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Ethics of working or not working for money  RSS feed

 
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John C Daley wrote:  
I have seen layabouts who feel they don't need to contribute, who get government welfare and expect it, when they are capable of doing something.



It's the second time I've seen a thread here that mention the burden of welfare people on society. And I've heard it so many time in real life too. IMHO this is an outdated way of thinking.

With all the waste humans produce I'm sure society can afford to give a few the life they want. If a guy decides to live on welfare and play video games all day I say good for him.
Let's say we get rid of welfare people, will current problems vanish? No
Let's say we get them to "contribute", what then? We'll just get more of what we've already got.
I'm more concerned about people like that Amazon guy that never have enough. Billions?? ..... why?? Their greed is endless!

Career in French is "carrière" which also means a pit, a quarry. That's funny.

Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one.
-Pink Floyd


 
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Francis Mallet wrote:

John C Daley wrote:  
I have seen layabouts who feel they don't need to contribute, who get government welfare and expect it, when they are capable of doing something.



It's the second time I've seen a thread here that mention the burden of welfare people on society. And I've heard it so many time in real life too. IMHO this is an outdated way of thinking.

With all the waste humans produce I'm sure society can afford to give a few the life they want. If a guy decides to live on welfare and play video games all day I say good for him.
Let's say we get rid of welfare people, will current problems vanish? No
Let's say we get them to "contribute", what then? We'll just get more of what we've already got.
I'm more concerned about people like that Amazon guy that never have enough. Billions?? ..... why?? Their greed is endless!

Career in French is "carrière" which also means a pit, a quarry. That's funny.

Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one.
-Pink Floyd




I'm surprised people here are applauding the idea of sitting home,  collecting welfare and having someone else support them while they play video games.  That goes against everything I personally believe in,  and very much against my view of permaculture ideals. I think of may have found myself in the wrong place if that is the example that garners likes and apples here.
 
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Trace Oswald wrote:I'm surprised people here are applauding the idea of sitting home,  collecting welfare and having someone else support them while they play video games.  That goes against everything I personally believe in,  and very much against my view of permaculture ideals. I think of may have found myself in the wrong place if that is the example that garners likes and apples here.



Isn't this an amazing phenomenon, Trace?
I truly thought I'd never in my life see this.

The Americans who experienced the Great Depression and World War II are nearly all gone now. Those hardships forged their strength of character. Almost no one since them has experienced anything close to what they lived through. About the only fully developed quality I see today is a sense of entitlement.

As I see it, my purpose here is to serve others with my time energy and abilities. While my job is not what I am, it is what I do. There is no end of personal satisfaction in doing your duty to fulfill your calling, and I believe everyone has one. Anyone who finds it and does it will be happier than if they didn't.
 
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Greg Mamishian wrote: There is no end of personal satisfaction in doing your duty to fulfill your calling, and I believe everyone has one. Anyone who finds it and does it will be happier than if they didn't.



I agree.  I think that almost nobody wants to just sit around doing nothing.  That's why I don't think it's as much of a problem as some people seem to think it is, in the big scheme of things.
 
Francis Mallet
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Trace Oswald wrote:
I'm surprised people here are applauding the idea of sitting home,  collecting welfare and having someone else support them while they play video games.



It's more complicated than this. It's a matter of perspective and being careful with my judgment.

I have military people and teachers in my family. They retired in their 40s with very good pensions. Did they contribute more than fishery workers who have to work until they're 65? If you think so then we'll never agree.
So where do we draw the line? When can you stop working? Low skill jobs require no less effort, are no less important, are usually minimum wage and on top of this they damage people.
One year I worked as a Christmas wreath weaver, 12 hour shifts 7 days a week. I woke up at night with no feelings in my arms. I struggled to make minimum wage.
I also worked at a recycling facility to sort trash.  We had to get like a dozen shots in case we got sick. One day I got a scare because I was pricked by a syringe through my glove. People throw all kind of dangerous stuff in the trash.
I worked at a peat pellet factory. Air quality was bad as there were frequent fires in the machinery and after my shift there was dirt coming out when I blew my nose.
Minimum wage is slavery in disguise and slavery sucks.

A frequent response is "get more skills". Well we can't all be lawyers. Besides,

"Everything here is minimum wage. There's no money to go around."
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/bathurst-golden-image-centre-close-1.4919555


I'm not applauding, but I'm not condemning people who opt out either. Especially not poor souls that can't find nothing better in life than fiction through a screen.

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged
condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned
forgive, and ye shall be forgiven

I'm fond of quotes today.
 
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The original question seemed to be about working for money, not whether or not one should labour at all.  I would wager that many permies see a system that is sick and broken, making sick and broken people, and want to participate in that broken system as little as possible.  That system is based on money.  I will always need money to pay property taxes, pay skilled people to do things I'm not capable of, buy supplies I'm unable to produce on my own, because that's the system the world at large runs on.  But I have a plan to hopefully choose my level of involvement rather than be a slave to it.

Speaking as a person who has experienced a mass layoff, I was grateful that Employment Insurance tided me over until I was able to find other work, and get myself into the current mess of doing things that stress me out for money.  Employment Insurance is, by the way, a system that we pay into while working, and get back only if we need it and have worked long enough to qualify for it.

