Work Index

Work Rights and Wrongs

  1. Work Definition: Problem-solving Time-Creator

  2. Democracy: Right to work and own

  3. Work Thieves: Slavemasters

  4. Right To Work

  5. Right To Strike

  6. Optimal Workweek

  7. Work Fools: Self-defeating and wrong to work

Work Definition: Problem-solving Time-Creator

Work is semantically, functionally, and etymologically, with good reason, related to worth: In principle, if you work you have more worth. Or, as Sartre said, "To do is to be." What you do is what you are. This principle is only valid in an economy with an honest, functional currency, that is, one which pays workers what they are existentially worth as time-creating problem-solvers. Failure to understand the nature of the need for work can be like teaching non-swimmers how to use the waterslide on a sinking cruise ship instead of how to swim. Or, obsessing about where a basketball player is going to move in a declining, bankrupt economy--LeBron James, 2010.

Unfortunately, in these days of semantic slippage by habitual politicians and tenured economists, "work" is a Humpty-Dumpty phrase , that is, whatever you want it to be, e.g., green jobs are groan jobs killing mother nature.. Punching a timeclock and receiving a paycheck is often taken to indicate one is working. Likewise, ownership of stock is often taken to indicate one is a capitalist.  Many are paycheck players and stock-owning decapitalists.

Without a timistic analysis, one may be praising the wolves in sheeps' clothing, e.g., groan jobs and decapitalist. The latter does not capitalize jobs by putting heads (capita) to work. Rather, the decapitalists reduce the workforce by decapitating jobs and causing unemployment. Worse than playing as a worker is gambling with stocks to cause unemployment for thousands or millions of workers.

The morality of more time provides a simple, quantifiable means to answer Thoreau's question, "What are we busy at?" Timistically, are we busy creators or busy cancers, that is, are we busy working at solving time-wasting problems or playing at ignoring or causing time-wasting problems.

Mother Nature has an absolute understanding of what work is: Work is solving time-wasting problems that are the cost of living. Work is not ignoring or causing time-wasting problems that are part of the cost of lying, wants, waste and worries. It is unethical for a person possessed of and obsessed with the play pathos to claim the work ethic. The cost of humanity has too much play instead of work. Similarly, it is a wrong for coaches to claim to be leaders. Nasty examples of semantic slippage. Bah, humbug!

Democracy: Right to work and own

The importance of work to a stable productive society can be seen in the origin of democracy in Greece. Contrary to modern semantic antics, democracy does not mean "popular rule." The demo refers to divisioning as in demolish or demographics. Cracy is most often translated as to rule. Work is the basis of an individual or group ruling one's problems out of existence. Voting doesn't solve problems unless it increases productivity per capita at work. One should see that the origin of democracy was about optimally and logically divisioning work whereby the person, family, community and state could have higher, continual productivity. Ask any black Ameican if the historical advance of voting rights was matched by comparable work rights.

Except in an economic or military crisis--see Meaningful Rights: Responsible Dictators--the Greeks did not let one man do everything because it was both illogical and absurd. The Greeks did not want a person or a state stealing the fruit of another's labor created by that other's sweat of the brow. (The Greeks were ethical ancestors of Thomas Jefferson, both of whom owned slaves.) Seeing a correlation between production and ability, Greece established a meritocracy--a timocracy--of rights based on one's annual production. The person who could prevent the wrong of starvation by outproducing others should have the right to run for highest office. (This timistic writer thinks it cool to discover that an essential part of Greek democracy was the word "time" which signified "value, honor and price." Wow. Time is the jigsaw pattern that cuts across cultural and historical boundaries.)

Rights were assigned based on food productivity, that is, work productivity. Democracy was about "divisioning of labor or work" to ensure that everyone worked by ensuring property rights and leadership opportunities--see index. It is obvious to see in Greek democracy how the creation of time (qualified and quantified in food) was the basis of rights. This was echoed in the government and social structure of the world power that subdued and succeeded Greece, The Republic of Rome, a democracy limited to the land-rich pubes--res pubes. The basis for the rise and decline of empires can be reduced to one variable, productivity per capita or time-creation per capita. Pax Americanus is being supplemented by the Sino empire because the former plays while the latter works.

