Charles Hugh Smith's New Book: Money and Work Unchained

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Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
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Charles Hugh Smith's New Book: Money and Work Unchained

Our regular contributing editor Charles Hugh Smith has just released a new book (right in time for the holidays!).

Titled Money and Work Unchained, the book tackles the tricky and increasingly topical subject of Universal Basic Income. As automation and AI are poised to replace millions and millions of jobs at all levels of the socio-economic spectrum, what will the implications be? Will guaranteeing a UBI to the populace help? Or make things worse?

Make no mistake: each year, more and more politicians are raising their voice in favor of UBI. As a society, we are hurdling towards a date, soon, where we'll need to make a decision. Which course is best? And is it the one we'll choose?

Click the blue button below to purchase Charles' book:

And for those on the fence, Charles has made the first part of the book free for you to read. Click here to read it (and then buy the book if you find the material worthwhile).
 
Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
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Posts: 3001
Anyone read this yet?

Has anyone read the free chapters Charles posted? Or better yet, the book itself?

I'd be curious to hear folks' reactions to Charles' work. I find this theme extremely topical -- if you haven't heard public discussion of Universal Basic Income yet, I highly doubt that will be true by the end of next year. 

(And for the record, my thoughts on the topic align with Charles'. I think it's a terrible idea)

Mark_BC's picture
Mark_BC
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Adam Taggart wrote: if you
Adam Taggart wrote:

if you haven't heard public discussion of Universal Basic Income yet, I highly doubt that will be true by the end of next year. 

(And for the record, my thoughts on the topic align with Charles'. I think it's a terrible idea)

I'm just curious how other people see this issue and how it should be handled: how would you address 80% unemployment when growth stops due to massive layoffs in the construction, financial and manufacturing sectors? How will those people eat?

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Michael_Rudmin
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started Charles' book

I have started the free chapters -- they are of interest; they flesh in his thesis fairly well, I think.

I find it of value to show to my nineteen year old son, who is perhaps going to have to find and drive hard at work without feedback (work dissociated from money). That's hard -- he wants to run his own interests, his own projects... but that is not of value to others: that is play. It frustrates him greatly.

Maybe these chapters will help define it.

I haven't read anything about it, but I am highly against a basic income. A basic income first of all--like housing supplements -- immediately gets taken by those in a position to take it (people like landlords), raising the bar but benefitting the primary recipients not at all. Then in addition, it causes people to be highly vulnerable to interruptions in the basic income; therefore, it greatly empowers those who can figure out how to cause interruptions. As such, it then greatly increases the power of the corrupt and the evil.

There are other ways of dissociating money and work. For two thousand years, certain monasteries have done exactly that. So have large collections of peasants. So have certain tribes.

I'd say to look to one of those other ways.

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
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Where ya gonna put your money?

CHS has again lifted the relationship between labour (and, moreover, productive labour) and the money it is equated to, for further examination. I think it can be assumed, that there is a distinct difference between gain and productivity. Gain focuses on the individual and productivity on the community. From Charles sampler:

 "But the reality is that our concepts are not laws of Nature—they are social constructs. And once we reach a different understanding of work and money, we can adopt entirely different social constructs that will improve our lives and communities in a sustainable fashion."

Take for example, the current backlog of grain shipments that have resulted from the crumbling US infrastructure. Lack of investment in the means of moving grain has resulted in fewer people employed to handle the flow. Where has the money gone? To subsidize the major grain companies through agricultural crop subsides. And how has it panned out? Read this:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-grains-infrastructure-insight/wooden-dams-and-river-jams-u-s-strains-to-ship-record-grains-idUSKBN1DZ0HH

So where does that leave us compared to rest of the world? Ask the Chinese about their investment in solar infrastructure, or maybe Germany in wind infrastructure, or (Ahem, Ahem, getting back to grain),or maybe the Russians:

https://www.grainews.ca/daily/russia-to-boost-grain-transport-subsidies-in-2018

Key strokes may be the sign of our current times, but how much real work is being done? Does the movement of electrons really TRUMP the movement of molecules? Does building more walls contribute to the productivity of a country more than building Bitcoin mining operations? Unemployment; I wonder? capitalism; I wonder even more? Socialism? Perhaps it's time to rethink the definitions.

Back to the Hunger Games?

Matt Holbert's picture
Matt Holbert
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Posts: 102
Highly recommend the first 48 pages...

After reading the sampler, I bought the ebook. This is an extremely timely topic and one that has not been thought about or discussed in depth -- at least as far as I know. I've read other books by Charles and think that he is a master of distilling, explaining, and thinking creatively about the future. I've found his books to be easy to understand and quick reads. If it weren't for making the Holiday cookies (leisure or work, that is the question), I'd be done now.

I would expect that most of those who read PP would instinctively know that UBI is a terrible idea. Charles puts some flesh on the bone. Highly recommended as of page 48. I'll follow up with a complete review once I finish. 

Matt Holbert's picture
Matt Holbert
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Posts: 102
The Case Against Universal Basic Income (UBI)

I just finished the book. I highly recommend it. I'll keep the review short in order to appeal to those who read when driving (amazingly common!) [Look At the Road!] and those at Zerohedge and here at PP who don't bother to read lengthy content as evidenced by those commenting [Look At the Road!] on the David Collum Year In Review.

First of all, the book [Look At the Road!] should be titled The Case Against Universal Basic Income (UBI). CHS does briefly introduce his thoughts [Look At the Road!] on an alternative to the crazy Fed money printing scheme, but he refers the reader to an earlier book for details. [Look At the Road!] Essentially, he is not proposing the "unchaining" of money and work but rather proposing [Look At the Road!] an alternative to the money system that is enriching the few at the expense of the many.   [Look At the Road!] He does, however, provide a comprehensive discussion of meaningful work and this discussion alone makes the book a must read IMHO. [Look At the Road!]

I would like to see Charles include at least a brief desciption of his community money sytem [Look At the Road!] in this book rather than referring the reader to an earlier book. I would also like [Look At the Road!] for him to include a bibliography. I'm interested in knowing who and what informs his perspective. : )

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