If the question was about people who are cared for regardless of their ability to labour... that seems a question of whether we as humans see the value in supporting each other through times of need, whether that need be short term, or life long.  Maybe seeing the value in each other as a human being, aside from $$$.  I have an acquaintance with severe cerebral palsy.  She was adopted into a family who have devoted their lives to her care.  She has a bright spark in her mind, a sharp wit, and a fierce need to be independent in any small way that she can... while other days she struggles to breathe well enough to keep her oxygen levels up.  I think personal experience, and empathy, will always shape how people even begin to ask such a question.  At what age to most parents teach their children the importance of sharing?  In a way, as others have mentioned sociopolitical labels, it is a very Capitalist question; thankfully we live in a society that, while there is certainly disparity, is not so wholly destitute that we should even have to ask it.  There have certainly been times and places where, due to severe shortage of resources, humans have been forced to make such terrible choices - that can't be denied.  In those cases, the question is asked out of a hideous practicality of life and death, not "Why should I share?"  And, I would like to avoid making uneducated guesses about people's abilities one way or the other, before we say that a person "should" be working for money, even though there are doubtless a minuscule percentage of people who are accepting more help from others than they actually need.  I hope that wouldn't stop us from helping those who do need it, or make us question whether we should at all.

Until I am able to move to my land and work to meet as many of my own needs as possible without money, I will be participating in a system where both fathers and mothers labour outside of the home, and pay others to raise their children.  When they get old and their children must do the same, they will pay others to care for their parents.  Home ownership means burial under a mountain of debt - basically renting a house from the bank.  I feel considering what forum this is on I don't need to explain much farther.

“How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 8:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, sh*t, p*ss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so? ” - Charles Bukowski

Thank you to those who have been supportive after my previous comment as well!
 
Trace Oswald
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Francis Mallet wrote: If a guy decides to live on welfare and play video games all day I say good for him.



This is your exact quote and if you believe it,  we have no common ground to have a discussion on.

As far as the "all the jobs are minimum wage" idea, I have no idea what it's like in Canada,  but here, I can get you a job apprenticing in heating and air conditioning.  The first year,  you'll make $19 an hour,  the second year, $34 an hour,  and the third year,  full union scale at $50+ an hour with all the overtime you want.  They can't find people to do it.  There are no qualifications needed other than a good work ethic and the ability to pass the drug test.

Tyler, as far as your assertion that most people want to work so it isn't that big a problem,  at least here in my area,  in a 10 mile radius, I could show you at least 10 families that have been on welfare for generations.  The parents teach the children how to "beat the system ", and the cycle continues.  None of them are contributing anything to society except more children.  It's dangerous to put your value system on people like this. I believe that part of the reason it continues is because many people are like you and I want to contribute to the greater good and get satisfaction from it.  It's a mistake to think there aren't many,  many people that could care less about that and just want a free ride.
 
Trace Oswald
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Francis Mallet wrote:

Trace Oswald wrote:
I'm surprised people here are applauding the idea of sitting home,  collecting welfare and having someone else support them while they play video games.



It's more complicated than this. It's a matter of perspective and being careful with my judgment.

I have military people and teachers in my family. They retired in their 40s with very good pensions



I forgot to touch on this. I am one of those people that served in,  and retired from,  the military in my 40s. It may look like a good pension to you,  but i can assure you,  it's not very much money,  and I'm working another full time job and will be for many years.  If I tried to live on that retirement, I would be living on far less than minimum wage.
 
Norma Guy
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I think one of the difficulties with this discussion has been geographic in nature; we really don't understand the climate, land, or economies of people who are speaking from thousands of miles away, and then wonder why people can't or won't do what we're doing, or don't see what we see.

I was laid off from a comparatively well-paying job on a straight shift, along with several family members including my husband.  Minimum wage at that time was less than the Employment Insurance I would be paid while looking for work, so I held out for a job that would have paid closer to what I was used to.  When it started to look bleak, I sold some possessions and furniture, and then took out my retirement savings, before finally taking a minimum wage job just to survive.  I was very lucky that this was a company in a state of growth, that believes in promoting people into management.  Even though the promotions I was offered put me outside of my comfort zone, I took them to get back to the wage I made before I was laid off.  My husband works rotating shifts, which means we don't see each other for half the month.  Jobs that pay the same wage often expect mandatory overtime on weekends, and things like randomly starting at 3am on a Thursday because production is behind this week.  If I wanted to maintain my current income, that's what I'd have to accept.  Which is why I keep doing what I'm doing and trying to remind myself how lucky I am.

As I said, I've been considering stepping down, but the cost of living here would mean there would be no "extra" to build our future with.  I would be surviving, maybe not even meeting our current needs.  The economy in my area has seen an almost complete collapse of manufacturing in favour of tech jobs and retail.  Many of the manufacturing companies that are left hire through temp agencies rather than their own HR, and the requirement for these positions is transportation, steel toes, and a willingness to work ANY shift, anywhere, even rotating shifts.  Jobs like this don't offer you protection if you become injured (Oh they should, but they really don't because you're not officially hired so they can just tell the temp agency they don't want you back), and the risk of illnesses, including cancer, increase when you are forced to constantly alter your body's schedule based on the work that is available.  This is the sickness of industrialization, where humans are treated like meat robots.  The long-term monetary cost is actually greater to try to get sick people performing at "efficient" levels to make money, and then having to put them back together when they break.  This lifestyle is an abuse of our bodies and minds, and spirits for those who are so inclined.

