Today I celebrate my Ten Years Without Work. On February 27, 2003, I wrote the last invoices for my small business, and burned the bridges, never looked back. With very few exceptions, I lived on accumulated capital, and engaged in personal education and various forms of activism. A good life.
- It's extremely hard to do nothing. Try doing nothing for just five minutes. It's our nature to scrounge and scheme, all we really need is to make sure this activity follows healthy paths.
- Many of the wayward activities do not occur because man is destructive. They are a vent for all the pressure. A serious group of German-Canadians (Wissensmanufaktur) has therefore suggested that before we even start to revise the way in which money and society are organised, we need to address that looming fear of destitution.
- Some of the most valuable activities are not paid for, e.g. parenting, or some people who still look after their elderly and/or sick grandparents at home. On the other hand, the spirit of the times is best summed up in this rephrasing of Nestlé's CEO: "water should be given a price, otherwise it's hard to see its value." That's certainly one way to go, but where does the buck stop? Shall we agree to a price on air? Sunlight? Crazy, but not unimaginable, if we don't turn around!
I enjoy spending time with my 95-year-old neighbour, and she keeps trying to pay me for it!
- I love the idea that one way money could come into circulation is a citizens' income. There's an initiative for this in Switzerland at the moment. Could it ruin the economy? Depends how you define "economy"! If you define it as a rising evil spirit that keeps one group enslaved by debt and labour, while the other group is just as constrained by unwritten rules and fear of the mob ... if that's your (implied) definition of economy, then let's ruin it by all means! If parents are kept in a hamster wheel, neglect their kids, all of them get sick, and everyone loses ... it's still great for GDP! I'll try to ease off on the pontificating. Besides: others have already done most of the serious research for us. James Robertson is as good a starting point as any. "Future Work", "Future Money" - ever heard of that guy? And it's all available online as free PDFs!
So much to do, so many means, jails already full ... it's the golden age of activism! Ben Dyson of Positive Money in one of his videos mentions another example: abolishing value-added tax. It's a tax on the poor! Or take the PR industry. All their expenses are tax-deductible. Or take arms...
But first...democracy is derived from demos = the village. So grand schemes can also be a distraction! Plus, trying to change the world is a recipe for unhappiness and skin conditions.
I can really only change me. "Focussing too much on the bad things gives them more power." "BE the change you would like to see in the world." "Peace comes when everyone has found it."
So take good care of your health, in mind, body and spirit. Take it up with banking power if you feel so inclined, but never forget what makes you a happy individual. Avoid becoming a robot who attacks anyone who doesn't see things 100% the same way. "The truth doesn't need me. I need it." The business establishment will still be there tomorrow. You may lose a friend or two, perhaps even your job, like the German guy who suggested we could get by with five hours' work a week, or the lady who said it's really up to the girls. But if it's for you, you could also have some fun!
Learn how money is created, how it is destroyed, and who's making the decisions. Tell your friends, and then get on with it. Don't overdo things and become a "fundamentalist radical" (Jello Biafra).
And remember that bankers are people, too. Most likely, they are simply doing a job to pay their bills just like the next guy. And politicians can really only serve the people if we get up and make ourselves heard. The lobbyists know how we feel. But it's not their job to share. Ours is.
Pump up the volume!
by Hasi Herbsling