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The Work Fetish

by Felix Feistel
There are already more cars than Germany needs, more smartphones, computers, servers, machines than anyone really needs...There is no compulsion to build and construct so that engineers can justify their jobs, and on the other hand, there is no longer a compulsion to grow, which always makes new developments necessary.
The Work Fetish

The ideology of wage labor is the root of all evil.

It is a fundamental part of our society: wage labor. Every day, millions of Germans make a pilgrimage to their workplaces to do their day's work. It seems so natural, so normal, that most don't even think about it. Yet wage labor is not only an energy robber, but also a system of slavery that traps people in dependence and bondage. It would not be necessary at all in its current form.

by Felix Feistel

[This article posted on 4/11/2023 is translated from the German on the Internet,]

Some time ago, the Tagesspiegel headlined, "32.8 hours per week: Germans' desired working hours sink to record low." The accompanying article states that Germans want shorter working hours than ever before. Even if they have to give up money to do so, Germans want to work an average of just 32.8 hours a week. Instead of acknowledging such a positive development, this news immediately attracts critics. The argument is that fewer working hours would lead to a decline in German prosperity, which would result in Germany moving "in the direction of Somalia. Another reason is that investors would turn their backs on Germany if the Germans lost "any ambition," as is apparently the case with lower desired working hours.

Of course, such arguments fall far short of the mark, ignore a large part of the economic conditions and cement the wage labor slavery in which people generally live today. For the fact that Germany is developing in the direction of a third-world country is primarily the fault of the privatization mania of neoliberalism, which has led to the fact that nothing, no railroads, no health care, no pensions work anymore. Added to this is capitalism, which has been in crisis for years and is now once again collapsing - a fact that must be whitewashed and transformed with war at home (Corona fascism) and abroad (Ukraine). Also to blame is the corruption that has been rampant for decades, the dependence on US energy and other imports, the financial system, and Germany's absurd export policy, which has ruined half the EU.

So the fact that people have discovered for themselves that work is not the meaning of life has nothing to do with the development of this country towards Somalia, as it is sometimes called. Especially since the elevation is nothing more than a pious wish that will always remain just that. For wage labor is a slave system in which slaves can wish for whatever they want - only they will not get it. In this system, people do not work first and foremost for themselves or to advance Germany in any way - to what end, in fact? -Instead, they work for the profits of the very investors who are giving Germany a wide berth. Is it really so bad that profit-hungry big capitalists no longer want to use Germany as an instrument of self-enrichment?

The system of wage labor is a perfect system of subjugation of most people. This subjugation is closely linked to money and the capitalization of all, even vital, areas.

Man needs food, water, a roof over his head, a means of transportation, clothes and some other things to survive. These however he receives only against money. Money, in turn, he gets only from those who have the money, that is, those who have land, means of production or simply financial resources - it is they who have ownership of the food, water, housing and so on. So instead of generously sharing what they have, they force other people to submit to them, to work for them, on any condition, however absurd and bad.

In this way, the individual creates even more value for those who already have much more than they need. He manufactures in industry, sows and harvests in the field large quantities of food, which then pass directly into the property of the capitalist, instead of the worker himself having a share in the fruits of his labor. In return for this, the working man then receives a meager pittance, which in no way outweighs the work done. With this, he can now go to the same capitalist and buy from him the commodity he himself has previously produced - which he must do in order to survive or have a certain standard of living. So the money earned flows right back to the capitalist. In between there are various predatory instances like the state, the health insurance companies and other insurances, which do not even provide real services, but only hold out their hand.

And here then the next compulsion to wage labor is imposed: Because in a world in which various insurances have been summarily declared compulsory and taxes have to be paid, one must compulsorily earn money. This, in turn, forces one to do wage labor for those very capitalists who do nothing more than capitalize the needs, if one wants to survive, and exploit the individual. Thus, the state and corporations work hand in hand to enslave the individual. Thus, the system of wage labor and money is a prison. It causes people to work without any real need. Since there is a compulsion to wage labor, this means, by implication, that there is a compulsion to provide wage labor for everyone. In this way, useless, superfluous or even harmful work is created just so that people can be "hired out" in this system.

System of Bullshit

Useless or harmful things are produced and sold, like plastic toys, always new technical devices or fast food. Also the production of weapons, poisonous chemistry and new roads, industrial estates and factories originates from the system-immanent compulsion to growth and the greed for profit of the "investors", but can always be well justified with the argument of the "created" jobs and be used for the defense of criticism. In this way, humanity has been given a whole series of jobs that David Graeber has called "bullshit jobs."

These are those jobs that add no value to society and could be eliminated without consequence. Especially in middle management and administration, such bullshit jobs can be found, which make the people who perform them unhappy and generate a considerable amount of additional social effort, which is completely superfluous and also has ecological implications.

