as being about the elite capitalist overclass and the politicians they pay for, and it would make the same sense.
HR Departments are like the “governing body” of a workplace. They hire people, fire people, handle complaints against management, handle customer complaints against employees, enforce company rules and policy, etc. But, they’re also employed by the proprietors, with the implicit assumption that all employees exist to generate value for proprietors, which means HR will side with their employers if any material value is at stake.
In fact, HR departments are a good indication of A) why class precedes the state, or at least, class informs the class characteristic of the state and B) why, contrary to what ancaps may say, the state is actually a necessary organ for private capitalist enterprise to work.
And the most baffling angle to think about HR departments is how Neoreactionaries like Nick Land propose a neocameralist government (Just to give context for those out of the loop, in the most basic sense, neocameralism is a way of managing the state that is indistinguishable from a super private corporation). They obviously support this, because their absolute priority is the growth of capital. A society could be managed by corporate bureaucrats and stockholders better than elected officials.
In theory, this sounds like a quite different political-economic model than our current liberal capitalist democracy. But if you think about the role of American elected officials, and the role of an HR department as spelled out earlier, are they that different? Isn’t it clear how both organs function as the nice-face used to represent the capitalist ruling class?
Do we really want to be pseudo-governed by sniveling turds? Do we really want a state where we are shadow-governed by Mr. Burns, but then constantly have to interface with sycophants like Mr. Smithers?