We don’t need more jobs.
Why the heck would we? Jobs are a means to an end. Few people like jobs for their own sake, and I suspect that those people who do like their jobs wouldn’t like them if they knew their efforts were meaningless.
We don’t need more money. We don’t need a bigger economy with more money and more jobs.
When we say we want more money in our economy, what we really mean — or SHOULD mean — is that we want more value in our economy. Money is just there to help exchange value.
So if someone is suggesting we create jobs that manufacture useless stuff which earns money but doesn’t improve anyone’s lives — they don’t intend to improve the economy. They want to make the economy worse.
The economy would be better if we threw less stuff away, reusing more stuff and consequently producing less. There would be less money, but more value.
If there were less jobs because of this — who cares! Any sane person wants to produce stuff using the minimum amount of work possible. If this causes some people to lose a job, then that’s a problem with wealth distribution. After all, there is more wealth in the economy. Why not just give them that stuff which they no longer have to produce because their work is unnecessary?
The Basic Minimum Income
I think the trouble is that we have a culture which just doesn’t want to give anyone anything for free. That’s why we’d rather create useless jobs that don’t need to exist, than share wealth so that *gasp* maybe some people don’t need to get a job – or can work fewer hours – or whatever.
This is not such a crazy idea. The basic minimum income is an idea that has been knocking around for a while. It would involve giving everyone enough money to live off, unconditionally. People would still work because a) they want more money than the absolute minimum to survive, and b) they want to do something meaningful with their time. What they probably wouldn’t do is work at bullshit meaningless jobs which create money but not value.
There is plenty enough money for this. Actually, we could probably get that money by stopping subsidising companies so that they make more meat, or more grain, or so that nuclear energy can compete against coal, and so on. Industries are not charities. We don’t need to protect their income, or their jobs. If we lose that income and those jobs, we haven’t lost value. We’ve only lost money.
I’m currently feeling indignation about something I learned recently: in Germany it is illegal to take food from supermarket dumpsters. In case you didn’t know, a lot of people do this; there is so much good food that is thrown away that it can support an army of punks and lefties and they don’t even get it all. But, in Germany sometimes these lefties get sued by supermarkets. You know, for stealing their trash.
What’s more, loads of supermarket dumpsters are kept in locked cages now to prevent people getting food out of them.
Why the heck would they do this? Because they want to force people to buy food and not get it for free.
I propose that we rescind this absurd law and then go one step further and make it illegal for supermarkets to throw away good food. There would be less money earnt, but there would be more value in the economy.
I also think that the leftie tradition of free shops – places where you can go to leave stuff you don’t need, and pick up stuff which other people have left, for free – should be institutionalised. We should have a free shop in every neighbourhood, maybe even a collection point for valuable goods next to every dustbin. No one should throw away something that has value. It should be given to something else. This is just common sense.
Or what about furthering our library tradition? As well as libraries for books, we could have libraries for tools. We could put all of our information up on the internet for free, and find some kind of alternative method of supporting our writers than the 1 read = 1 buy model. (If we had a minimum income, it’d also be easier for creators to survive even if no-one paid for their work). The government already pays for scientific research, so I don’t see why it can’t pay novellists for contributing to our public information economy.
Again, this would mean that there would be less money being earnt. But there would be more value in the economy.
Let’s get our priorities straight. As a wise person once said, you can’t eat money. But value really does mean something. Value should come before money – every time.