Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times

Category: Humanities
Author: Lucy Lethbridge
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by vinceguidry   2018-08-02
On the sliding scale of law regimes that try to regulate human labor, going from a universal declaration of labor rights all the way down to chattel slavery, this is rather progressive for that part of the world.

Naturally no one in European or Anglophone countries would countenance such a thing, but in Asia this can provide women with a means of self-determination that they didn't have before.

I remember reading a book about Britain's service class from the Edwardian era until the end of that culture after WW2. Service class culture replaced something far far worse. And the ugly labor regimes that replaced those were better than the service class. If you had an issue with the way one particular factory treated you, well, there was another one right down the road. If you had an issue with the way your masters treated you, your options for finding better employment were far more restricted. This dynamic caused women to leave the service industry in droves to go work in factories.

The classist society in Britain had been fighting a rearguard action to maintain the service legal regime for decades, until WW2 thoroughly annihilated any chance of it ever coming back.

Nowadays any time I hear about some crazy contract law, I immediately think about what human agency is being liberated here.

Amazon link for the interested: