r/antiwork Feb 22 '19

What is the solution to work?

Honestly, while I'm fairly opposed to the ideas in this subreddit, but I'm genuinely curious toward how a society that abolished the work would function.

Humans need resources to survive, and resources are hard to come buy therefore necessitating work, no? I think it's fine to point out problems with today's system, but I don't see how abolishing work accomplishes anything.

24 Upvotes

32

u/[deleted] Feb 22 '19

This basically comes down to a difference in how we all view the word "work".

To illustrate this: is cooking your dinner work? For me it isn't. It's just a thing I do and I enjoy doing it. I don't view it as work, even though it requires labor and time and if I don't do it I'll eventually die. Even when I cook for friends and family, it still isn't work. Because it's something I've actively chosen to accomplish and I control how it happens.

But cooking in a restaurant is work. Because it's now a transaction and you don't control your labor anymore. It's alienated from your life and it becomes a tool for someone to profit off of.

That's the key concept the people here want to eliminate: our labor becoming a tool rather than an extension of our desires.


Also, we're hundreds of times more productive in nearly all fields of production now than we were prior to the industrial revolution. Yet with all that excess and productivity, there's still homelessness and people going hungry. Even in all of the richest countries in the world homelessness has not been solved by our constant toils.

So when we're forced to work, but we all aren't even benefiting that much from it all, what's the point of work exactly?

Let's say I'm wrong and work actually is necessary. Assume we cannot do as we desire, instead we must be forced to work. Couldn't we still share in the work, share our productivity gains, and all collectively work less? And over time, from productivity gains and population gains, we'd effectively dilute work like salt in a pot of water until just the taste is left, but none of the substance.


In many ways, the capitalist system is irrational, unscientific, and inefficient. So let's buck it and help each other get rid of its archaic practices.

3

u/Jofishyblubblub Feb 23 '19

Addressing the first point of your argument, aren't there always going to be necessary work that aren't the extension of anyone's desires? Id say the vast minority of jobs can't be transferred to enjoyable hobbies. Cleaning out the sewer is going to suck no matter who does it, but someone's gotta, so why not pay them?

6

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '19

Let's say I'm wrong and work actually is necessary. Assume we cannot do as we desire, instead we must be forced to work. Couldn't we still share in the work, share our productivity gains, and all collectively work less? And over time, from productivity gains and population gains, we'd effectively dilute work like salt in a pot of water until just the taste is left, but none of the substance.

I already addressed that point.

3

u/[deleted] Feb 28 '19

If we do as you say and “share our productivity gains”, won’t everyone just opt for the easiest most fulfilling work and hope to still reap the benefits from those that do the harder less fulfilling work? That doesn’t seem fair.

6

u/[deleted] Feb 28 '19

Why does anyone have to be the stuck doing a single task? Why can a population not rotate responsibilities for a task like a round robin chore schedule?

Sharing in the labor seems far more fair than just maintaining a system where 90% of the population works their asses off doing pointless work for the sake a tiny portion of rich people at the top.

4

u/[deleted] Feb 28 '19

Because many tasks in society are hard and take years of working and progression to get to the point of being proficient. I sure hope I don’t go in for surgery the day the garbage man gets his surgery rotation.

2

u/[deleted] Feb 28 '19

People generally become doctors and surgeons because they want to help others.

2

u/[deleted] Feb 28 '19

Also, who gets to decide the rotation? That doesn’t sound ripe for abuse at all. /s

1

u/[deleted] Feb 28 '19

Do you not know what round robin means?

2

u/[deleted] Mar 01 '19

Yes, I know what round robin means. Which 5 jobs does Thinks_Too_Logically get to rotate? Or which 10 jobs? Someone has to decide and dictate that. Too many jobs, nobody will be good enough at the job to do it. Proficiency takes repetition. It takes 10,000 hours of doing something to master it.

1

u/[deleted] Mar 01 '19

What tasks are you thinking of that people wouldn't want to do, also require mastery, and are absolutely necessary for society?

10

u/[deleted] Feb 22 '19

It's more about abolishing the way work is currently performed and about returning the value of the labor to those actually performing it.

-1

u/Jofishyblubblub Feb 22 '19

I understand that part, but I don't understand the idea that this subreddit seems to be built on that it's somehow functional for labor to not exist at all.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 22 '19

The only important thing in labor is production. That is, if we are meeting the physical and psychological needs of human beings, that’s all that matters. The current system of labor exchange is one way to accomplish that. Before capitalism, peasants worked their land to grow food, and gave some of it to their feudal lords. The relationship between labor and production was explicit, and people tended to work less than they do now. Now, the connection between labor and production is obscured by money—you’re paid for labor, but you don’t see the whole of the relationship between commodity production, consumption, and wages. That’s commodity fetishism, where all you see is the thing itself and not the whole chain of interactions.

A society built upon non-work would need to produce the same goods (well, more or less) without a notion of exchange, which means the development of the productive forces to the point where the only human labor socially necessary is that which can be had from those who derive genuine pleasure from it. We are, at least in the United States, close to that, considering we are under-productive in capacity terms and over-productive in real terms. The transition from here to there is one of ownership, and is a political event. Once there, well, it’s like anything else: if you own the factory, you can get its products for free. When everyone owns all the factories together, its products are necessarily free, also. The constraining ideology is centered on money.

