Self-Determined Work



Work is a human right. We all want to work. If you do not want to work, you are sick. If you do not work, you get sick.

Work determines our life. Work is part of our identity. 

Sounds provocative? Maybe, but it is not, on closer inspection. As a first important point, I would like to make it clear that I generally speak of work, not (only) of gainful employment.

Work is a human right. Being forced to do nothing is torture. In our current social welfare system, those affected are not forced to act inactivity, but they have the obligation to be available to the labor market (for socially-insured jobs) this makes it very difficult for them to look for a different job. From a low paid additional activity only the Job-center has a financial gain. Nevertheless, people are forced into measures that bring them nothing, but only the statistics of the employment office. Or to 1€-Jobs, which they then hold them back from another activities like for example, a honorary activity, a better self-sufficiency or personal development. Again and again I experience that the regulations at Hartz 4 are significantly in the way of a career development process. And that, although it is well known that long-term unemployment makes you sick. Health care costs continue to rise, but causes are blamed on individuals. “Own guilt” screams at the company, if you have not managed to become a cog in the transmission.

Work can also make you sick

Depression is increasing. Unemployment, (alienated) work (especially if it serves only to secure one’s livelihood), and even on entering the well-earned pension increase the risk of becoming ill.

We go from the normal working conditions

People want to work. In the philosophical sense of the work, this covers all processes of the conscious creative engagement of man with nature and society. I am for an unconditional basic income, so that work is rethought. For all. And no longer reduced to wage labor. We do not run out of work, no matter how many robots there will be. What we assume are normal working conditions. It has to be responded to. And my suggestion would be, on the one hand, to get all other forms of work on board and, on the other hand, to uncouple livelihoods from work.

Of course, illness can also lead to temporary or permanent incapacitation. These people, too, must be provided with decent human resources.

 The conditional basic income is based on a suspicious human image

There are many representatives of a CONDITIONAL Basic Income. With work duties and / or a means test. This is based on a suspicious human image. This is actually sad for the people who think that way, who were so influenced. You have worries and fears: no one works anymore? Will we all go down? Do I have to starve? I would like to reassure them but giving in to the desire for duty and control is harmful.

There is a natural need for participation, intrinsic motivation to co-operate

Studies with children have shown that there is a natural need to help, to empathy, even to ethics. Any mother could confirm this from her toddler on her own. But the studies have also shown how this intrinsic motivation can be disturbed: by rewarding them. A child who is rewarded with praise or sweets for his “good deed” stops, or in the future makes it only for a return. It would be very interesting to see if generous, giving people had different experiences in their lives. Unfortunately, I have not found anything yet. For a hint or source, I would be grateful.

Resolve mutual dependencies and replace them with trust

It is about the reciprocity (the interdependence), as the otherwise by me highly appreciated Niko Paech formulated it. So, that you only get something if you give something. Or just give something if you get something. Morally speaking, actually a bad character, but still the basis of our political and economic system. The principle of supply and demand even assumes that give and take are in balance. I think the proof that this is not true, is being delivered in many market-dominated societies. At least when it comes to paying for work, the relationship between performance and wages has long ceased to exist.

If we are all (intrinsically motivated) have lost the independent give and take with time, through the experiences we have made, then it would be good to see if this is to be changed by other experiences, we could start an experiment or field trial, and just give it a try.

My life without exchange rate

I often talk about us here, although I actually think differently now. For my own part, I have long since given up the belief in reciprocity. I give what I can give and I take/demand what I need. There is no exchange rate. My own constitution, my life circumstances, my abilities and my needs are not always the same. Not with myself, over time and certainly not in comparison with others. I used to calculate everything and felt constantly wronged. But I have learned that this does not help. I have nothing to compare with others. To be satisfied and to have a full life, I have to take care that I get what I need. And then I can give everything my own potential has to offer. What others need and can offer has nothing at all to do with my own life satisfaction.

Comparison makes you hungry, greedy and insatiable

On the contrary, even the comparison itself makes you hungry, greedy, insatiable. Since I do not look anymore, what the others have, but only what I need, I need much less and I feel much better. I would like to see more people making this experience. Less fear, more dignity, less comparison, more life.

An unconditional basic income as institutionalized trust

An unconditional basic income can institutionalize this experience. It would no longer be the invisible hand of the free market that enslaves us, but the caring of the state. In smaller groups of people who live in the mode of existence, this also works without a state and without money. In a complex society, such as the industrialized world, people and with the preconditions of a population that is strong in terms of performance, comparisons, and mistrust, an unconditionally paid amount in money would be the right direction.

Would we still work then?

Again, back to work. Would we still work then? I say yes. Once again, I speak of all forms and characteristics of work.

Do you all just play saxophone or paint pictures? I say no. It will do all the work that is considered necessary and useful. The dirty work? Yes. If it is necessary and meaningful. Which mother does not wrap her child just because she may find it disgusting? Who does not clean his own toilet? Apart from those who can’t. Everyone sees that it has to be done. It is really only about responsibility. And you can clarify that. With the help of social rules (like a cleaning plan in a flat share) or with the help of money. So, you either split up, do it yourself, or pay somebody to do it. That’s it already. That would stay that way. The one who does it does it for itself, for the group or for an additional financial need that goes beyond the basic income.

And what about the work that nobody finds useful or necessary? We will let that be.



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