I’ve just been mowing, one of the less sustainable things I have to do around here….. Sitting on a ride on mower with ear muffs on, going round and round aimlessly for a couple of hours, one is left to do a lot of thinking, especially after lurking on this site for a month or two….. and I started thinking "what if?"
Anyone who reads my posts will know me as a lateral thinker… stuff like ‘cancel the debts’ etc. I like to question everything, because surely, there must be a reason…. like why do we work?
Why indeed do any of us go to work everyday? Some must like their jobs. Surely the great majority of doctors like helping people, saving lives…. some like Medecins Sans Frontieres even do it for nothing (don’t they?)
So why do we do it?
I believe we do it to put food (and drink) on the table, raise a roof over our heads to keep the cold and rain away, and pay our debts… Oh and consume too I suppose. Money as a means of exchanging disparately valued goods is often discussed here.. but what if we all worked for FREE? I do lots of work for free. Two community newsletters a month, the odd newspaper article, repairs to neighbours’ mowers, give away eggs and stuff…. but now think about this…
IF debt were to be cancelled, that alone would be one reason to cut right back how much each of us would have to work. Remove taxes, and there goes another day we don’t need to work… In fact, under such circumstances, it might be possible to work for free. STUFF THE ECONOMY! Close the banks, and Wall Street, and…..
Imagine this. YOU are a gas pump attendant, or mechanic at a service station. All day you work for free. Gas is free too. You come out of work, walk to the nearest bottle shop and get a cold six pack of beer, for free…. the people who make the beer, they work for free too, because they know they can just walk into a supermarket and grab all the food they need, for free. The farmer works for free, he’s out of debt there are no taxes, he gives away his food, which he can afford to do now diesel’s free, no taxes, and when he gets home the fridge and TV will work, because he no longer has to worry about paying his power bill, the power’s free too….
Debts and taxes are only with us to keep the super rich… well, super rich. No? Am I missing something?
In a sustainable world, we wouldn’t need to raise taxes to build roads… people who like building roads would do it for free… in exchange for what they need being free too.
To be sure, some people would abuse the system, or try to… but HOW MUCH beer can you drink if you walk out with a truckload of the stuff in the back of the SUV?
If stuff was free, crime would grind to a halt too. Now I’m not saying I’ve thought this through completely, far from it, but I can’t help thinking it’s an interesting proposition considering what we are facing today, and that there are so many people here expressing much anger about the looting and pillaging of America…. and ecen talking revolution sometimes. So, here’s a calm revolution. A new world order, the Matrix disassembled. Just think f all the great stuff you could do instead of working…
i think what you are missing is i would not like it if someone like you owed ME money and said sorry mate but tuff luck
so i think maybe while you are riding around thinking on your mower you might ponder the person who is owed the money.
or maybe it is me missing something.
but i also have a rider i use it in the fall to make mulch out of the leaves and chop them up for my compost pile.
Its a nice dream, but aside from joe2baba’s comment on how those who are ‘owed’ the debts might feel, in such a world it wouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks before we soon realized from the rising stench that no one was picking up the trash or keeping the sewage treatment plants maintained (okay, 3 guys out of a 1000 might actually ‘like’ that work – but there won’t be enough of them). Aside from dirty jobs, there are numerous hazardous jobs that society blithely expects people to fill based on their low economic status and level of desperation.
But joe….. you wouldn’t need the money I owed you… THAT is the point.
Re trash, We don’t produce much at all here… put out the trash can every 6 or 8 weeks, and trash shouldn’t smell anyhow… if it’s going to stink it should be composted.
Think of all the possibilities for people like me to teach sustainability, FOR FREE, so you guys can generate a whole lot less trash.
The problem is the solution, a good old premaculture saying…
I think there are too many jobs that are necessary for our society to function, that are too unpleasant, dangerous, boring, tedious, monotonous, or any number of other negative factors for such a world to function. Most people work because they have to in order to survive. Only the minority of people have the luxury of making a living doing something they enjoy on some level. It would be unfair on too many levels to even seriously consider. I do envy your ability to think in such an optimistic and positive manner though.
But the idea you see is that you’d stay home a lot more, and NOT work as much. Maybe one day a week… surely if your job was unpleasant, BUT you didn’t need money, you wouldn’t mind doing something unpleasant just to keep the system going..? I’m sure there are lots of people who enjoy their work but STILL have to do something unpleasant now and again, we all have to wash the dishes, or the toilet, or tidy up after a sick child SOMETIME in one’s life… I never said it would all be rosy.
Further on trash, most of it is food packaging. If we mostly stayed home gardening etc, we WOULD generate a whole lot less garbage…. Garbage is a fairly recent development in human history, at least in the massive amounts we now generate.
Don’t give up on me just yet guys…… THINK!
There must be a way……
I think the law of supply and demand would prevent enough of the crummy jobs from being filled, while simultaneously creating an over supply of people wanting to make their living doing the easy, interesting, or fun jobs.
This would never work. You forgot that we’re talking about humans here. You know, the ones that kill each other to get into wal-mart? The point is, we’re selfish and greedy. A majority of modern society has been conditioned to be materialistic – you wouldn’t be able to change that with a flip of a switch. More importantly, many people derive happiness, or at least what they think to be happiness, by comparing themselves. Oh, at least i’m not that poor guy who has to work at the cemetary. Human happiness is more often than not predicated on human suffering. Ever read "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas"?
Now, this could possibly work in a perfect sized community isolated from the world, but not for long. It’s a very utopian world that I wouldn’t mind living in, that definitely could be done. The annoying part is, it won’t happen.
You presume that everyone would be as altruistic as you – taking only what they need, creating food gardens for self-sufficiency, working with, and for, their fellow man.
Unfortunately, you forget that basic human nature is just not like that. Given the opportunity to freely take whatever they want, way too many people would take everything they could get their hands on to the detriment of others. Grocery stores would quickly be wiped out as would clothing stores, jewelry stores, furniture stores, etc. The world that you envision would quickly degenerate into absolute anarchy and would set civilization back to the stone age.
Methinks you went around and around on that mower one too many times. 😉
so we’re screwed…. is that what you’re all saying?