Waging War On Work

I think it’s safe to say that capitalism has run its course. No need for economists or political analysts to verify that. Just a cursory once-over of any newspaper’s front page says enough. Between the United States’ and the European Union’s deterioration, it should be obvious that the make-money-for-someone-else-and-get-a-small-piece-of-it-in-return economic model DOESN’T WORK for the long run.

This is why I think it might be a stupid idea to resuscitate these ailing economies. What’s the point of going back to where the problem began? Do we really need more of the same?

With that in mind, I’ve been performing an experiment. An experiment in willful unemployment.

Someone once told me that evidence shows that our pre-industrial foraging ancestors enjoyed a far higher quality of life than modern humankind. With all of their needs provided by the land they lived on, it took only a fraction of the work hours most people put in in a money-centered society to live comfortably. This meant only a fraction of the stress that most people currently subject themselves to and therefore only a fraction of the illness and alienation that characterize the world we’re wading through today.

I don’t know if all that stuff is true, but it sounds cool. Plus, it’s a nice segue-way into explaining what this experiment in unemployment is about. I admit it didn’t start as a political statement; it started with me getting fired from a lame Stuff White People Like-style coffee shop. Desperate for cash and unable to get my hands on unemployment benefits, I was forced to channel my inner American pioneer and get the hell off the beaten path.

After 10 years of toiling at various menial, meaningless jobs, I knew it was time for a change. I considered various forms of hustling but concluded that all of them would be even more work than just getting another job. This is a violation of the main principle I live by: The Lazy Principle. Right on time, a friend of mine who once worked at the National Institute of Health told me how to sign up for their paid medical studies. Score! Due to a very minimalist, no-frills lifestyle, I have been making my living off of these studies for about 6 months now, and the malaria vaccine trial I just signed up for will pay enough to get me through at least another 6.

Seeing where totem-pole economics have gotten us is enough to make me conclude that work-based societies are a problem, not a solution. And so far, my little experiment is coming up roses. Sort of like a modern urban equivalent of our aforementioned ancestors, I’m living off of the resources in my environment with minimal extraneous effort. And this is only Phase One; I’m in the process of indoctrinating as many of my friends as possible with study referrals. My (deeply unrealistic) hope is that by the time we’re too old to participate in these studies, the next generation will be all set to inherit a work-free civilization.

I will publish the results of this experiment at a later date.