Some workers don’t meet the IRS definition of “employee” and are instead paid as independent contractors. An independent contractor won’t fill out a W-4 form when they start a new job and will receive a 1099 form come tax season. If you make your livelihood as an independent contractor, you’re self-employed and are responsible for paying income taxes and deductions on your own. That means no tax withheld for you throughout the year and a higher Social Security tax (employers usually pay a portion of it).
Essentially the same thing happened in China with clocks: one emperor's decision abolished clocks over China. China was also on the verge of building powerful water-powered machinery before the Industrial Revolution in Britain, but the emperor said "Stop," and so that was the end of the water-powered machinery in China. In contrast, in Europe there were princes who said no to electric lighting, or to printing, or to guns. And, yes, in certain principalities for a while printing was suppressed. But because Europe in the Renaissance was divided among 2,000 principalities, it was never the case that there was one idiot in command of all Europe who could abolish a whole technology. Inventors had lots of chances, there was always competition between different states, and when one state tried something out that proved valuable, the other states saw the opportunity and adopted it. So the real question is, why was China chronically unified, and why was Europe chronically disunified? Why is Europe disunified to this day?