Friday, April 11, 2014

Selective Employment, Productive Unemployment

Selective Employment, Productive Unemployment.

Come on guys, we all have the same goals. We all want humans to work less and stay out of our way. The corporations are on a single-minded mission to remove the human element as far as possible from every human system, as quickly as possible and faster than their competitors. And the humans would rather be doing pretty much anything else than working. 

So what are we doing? Why is full employment the goal? If we have full employment, who's going to do all the actual work of making society go? Not the mothers and fathers rushing to drop baby at daycare at 7:30am, and hurrying to avoid late fees at 6:34pm when they pick baby up. Do you think those stressed-out time-poor people can join the PTA and raise money for school trips no one is paying for? Who is nursing our elderly, caring for our disabled, running our households, preparing food(!), raising our children to peace, keeping the infrastructure running, paying attention to society, spirituality, art? Why are these activities given no true economic value? Without them, the economic system grinds to a halt. 

We should be paying people to stay home. It's the inevitable future of automation and robotics. The humans who can't or don't want to contribute to the design and maintenance of systems and tools, for whatever reasons, become redundant in a fast-approaching new economy. The only other option is service, and we don't want to pay for service. So how will the money flow? How will it make that round from the bottom back up to the top again? Will we increasingly just let the bottom fester?

What if we let the humans do exactly what they want. Give every one of them a guaranteed minimum that is just a little less than a person can live on comfortably, and then encourage them to do what we need done, as a society, rather than what some corporate profiteer thinks he can sell. Offer support, offer training, offer connections and mentorship, no strings attached. Profits must be curtailed at the top end to allow society to be funded. 

Productive Unemployment becomes a career option when society chooses to tax its resources appropriately to pay for it. Caring for loved ones, raising and teaching children, supporting people who need support, pursuing our highest, deepest passions. Raising art, voice and spirit. Living happily, in peace. Eating nutritious foods and taking care of our bodies and each other. 

Regardless of whether we think it's possible, it strikes me as a worthy alternative goal to simply spiraling downward past austerity into cynical, violent unrest outside the castle walls. 

Could we talk about how to make it possible? As if it were, actually, possible?

Because, maybe it is.

And on the off chance, I'd like to see us try. 

(I have more to discuss here, over time, but today I need to move!)