A point for the system

I had a long discussion with a good friend the other night and I walked away with a new perspective.  There are no shortage of negatives in the way the modern world works.  This culminates in the various pressures that most everyone finds themselves under.  I’ve wanted to devise constructive ways of defusing this pressure, but this new perspective helped me to make some peace with the pressure.

So here goes: In any social system there are tasks that need to be done, those tasks take human-hours.  The various social constructs vary in how they get those hours logged.

In the world I know people spend most of their waking hours working, preparing for work, and unwinding from work.  Some number of those jobs constitute the grunt work that is needed to sustain modern life.  The thing that impels people to give these tasks their hours is the financial pressure they feel.  Straight-up: most workers in the first world feel the pressure of their consumption choices and the baseline dues that are demanded of them.  So working most of their usable hours is a matter of survival and possible comfort.  It seems a bit cruel in that phrasing, but it is fairly well decentralized.

Imagine a different system.  Maybe it’s a commune or some type of  non-monetary collective.  There are still hours that need to be worked by someone.  In any functional system someone will work those hours, but what inspires them to do so?  If it weren’t for the fiscal pressures it would have to be philosophical pressures or a believe system propelling them forward.  If it’s a morally or religiously based group then some belief in what the group is doing could drive you to the work.  To me it seems like having the system rely on the beliefs of its constituents is a bit fragile.  Beliefs change, refine, etc.  Maybe what drives you this year won’t in a decade.  Maybe the system relies on goodwill between its members.  Someone shunned by the others could easily lose their life/health.

So in this way our system isn’t so bad.  No one has to like you that much for you to survive, provided that you work.  Maybe we’re running out of jobs because of consumption ceilings or an increasingly international world.  Well I still think I prefer the decentralized and individual pressure to group-think or having your philosophies dictate your livelihood.

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