The question for me isn't as much about $$$ as it is about quality of life.  If we only think inside the system of industrialization, what quality of life can we expect without $$$?  What quality of life are we willing to accept in order to make $$$?
 
Francis Mallet
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Francis Mallet wrote: If a guy decides to live on welfare and play video games all day I say good for him.



This is your exact quote and if you believe it,  we have no common ground to have a discussion on.



Yes, I believe it. I suppose things would heat up real quick if we had this discussion over lunch lol

I understand what you are saying. I also understand that there are crooks at all levels.

Like I said, I'm easily confused about matters like this it's complicated stuff. I simply believe we produce so much now that a bunch of us could do whatever we want with our time whether it's productive or not.
To get back to the original post, yeah I do find the idea of not working interesting. My welfare neighbors are not consumers because they just don't have enough left to spend on crap.
Their footprint is smaller than most so from the permaculture angle they are less part of the problem than the majority of working people. They don't need to contribute, we already have enough.
If ressources are missing for schools, roads or whatever it's not because these ressources don't exist, it's because they're not going to the right place. Lazy people are not to blame for that.

Trace Oswald wrote:I forgot to touch on this. I am one of those people that served in,  and retired from,  the military in my 40s. It may look like a good pension to you,  but i can assure you,  it's not very much money,  and I'm working another full time job and will be for many years.  If I tried to live on that retirement, I would be living on far less than minimum wage.


I'm sorry to hear that your pension is not enough! My uncle is very comfortable and doesn't work. He'd rather go fishing.



 
Tyler Ludens
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Tyler, as far as your assertion that most people want to work so it isn't that big a problem,  at least here in my area,  in a 10 mile radius, I could show you at least 10 families that have been on welfare for generations.  



I've never in my life known anyone who just wanted to sit around on welfare.  I lived in California half my life and Texas the rest of the time.  Most of the people I've known seem to enjoy working at something, not necessarily for money.  Even the retirees I know have hobbies or volunteer their time.

Maybe some areas of the country are especially conducive to making people want to sit around all the time.  Maybe the reasons why they feel that way, and other people don't, could be examined and conditions improved.  Sounds like a bunch of chronically depressed people to me.

I see permaculture as a way of life which can bring meaning to lives through work and yet also gives plenty of time for sitting around when they want to.  
 
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It’s an interesting topic, and I can see how a man might feel he’d be better off playing video games than working for minimum. You have a valid point that some folks have obscene amounts of wealth and many use it to impose their own will on others. In fact, they’re so rich that they can afford whatever it takes to avoid most taxation. The result is what it always will be under a tax and spend system... it all ends up on the backs of a shrinking middle class. Not a good situation. Bottom line for me is that while I do have a responsibility to care for the weak, I shouldn’t be required to subsidize an able bodied man who simply chooses not to work. Or a woman who has decided that her two days a week volunteer work in the community gardens qualifies her to be given the money that I worked for.

The super rich will always in this world have advantages they probably ought not to have. Piling more burdens on an already beleaguered middle class isn’t going to make that right. It’s just going to create a larger poverty class. People who can work, ought to work. Sorry, but I strongly believe we ought all to do what we can in order not to be a burden to others who can barely carry their own families. Pretty soon there will be no one else left to tax. Then what happens?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Cindy Skillman wrote:People who can work, ought to work.



Currently the only "welfare" in the US is to families with dependent children.  Do we as a society force people to have only as many children as the state wants them to have, so that they have to go back to work?  Or do we withhold aid to families with dependent children, which will punish the children?  I'm not currently able to come up with a solution to this problem in our present culture.
 
Trace Oswald
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Cindy Skillman wrote:People who can work, ought to work.



Currently the only "welfare" in the US is to families with dependent children.  How do we as a society force people to have only as many children as the state wants them to have, so that they have to go back to work?  Or do we withhold aid to families with dependent children, which will punish the children?  I'm not currently able to come up with a solution to this problem in our present culture.



My sister in law is currently considered 100% disabled because of  PTSD. She's has never served in the military.  She found a psychologist who diagnosed her  as having PTSD as being caused by "mean text messages" sent by the man she was divorcing.
 
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I am not sure people really see the world for what it is. This was the way it was explained to me, and it really made sense...

A guy blows into a small town from out of state and decides he wants a room for the night at a small motel. The owner of the hotel says it will be $100 a night, and so the man lays a $100 bill down on the counter and takes his things to his room. Immediately the motel owner takes the $100 bill, runs to the store in town and pays the $100 he owes the owner for supplies for his motel that he had to buy on credit. That store clerk immediately turns around and runs to the feed store because he has been buying feed for his sheep and chickens on credit because so many people owe him money, and cash is tight. The feed store owner, well he is single and has been kind of lonely, so he has been snuggling up with a woman who gets paid for pleasing people. She's felt bad for him because it is such a depressed town, so upon the promise of being paid, she has been doing so on credit too. But the hotel where she is known to take on other clients, well she has been getting a room there on credit too. So she takes the $100 bill she has been given, and rushes back to the hotel to pay her debt. She lays it down on the counter just as man from out of town comes down the stairs, says the room is horrible, takes his money and leaves in a huff.

What has happened?

Money has been brought into town, everyone's bills have been paid, no one got to keep any of it, yet everyone is happy, and in the end the money is taken away.

