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Forum Post: The System is well and truly broken

Posted 7 years ago on Nov. 25, 2012, 8:59 p.m. EST by Misaki (893)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

First, working less is the solution to all the problems in society right now. Previous threads:

But if you're as lazy as I am, you weren't going to support the idea if there was a more efficient way to do it. This would have been someone with a reputation publicly supporting it, so that the old media would take it seriously and people would not be embarrassed to admit that it really is this easy.

People with reputations have not supported it, and they fall into several categories.

Influential people who know about the idea, and think it would have a positive result

Reasons for not supporting it:

  • fear of change
  • fear of alienating friends
  • fear of being responsible for any negative effects, such as if after abandoning war we are surprised by an alien invasion... or maybe that this is the alien invasion
  • general incompetence, like not having an explanation for why unemployment exists and ignoring its effects in trade agreements

Moderately influential people who know about the idea, but think it would have a negative effect

This is basically some economists.

  • they are obsessed with GDP and ignore environmental damage from overconsumption

Economists who don't know about the idea but should have discovered it before

  • they assume that rich people are selfish, despite that 95% of people in the top 1% work and get half their income from working, and so even if working less did fix the economy they think that rich people aren't interested in doing so
  • fear of change
  • poor incentives from a flawed system of university promotions and status within the academic community
  • in general they think it isn't possible (see "NAIRU" and "Phillips curve") and so they don't even try

Business people who, unlike economists, actually get results and have experience with hiring people

  • they are bad at economics and don't understand that the US has plenty of wealth
  • they don't understand why their employees work long hours when work-life-balance policies are available
  • they want to do everything themselves, which means working long hours and can't imagine any other way for society to be

This is why we end up with things like the President saying that climate change is not a priority right now because jobs are more important. The same thing logically applies to the military and every other way of creating jobs even if it isn't really necessary in itself.

Maybe the best argument that we can afford to work less is that we have something like 2 million people in prison, costing around $30~50k per person, who would probably not be in prison if they had a job. We are already paying for them to do nothing. It would be better to pay them to actually do some work.

One of the fears people have about working less is that it also means paying fewer taxes. Since so much of government spending right now is just to create jobs, there is no fixed goal for tax revenues and working less would be a good thing.

But once we run out of unemployed people who can fill job slots, we could easily end up with a shortage of tax revenues compared to spending. For example, suppose everyone was employed and spending on Social Security/Medicare exactly balanced the revenues from payroll taxes.

If someone worked less (who is below the $110k cap so their marginal income is subject to payroll taxes), we still have the same number of old people. Spending would stay the same, but revenues would decrease. Unless we decrease benefits, we would need to raise payroll taxes on everyone slightly to make up for the shortfall in revenue.

Some people might think this is unfair. Others might think that if someone chooses to work less and only make $25k/year instead of $50k, they are paying less taxes but they are also getting less money. The people who are working more, and paying more in taxes, should not complain because they are also being paid more. If we raise taxes it will affect everyone but the person who makes $25k/year can't complain about higher taxes because it is their choice to avoid earning more money to offset that loss.



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[-] 4 points by GirlFriday (17435) 7 years ago

Still justifying underemployment.

[+] -4 points by Misaki (893) 7 years ago

You say that like it's a bad thing. ._.

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 7 years ago

It is.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 7 years ago


  1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
  3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Working more does not mean happier.

[-] 0 points by Coyote88 (-24) 7 years ago

Please: do you understand any of this? The OP makes no sense.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 7 years ago

The System is well and truly broken = CORRECT

Problem = Your underemployment BS is not any sort of consideration for a fix Go back to the drawing board and do some re-thinking - a lot of rethinking.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 7 years ago

I'm not suggesting that poor people work less. They should keep working hard. (This is what you are telling me they should do at least.) Or if they're on welfare, once unemployment goes down they can get a job.

But rich people should work less since they already have plenty to spend without earning more.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 7 years ago

Wealthy need not work at all. Those who need to work need full time employment with a living wage.

[-] 0 points by Misaki (893) 7 years ago

Well, 95% of the top 1% are currently working so you are wrong. http://www.nextnewdeal.net/rortybomb/who-are-1-and-what-do-they-do-living

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 7 years ago

This is a test of OWS's capabilities

I'm making yet another new thread so that things don't get confused. (Was going to... cooldown on new threads. I just don't like most of the comments of a thread being replies to myself.) Basically, working less would fix the economy and everything that OWS has a problem with, like high Wall Street profits. Certain influential people are aware of this. If you want to believe unconfirmed speculation, also known as delusions of the mind, this is why they have not openly supported it:

1) They didn't have enough confidence in themselves to immediately act once they understood how it worked, in June of last year.

2) This message, at the end of July, announced that ...

"Economists are not going to fix the economy, since they see their job only as knowing how to make the numbers go up and where those numbers go is not their responsibility—and after all, maybe it isn't!—and while the President means the best for the nation, he is dependent on his economic advisors and partisan conflicts have drawn attention away from the real problems that many people are reminded of every day. The future, as always, lies in the hands of the people."

3) OWS happened in September.

4) OWS failed in its goals, but kept trying.

5) Proof that said influential people did not fully understand society, and yet as evidenced by the popularity of The Hunger Games there was a chance that people in OWS understood society better.

6) OWS keeps trying. Influential people feel unworthy, or something. That by supporting the concept now when they didn't last year, they would be stealing 'credit' from OWS.

Until now, the only explanation for why OWS did not support the idea was that "OWS feels that specific solutions are not its responsibility. The problems in society are not important enough to analyze solutions."

However, if problems are not important, then there is no reason for influential people to risk their reputations on an unusual solution. After OWS took the initiative by saying that it was worth protesting instead of letting things continue as usual (with 2 million people in jail, 12 million unemployed, drone attacks in Pakistan etc.) there is a need to 'complete the story' by either concluding that there is a problem with the intentions or the capabilities of OWS or for OWS to achieve the solution itself.

Intentions: "OWS does not actually care about poor people, or is unwilling to accept a solution that would help people in other countries even if it means fewer resources like oil for people in the US." Or, "smart people in OWS are unwilling to support it and are just taking advantage of problems to make themselves look good."

Capabilities: "OWS is too stupid to understand it."

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 7 years ago

I personally enjoy working, so if this was implemented and I still wanted to work a lot, would I be able to?

[-] 0 points by Misaki (893) 7 years ago

Of course. Since (involuntary) unemployment would be very low or basically nonexistent, everyone else could find work as well.

Skilled people currently do not have a problem finding work even if it's just a retail job, but unskilled people do.

Since the "time macho" culture makes it easier to get promoted when you work a lot, you might have less of an advantage there but I doubt you would have a problem with that.

[-] 0 points by Misaki (893) 7 years ago

Banned from the IRC chat on this website, as a result of posting this link: http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-inflation-scam/

Apologies to jart. It must be painful having to deal with such people.