(You may argue that this synonymity of work and rule is neither deductive nor deductive reasoning. You are right. It is transductive, that is, the chicken and egg happened at the same time.)

Based on the role of time creation/cancering in determining rights and freedom, a number of issues can be clarified by applying the timistic razor.

Work Thieves: Slavemasters, Stealing Worktime

Slavery is the taking the fruits of another person's worktime, in part or whole. This can be done by legal law with bodily chains or with mental chains. The latter can be self-imposed as people live lies that enslave themselves to work jobs they hate to pay for things they no longer want, e.g., bigger house or car.

While laws against overt bodily slavery have been enacted over the years, e.g., British Navy enforcing ban on slavery trade and the US Civil War laws, there are laws that legalize widespread, institutionalized slavery if one accepts that slavery is the continual forced servitude of one person to work for another. The plantation master clearly was a slavemaster stealing the worktime of others. Less obvious--but logical and observable--is the theft or transfer of wealth from the working class to the non-working class. For the millions of dollars lost to welfare, it is the billions lost to wealthfare that is sucking dry the savings and pensions of the working class.

Modern day slavery is legally happening all the time as the habitual politicians have legalized economic privileges (private laws from the public law process). The politicians' friends get paid more for doing less. In a zero-sum world , this is legalized slavery because the de-privileged are deprived of their full earnings as the privileged 1) overcharge for goods or services and 2) underpay their fair share of taxes. Ferrous bodily chains have been replaced by financial mental chains.

An irony and justice is how America does not work anymore because most Americans are self-enslaving with the play pathos. As players, they feel entitled to get something-for-nothing , e.g., free government, free military, free healthcare, free retirement. When one is both the enslaving master and the suffering slave, one is the source of one's own enslavement. One is constantly stealing from one's self by not working to solve one's problems. One is wasting one's time. One cannot escape the desperation of this self-imposed servitude because one has polluted one's mind with lies, wants, wastes and worries. Worse than ferrous or financial chains are cancerous frames of mind.

Right To Work

Most people understand that slavery is wrong; that is, one should not steal another person's worktime. At the same time, most people believe that one has a right to work to acquire the necessities of life. (The political issue of "right to work" is not being discussed here--it is a separate issue that is a victim of semantic slippage like the "pro-life" claim by cretinists who are killing life on earth with bigger and bigger litters.) The right to work was the essence and origin of democracy in Ancient Greece.

An  interesting shift in one's "right to work" opinion occurs when one might have to work less in order that an unemployed person might exercise his right to work to feed himself and his family. This opinion shift or qualification was evident in the 1850's Northern Abolitionists who wanted the slaves to be freed with the qualification that they stay down South or go elsewhere--a moral NIMBY, Not In My Back Yard. Likewise, most working people do not want to work less so that the unemployed can work. However, their tune changes when they become the chronic, long-term unemployed (like the pet owners who cannot live without their pets until they abandon them upon foreclosure of their underwater house.)

The irony is that those who are work fools--see below--are paying for the unemployed to survive. Employed people pay with higher taxes, higher insurance and higher crime with a rising public debt at all levels. The rising debt--individuals or groups living beyond their means--is a ticking timebomb that will destroy workers' lifestyles and retirements.

Right To Strike

If you are thirsty and need a cup of water, is it wise to strike whereupon the waterboy who offers you half a cup if you let him have two cups. Before long, you will die of thirst. To withhold your worktime until you are given more water is okay if you will really get more water. In these days of shrinkage inflation where the 16 oz coffee bag has become a 10.8 bag, striking for more symbols or funny numbers is a fool's game. It is like the waterboy offering a full cup of water that is three ounces instead of eight ounces. Like a fool, you brag that you won a full cup of water by using your right to strike. You are like the average Zimbawaen who is a billionaire in a land where a sandwich costs half a billion.