That is how todays monetary system works, and it is insane.

The Government does not care if the money it hands out is in the form of welfare, subsidies, or grants, because ultimately people pay taxes on it, buy things, or pay for services that in turn employs others. And then it goes out and on to other towns. Put another way, it is like them paying me to go out and shovel up a hole in my backyard, putting the money in a mason jar, burying it, then telling you to come shovel it up, and do likewise.

Permiculture is a way to get off that crazy merry-go-round.

Think about it; a hard working permie person injected anywhere in that story I told, would have stopped the $100 bill from leaving town and in their own pocket. Myself, I don't need to be paid by someone to go bury THEIR money in a mason jar in my back yard, as I have my own money to bury, in the form of houses, barns, equipment, livestock, etc that are paid for. BUT it takeswork. Even as sick as I am (cancer) I still do things. It is nowhere near as ambitious as I used to be, but as far as long term assets...a long term plan, I am still kicking the ball down the field. The $100 bill stops with me.

I am not upset at those on welfare, I am sorry they are trapped in a system they do not even know they are trapped in.


 
Norma Guy
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To add a layer to this conversation and make it not just relevant in the context of a governmentally controlled industrialized society, what if this situation were happening in your self-sufficient permie community?  Let's say you've got 15 families, and one dude who either doesn't want to or claims he is unable to contribute much in the way of labour to meet the goals of the community.  Let's say they are claiming to have a disability that makes them unable to contribute.  Who gets to decide whether his claim is founded in fact, and not just his desire to not work?  Not every disability is as visible as missing limbs.

If this was the current society that I live in, medical professionals and the government would decide together the veracity of his claim, and he would receive whatever compensation he was entitled to under the government rule.  In ancient times, this guy might have just been banished, or worse.

So back to the idea of the small community; who gets to decide whether he should be be able to work or not, should be supported on not, and on what basis?  With what alternative?  If there was no such thing as the services we rely on from the government still existing outside of your small community, whose responsibility would it become to ensure his welfare?

What if the neighbour in your permie community, whose son doesn't want to work in the garden, needs to also spend time caring for him to keep him from acting on his delusions in a way that could be harmful to himself or others?  Would your community choose to also support her?  Is her time and labour caring for him not also worth the expenditure?  What might be the ultimate cost to us all in not supporting both of them?

And, what if it was determined by whatever means that he was capable of labour, but simply chose not to contribute?  What if he decided that his contribution would be through perfecting an art, or through music, rather than producing food?

I don't have my own answers to these questions at this moment, just curious about the thoughts of others.
 
Greg Mamishian
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Travis Johnson wrote:A guy blows into a small town from out of state and decides he wants a room for the night at a small motel. The owner of the hotel says it will be $100 a night, and so the man lays a $100 bill down on the counter and takes his things to his room. Immediately the motel owner takes the $100 bill, runs to the store in town and pays the $100 he owes the owner for supplies for his motel that he had to buy on credit. That store clerk immediately turns around and runs to the feed store because he has been buying feed for his sheep and chickens on credit because so many people owe him money, and cash is tight. The feed store owner, well he is single and has been kind of lonely, so he has been snuggling up with a woman who gets paid for pleasing people. She's felt bad for him because it is such a depressed town, so upon the promise of being paid, she has been doing so on credit too. But the hotel where she is known to take on other clients, well she has been getting a room there on credit too. So she takes the $100 bill she has been given, and rushes back to the hotel to pay her debt. She lays it down on the counter just as man from out of town comes down the stairs, says the room is horrible, takes his money and leaves in a huff.



The system you have just described isn't Capitalism. It's Creditism.
Creditism is based on the false belief that that credit is capital... when in reality only capital is capital.

I found a personal alternative solution to the situation you illustrated, and it is to live completely outside of that system altogether by not owing anyone any money and owning all of our possessions outright. No mortgage, no second mortgage, no home equity line of credit, no vehicle loans, no vehicle leases, no personal debts, and zero balances on all our credit cards.

It's a permaculture principle applied to personal finances... where solvency equals sustainability.




 
Trace Oswald
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I have heard very,  very few people on either side of the political spectrum saying no one ever should get help from the rest of society.  There are people that have valid mental or physical disabilities that need help and I don't personally know a single person that thinks those people shouldn't have help. That is a far,  far cry from saying that there is nothing wrong with capable people sitting on their asses living off other people's hard earned money so they can play video games all day.  I work with a lot of disabled veterans.  Truly disabled,  as in missing limbs,  horrible emotional trauma from PTSD, traumatic brain injury.  To a person,  the thing that sets them apart is the lack of feeling sorry for themselves.  Not one of them is sitting around and bitching about the unfair system,  blaming the rich,  crying about how they have no opportunities.  All of them,  every single one,  is working their ass off to improve their lot in life,  to get better,  to learn new skills,  to learn a new trade that they can do with whatever disability they have.  These are strong, brave, hard working people,  the type this country was built on. They are the people i want to emulate, not the people working the system for a free ride while the middle class busts their asses to support  them. One of the tenants of permaculture is sharing. I believe strongly in that and do my best to give back.  In order to share,  you have to produce something,  make something,  build something,  share your knowledge,  contribute in some way,  not sit around waiting for a handout.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Norma Guy wrote:

So back to the idea of the small community; who gets to decide whether he should be be able to work or not, should be supported on not, and on what basis?  With what alternative?  If there was no such thing as the services we rely on from the government still existing outside of your small community, whose responsibility would it become to ensure his welfare?



