So what if 80% of all jobs become pointless? What if Damnthematrix planted NoMowGrass instead of mowing, didn’t buy the mower, gas or ear plugs? What if Damnthematrix didn’t need to spend money on anything other than a few items for living (some durable clothing, shoes, taxes on a place to live and of course, a computer andtv for entertainment).
What if we produce our own food and didn’t need food transported to us or for that matter – need to go places so often and had no need to buy expensive cars, fuel for them and tabs, insurance and all the other expenses attached to a mobile society?
What if we could go to college via a computer, used the internet for all education (other than a few social activities) and managed jobs in a nearly similar fashion?
What if we got rid of wasteful government spending, programs and projects (bare bones lean it down) and got rid of politician’s golden parachutes, travel costs and costly war projects.
The picture I get here is you COULD live NEARLY for free if you made the choice to set your life up that way. The problem is – no one wants to give up anything for that freedom and many jump into debt to fill the endless need for useless stuff.
PS – Nice Venus Project and Open Money links! off to read them . . .
The reason work is so objectionable in present times is that most jobs are completely divorced from any sense of meaning, purpose, social value or productive utility.
Imagine a small European village a thousand years ago. A large percentage of people had a vocation – not just a job – that was vital to the survival and prosperity of their local community. They built houses, they made candles and shoes, they farmed, they raised animals, they delivered babies, they administered herbs to the sick. While class divisions certainly existed at that time, and the labor was difficult in many cases, I seriously doubt that people experienced the level of alienation and isolation that most modern workers do today.
Since the industrial and technical revolutions and the increasing specialization of labor that followed, most people have been involved in jobs that have no obvious utility or purpose to their own local community. This has become necessary primarily because of a capitalist system that must continue to grow exponentially to survive. An economy focused on meeting the basic needs of individuals and the communities in which they live would not be sufficient to fuel the growth required by the capitalist system. So as the economy continued to expand, jobs became progressively more "abstract" and less relevant to people’s daily lives.
This is one of the reasons that I recently chose to return to school and study acupuncture and herbal medicine. I wanted a vocation that was directly involved in meeting basic human needs. I wanted to engage in work that is important to the health of the community that I live in. I wanted a job that fostered meaningful and real connections with others.
Choosing a job that is vitally connected to real needs within my local community not only makes me happier about my work, it makes it much more likely that I will be gainfully employed in just about any economic circumstances. I actually believe that as society reorganizes itself in response to the Three Es, many people will actually be happier with the kind of work they find themselves doing. This won’t be true in every case, and there will likely be a painful adjustment period. But ultimately, I think the changes in the nature of employment that will be forced upon us will benefit a lot of people.
Of course one need not wait for this to be forced upon them. Chris and many others have suggested that we all consider carefully whether our current employment is sustainable in a post-peak world. If it is not, now is a good time to transition to something that is! And when we do, we might find that we not only have a more secure job, but also one that is more satisfying and rewarding.
dont know if you have read any scott peck but i think it would be helpful in formulating your thoughts on community.
your fallback is one of the conditions for community formation. once the crisis has passed then what happens?
the other mechanism of community formation is a conscious decision to form a community
peck delineates 4 stages of community
1. psuedo community
4. true community
this is a dynamic process and you move continually between the 4 stages.
if money is a store of value and a medium of exchange then i assume those lovely solar panels i will need on my house will be donated by you.while i donate what?
the transition to the utopia you envision is impossible. as the amounts owed by different people vary and if i need that $20 k right now to get my place solarized will not be available.
it is a nice dream matrix but it will not materialize in my lifetime. i have lived on communes and it just does not work.
there are too many people who will not pull their weight it is just human nature .
i believe you are projecting your values (which i agree with) on a world which functions in a vastly different way.
I don’t think it would work *here* in the "1st" world. I’ve been to 3rd world countries, little villages, islands where things are closer to being that way. People who were "left behind", and may actually wind up being a few steps ahead of us one day!
The big problem we face stateside is we *want* too much, always on the escalator. In our world, housing/RE values go up, in the real world, you build a house and it’s constantly falling apart, needing maintenance, and you have no mortage, you invest at the grassroots level.
Less Leverage = Less distance to fall when you have a problem.
Aside from that, somebody has to manage the community, so I think you wind up re-creating bureacracy.
I hope you all realise thigs used to be like this, until……. money was invented!
[quote=bwk]I don’t think it would work *here* in the "1st" world. [/quote]
With all due respect, I don’t think you have any idea how much your world (of whatever ranking!) is about to change…
Ah Switters, I wish I’d written this myself….. Thank you.
