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Why you don't want a job

 
pollinator
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As I post this, we in North America & elsewhere are living life under unusual conditions (i.e., the COVID-19 epidemic). The situation has the homesteaders living in my area thinking and sharing knowledge and viewpoints quite a bit.

I was thinking this could be a good time to give this thread a bump, as the opening post by Erik Ven and subsequent discussion occurred under circumstances where most members of Permies.com would have been in a position to either work at a job or decide against it. I think the current circumstances are likely to prompt some new thoughts. So…
 
Joel Bercardin
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I’m still interested to learn what other Permies members may have figured out or decided about the “don’t need job/do need job” topic — in other words, responses to Erik Ven’s original post.

I’m bumping the thread, as my previous post (above) didn’t yield replies at that time. However, now we’ve all lived through more than a year of COVID’s impacts on economy & society — even if some of us homesteaders may hardly have felt any impact on their homestead, in their household, among their family. But I know that In certain regions business & economics were impacted quite a lot. Maybe it’s fair to say the past 15 months may have given us a different frame of reference from when Erik asserted his viewpoint four years ago.
 
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r ranson wrote:

"If your job/skill would be automated out of existence what would you do instead?"



From my point of view, it's a funny sort of a question because I don't see how it's relevant.  Everything I do already has an automated replacement available.  A more interesting question to me is "why do people still want human-made products and services when automated alternatives are readily available?"



I do by some human-made goods as a way to vote with my dollar for a simpler way of life and also to know who made the items I own. It’s nice when and item has a face behind it that one has seen and a human skill can be appreciated. I haven’t been as diligent to do this lately because I don’t have the finances to do so. Why do other people do it? I’m not sure but I will be more purposeful in asking them in the future.

Thanks for sharing this. It is quite fascinating. Do you have a thread where you describe your story of how you provide for yourself through these ways?

I’m currently living in Mexico and so services that I would sell here in the community (like English classes) could lend to a basic living wage for here but certainly no where near U.S. standards. With the influx of goods from China and used things from the U.S., clothes can be bought for 50 cents to $1. Many women here do embroidery, weaving, and handcrafts but when I was crunching the numbers for ideas to teach the young women in our community... they would be getting paid $2-3 an hour if they were selling these types of goods.

I still think exposing the teens and young women to these skill sets for pleasure or even for the sake of learning is valuable and fruitful but I am trying to brainstorm other ways they can support themselves. The fruit and vegetable fields here are laden with chemicals and often dangerous young and old men that take advantage of their naïveté or lower position in the culture.

Blessings,
 
Alana Rose
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r ranson wrote:
Because I don't spend much, I don't need to work much.  I have a part time casual job which I love.  If I didn't love it, I wouldn't work it.  

I have a cottage industry which I enjoy-ish.  I enjoy making things, but I dislike the selling part, so I usually sell on commission.  Because of this, I make less per hour at being self-employed than I do in wage work.  

I have a farm where I grow things.  I sell these when I have extra, but I'm more interested in research and developing varieties and methods that work well locally without excessive inputs like irrigation.  Again, I hate selling, so I tend to get a lower price for my produce than others do.  

The point is, I don't have to have a job.  But I love it.  It's possible to have a fun job and live well working only a few hours every few weeks.  



I see that the answer to my previous question is mostly here.
 
Alana Rose
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I don't want anything that many people would call a job, but I do want work that gives me money. So, I sell my service and I usually have more than one way to pay myself. I receive the amount that I charge each day, plus I get to sell all sorts of building components that are residual to what I do.
......
I really enjoy that treasure hunt portion of my job. The first thing I do after getting the rights to a new house is run around to every crevice to see what people have left for me. Mostly junk, but also lots of neat tools, artifacts of dubious quality and sometimes highly saleable furniture and other things. If you do that at any sort of regular job , you get locked up.
........

If I ever get to tear down your workplace, I'm going to do exactly that, and if you leave anything behind, I'm going to rummage through your desk. I'm wearing really nice dress shoes at a jacket that I found in a closet, in one of the houses... regular jobs just don't accommodate that type of behaviour. ☺



I really enjoyed this post Dale and it did make me laugh out loud. Happy treasure hunting!
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Eric, I would have to answer your question this way: The nature of the human mind is such that one needs a feeling of selfworth in order to feel complete. This can be seen in the current homeless situations all across the USA, once a person has been homeless for 5 years, there is not a lot of hope for them to get back to being a productive person in the current society. They tend to remain in their homeless state, because their feelings of selfworth have, for the most part, disappeared, they become comfortable in being homeless and so remain in that state.

I don't think you need to be homeless to lose your enthusiasm for 9-5 work, but going a few years without a regular job and still being alive tends to show you that there is another way to live. When I was in my teens, I saw my older siblings get pulled into the workforce and I felt sorry for them. Within weeks, their job defined them and, to some extent, ruled them. I swore to my next oldest brother that I was never going to fall for it but I did when I was 18. The next 32 years were a blur until I found a way out. Now, I've been unemployed for a dozen years and living off the dwindling remnants of my working and business life while I try to establish our off grid, low cost life. I feel like I have more self-worth today, with no income, than I did when the cheques were rolling in.


 
Joel Bercardin
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Alana Rose wrote:

r ranson wrote:

"If your job/skill would be automated out of existence what would you do instead?"



