Wage Slavery
UpSideDown Economics @ Work
a FutureViews Exercise
Try to talk to a fish about the paradigm “water.” It is not a useful exercise until the fish has an experience of being out of it. Try to talk to a modern human about the paradigm “earning a living.” It is an equally unproductive conversation. “death and taxes” we are told, “will always be with us.” What is the basis of this argument other than the experience of the past? What if this is simply not so in the future? How would we live and organize our society if we knew that there was enough wealth to support all of Humanity and that life extension for hundreds of years - if not indefinitely - was actually possible? How would we act if we understood that the notion of earning a living is a contradiction in terms and not a viable concept today let alone in the future? Would we pay attention to different weak signals? Would we evaluate and use the information we have in a different way? Would we look at threats differently? Would we even consider that the present meltdown of our economy is actually a good thing and the opportunity to build a more just and sustainable Human Enterprise - one in which money is not an instrument of control? Would we get on with creative living while also spending a portion of our time doing the business of Humanity? I think we would and the opportunity to do so is the focus of this paper.
click on icons for further reading:
Money, a Tool That Became a God
Weak Signals
Worthy Problems
The worst problem with being a slave is that you begin to think like one. What happens to the slave master, while usually more comfortable materially, is just a devastating mentally. We eliminated slavery in the US, and after another 100 years many of its uglier residual attributes, yet we have not expunged slavery and the fear of it from our society. This fear extends beyond those whose forebears where enslaved; it goes all the way back in our social memory long before Medieval times for almost all of us. To EARN a living is a strange concept. I am not talking here about the dignity of productive and creative work nor am I challenging the point that Nature requires of us certain diligence and actions if we are to remain alive. I am not challenging the fact that the ability to earn a wage in a free market is far better than being at the arbitrary mercy of a Lord with life and death power over you. I am pointing to the fact, in this time with the know how and wealth we have amassed, that a fear-based, contrived employment in order to “earn” a social position as a “consumer” of a societies’ production is bazaar beyond belief. “He who does not work does not eat” I think is the appropriate slogan. Now, It is not said that way anymore. In the old days we did not have advertising so the overt use of slogans and force was necessary. Today, people live the “good life” buy the home, the cars and all the rest and things are fine until there is a little bubble pricked and the rate of growth of the economy slows a little. Read the newspapers printed in the last six months of 2008. And, I will point out that, few potentates of old could wipe out an entire global economic system as has just occurred.
further reading:
UpSideDown Economics - 12 Aspects
UpSideDown Economics - Basic Thesis
There are, of course, many forms of traditional slavery still alive around the world - these are undisputedly immoral and unnecessary. This slavery, however, is not what I address here. Here, my focus is on a far more insidious form of slavery. One so subtitle that most who are its slaves or slave masters do not even recognize it for what it is. This is the slavery of those who believe themselves to be free. This is the slavery of those who not only act as their own jailers, they build the jailhouse. They are bound not by force - except in rare instances - but by the shackles in their own mind. Oh yes, they had plenty of help becoming the way they are yet, largely, they themselves gave up their franchise without a fight or even awareness. It is unquestionably one of the strangest incidences in the history of Humanity. It did grow out of our history and an ancient history at that. The origins of this pattern go back to the very genesis of humanity.
and, more reading:
The Specialization Trap
more to come
Matt Taylor
May 3, 2008

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posted: May 3, 2008

revised: August 2, 2010
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