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Stavehouse Rock: Indentured Innovation

Stavehouse Rock: Indentured Innovation published on 8 Comments on Stavehouse Rock: Indentured Innovation

…this is not to the tune of any real-world Schoolhouse Rock song.

If anybody wants to make up your own music for it and then record it, you have my full blessing.

Lyrics to “Indentured Innovation”, from the Sønheic series of kids’ educational songs, “Stavehouse Rock”

When you get something pricey, you must pay the bill
The debt’s like a pot that you have to fill!

If it’s small, you can pay for it all on your own
If it’s bigger, to prepare, you might take out a loan!

But what if there’s a debt that takes you by surprise?
And what if the pot is an incredible size?
Lost your house in a disaster, broke your leg in a fall
And your job just doesn’t pay enough to cover it all?

“Gosh, teacher, what can you do?”

“Sit back, kids, and I’ll tell you . . . ”

Well, that’s where the “servitude” system comes in!
It’s a brilliant innovation — It’s a total win-win!

First you meet up with an “owner”, there’s a contract you sign
(Don’t get hung up on the terms, just put your name on the line!)

First the “owner” fills your pot (whatever you haven’t paid)
Now you have a debt to them for the payment they made

So you work whatever jobs they need their servants to do
Cleaning, cooking, maybe gardening? They’ll pick some for you!

It’s the indentured innovation, whoa oh-oh, oh-oh!
Indentured innovation, oh-oh!

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Capitalist propaganda is always creepy, but this is somehow worse. Well done.

Such a… reasonable way to describe it. and if we synthesize with some debt-servants we’ve seen before, you can FEEL the Sønheim class system getting its hooks into your brain.

The Vampire Servant known as Cyan- Yeah, you lost your arm in an accident, and you can get the basic prosthesis with your savings and continue doing your job in a diminished capacity. OR, you can do a stint as a Debt-servant, get the fancy one, and find a new job on the other side with nearly-full (or perhaps even improved, e.g. you can swap the hand for a relevant tool, or literally have a job-relevant spellgem constantly at hand) capacity!

Elisa- Ah, you’re dad’s sick. You’ll do the debt servitude so your dads can recouperate and continue their normal job. You’re just about to graduate, so it’s not a huge deal if you take some time away from finding a job to… DO a job. this way, you’re a net-positive on the household finances, instead of a (worthwhile, necessary; you’ve gotta have the skills to pay the bills, and you’ve gotta pay the bill to get those skills!) drain!

The debt-servant system by itself makes sense. The real problem is that it’s accompanied with rules which makes easy to fall into it. Meanwhile, with normal rules, it would happen so rarely it wouldn’t be worth keeping the system.

Also it’s a problem because it’s exploitable – once you agree to the contract, the owner apparently has carte blanche to determine what you do, and possibly to determine how much you get paid for it, so even if you have a highly valuable skill that would let you pay off the debt quickly, you could find yourself a servant for life if you get hooked up with the wrong owner, even for a relatively small indentured servitude type debt.

I feel like deliberate mismanagement like that is unlikely for two reasons.

1: They still have to have an air of legitimacy. You get to READ the contract before you sign it, so ‘Masters’ still have to offer competitive ratios on period of servitude per Sønska Mark in debt, and the ‘Master’ is still a Sønska citizen and bound by the contract. If they jerk you around too much, you (or your S.O./family) can probably take the Master to court for breach of contract.

2: It makes more sense to deploy an individual in a role they are already skilled in than to put them somewhere they have no skill just to prolong their contract. Deliberate cruelty for cruelty’s sake isn’t profitable; the orphan-crushing machine has to produce SOMETHING of value other than gore.

This is all kinds of wrong, but especially the part where the singer actively encourages kids to not read the fine print when becoming an indentured servant. What’s not wrong is the Schoolhouse Rock style, which is absolutely on point both lyrically and stylistically.

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