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Updates: Currently slacking off

Sunday, 22 May 2016

0% unemployment. Utopia, dystopia or just common sense?

FDR once talked about the concept of full employment.
It is my firm belief that he isn't just correct, but such a thing is the ideal and the pragmatic solution.

There exists more than enough work for all people. With population growth simply creating greater demand, I do not foresee stagnation. Even if we discount all of the bullshit makework employees are forced to do to justify their jobs, essential services alone over burden just a few.

It has become something of established wisdom that the capitalist struggle is somehow mandatory, that this burden on the few to provide for the many is inevitable and so rewards greater wealth as a balance.
In reality?
It is simply a system that works fairly well and is an adequate improvement on the systems of privilege and service that came before.

Just for a second, imagine a world where everyone worked, but people had to commit less time to work.
Where every employer was "over staffed" and so their employees could choose when to work.
If people can think beyond "more work = more money = better life" it's fairly easy.
We don't need to discard the idea that more work should generate more income, but rather that a base income is afforded to all for their participation in society.
A 30 hour work week, 20 hour, 10 hour. There are 7+ billion of us, we do not need to fill most of our lives with work to generate the wealth needed to provide for all.

We know that there is MORE than enough food to feed everyone in the world. So much is wasted that this is just indisputable.
We know that there is MORE than enough shelter to house everyone. How many vacant lots and abandoned buildings are you aware of? John Locke once suggested that the system of capital worked because it reduced waste. People could trade what they could not use to gain value while providing another with something of value that would otherwise be worthless, spoiled.
In his view waste was immoral.
To me, the hoarding of unused property is just as big a waste and every bit as immoral.
If private owners were compelled to use their property or lose it, there would be far more affordable housing. (this isn't an unusual responsibility to include in ownership of assets. If intellectual property is not used & defended it is lost, for instance)

With the two absolute necessities accounted for this leaves fuelling our free time.
Leisure industries generate significant wealth.
From tourism to television, from sports to gaming, entertainment is absolutely a viable area for mass employment.
We can see a system for this already widely used and enjoyed: youtube.
Free, or cheap, entertainment is being made on mass by people that love to make it, that are (sometimes) able to live on the proceeds.
Imagine if everyone had the freedom to put their efforts into content creation, social interaction or public service (such as participation in the democratic process or political discourse)

If we can grant that food and shelter are manageable to make available to all, that simply leaves luxuries.
I do not see why a luxury market wouldn't thrive in a world with few work hours.
How could it not?

Sadly, this is inconceivable in the current world, but I think it is certainly within the bounds of reason to suggest it is possible, to suggest it is preferable, to suggest, perhaps, that it is superior.