Thursday, May 12, 2016

Working is Expensive

One of the reasons I have been able to sustain a life without a salary is that working is expensive. You have to live close to where the work is. You have to pay for the commute. You have to pay for people to prepare your food because you don't have time. You pay people to do your chores. If we have to work, and the good jobs with meaning, inspiration and creativity are rare... the price of the other things that surround that sky rocket. House prices. School prices. Food prices. Working in London (or any Global City) is like taking an Uber ride just after midnight on New Years. If everyone wants it, it costs more.

One of the more interesting ideas behind a Universal Basic Income (UBI) is that it will go further outside the big cities. To get a salary, you have to be where the work is. To get a UBI, there are no strings. After a century of urbanisation, more people might choose to create lives in the country. 

The Bambatha Rebellion in 1906 happened after authorities were struggling to recruit workers. They resorted to imposing a hut tax to force Zulu men into the labour marketSome of our expenses force us into decisions that are circular. If you aren't able to save or invest some of your income, and you are living in a place where your expenses are higher because that is where the work is... you may just be spinning.

I am not at all opposed to work. I am not opposed to stress. I am not even opposed to pain. Like spending everything you earn, I just worry that sometimes we end up working for work's sake. We spin. The bits of our job we love, that add meaning, that inspire us, that drive us ... should be something we cultivate. Something we tend. We may even end up working harder, but what we are working on matters.

Work shouldn't just be for a made up hut tax.

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