I think that would be up to the individual community.  Some might decide to banish him, some might decide to let him be the Village Idiot.
 
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Trace Oswald wrote: One of the tenants of permaculture is sharing. I believe strongly in that and do my best to give back.  In order to share,  you have to produce something,  make something,  build something,  share your knowledge,  contribute in some way,  not sit around waiting for a handout.



In Mollisonian Permaculture, it isn't sharing, it's "returning the surplus" to the system.  In a functioning permaculture system, there is always surplus, and it isn't burned or otherwise destroyed as surplus so often is in agriculture.  In a system with this much surplus, there's plenty for everyone, even someone who just wants to sit around.  Personally I hope to develop a permaculture system so robust that all the inhabitants can sit around as much as they like.
 
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Trace Oswald wrote: As far as the "all the jobs are minimum wage" idea, I have no idea what it's like in Canada,  but here, I can get you a job apprenticing in heating and air conditioning.  The first year,  you'll make $19 an hour,  the second year, $34 an hour,  and the third year,  full union scale at $50+ an hour with all the overtime you want.  They can't find people to do it.  There are no qualifications needed other than a good work ethic and the ability to pass the drug test.



That's what I did 40 years ago, Trace.

Even with no college education, no experience, and no qualifications,
I worked as an apprentice in a building trade and got paid while I learned.
Then I took a test, passed it, got my own contracting license, and went into business for myself.

By using this simple approach I enjoyed a tremendous advantage as I had no student loan debt and was doing real work out in the real world instead of sitting like an inert lump in a government college for years. Once I had my license, all it took to go into business for myself was some hand tools, a drill, a ladder, and an old pickup truck.  

 
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Greg Mamishian wrote:Creditism is based on the false belief that that credit is capital... when in reality only capital is capital.



Capital is a plowed field, a basket of tomatoes, a tree, a fence, a book, a pond, a shirt.  
 
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Norma Guy wrote:
And, what if it was determined by whatever means that he was capable of labour, but simply chose not to contribute?  What if he decided that his contribution would be through perfecting an art, or through music, rather than producing food?

I don't have my own answers to these questions at this moment, just curious about the thoughts of others.



I live on a mile-long private gravel road. There's 12 households that live along this road. I live in a place that gets a lot of rain, and also freezes in the winter. As you can imagine, the gravel road quickly gets potholes.

Now, we could form an HOA to make everyone pitch in money to fix the road...but we don't like HOAs, for all the reasons people don't like HOAs. When we were moving in, my parents happened to get a chance to talk to some of my neighbors, who informed them that they patch up the road, and other neighbors pitch in $20 every so often for road maintenance. So, we pitched in whenever we spotted the pot holes being fixed. We also noticed another neighbor fixing pot holes, so we gave them $20, too, every time they fixed it.

The problem is, we were the ONLY ones pitching in money. So, two families patch the road, one pays for it, and no one else helps. Now both the people who fix pot holes are getting older, and so are their trucks, and they don't want to fix the road any more. And, why should they, when they carried the burden of it for 20 years?

To add to this, we've had various people who've built houses or driven logging trucks--or are even now putting in a development--and all of them put a LOT more wear and tear on the road than the rest of us...and they're not contributing financially or physically to the maintenance at all.

So, what do we do? Do we introduce HOA laws to force people to pitch in? Do we try to make the other neighbors move away? Do we hire lawyers? Do we just let the road get horrible?'

Well, no, none of the above.

I go for walks. I try to get to know all my neighbors. I tell the new neighbors who to pitch money to, so the people who buy the gravel don't have to go around asking. I got two neighbors to contribute money. I convinced one of the guys who fixed potholes to fill his truck with gavel and we helped fill the pot holes. I've got two more neighbors that I'm 90% positive that will pitch in. And another neighbor helped fill potholes with their truck.

There's still some people who don't contribute. Maybe they don't have much money. Maybe they don't know/understand that they need to step up to help maintain our road. But, the able bodied/monied of us are able to work together to get it fixed, so we don't really have to worry about those that don't.

Sure, those that never contribute just kind of skate by. But, as one neighbor pointed out, those people don't use the road that much, so why even worry about it. Like others have stated in this thread, those with the least often have the least impact, and if there's a surplus, we don't really have to worry about that.

I personally think there's LOTS of ways to contribute to society. In the case of my little street, there's those that have trucks they can fill with gravel. I think if they're spending the time and wear and tear to fill their truck, they shouldn't have to pay for the gravel ("taxes"). I have no truck, but I invest in my community by going on walks and trying to get to know everyone and solve issues, and I have the ability to help fill pot holes and pitch in money. I think I do good. Other's unclog the culvert. Others prune back the trees and bramble that tried to grow into our road. I think all those things are valuable works to do, and so we don't NEED to have taxes to pay someone to do these things, because we all do a little.

If you think about a larger society, we could, potentially, make everyone have to pay for everything to get done, so everyone has to make money to pay someone else to do things. Instead of us patching the road and pruning vegetation, we'd have an HOA to collect taxes and pay a landscaper to do it. But, WHY, why would we need to do that, if we can do the labor ourselves?