Those posters who keep finding reasons why this would not work are in my opinion showing the typical response to change: Nuh, don’t want it! Why do people hate change, even if it later proves for the better? Do any of you realise how much your world is about to change?
The argument re garbage earlier in this post is pretty typical [NOTE: I am not having a go at anyone here]. WHY do we have garbage? Question EVERYTHING is my motto.. Garbage is a product of the Matrix, you consume, you make garbage. It can only happen with cheap and abundant oil anyways…
The Matrix is now so insidious that it is impossible to abandon it, no matter how you might try to be self sufficient. We still need money for taxes, and this internet connection. And if my wife suddenly decided she’d had enough with work, sold the car, and stayed home with me to live more sustainably (she only works two or three days a week) the government would likely not give us any unemployment benefits (our SS system is quite different from yours, let’s not go there), we would not be able to pay the taxes, and I guess the local Council would eventually bankrupt us and sell our house from under us to collect… EVEN THOUGH we might not use one single service they offer! There is NO CHOICE…..
With the Matrix collapsing as I write, this may well change. Already Councils in my state are investigating contingency plans as their revenue base looks like diminishing rather severely over the next few years.
We live in interesting times alright….
[quote=Matrix]you consume, you make garbage[/quote]
And (to be coarse in order to make a point) if you eat you sh#t. The point I was trying to make was that there are a lot of crappy jobs essential to the smooth functioning of our ‘artificial’ environments and I was expressing my skepticism regarding an expectation that people would voluntarily ‘continue’ to engage in those jobs if money evaporated and everything people wanted they could have for the taking.
I liked krogoths suggestion (a rotational ‘duty’ assignment to which everyone is obligated to participate in the dirty jobs) but now we are deviating from the original vision (i.e. voluntary contributions to the social good) and introduced ‘obligation’. Once ‘obligtion’ is a factor in ensuring that essential works are performed we, again, have an opportunity for a form of ‘crime’ to occur – that being the failure to participate in the socially obligatory tasks. In the past, isolated communities would resort to ‘shunning’ members of the group who failed to meet standard social expectations (shunning being the denial of access to community resources and could be a death sentence in some circumstances). Another essential attribute for any community which relies on ‘obligation’ to work is that everyone in the community know everyone else – that is it must be relatively small, probably no more than 2500 people. Migration between communities could only occur if the previous community provided a ‘Letter of Introduction’ that assured the new community that said traveler was an upstanding citizen (i.e. would pull their weight), in the absence of such a letter any traveler/stranger would be viewed with suspicion.
Money has its problems, but it enables larger and more complicated social structures by breaking the dependance upon personal connections and the reliance upon social obligations. Is that good? Is it Bad? Yes and No to both I think. But on the whole, history would seem to show that people tend to want the greater options afforded by having more people within the community (even if it is only for a larger selection of potential ‘mates’)
Bottom line, I think all this is nice for thinking about, but in practice it will require a substantial upheaval in the current world. Cities will need to be depopulated and there will need to be far fewer people on this planet. I don’t know about you – but I would prefer a far less drastic change (not that what I want ‘..amounts to a hill of beans in this crazy world’)
Yes drbarbour, you are right in introducing crime to this picture. What is the punishment? You don’t eat for a couple of days? What about other crimes? How would they be punished? You would still have mental illness, serial killers, rapists, murder etc. So how would you deal with these situations? Its a great idea, Matrix, but I think we would need to think long and hard to make something like this possible, and hopefully it will not take a meltdown to force us into some retardation of this idea.
One of the things that goes on in Taiwan is compulsory service, usually 1 year, in the Army. I was talking with my wife the other day about how stupid this is. Basically you wear cammos and sit on a base, occasionally doing some stupid military exercise. It’s not like the American service at all, where you actually might learn a skill. The Taiwanese men in general learn nothing from this experience, and usually go back home and return to a completely spoiled existence (being boys are favored over girls here) not learning anything about a hard days work.
So I came up with an idea that instead of the Army (a useless tool against the Chinese army) they should do construction, road building, or typically harder labor for a year to learn what hard work is. It would motivate them to do better in school and in life once they get a taste of hard work and some calluses. You feed them well, and they improve the country in the process. If your going to have compulsory service, do something good with it, not waste money on something that is useless, and the Taiwanese Army is pretty useless.
And don’t compare this to Obama’s plan, it’s a different republic here.