The bloated production of ever new goods is also a consequence of the money and wage labor system. Money is, after all, the ultimate goal of labor, so any means justifies the end of obtaining it. For this purpose, new goods, devices and services are created, which do not fulfill any social added value, but on the contrary often bring more destruction. Examples are digitalization, electric cars, smartphones, but also luxury goods like golden watches, luxury cars, diamond rings and so on.

They are bought at a high ecological and human price. Instead of meeting people's real needs, the artificial needs for such things have to be created in the first place, which is achieved by all means of psychological manipulation - the advertising industry is born and keeps thousands and thousands of people working in it from doing anything worthwhile. As a result, you create even more superfluous things.

So the system of wage labor and money creates useless jobs and according to that it measures the distribution of produced goods, including those that are indispensable for life. This leads to an extreme inequality of distribution, since not every job is paid equally, and certainly not paid according to performance.

The fairy tale that those who earn more also perform better is and remains simply nonsense. Management, banks, administrations - all the people who work there perform far less than, for example, a nurse in a hospital. Nevertheless, they are paid much more and benefit to a greater extent from the fruits of the work performed by society as a whole, to which they themselves contribute nothing at all. For neither banks nor administrations nor the management of any company produce anything. The world can also do without advertising experts and influencers. But not farmers, nurses or craftsmen. In addition, economists already announced a hundred years ago that the 15-hour week would soon be a reality. And the only reason they didn't dare propose less was that they didn't think people would know how to handle it.

As we know today, the 15-hour week never became reality. Instead, only destruction was wrought in insane wars and with absurd ideologies, production was senselessly ramped up, and working hours were thus increased. Subsequently, after the world lay in ruins, the need for more work was naturally restored, since everything had to be rebuilt. This construction, which has now been completed for some time, is now again deliberately destroyed and the system is again transformed in order to keep the people in the slavery which this system represents.

At the same time, work is transfigured as something intrinsically good, as a virtue in itself. Instead of seeing it for what it is, namely a necessity in the slave system, it is even more morally exalted. Thus, people who devote their entire lives to their work are generally admired, are heroized, as if they were at war against an all-powerful enemy that threatens to destroy the world. Countless films and Netflix series are dedicated to them, in which this exaltation of work is generally normalized. This is intended to increase acceptance of one's own enslavement; indeed, people are still supposed to willingly and gladly allow themselves to be enslaved.

Consequently, nowadays everyone also works on his "career". In order not to endanger one's own "advancement" - to where, actually? - one denies oneself. One ducks away when injustices happen, pushes forward when there is something to be gained, and generally tries not to attract the unpleasant attention of the person who decides on this advancement. In this way, man degrades himself to the object of foreign domination and even considers this to be perfectly normal.

This is one of the reasons for which corona fascism could take place at all. Cowardice out of fear of endangering one's own career moved most people to be followers.

In all this delusion, mankind works no less today than it did a hundred years ago. For anyone who doesn't work is generally considered lazy and socially little respected - unless, of course, he has a gigantic fortune at his disposal. Then he is generally highly respected, honored as a "philanthropist" or admired because of his fortune. The fact that this person has only been able to build up his fortune at the expense of others, that it is the product of the exploitation of entire societies, is often lost in this admiration.

There is so much nonsense produced, so much work done, made and done as probably never before. But instead of people using what has been achieved and distributing it fairly to all, instead of cutting back a bit and turning to life, inequality and poverty are rising, fewer and fewer people can afford to live, which in itself is an expression of the madness in which we find ourselves. Nevertheless, people keep on producing, keep on working, and thus keep on driving the system.

The right to laziness

Paul Lafargue, son-in-law of Karl Marx, made fun of the communist demand for a "right to work" as early as the mid-19th century in his book "The Right to Laziness." The communists had indeed recognized the situation of the workers at that time, unlike the vast majority of people today. But instead of demanding an end to exploitation, an end to dependence on wage labor and an end to slavery, they demanded only a right to that slavery, that exploitation. Paul Lafargue quite rightly held that even then the fruits of production were sufficient to benefit all people without them having to continue to sacrifice themselves daily to their mania for work.

Today, conditions are even more absurd than in Lafargue's time, and yet many people insist on the compulsion to work and still glorify it as a virtue. Yet work, as a necessity for earning a living, is at the root of many social problems. It is not only the reason for increasing poverty and unequal distribution, for rampant ecological problems and related supply problems.

It also promotes health ills by leading to "civilization diseases" that are primarily due to people living unnaturally, as well as to the increasing poisoning of the environment and food. Accordingly, disease is now a profitable market, and so the pharmaceutical industry makes people structurally ill and dependent. But in the same way, the compulsion to wage labor promotes crime.

A large proportion of the crimes committed are crimes of poverty. And the potential for violence that leads to murder and manslaughter is also largely caused by poverty. Poverty is a systematic result of the money and wage labor system, which leads to inequality and injustice. In this way, then, such a system promotes crime.

Many people also depend on getting to their jobs. To do so, they have to commute daily by car or train. Congested roads and trains, traffic jams, noise, stress and massive exhaust fumes are the result. More and more roads are being built as more and more cars are produced to bring more and more people to their place of work. The absurd individual traffic with all its ecological and social consequences is a direct consequence of the compulsion to work.

