Most people take it for granted that in order to earn the wherewithal to survive, to get
ahead in the world, to become accepted and successful in the eyes of family and friends,
you have to work, do something useful, produce products and services of value to others,
and so forth.
There are of course alternatives. You could become a
"professional welfare recipient." Or you could become a professional criminal...
or a bureaucrat... or even a politician!
There are two basic ways to obtain the wherewithal to
survive. The first is to produce it. The second is to "steal" it. Why work like
a slave to produce or provide useful products and services if you can simply
"steal" what you need?
Well, you don't "steal" because others might not
like it. They might retaliate. They might "steal" back from you. They might even
lock you up in jail.
An important phenomenon enters the picture here. Many
people produce more than they need to survive. Probably for a variety of reasons. During
good seasons you produce extra to set something aside you can live off during lean years.
You feel more secure and successful if you've accumulated some capital. You may even want
to start your own business. Maybe you want to retire one day and live off your savings.
So many people produce surpluses.
Some people produce large surpluses. For example, because
the sun shines, plants use energy from the sun and minerals from the soil to grow, and
various human methods can be used to increase production, one farmer can effectively
produce enough food to feed 100 people.
The fact that some produce surpluses creates the
opportunity for others to "steal" part of the production of producers in ways
that enable everyone to survive.
"Stealing" can occur along a scale, spectrum, or
continuum, ranging from most crude to most subtle. At the one extreme, you hold someone up
at gunpoint or you knock him unconscious or even kill him and take what you want from him.
Less crude is to enter someone's home or farm at night or when they're absent and to
surreptitiously take what you want.
You can also use all kinds of trickery and deception to
defraud your victims. This is what the con artist does.
Or, together with others, you can form a
"government" and force people to pay "taxes."
You can be a large property owner and "rent" part
of your property to others. They have to work in order to pay you "rent" and you
live off the "rent."
Or you can own a factory or other business (you own the
means of production) and provide others with "jobs" to work for you. You
effectively take part of their production as your "profit." You live off the
"profit" and they have to work for a living.
Somewhere along this spectrum, it ceases to be
"stealing" and becomes "legitimate enterprise."
To the sneak thief and con artist, it may be
"legitimate" as long as you don't perpetrate physical violence against the
To the bureaucrat, politician, and their believers and
supporters, it's "legitimate" if the violence is only used as a last resort by
someone else -- the "policeman" -- out of sight, out of mind?
To some people "property is theft" -- the
practice of owning property is a form of "stealing." "Capitalists" who
own the means of production are "thieves exploiting the workers."
I'll leave it to the reader to decide where to draw the
line between "stealing" and "legitimacy."
The purpose of this article is to examine the
"job" concept. There's a specific skill involved in analyzing the
"job" concept. I call it "Martian analysis."
The Strange "Job" Concept
["Language creates spooks that get into our heads and hypnotize us." -- Robert
Anton Wilson, Introduction to The Tree of Lies (by
Christopher S. Hyatt. Ph.D.)]
Suppose a Martian came to Earth to study our economic
systems. He soon finds out that on parts of Earth there are millions of people who don't
work, because the Earthlings say they have a so-called "unemployment"
To the Martian this is almost incomprehensibly strange.
"Why don't the millions of not-working people work at satisfying the needs and wants
of the billions with unmet needs and wants?" he asks.
An Earthling explains, "Well, they can't work because
they don't have jobs; nobody wants to employ them."
Now the Martian is really flabbergasted, "I've been
all over the Universe and studied over a hundred humanoid civilizations. And in all these
other civilizations, all that people need in order to work is a brain, one or more eyes,
and one or more hands. What else can you possibly need in order to work?"
Earthling: "We must have a job in order to work;
someone must employ us; can't you understand something this simple?"
Martian: "No. What kind of a thing is this so-called
"job?" Can you show me a "job?" Can you demonstrate to me how it
enables someone to work?"
Earthling: "No, you don't understand. A job isn't a
thing... it's a... it's a..."
Martian: "Is it perhaps an illusion? I've come across
many illusions in the Universe, but this one seems to be one of the strangest of
"And what about this "employment" thing you
talk about? What's that?"
Earthling: "Well, you see, in order to work you have
to get someone to employ you."
Martian: "This sounds strange. What does someone do to
you when he "employ's" you."
Earthling: "He gives you work to do."
Martian: "I don't understand. Everywhere in the
Universe I've visited, "work" isn't a thing that can be given; it's an activity,
what you do."
Earthling: "It's not that simple. An employer gives
you things like a desk, a chair, a computer, and whatever tools you need to do your
Martian: "In every part of the Universe I've been, all
that people really need in order to work is a brain, one or more eyes, and one or more
hands. Surely, people can either make the equipment, tools, or whatever they need to work
more efficiently, or they can acquire them through exchange."
Earthling: "But what if everyone in a region is
impoverished and there are no wealthy capitalist pig employers to provide tools and
Martian: "If you go back far enough in history, you'll
get to a time when all humans were poor. How was wealth created in the first place?"
"I'll give you a clue. Your Sun shines. Every day it
showers vastly more energy on you than you can possibly use. You enjoy a huge surplus of
energy. You can use some of that energy to grow things and much more besides."
"In the rest of the Universe, the first principle of
economics is that Energy plus Brain produces Wealth -- provided you produce more than you
consume. Because of the huge free surplus energy you get from your Sun every day, anyone
and everyone (at least those with functioning brains, eyes, and hands) can produce a
surplus and become wealthy."
Earthling: "My mind is spinning! I'll have to think
about all this."
Moral: The language you use can have a profound effect on
how you perceive the world, how you think about it, and how you act in relation to it.
The "Job"/"Employment" Illusion
The words "job" and "employment" and the illusions they engender may
have debilitating effects on those who blindly accept them. Here we have an important
"Human Failure Program" that plays a major role
in keeping people poor and stuck in what they call their "jobs." (Nevertheless,
because much economic activity is organized on the basis of so-called "jobs,"
some of us may have to play the "job" game -- at least temporarily -- to survive
and, hopefully, get back on our economic feet.)
The "job"/"employment" illusion has
far-reaching implications. Because many people believe they need "jobs" to work
gainfully, and "jobs are scarce," their only alternatives seems to be
"government handouts" and crime. Jeremy Bentham wrote, "Out of one foolish
word may start a thousand daggers." (Bentham's Theory of Fictions by C.K.
From the perspective of the wealthy "employer,"
it's wonderful that people think they need "jobs" in order to work and they have
to come to someone like me to "employ" them. It gives me power over them. It
makes me strong and them weak. The more powerful I am, and the weaker they are, the less I
have to pay them, and the more I profit!
This isn't a criticism of profit as such. There are many
"employers" who do their best to play the business game such that their
"employees" enjoy the best benefits possible while keeping the business viable,
particularly considering the restrictions and restraints imposed by terrocrats.
Terrocrats (terrorist bureaucrats or coercive political
agents) also use the "job"/"employment" illusion extensively to
increase their power. In general, they succeed in dominating people by dictating in
thousands of ways with a plethora of "laws and regulations" many aspects of
"jobs" and "employment."
For many of us seeking greater freedom, one of the first
practical steps we need to take might be to escape from the
"job"/"employment" trap. To find out how you may be able to do this, subscribe to the Financial Independence List.
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