Thinking about this all I've realized that, in my little society, we've got a few types of people, which are kind of analogues to roles in a larger society:

  • "Well fare Recipients": We've got those that don't contribute at all, but I figure if they're not doing much damage, I'm not going to worry about it. Those people are kind of like the welfare recipients--they don't contribute, but they also don't do much damage.
  • "Tax payers": On our road there's those that contribute money for new gravel. These people don't always actually do the most in our neighborhood, but they're at least helping in some way
  • "The Workers": These people might not contribute too much--or anything--in the way of taxes, but they put in a lot of effort to keep things going. They prune vegitatin, unclog culverts, help fill potholes, etc. Equivalents in the larger society would be homesteaders, stay-at-home-parents, farmers, low-wage professionals like preschool teachers, etc.
  • "Big Corporations" These have LOTS of resources and money, and look like they're doing a lot...but they also make huge impacts on our road. The housing development paved part of it, and tore up and turned into a mud/pot-hole slick part of it. They have the power to easily fix the road they use, but they don't. They, like the loggers, find any loopholes they can to get out of actually paying "taxes," but they "look" like they're doing a lot. I mean, there's jobs and money being made...but none of it benefits the community. They're very much like the big businesses in the world.


  • So, who's the people to worry the most about? The "welfare" people? Nah. The people who are contributing but not paying taxes? Nope. The "taxpayers"? Nope. Instead, I worry about the people who use the most, have the most, and contribute the least. They're the only ones I wish there were laws to keep them in line, not the little people. I try to get those that do little to do more, but I don't fret about them like I do those big corporations.

    And so, when I think about the big nationwide issues, and apply that same logic to them, I'm not going to worry too much about the welfare residents. I'll try to help them be able to do more if I can, but I'm not going to worry about them. I'm not going to worry about the people who have "opted out" of the system but still contribute a ton in the ways they can. Instead, I'm going to worry about making sure those big, rich corporations and people pay their fare share, because they really use so much more than the rest of us.
     
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    Francis Mallet wrote:

    My welfare neighbors are not consumers because they just don't have enough left to spend on crap.
    Their footprint is smaller than most so from the permaculture angle they are less part of the problem than the majority of working people. They don't need to contribute, we already have enough.
    If ressources are missing for schools, roads or whatever it's not because these ressources don't exist, it's because they're not going to the right place. Lazy people are not to blame for that.




    I think these are good points.

    I agree it is counterproductive to blame people, because no single person can be responsible for such vastly complex things like economic systems.

    I think the way forward is to start asking more specific questions, such as:
    - what is "good life"?
    - what services do we need?
    - what material goods do we need?
    - how can people contribute?
    * subcategories for different people with different abilities
    - what motivates people?
    * people are different, each temperament type is motivated by different things: what are they?
    - .........?
    etc.

    I think whether we use money (or gifts or squirrel skins or whatever) as a medium of exchange is not as important as it is to ask the more fundamental questions.


     
    Nina Jay
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    Travis Johnson wrote:

    Money has been brought into town, everyone's bills have been paid, no one got to keep any of it, yet everyone is happy, and in the end the money is taken away.

    That is how todays monetary system works, and it is insane.

    The Government does not care if the money it hands out is in the form of welfare, subsidies, or grants, because ultimately people pay taxes on it, buy things, or pay for services that in turn employs others. And then it goes out and on to other towns. Put another way, it is like them paying me to go out and shovel up a hole in my backyard, putting the money in a mason jar, burying it, then telling you to come shovel it up, and do likewise.



    I think I've heard the argument somewhere that one reason governments (or church/ kings) started collecting taxes originally was that they wanted people to not be self-sufficient. It was a way to accomplish division of labour that's more efficient  than everyone being self-sufficient. When the peasant had to pay taxes he had to start producing more so he could pay his taxes and still have enough food left for his own family. Originally the taxes were just sack of grain in many parts of the world, not money.  The extra food would then go to the teachers, doctors etc. so they could devote their time to other professions and no longer had to farm.

    Of course, the tax system was also a way to make people more dependant ie. more obedient to the rulers. Taxes made it possible to feed armies too, helping kings conquer more land.

    Like Travis said, even our modern tax system is not so much about funding government services - after all, a government could arrange that in a multitude of more efficient ways other than collecting money very laborously from every citizen. It's about politics: governing citizens, maintaining order, encouraging certain behaviour that is considered good and discouraging behaviour that's not.

    So really, I don't think anyone should beat themselves up for not paying enough taxes. I think it's far more important to actively pursue the kind of society that you want to live in. Because that (ideally) is the whole point of the tax system.


     
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    Greg Mamishian wrote:
    The two camps are:

    1. Property owners and business owners.
    They are a dwindling voting minority.

    2. Renters, benefits recipients, public union employees.
    They are a growing voting majority.



    Uhhh....renters DO pay property tax, they just do it indirectly. If property taxes are very high the cost of rentals goes up since it is reflected in the rent payments.
     
    Greg Mamishian
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    Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

    Greg Mamishian wrote:Creditism is based on the false belief that that credit is capital... when in reality only capital is capital.



    Capital is a plowed field, a basket of tomatoes, a tree, a fence, a book, a pond, a shirt.  



    Yes it is.

    And capital is also what you get paid for being hired to plow someone's field or dig a pond, for selling a basket of tomatoes you grew, selling a book you wrote or a shirt you sewed.

