Why do we work? – To earn money.
Why don’t we meet everyone’s basic needs? – Because it takes money to pay for them. People who work feel like if they need to work for these things it would be unfair to hand them out. And it would be.
What keeps people from working? – This is a very complicated question, with many answers.
- No-one is hiring – There are more people available to work than there are jobs available.
- Long-term unemployment – The longer you go without a job for any of these other reasons it becomes more and more difficult to get back into the job market.
- Housing – It is difficult to get a job without a physical address, which means that once you are homeless, you have no way to get into the workforce.
- Family – This can mean a lot of things;
- Childcare would take all of your income and so it is more efficient to not work.
- For some people having a stay at home parent is more important than having any extra income work would provide.
- Some people believe in the traditional family where women stay home.
- Job hunting – Job hunting is the least rewarding job out there. Long hours, no pay and no guarantee of success.
If we take all of this together we can make some interesting discoveries. If every person able to work in the US did work, each person would only have to work 20 hours to get the same total amount of work accomplished.
(Using numbers from 2012 for continuity)
34.5 work hours per week per worker
5,014,775,100 work hours per week
5014775100/243284000=20.5 work hours per week per eligible worker
What keeps us from working this little? – Employers would have to pay each employee enough to live on in order for this to work. This means paying more employees each the same amount as current employees, even though each employee does little more than half as much work. (Currently doubling the minimum wage would barely get employees to a living wage for working 40 hours, depending on where you live, so this would necessitate nearly quadrupling the minimum wage to allow living on a 20 hour work week.)
Is there another way to make this possible? – The easy answer is to have government supply all necessities; food, housing, healthcare etc. This would also necessitate higher taxes. Until the haves are willing to assist in supporting the have-nots, this will not be a self-supporting system without higher pay as well.
Money is a tool created by man to assist in transactions. Nothing more. Many societies have existed without money. Because money is what is getting in our way in our what ifs; What if we eliminated money? – There are a lot of consequences to this action. First and foremost problem would be creating an initiative for people to do the work that needs to be done. For this I see many solutions.
- Get rid of boring jobs – Wait what?! All of these calculations are done based on the amount of work that needs to get done in order for society to function, right? Kind of. All of these calculations are done based on the amount of work that needs to get done in order for our CURRENT society to run. There are many jobs that could be eliminated by automation. In our current society that is frightening to many people, because the machines would take their job and deprive them of what they need to support their family. If the necessities are taken care of, the only thing that automation would do is cut down on that total amount of work needed. Suddenly automation is helpful.
- Cut down on the required work hours – Already we have touched on this a bit, but there is more to be done! Without money, entire sections of the job industry become irrelevant. Banking, Accountants, Financial Advisors, Lenders, Wall Street, Investors, Marketing, the list goes on.
- Cut down on the required labor – This may seem redundant, but stick with me. Our society today runs on ‘new’. But if we were able to shift the consciousness to ‘reusable’ we would cut down on a huge part of manufacturing. It is far easier to clean and sterilize a glass bottle than to create more, even from recycled materials. If the stigma surrounding buying used clothes and furnishings were not an issue, and products were designed to last, rather than to be discarded, another sector of manufacturing gets pruned down.
- Let people work at what interests them – The remaining jobs after the first three on this list are mostly going to be based in agriculture, creative endeavors, and research. These are the types of things that some people think of as hobbies. And if they are required to only do 20 hours or less per week of it, that is very manageable.
While having an accountability structure would probably still be necessary, I will leave those ideas for another day.
Update – One City Fixed Homelessness