Sunday, July 3, 2011

Work Doesn't Work: Breaking the Job Trance

@JasonFried provides a nice TEDxMidwest update to Modern Work is Mostly a Lie and maybe even contributes a little additional progress toward breaking the Job Trance: J.O.B. as only valid Justification Of Being in the world.

Jobs just don't work any more for at least 20% of the U.S. population (U6 + understatement variable) and growing 40% of the U.S. population. Jobs aren't the problem in post-industrial, post-services, post-information-age, transitional postscarcity economies. Jobs have never and will never create breakthroughs like this.

Unemployment often creates the greatest breakthroughs in human history. We should not be striving for full employment, we should be striving for full unemployment. Our cultural incentives and aims are utterly inverted; some say unconscionably perverted. Another case in point, Unemployment Driven Innovation:

These are not outlier events. These are evidence that humans are not fundamentally lazy sloths; we are fundamentally productive, cooperative, connected, driven to achieve and contribute. If we were fundamentally lazy, we never would have survived the forests and savannas and deserts and bitterly cold tundra.

The point we wish to continue clarifying is that the Job Trance is just that: a cultural trance. An induced catatonic state. All people do not need jobs to live full productive lives, experience rich and meaningful social participation, and maximize their economic contribution to society. Jobs might be fine as one way to experience those things; but they are certainly not the only way. They are certainly not the cause of our current economic malaise.

Blood clots in the resource circulatory system are the problem literally killing us, and we need to either dissolve or remove them, stat. That means evolving adaptive means to ensure that cash, the economic lifeblood of our resource circulatory system, gets out to the capillaries where all transpiration occurs, on a consistent and sustainable basis.

Obviously, politicians can't just turn on a dime on this topic, because consensus reality is a very large, lumbering, stupefied, savage beast that at best marginalizes and mocks, and most commonly simply crushes anything it doesn't understand.

The good news is that we have nearly half a century of BasicIncome, USBig, and even Postscarcity scholarship behind us already. So completing this long, slow course correction over the next six to ten years is not at all asking to make a screeching, smoking, hairpin, 180° turn. It's time.

Are you even more confused than when you clicked on this article? Good. Let's help continue to resolve that cognitive dissonance for you:

  • Notice that we live in 2011, not 1811, and the real Labor Participation Rate is less than 54%.
  • Notice that it's been almost 50 years since MLK's Official #OWS Demands.
  • Don't listen to me, listen to Dr. Cornell West: don't be afraid to say Revolution.
  • Go easy on yourself. If this is your first visit to this site, you may have a LOT of homework ahead. 
  • If you are starkly offended by this site, your assignment is to do the math. All of it. We can happily discuss after you've finished all your homework; which will be in about 3-4 years.