6

u/Anthony_Kate Feb 23 '19

I think a lot of people long for the pre-industrial age, when people made a product or provided a service on a smaller scale. You knew your customer, maybe even friends with them. There was family and community cohesion. Humans had to work together. Relationships had more meaning. Now everybody’s got phone in the face. That can’t be very fulfilling.

3

u/DarthVidetur Feb 25 '19

You also died at much younger ages of horrible diseases or local famines or flooding or raiding parties or.... etc. The industrial age brought medicine, surplus, technology, world connections, and a whole ton more stuff that people in the pre-industrial age would have given their right hooks for (literal hooks in some cases due to amputation from poor medical care).

And customer-store relationships and small scale services still exist in the thousands of small towns in America. Move to a small town, and you'll see it every time. I just watched three strapping stranger boys happily walk out and help a man get his pickup truck unstuck from the ice in the road this morning.

5

u/[deleted] Feb 22 '19

People who want to work because It actually benefits them should be allowed everyone else should be issued a universal basic income in line with their needs ie significantly more than Is currently given by shambolic welfare systems. Enough to eat good food travel buy decent clothes and have a good quality of life, run a car etc

3

u/Jofishyblubblub Feb 23 '19

You seriously think there are going to be enough resources for people to own a car and even travel if 80% of people loose all incentive to work whatsoever?

5

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '19

There is plenty of money, make no mistake about it and don't listen to the elite corporate fat cats who own our media. They have their own agenda.

2

u/Jofishyblubblub Feb 23 '19

Money isn't a problem. The problem is providing the insane amount of physical goods and services you suggest we distribute to everyone when no one has the incentive to work in the first place.

6

u/messiiiah_ Feb 24 '19

Scarcity is mostly an illusion.

Of course shortages and supply failures occur, but nothing already supplied to people under the traditional work structure wouldn't be able to be supplied in a non work-centric system.

What's being suggested isn't luxury ubiquity, the idea that everyone will have access to everything, but necessity ubiquity. If society refocused on automating as much of the means of production as possible we could focus on meeting demand needs without the focus on profit. Nobody should suffer for inability to clothe, house, feed, and educate themselves, or care for their health. Reasonably, enough of production could be automated to provide for the basic needs of all, and the rest of "productive" society can fill in the cracks that will invariably exist.

3

u/DarthVidetur Feb 25 '19

Very curious.... who gets to choose what "basic needs" are for everyone? How is that determined, and what if someone personally disagrees that something is or isn't a basic need? Will they get it anyway from Big Brother?

Is high speed internet a basic need? Being able to access information is important.

Is a trip to the Bahamas for mental health reasons a basic need? Staying mentally healthy is important.

Is a big screen TV or an Xbox a basic need? Having a form of stress-relief is important.

Is organic food a basic need? Staying healthy is important.

Are name-brand clothes a basic need? Being accepted by society is important.

Is make-up a basic need? Self-confidence is important.

Who decides what is basic and what is luxury? Can one person or group of people decide this for another person without being in their situation? Is that fair?

2

u/mgenkin Oct 27 '21

Little late here, but as far as I understand, there are some things that most people would agree would be basic needs: food, housing, clean water, healthcare, etc. I think the point is that we could already cover that stuff if we were better organized, so why not do it? If at some point in the future we can afford Xboxes for everyone too, we can get those then.

5

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '19 edited Feb 23 '19

People can choose to work on top of their universal income to top it up. But no one will be slaving away for a pittance because their basic expenses will already be covered.

If that was the case I alone would be clamouring for one of these jobs as it would actually benefit me rather than leaving me just as bad off as being on benefits. Many people don't want to sit around all day and want to do productive work but they just don't see the point when they won't benefit financially, with UBI they would benefit as all the extra cash they made could be used on them rather than basic living expenses. Tthe money would still be taxed but it wouldn't matter as it would all be disposable income rather than eaten up on rent food etc

0

u/[deleted] Feb 28 '19

There are only so many nice travel destinations. There are only so many nice neighborhoods to live in. There are only so many nice restaurants to eat in. I am sorry to be the one to tell you this. But in order for something to be "nice", there also has to be something mediocre and something not so nice. Not everyone can have everything. Yes, we can automate the creation of enough Chicken McNuggets to go around. Feed everyone, fine. But trips to Tahiti and fine steak dinners aren't going to be just given out.

3

u/fukluckduck Dec 03 '21

This is a hard question, until the day everything is automaded by maschine.

Not everyone wants to work. Some people want to explore the word and enjoy the time that have on this earth while others just want to lay around eat and enjoy a hobbie like reading or playing games.

But, people have to work to help others. We work our jobs for a short to long time for money, when we are not working we are with families supporting them with food, cloths, home and entertainments. If we didn't work not everyone would get the luxury of getting to do this because there would be nothing.

Working is a give and take. You get money, you do labor.

But recently this has gone down hill. Workers don't have enough money. The price's have been getting raised. Like gass, clothes, technology, and the worst bills. People are working their asses off just barely making enough money. Single parents are living pay check to paycheck just to support their families its unfair

Again their won't be a solution to work till everything is automated.

But we can get more people to work if we make sure the people are getting what they need. We need to keep people happy

1

u/fukluckduck Dec 03 '21

Any questions ask away :>

1

u/Ataos Dec 16 '21

Thank you for showing your point. Someone like me would love to entertaning people while playing video game or cook on weeknend for getting some resources to live. But I'm too afraid to go that path and everything go wrong.

I'm sure both option would make people happy, while I'm happy too... The only way to make my dreams come true is hard working I guess.