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
As most people know, many women play ‘Hard to Get’ with guys that they like. The reasoning goes something like ‘if they really care they will stay interested’.
Honestly I do not understand how that is supposed to work. I believe that this practice is damaging to everyone involved, and even dangerous.
When someone is turned away, they have two options. They can either respect the other’s opinion and let the attachment fade. It is true that this option will be harder for someone who is more interested. The other option is to ignore the other person’s opinion and keep pursuing. This second option is the one that this practice encourages.
By definition the person who chooses this second path does not respect the person’s choices. If a relationship does form between these two people, the logical end is the pursuer (usually the man) disrespecting the target (usually the woman), the woman letting the man make all of the decisions for her, since she has already given up her control to him, or even in abuse.
The other problem that playing this game encourages is stalking. Because men know that women do this, they know that just because she said ‘no’ does not necessarily mean she meant ‘no’. This is also echoed in rape culture.
In my experience many, if not most, men are good people. It was not until I realized the repercussions of this game that I understood why women tend to think that men are jerks, or why stalkers continued pursuing the object of their affection long after they had been turned away.
Women, for your own safety, please stop this game. You are turning away the good guys. You are literally selecting the men who do not respect you. You are worth more than that.
Unsurprisingly Jessica had woken too soon. It is nearly impossible to get a full eight hours of sleep in the middle of the day. When it became clear that there was no more sleep to be had, Jessica got out of bed, and went to the kitchen. She hoped in vain, to find something to eat waiting for her.
Alas it seems that cooking was on the agenda. It was times like these when a microwave sounded like an investment in her future rather than a waste of money. Jessica stared blankly into the refrigerator waiting for inspiration that wouldn’t come from a bunch of condiments. A noise from next door snapped her out of it, only to repeat the staring contest with the bare pantry. Turns out when you are this tired, the time you do have to yourself isn’t worth much.
Jessica’s phone rang. After wondering for a second why anyone would call when she should be sleeping, she realized that it was her mother. No matter how many times Jessica told her mom not to call in the morning, she did it anyway.
Jessica answered as she thought, “Well, I’m already awake anyway.”
“Hi Honey! How’s my favorite girl?”
“Hi Mom. I’m doing alright.”
“You sound down, you need to get out and do stuff! Have fun, meet people, get busy, ya know.” Jessica knew exactly what kind of busy her Mom meant, to her the whole point of going to college was to get married, and the whole reason for getting a husband was to give her grandkids.
“I’m fine, just tired. I am already very busy with work. I don’t have time or energy to do anything, especially meet guys, get married, have kids. We both know what you are driving at.”
“When you meet a guy you can stay at home and raise the kids. Men like to be the ones bringing home the bacon.”
“Mother, you are a walking stereotype.”
“What, honey?” Jessica knew from experience that there was no point in explaining why she didn’t agree.
“You can’t be working as much as all that. The law says you can’t work more than 40 hours a week.”
“Mom, the law says that IF I work more than 40 hours a week, I get paid more for those hours.”
“Why would anyone need to work that much?”
“Because I don’t get paid enough to live on. Mom, I am working 84 hours a week and still behind on things. You know I don’t need much, but what I do need I need to pay for.”
“I bet the company would rather have you work less so they can pay less.” She completely brushed over the part about not have enough money despite the increased pay.
“The company does want to pay less, that’s why they are looking for people. But they keep burning people, and there are better places to work, less hours, more pay.”
“So why don’t you get one of those jobs?”
“Because I have no time. Job hunting is the worst job out there, and you don’t get paid for it.”
“Getting out and meeting people is the best way to find a job. That’s what your father did, and he was able to support the whole family.”
“Mom, that doesn’t work anymore. Look, I gotta go shopping. Talk to you later.”
“Let me know if you need anything. Hugs and kisses. Toodaloo!”
Leave it to Mom to make a hopeless situation worse. As it was, the dauntingly empty pantry and refrigerator problem was not going to get solved; just delayed a bit with a case of ramen. Jessica chuckled to herself a bit as she thought about how towards the end of college she was looking forward, not to graduation, but the end of ramen days. That still had not happened.