16.1.19

Jobs Are Lies

Today has been filled by potent news. Particularly in the UK and in the USA, the peculiarity of newsworthy events, I observed, is driving correspondents to repeat, ‘... but, these are not normal times,’ as their only explanation.

In the United States, almost a million government workers have gone without pay for a month now. Some of them are being fed by humanitarian groups and celebrity chefs, and the Canadians are ordering pizzas for some of them near the undefended border, if that’s not mistaken.

Workers, even for the people's government, are nevertheless vulnerable to getting temporarily fired or forced to work uncompensated by the caricature of a CEO-as-president. The whole affair is a farce, in concrete and contemporaneous terms, of the situation that has been concerning me greatly of late: the very institution, employment, which has been brainwashed into people as the most reliable, stable, responsible, respectable, smart way to earn a living -- and, serving the public by working for the government deserves all the better praise -- is showing itself to be the very opposite.

Another internal contradiction of employment pitched as a good deal specifically in the American context is how it contradicts the ‘rugged individualist’ credo of this country. Mass employment of American citizens, mostly by enormous corporations, is a lot less rugged than a citizenry composed of entrepreneurs.

If we indeed are considering an alternative reality in which the norm is for people to own their own businesses, then the society would face the decision of which types of work merit having jobs attached -- presumably these would include government work related to national defense and public safety, which would be highly paid positions (since living as an employee is a sacrifice compared to living as an entrepreneur).

There is more sad irony in this current partial government shutdown by relating it to our alternate reality example since we imagined that our government's workers would have been among those chosen to perform those highly paid, personally taxing roles as employees, and they are the ones being treated as disposable right now.

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