    Solvency in relation to permaculture is when you pay off your debt to the soil and owe it nothing for the food it gives to you in return.
     
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    Greg Mamishian wrote:

    Travis Johnson wrote:A guy blows into a small town from out of state and decides he wants a room for the night at a small motel. The owner of the hotel says it will be $100 a night, and so the man lays a $100 bill down on the counter and takes his things to his room. Immediately the motel owner takes the $100 bill, runs to the store in town and pays the $100 he owes the owner for supplies for his motel that he had to buy on credit. That store clerk immediately turns around and runs to the feed store because he has been buying feed for his sheep and chickens on credit because so many people owe him money, and cash is tight. The feed store owner, well he is single and has been kind of lonely, so he has been snuggling up with a woman who gets paid for pleasing people. She's felt bad for him because it is such a depressed town, so upon the promise of being paid, she has been doing so on credit too. But the hotel where she is known to take on other clients, well she has been getting a room there on credit too. So she takes the $100 bill she has been given, and rushes back to the hotel to pay her debt. She lays it down on the counter just as man from out of town comes down the stairs, says the room is horrible, takes his money and leaves in a huff.



    The system you have just described isn't Capitalism. It's Creditism.
    Creditism is based on the false belief that that credit is capital... when in reality only capital is capital.

    I found a personal alternative solution to the situation you illustrated, and it is to live completely outside of that system altogether by not owing anyone any money and owning all of our possessions outright. No mortgage, no second mortgage, no home equity line of credit, no vehicle loans, no vehicle leases, no personal debts, and zero balances on all our credit cards.

    It's a permaculture principle applied to personal finances... where solvency equals sustainability.




    Exactly, though I do get some subsidies for my farm every year.
     
    Travis Johnson
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    Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

    Greg Mamishian wrote:Creditism is based on the false belief that that credit is capital... when in reality only capital is capital.



    Capital is a plowed field, a basket of tomatoes, a tree, a fence, a book, a pond, a shirt.  




    No it is not. In order for something to be capital, it must have  VALUE, and that requires three criteria:


    1: It must be sellable. As a taxpayer I own the trees at Acadia Natonal Park, but because I do not have the authority to sell it, it means the value is to me, the owner, useless.

    2: It has to be usable. Right now in the antrctic, there is tons of land that is absolutely worthless, or was...now that China is begining to drill down there for the oil, sudddenly their is international outrage over who own that land. Overnight the land became desirable and its worth has started to climb

    3. Something has to be converted. I can have 200 bales of hay in my field, yet if I do not sell that hay it is just piles of mulch. Mulch has no value unless it turns into the first two criteria.

    Now as Permies we can change policy and procudure. I can let my haybale rot, turn it into a hugel that grows stinnging neetles, make stinging nettle soup, and sell it by the pint in a roadside stand and feed the sudden stinging nettle soup craze.

    The point is, I have turned something that had no market, into a market that pays dividends, but it took me having the right to sell it. If I stole stinging neetles off my neighbors land, I would soon be arrested for trespassing. And if I tried to sell my stinging nettle soup for a cure for cancer, I would be arrested for negiotating a worthless instrument. And finally I have to do the work and sow, water, seed, package and market my stinging nettle soup so people want it.

    As a logger i get this a lot, "I have a nice Oak tree on my lawn and it is shading the house. How much will you pay me for it." That i when I explain to them the costs of coming in to remove that one tree, the liability, and the clean up. The VOLUME of one tree means they will be paying ME to cut the tree down. Now if they have 100 acres of nice oak trees, the volume has changed, and now it is a different story.

    Things, in and of themselves are NOT capital. Like a tree leaning over a house, it could be the oppisite, a liability.


     
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    Tyler Ludens wrote:

    Cindy Skillman wrote:People who can work, ought to work.



    Currently the only "welfare" in the US is to families with dependent children.  Do we as a society force people to have only as many children as the state wants them to have, so that they have to go back to work?  Or do we withhold aid to families with dependent children, which will punish the children?  I'm not currently able to come up with a solution to this problem in our present culture.



    not how welfare works in my state.
     
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    bernetta putnam wrote:

    Tyler Ludens wrote:

    Cindy Skillman wrote:People who can work, ought to work.



    Currently the only "welfare" in the US is to families with dependent children.  Do we as a society force people to have only as many children as the state wants them to have, so that they have to go back to work?  Or do we withhold aid to families with dependent children, which will punish the children?  I'm not currently able to come up with a solution to this problem in our present culture.



    not how welfare works in my state.



    It does not work like that in Maine either. Here is a great example of well meaning welfare run amuck.

    When my Grandfather died, my Grandmother got a yearly home weatherization program to come in and help keep out Maine's tough winter in this old farmhouse. Every year for 16 years they came. However, I just moved into this house and had to weatherize the house myself. I went all out, something I would never expect a yearly weatherizing program to do, but when I went to put up insulation around the rim joists in the basement, there was none. In fact considering for 16 years they came, there was almost nothing useful done. Even if they did a little bit, 16 years of that should have really added up to something meaningful.

    So why did that not happen?

    Because the allocated money per house gets burned up in administration, supervisory, transportation, and labor costs. What is finally left for materials, is so small that it makes no appreciable difference. Yet no politician is ever going to say, "eleminate this program", because their opponent in the next election would use that as leverage saying they were mean and wanted the elderly to freeze to death.

