Wednesday, November 05, 2014

That Four Letter Word, Work

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of work: actions, doings, task, actions involving effort or exertion directed at a definite end.

One way our economic system is totally screwed up has to do with what is considered work. Note well, the dictionary says work consists of effort or action with a purpose. This means any physical or mental activity with an end result in mind is work. Hence, playing the violin is work, as is making breakfast, studying philosophy, pulling weeds in the garden or volunteering for a community organization.

Pretty straight forward eh? But not in our idiot economic system. How so? Suppose you are on welfare and volunteer 30 hours a week at a seniors residence, or you are a stay-at-home parent. The capitalist system, or rather its shills, do not consider you to be working. The notion of work has been distorted, changed from purposeful effort, to solely that which brings monetary reward. Everything else, even working 16 hours a day as a volunteer, is considered non-work, and hence of not much value to society.
Sick eh? But hang on, it gets worse. While the aforementioned volunteering welfare recipient is considered a parasite, even though she is doing something very beneficial, if she instead worked in a napalm factory, she would be considered a useful member of society! Doing something that ends up killing people is OK, helping them is not.

In a capitalist society wage labour is the only form of work that is directly profitable for the capitalist. Hence, the need to denigrate all other forms of work, as these forms threaten the ability to exploit labour. But in the real world, the one that exists outside of that concocted by those fantasy-spinners, the "economists", so much of what is valuable in life is done freely and without monetary compensation as the ultimate goal.

Society would collapse without this important form of work. Think what would happen if no one raised their children, looked after their houses and yards, or volunteered for the innumerable groups and associations that keep the societal wheels turning. If the system had to pay for all of this non-paid work, there wouldn't be enough money to do so.

In the long term, we ought to abolish the wage system as the IWW has demanded since 1905. In the meantime, a Guaranteed Annual Income would help reestablish work in its authentic sense. Everyone would get the GAI and there would be much more freedom to work at what people were really interested in doing.

While on the topic of work, it is necessary to talk about "laziness." People who are less willing to engage in what the sheeple consider "real work", ie wage labour, are denigrated as lazy. However, I have never met a lazy person. People who sit around and no nothing are usually suffering from depression. There is also a type of sociopath who sponges off people. But most people deemed lazy by the sheeple are usually those who want to do something other than slave for a boss. Take bohemians, or the contemporary equivalent. They spend most of their waking hours writing, painting, creating music, studying etc. The sheeple consider them "lazy long-haired bums", yet after they are dead, these same haters will idolize them as "creative geniuses." Laziness is a myth, and was concocted to malign and control those people whose interests and work does not have an immediate or obvious monetary aspect.
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