To strike for more funny numbers on funny paper in a zero-sum world is not funny if the funny paper bureaucrats increase their numbers by twice your newly gained funny numbers. It is like someone offering you a bigger house by using a copier to blow up your house deed to 150% while removing the garage. If you want to increase your buying power, that is, how many hours of life you can buy with your eight hours of work, strike against those who are overpaid, that is, those who are stealing your real wealth. Organize to methodically and peacefully implement change. Otherwise, prepare for desperation and demise.

Optimal Workweek:

There are many optimal levels of activity for a dynamic system. For instance, to thrive, plants and animals need an optimal amount of water on a regular basis. Too little can kill as well as too much (water intoxication). A similar example is the expression of love for a newborn child. Children without affection are more likely to be dysfunctional adults as are the children smothered by too much irrelevant love. Sad are unhappy newly pubescent girls who think expressions of love create a happy, functional life as they spread their legs to a sweet talker. An optimal life will probably elude both baby mother and newborn baby.

For a given person, family, community or nation (dyanmic systems), there is an optimal workweek to have optimal growth, stability, and security. Like too much or too little water, the dynamic systems will suffer if they do not determine their optimal workweek. For a community, failure to determine and establish an optimal workweek is the recipe for higher economic costs of unemployment, underemployment and misemployment. These cancerous costs are higher rates of deficits, inflation, insurance and crime which destroy the dynamic systems. A simple statement captures the need for an optimal workweek: Share job time or share jobless crime.

Through the Manheaven Project, a form  is provided by which a person can list the number of hours they work each week so as to establish the baseline for an optimal workweek. Many problems will disappear when we have full-employment with job certainty by adjusting the workweek length to reflect economic, environmental or technical changes--see 24 in 4.

A person who works more than optimal workweek is a two-faced workthief, stealing from himself and stealing from others. Like the slavemaster, he stealing some of the time of another. Like a fool, because of the problems of unemployment, he is stealing from himself with rising costs of the unemployed (tax, inflation and insurance costs).

It is important to note that this writer has long been a proponent of reducing the workweek as our forebears did. In 1900, the average workweek was over 70 hours. By 1932, it had dropped to below 50 hours. Because the habitual politicians did not adjust labor laws to enforce an optimal workweek, they started borrowing money (deficits) to keep voters on 40-hour unnecessary jobs that are now killing life on earth. Now they want to add groan jobs to keep people working 40 hours. Perhaps the habitual politicians don't want voters to have some free time to think?

In the depths of the 1930's Great Depression when unemployment was 25%, we would not have had to metastasize more bureaucracy and welfare if the habitual polticians and their tenured economists had imposed a 25% reduction in the workweek to 30 hours. Then everyone could have worked to meet the needs of living with the economy re-balancing itself from the ground up.  Instead, they borrowed and printed money to keep people working 40-hours. Duh!

Today, the same self-destructive thinking is pushing the economy to the brink of a greater disaster than the Great Depression. Then, the public deficits and debts were nothing compared to today's public and private IOUs. The solution is the same, optimize the workweek along with the re-timing of all debts into lifehours. The result will be that all people have more buying power each year working fewer hours in a safer, saner world.

Work Fools: More and more people are trying to solve their personal financial crisis by working harder and longer rather than, as proposed in 24 in 4, working smarter and shorter. The failure to implement an optimal workweek with overtime starting at the optimal length, workers are part of the cycle that is cheapening each hour of the day, on and off the job. Remember, unemployed people have to be fed and sheltered. Only the worker (payroll taxes today or tomorrow [deficits]) pays for non-worker. Better to let the unemployed work for themselves than to slave away to pay higher taxes, insurance and inflation costs in a world less safe for self and loved ones. Anyone who works more than the optimal workweek is a fool throwing away his money, his time and, maybe, his life. Either we share jobtime or we will share jobless crime.

Also see essays in Wage Rights

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