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You are here: Home > Economic Means to Freedom > Economic Means To Freedom - Part Ia
Economic Means To Freedom - Part Ia
by Frederick Mann
10/6/98

The Strange "Job" Concept

Introduction
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 victim's person.

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" problem."

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 all!"

"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 job."

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 equipment?"

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. Ogden.)

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.

Click here to read aditional articles in this series.

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