Sunday, September 04, 2011

Work and idleness 4/4: Individualist take

If it's not personal what you do for 40 hours a week, then what is? Individualism has two sets of attitudes towards work.

The ideal condition is to do what you love. This is based on the idea that you should express yourself and reach your potetial. Your unique life is an identity project, where you work towards reaching your highest potential.

For the rest of us, work is just a way to earn money. Self-actualization is pushed to leisure, for example holiday trips. Work is a little despicaple sign of slave mentality and lack of wealth, visible in phrases like "office drone" or "grease monkey". It is the opposite of life. How tough guy you are is measured by how much money you get, how much ass you kick and how little you give to others.

For both earners and self-actualizers, the impact of work on others is irrelevant.

Individualists admire people who have found "cheat codes of reality" and don't need to work, for example poker professionals, and also people who game the system to distribute income to them.

Problem: Free riders

Societies embracing individualist attitudes run into problems, when having a work ethic becomes contemptible. Not everyone can be idle.

Most people seem to follow individualist work ethic. Citizens vote governments, which allow them to free ride on social benefits, which are never high enough. Governments take debt to fund social spending. Sovereign debt crisis follows.

No comments: