I do not need a job, and neither do you

What we each need is an assurance of place. To aid us and the other members of our household in achieving that assurance in the dominant mercantilist economy, we need a combined income sufficient to pay our housing and other expenses. In other words, we need the income which jobs provide, not the jobs themselves.

Supporters of mercantilism usually respond to that observation by confusing work with having a job. They will falsely claim that I am encouraging laziness and sloth, that I am somehow attacking work and industriousness by dismissing employment as just another way of getting an income, which may or may not be sufficient to achieve an assurance of place. Of course, they will neglect the work they themselves do without pay as mere hobbies or chores, even when the time and energy they expend on them and the appreciable benefit they provide to entities merit some form of wage. I consider choir-singing and clothes-washing to be work, as much work as paid employment. If we in our households receive income separately from employment which gives the members of our household an assurance of place, we will not stop washing clothes or singing in choirs.

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The Author as Choir Member

Failing this general attack, these same forces will make an empirical attack, citing the joblessness of welfare recipients as an alleged proof that an income separate from employment causes laziness. Besides being a circular argument — proving jobs are work by assuming that joblessness is laziness — this attack ignores the clear disincentive of welfare and tries to smear a jobless, home-assuring income through it. Welfare is a system where one is paid not to have a job. A jobless, home-assuring income is provided regardless of whether you have a job or not. Welfare discourages people from getting a job and therefore promotes joblessness. On the other hand, a jobless, home-assuring income for a household makes it possible for household members to have low-paying jobs.

At this point, the supporters of mercantilism will resort to pejoratives, using words whose meaning they never bothered to learn. This should not concern us, but we have one further point to make that bears consideration in this democratic mercantilist economy. An income from a reasonably wide publication of one’s books, music, and art is home-assuring without being wage-based. It is customarily ridiculed as “not a real job”, as in the question usually hurled at authors, musicians, and artists: “Why don’t you get a real job like the rest of us?” Yet annual royalties at $2 per book, say, would need only 50,000 sales in a year to earn a six-figure annual income. The non-job alternatives extend far beyond even that example into areas which are less easily besmirched.

[Shameless plug to readers of this article: 4,000–5,000 sales in January 2019 of my very topical book, The Way Out, or How Electronic Revenue Credits Can: End the Debt Crisis, Open Government and Restart the Economy (at a $7 list price), would get me started on such an income and give me another month or so to find a job or a contract.]

[Note to readers of the shameless plug: I am a massively overqualified software developer with 44 years of experience in programming computers. This has made it extremely difficult for me to get paying work.]

Hopefully, this refutation of one of the more crippling fallacies of the day will liberate people to seek alternatives to jobs and to fairly reason about proposals the mercantilists fear. A full exposition of one of those proposals is found in my magnum opus, Popular Capitalism.

A scion of the Sherman and Delano families, C. P. Klapper comes from a long history of New England Communist Republicanism.

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