    In the mean time, Federal Money gets brought into a rural area like mine, and is dispersed throughout the community; they are essentially paying someone to take money (administration, supervisory, transportation, and labor), gain a little tax money from that, then turn around and pay someone else to dig it back up (paying for oil and firewood to heat my grandmother's home that was woefully ineffecient).


     
    Trace Oswald
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    Travis wrote:
    Yet no politician is ever going to say, "eleminate this program", because their opponent in the next election would use that as leverage saying they were mean and wanted the elderly to freeze to death



    That couldn't be more true.  
     
    Tyler Ludens
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    I thought we were talking about giving money (welfare) to people to sit around playing video games.  So I am now totally confused about what is being discussed.

    Inefficient subsidy programs seems like a different topic to me.  If we're talking about subsidies and government benefits being considered "welfare" then most people in the US are on some kind of welfare, especially corporations.
     
    Trace Oswald
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    People in this state can be declared "disabled" quite easily, and they are given direct government assistance, whether they have children or not.  I have a direct relative that is 100% disabled for PTSD.  She was diagnosed with it when she told her psychologist that she could no longer work around people because she was so traumatized by her divorce.  
     
    Tyler Ludens
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    Ok, we're including disability payments in the category of "welfare."  Thank you for clarifying.  Maybe welfare is any money from the government for any reason?

    I guess my husband and I are on welfare because we have Obamacare as our health insurance.  

    What a couple of deadbeats!


     
    Lucrecia Anderson
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    Trace Oswald wrote:People in this state can be declared "disabled" quite easily, and they are given direct government assistance, whether they have children or not.  I have a direct relative that is 100% disabled for PTSD.  She was diagnosed with it when she told her psychologist that she could no longer work around people because she was so traumatized by her divorce.  



    True. The populations that were getting welfare are now getting disability payments (for life). A friend of mine is a legal assistant for a group of attorneys that do nothing but disability applications. It has become the new welfare, she said they even get calls from inmates in PRISON asking if they can start their applications.

    Entire families apply if they can think of an excuse and thsoe multiple payments per household really ad up.
     
    Trace Oswald
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    Tyler Ludens wrote:Ok, we're including disability payments in the category of "welfare."  Thank you for clarifying.  Maybe welfare is any money from the government for any reason?

    I guess my husband and I are on welfare because we have Obamacare as our health insurance.  

    What a couple of deadbeats!




    No, if there is nothing wrong with you and you draw disability because you don't want to work, you're a deadbeat.  No one is saying that people who need assistance shouldn't get it.  
     
    Travis Johnson
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    Tyler Ludens wrote:Ok, we're including disability payments in the category of "welfare."  Thank you for clarifying.  Maybe welfare is any money from the government for any reason?

    I guess my husband and I are on welfare because we have Obamacare as our health insurance.  

    What a couple of deadbeats!



    Definition of Welfare: Social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need.

    Yes you are certainly on welfare according to the definition. Incidentally, so am I because I recieve farm subsidies.

    While a rather instagating statement regarding being a deadbeat, I cannot answer that becauseI do not know you, nor know what you contribute to society. Yes, everyone contributes something, as just being a son to a mother is comforting of sorts, but being a "deadbeat" by definition is one who persistently fails to pay personal debts or expenses is very personal in nature. Only you can answer that.

    IF a person has substantial health care bills due to illness, yet every month contributes even $10 to that bill, then they are not a deadbeat by definition because they are not "persistently failing".

    What get me however, is that as a farmer who works with the NRCS to prevent soil and water erosion, every dollar I get is listed in an online regestry as a form of shame. However that money is mileading because it is for environmental reasons, not personal gain. What I want to know is, if I am listed online, why aren't people who recieve food stamps listed? I bet that list would really shock people. I already know the answer to my own question; there is not enough farmers to sway a vote with us being 1/2 a percent of the population, but no congressman is going to infuriate his constinuents by suggesting welfare recipients are disclosed.
     
    Lucrecia Anderson
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    Trace Oswald wrote:
    No, if there is nothing wrong with you and you draw disability because you don't want to work, you're a deadbeat.  No one is saying that people who need assistance shouldn't get it.  



    The very fit and healthy looking 30 year old man that sold and delivered my refurbished washing machine was on disability (he looked like he could carry a fridge on his own). He explained he could only make so much money before it would reduce/jeopardize his disability payments.

    The 25 year old that sometimes cuts my lawn is on disability, he also does contract work trenching and laying cable (definitely not a disabled person). Laying cable is not a $10 an hour job especially when it is done for a major cable provide.
     
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    The example given of the residents of a housing area choosing to ignore non contributions from certain residents is not similar to society being forced to support deadbeats who take monies fraudulently from systems easily abused. In the one case, those being taken advantage of choose to suffer the insult rather than form one of the most hated of governing bodies: an HOA. In the other, nameless faceless masses are extorted without their consent to support many, at great expense, who may or may not truly qualify for the public’s support. Very few object to caring for the sick, the single mother with her little ones, the elderly. Nearly everyone objects to providing for those who cannot be pulled from their couches and their video games to do an honest day’s work. Yes, corporate greed is an abomination, but I can’t understand why corporate greed means that I must buy beer and candy bars for a young person desperately in need of exercise.
     
    Seriously? That's what you're going with? I prefer this tiny ad:
    Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
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