About justtheengineer

Ingenious engineer, slightly dotty...

Thoughts about work.

Right now (2013), we seem to be in an economical crisis. Or getting deeper and deeper into one. We’ve seen what that did to countries as Ireland, Spain, Greece, the USA, …
So people sometimes hit the streets in protest, demanding work. We’ve had the indignados, they’re still around I guess, and there are the unions, etcetera. The problem with all those people is that they don’t think. They don’t think because all they seem to do is shout. They don’t do anything, they don’t change anything. No change is not what we need, change is what is required. And a rather fundamental one at that. Some people are beginning to realize that.

Let’s just look at this “need” for a job. There are some basic questions that lots of people don’t seem to ask themselves.
The first one is whether they actually need a job or not. Why do you need a job? In spite of what most people say, almost anyone who ever won a large sum of money with a lottery or some such has quit their job. Some honestly tried to keep on living like usual, but in the end, they all live like wealthy people (and some of them, being not too smart, end up even poorer then before after a relatively short time). The point is, unless you really love your job (and even then), you work for the money. So you don’t need the job, you need the money, right?

Ok, so, why do you need the money? And how much of it do you really need? Let’s take a step back and see what people really need at a basic level, to live a comfortable live. And then I’m talking about things money can buy ( can’t buy you love  ). So what do we need? Well, in most places, some form of shelter is necessary. Someplace warm (or in some cases: cool), and providing some privacy. You’ll also need some basic hygiene (being able to wash and having a toilet come to mind). Of course, you also need (healthy) food and drink (basically clean water). And of course you’ll need to be safe (from wild animals or wild people). Seems to me you don’t need all that much money for that. Especially not if you’re able to grow your own food (which lots of people actually are).

Now let’s look at what people do (and apparently have done for quite some time), and what is wrong with it. Especially in times of crisis. People flock to the cities. In search of a job. They don’t get it in their head that there’s probably no job waiting for them. Or they go with the idea that they’ll be among the lucky few. They could be. They most likely will end up in some kind of shanty town at the outskirts of the town of their choice, ending up in much more misery then what they fled from in the first place. That is what happened in history, and that is what is still happening today (people don’t seem to learn much over time). There’s another reason why going to cities is a bad idea. Almost anything of the basics I’ve outlined above are much costlier in cities, especially shelter, but food also (somebody has to get it there). Besides that, cities are not known for cleanliness and lack of pollution.  And last but not least: crime rates are notably higher in cities too (and, like it or not, not too many people care about what happens to the poor and homeless).

Let’s look at a category of people that are getting extinct (at least in Europe), but  did things in a much smarter way. I’m talking about monks. What they did was definitely not going to towns. They went to the countryside. They set up a monastery and grew their own food. And a few other things. They may not be personnally rich, but most monasteries where of great economical (and political, as a result of that) power, in rather short times after they established themselves. They of course also had religion on their side, and that was quite powerfull back then. In Europa at least, it isn’t anymore, luckily. But there are some really basic lessons to be learned from those monks in historical times. The first is that working together gets things done a lot faster, and some things you can’t even do alone. The second is, that while you may be poor by yourself, that doesn’t mean that as a group you’re equally poor. Doing things together also frees up resources. I have a car, but I don’t use it that much. I could easily rent it to other people some of the time. So sharing the car splits the cost. You can also (in most cases) get cheaper prices if you buy in large quantities. Things like that. Third, there can be people together who have very different skills, so you can draw on that too make money (or create economical power), once you have the basics down.

So, what I would like to know, is why people don’t do that? Why don’t we work together, so that we don’t need banks, employers who exploit people (not all of them, of course), and governments and politicians who are essentially parasitic and don’t do all that much for you (they wouldn’t be parasitic if they did)? Why don’t we take the power back?

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