Baby boomers tend to hold on to traditional capitalist views. Our parents believe that, if you want something bad enough, you’ll work for it. They say that hard work equals success. They also equate working hard and striving to earn a lot of money is what makes a good work ethic. This isn’t necessarily true.
Our parents lived through the Cold War. They looked at communism and socialism as evil things. The notion that people should receive a universal basic income is scary to them. They don’t think anyone deserves a handout.
Our parents look at panhandlers and they don’t see someone that’s working hard. In fact, they don’t look at what they do as work at all. They think these people are just freeloaders, asking hard working people for their money.
This may be true. But, can you really discount what it takes to stand in the cold and hot weather begging people for money all day? And, if that panhandler ends up making more than most college graduates, good for him. He must be really good at what he does.
It’s hard to imagine what this world would be like if we all got to do the work we love. Some of the most passionate people make very little at their craft. Look at artists, musicians and volunteers. They don’t do it for the money. They do what makes them feel good. They do what they love.
Most of us don’t know what that feels like. We’ve been part of an establishment that teaches us that the only real work is hard work. Unless we do what feels like a chore 40 hours a week, we have no “work ethic.”
But, is that really a work ethic? Are we supposed to applaud people who do something they hate only so they can survive? Is this something we should aspire to? If we had universal basic income, everyone could focus on what they love instead on what they have to do to get by.
Another argument people make is that robots will one day take over our jobs. Would that really be all bad? If we had universal basic income, the robots could do all of our jobs. That would free us up to spend our time and energy creating things we love. We could actually put our efforts toward something we care about instead of just working for the weekend.
What would the world be like if the only people who held jobs were those who wanted them. How much more pleasant would our dining experiences be if only people who loved food service were waiters? It’s not even imaginable. Society is so far removed from this notion that most people can’t fathom what this would be like.
We need to move closer to a world in which people work toward what they love instead of worrying about making a living. That is the real work ethic my friends.