> >The Abolition of Work
> Great essay, Chuck. I particularly liked this comment of Bob Black's:
> "Twenty years ago, Paul and Percival Goodman estimated that
> just five percent of the work then being done -- presumably the figure,
> if accurate, is lower now -- would satisfy our minimal needs for food,
> clothing, and shelter. Theirs was only an educated guess but the main
> point is quite clear: directly or indirectly, most work serves the
> unproductive purposes of commerce or social control. Right off the bat
> we can liberate tens of millions of salesmen, soldiers, managers, cops,
> stockbrokers, clergymen, bankers, lawyers, teachers, landlords, security
> guards, ad-men and everyone who works for them. There is a snowball
> effect since every time you idle some bigshot you liberate his flunkeys
> and underlings also. Thus the economy *implodes*.
A social economy (where participants make at least some of the items they routinely consume) will have to pay the same taxes for the same services as everyone else. It's like putting soldiers, cops, and teachers on the payroll. Also, some occupations, like lawyers, will be needed in the interaction between the social economy and the external, capitalist environment. Market participation will require sales and promotion, though not nearly to the degree of typical corporations, whose strategy relies on moving large quantities of cheap, mass-produced "goods." Quality, on the other hand, sells itself.
With skilled, "neo-craft" work, managers won't be needed at all. The downside is the greater cost per worker. That's why the de-atomizing of labor into skilled teams must be combined with the de-atomizing of consumption and housing. With a little thrift, the rise in the cost of training workers is offset by the reduction in the cost of providing a desirable standard of living. The commons must be home as well as work.
No need for management, brokers, or the capitalists they both serve. However, as Mondragon demonstrates, without a bank you're not gonna have much in the way of an alternative economy. The bank coordinates financing of start-ups and expansion in current enterprises (some of which might serve the commons exclusively while others would also serve the outside market). Insurance is also crucial, since we could provide our own far more cheaply than relying on outsiders. In short, we need to pool capital. But instead of having high-paid professionals combined with legions of low-paid clerks, we'd have a singular, self-managing workforce of paper-pushers.
>It is no accident that the "tertiary sector," the service sector, is
growing while the "secondary
> sector" (industry) stagnates and the "primary sector" (agriculture) nearly
As the capitalist economy continues disconnecting from reality (i.e. useful production) in pursuit of the virtual production that serves to enhance profit-making, it becomes increasingly vulnerable to competition from a rational, social economy.