From my point of view, it's a funny sort of a question because I don't see how it's relevant.  Everything I do already has an automated replacement available.  A more interesting question to me is "why do people still want human-made products and services when automated alternatives are readily available?"


Thanks for sharing this. It is quite fascinating. Do you have a thread where you describe your story of how you provide for yourself through these ways,


Alana, r ranson did share how she was apportioning her time — doing craft work & also a part-time off-homestead job.  Her posts on this are up higher (in the previous pages of this thread). (She may also have told her story elsewhere on Permies.) But in this thread, numerous people shared their philosophies & experience as to the economics of a land-based way of living.

What I'd be interested in is whether Permies members (r ranson included) now have further thoughts or understandings, matured by their experiences & observations during the COVID pandemic months.
 
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I suppose much is definitional.  I have only worked a total of 18 months in my life.  Most of the time I have had fun.
 
Joel Bercardin
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John F Dean wrote:I suppose much is definitional.  I have only worked a total of 18 months in my life.  Most of the time I have had fun.


But been paid to have that fun, I presume.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Joel,

Certainly!  I do understand reality, but it amazes me that people will spend their lives working at a job they hate.
 
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I might be off topic again here...
I found a book called "the two factor theory".
It focused on the; to each according to what they produce economic model.
Mentioned something called universal capitalism.

 The point was that labor produces very little.
For instance sewing by hand produces less
than could/would be produced using a sewing machine,... most of the time right?hehe.
Not working any harder, often less labor being invested still produces more.
By making a capital investment in the sewing machine
you are now making a wage for what the machine produces.
(I read it again and couldn't find this "wage of the machine" in the book anywhere
so it's apparently it's something I made up in my head but that's what I got from the book.)

Before with the hand sewing you were just making  a wage for your labor.
Now you get your wage and
a wage of the machine.
The two factor theory.

Now you make enough to buy another sewing machine,..
but you can't sew on 2 machines at the same time.
So you hire someone to sew on the other machine.
Now you make the wage of their machine, your machine and your wage.
And they just make their wage.

Be it a loom or tractor that helps you produce more.
If they own the machine it's a job.
If you own the machine it's work.
Probably not always true but it sounds nice when typing it.

Point of the book was an economic system where one group owns the machines
while another provides labor
is unstable.

 So kind of on topic:
If when the time comes we own the automated machines we make their wage.
We don't get replaced we work beside them, able to walk away and let them handle much of the work.
Like a landscaper with an automated mower. Drop it off and program it to do the job.

 I make most of my money fixing cars.
Old VW diesels. It's not a job that would be easy to automate.
I have invested in tools and machines that help me produce more.

I am getting a good hazelnut harvest this year.
Cracking the shells by hand is time consuming and produces little.
I'll need to make a cracker.
Even if I do produce/process more shelled nuts with the shelling machine I'll eat them myself.
So I don't need a job to pay me so I can buy hazelnut butter.
Much of the work I do and things I produce
help me keep my expenses down.

When I told my buddy I'm going to build a hazelnut cracker.
He said, "That sounds delicious".
... should have saved that for the bad joke thread. ha.
But I might try to build a machine that makes hazelnut crackers,.. because that does sound delicious.
 
Joel Bercardin
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craig howard wrote:
The two-factor theory

The point was that labor produces very little.
For instance sewing by hand produces less
than could/would be produced using a sewing machine,... most of the time right?

Before with the hand sewing you were just making  a wage for your labor.
Now you get your wage and
a wage of the machine.

Be it a loom or tractor that helps you produce more.
If they own the machine it's a job.
If you own the machine it's work.
 I make most of my money fixing cars.
Old VW diesels. It's not a job that would be easy to automate.
I have invested in tools and machines that help me produce more.


Yes, that makes sense as a matter of principle. It's pretty much what Erik Ven meant in his initial post. But it often get’s tricky in the homestead context.

The principle of investing in a means of production (or “work” as you term it here) is sound. But iet’s differentiate between sorts of homesteaders: those who have deep pockets when they acquire their land & have enough money to invest in whatever equipment makes their efforts more efficient & productive (or enjoyable), and homesteaders who get onto the land but don't have the money to purchase the most efficient, appropriate  equipment right off the bat.

The second sort of person may have to take off-homestead work to pay off the land & improve buildings (or whatever), and have little or no extra capital for the best equipment to earn money from life on the homestead. This was our experience on our land, and it took years to change that situation. Sure, some places here are inhabited by descendants of old, pioneer families, with little or no debt being incurred. But I can tell you that at least 80% of the people who've bought land around here in the last 40 years were in the position of the type of person or family who did not arrive with oodles of money.  (The situation has changed in very recent years as some people have moved here, from urban places, with money to build a roomy house, have a fully modern hobby workshop, a car & truck, a motorcycle, motorboat, etc.)

Over time I’ve improved the range of tools I have at hand, and improved quite a number of them over the outmoded, inefficient ones I had at first.  One of the first things I did was to supplement & improve my woodworking/carpenter tools, so I could get employment as an assistant carpenter. I pushed snow by hand for decades before finally affording a motorized snowblower. Overall, I’ve needed to do the acquisitions at a gradual pace — wanting to avoid debt & all that it entails.
 
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