Sunday, May 25, 2008 post

Just a re-post of the below link - sometimes you just can't say it any better.


The Harder we Work the More we Lose

We work too much. And most of us are working too much at jobs that we hate. If more people realized how unnecessary it is and how we are in fact impoverishing ourselves in our efforts it is doubtful many people would bother turning up for work. We would replace the present government with one that offered a 20 hour week and we would settle for more leisure time with less junk around the house. But because we're working so hard we don't have the time to think such revolutionary thoughts. And that is kind of the point. Free time breeds radicalism.

A Senator (and future Supreme Court justice) Hugo Black suggested to Roosevelt in 1933 that a 30 hour week should be standard and introduced legislation to that effect. Roosevelt initially agreed with this, until his ear was bent by opposing forces who somehow convinced him to institute the 40 hour week instead. All so that we can keep producing and consuming vast amounts of things we don't need. The owners of the means of production are getting richer from our endless running on this hamster wheel, but not the worker - and meanwhile we are faced with the destruction of the environment due to all the pollution and waste. It is coming to the point where we will actually wish we could have the option of being hunter gatherers once more - if we had the ecosystem to allow it. You can be sure that the many millions of slave laborers in the sweatshops and fields around the world would readily agree that life was better for their ancestors thousands of years ago.

Working harder - we have only become poorer.

We have this idea that today's adult population is wealthier than their parents. But it is not true, the fact is that despite expensive degrees, westerners face lifetimes on lower salaries and less rewarding careers than their parents' generation. What we are seeing is a form of leveling. While prospects have improved for people from poorer countries, that has been at the expense of those living in wealthier nations. Meanwhile, the richest 1% of the population owns 40% of the wealth of the world. And what is this "wealth"? It consists of resources plundered from the planet and people. There is a prevailing opinion that "we" destroy the planet for our own decadent comforts. But if 40% of that destruction is feathering the nests of a tiny elite, those who own and run big business, then you can put things into perspective and realize that a miniscule fraction of the population is responsible for nearly half of the suicidal abuse of the planet. Really this fraction of humanity is responsible for more than that since it is their game plan that the whole gospel of consumption follows .

And what is wealth and what is poverty, when you look at it holistically? The harder we work in our pointless jobs, the poorer we become. We become poorer in mind and spirit, with our inability to develop our understanding of life and preoccupation with consumption. We become poorer bodily as we become less physically fit. We become poorer as our environment collapses, and we become poorer as more of the profit we create is stolen from us by our slave masters.

Let us spread the word around. We must learn to be frugal once again and stop consuming junk. The more self-sufficient we become, the fewer unnecessary products get sold and we move away from the gospel of consumption and throw a spanner into the hamster wheel. We have to remove our noses from the grindstone long enough to see that it doesn't have to be this way.

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