Everything could be different

The solution would be quite simple: First of all, the superfluous work has to be abolished. Management, marketing, administration, the arms industry, the chemical industry - all of these will then no longer exist in the future. Next, the actual needs of the people will be determined: What do we really need to live? Even to live well?

The work required accordingly will then be distributed fairly among the people. However, this is not accompanied by coercion. Everyone is free to contribute where they want to contribute. Moreover, all this can be done completely locally. No one is forced to commute to the nearest big city and be constantly stuck in traffic jams, because growing food, sewing clothes, maintaining the water supply, all this is often possible locally - and is experienced as meaningful.

Money is not needed for this either. Instead, the products of the work can be distributed among the people as needed. Now one could critically counter: "But then who becomes an engineer, who builds machines, cars, who flies to the moon and explores space?" - justified objections. The answer is actually simple: One might ask what all this is necessary for in the first place.

Do people become happier by driving around in cars, or doesn't this rather speak of a local uprooting that is attempted to be compensated for somewhere on the outside? Doesn't man fly into space for the same reasons? Why does man always need new machines and devices? All this mania for innovation, which has basically never produced any real innovation, but has always only expanded the market of capitalized goods, is nothing more than trauma projected into the outside world, which is somehow tried to be processed.

Of course, many see humanity on the way back to the Middle Ages as a result. Wrongly, because the conditions of the Middle Ages, the feudal and estates rule, the German Kleinstaaterei, the wars and above all the rule of the church are not reactivated in this way.

Technically, moreover, all these things we want already exist. There are already more cars than Germany needs, more smartphones, computers, servers, machines than anyone really needs. But the ultimate answer to the question posed above is: Anyone who is also doing it today can continue to develop and build. There is just no social compulsion anymore. Because, on the one hand, there is no compulsion to build and construct so that engineers can justify their jobs, and on the other hand, there is no longer a compulsion to grow, which always makes new developments necessary.

In this way, there is even more freedom to produce real innovations that would otherwise never be researched for lack of imagination or the willingness of "investors" to finance them. Also the innumerable patents, which would bring real improvements to the people, but which have disappeared and are never used, because they endanger existing companies in their profit interests, could then be unpacked and tested.

In this way, by eliminating the need for work and money, humanity could actually take a real step forward in development, instead of stumbling along in its capitalist quagmire and slowly sinking. At the same time, the quality of life of each individual would increase dramatically.

However, given the criticism already triggered by the news that people want to work "only" 32.8 hours, there is still a long way to go before this development takes place. Capitalism will apparently have to wreak even greater destruction by then, lead to totalitarian fascism for a third time and fully enslave people in the digital dictatorship until they perhaps, possibly, possibly realize that it would be possible to live quite differently. Because no one seems to want real, radical change, in the sense of getting to the root of the many problems.

Therefore here a suggestion for a first step: We decapitalize only the goods necessary for living. Everything else can still be produced for money and sold for money. But food, housing, water, electricity, heating and clothing are free.

In return, the producers are not harassed with ever new regulations and thrown to the investors, but are supported to the best of their ability. Instead of sinking 100 billion into the arms industry, we invest the money in agriculture and support it in developing more ecologically and regeneratively. Instead of subsidizing countless large corporations with billions, we also invest the money in a gentle, ecological transformation of the entire supply. This will be brought back to Germany and set up locally. Instead of wheat, soy, fruit and vegetables from distant countries, we grow all this directly on site. What doesn't grow here, doesn't grow here.

At the same time, seeds and the necessary tools must be available free of charge, and so the sovereignty over them must be returned to those who cultivate the fields. The organization is transferred to the local population, of course in cooperation with higher levels. Instead of maintaining parliaments that are out of touch with reality, one could set up a council system consisting of citizens that becomes more subsidiary from level to level.

This means that local people decide for themselves about their concerns. Only decisions that cannot be made at the local level are elevated to the next higher level in consultation with the entire village, and so on. Mutual support of all towns and villages is also possible and desirable, of course. In this way, one also gradually makes superfluous the already corrupt and self-interest-driven government, which thinks it can make decisions for an entire country at a central location. And this also allows career politicians and administrators to devote their energy and time to meaningful activities.

The whole thing is not comparable to the "Great Reset" proclaimed by the World Economic Forum (WEF), because all these developments can be determined by the people themselves and they retain decision-making power at every level. It also does not serve to privatize property and redistribute money into the pockets of a few oligarchs, but rather finally abolishes money and puts land and means of production back into the hands where it belongs: in no one's private property, but under the management of the people who work there or live locally.

The world would be a lot more relaxed, since no one would have to "earn" their survival. There would still be plenty of work to do, and since it would be done locally and to fulfill one's needs, most people would have an understanding of its necessity. Moreover, this work can be much more fulfilling than shuffling papers back and forth in a bullshit job.

But even for such an idea, which is basically very simple and understandable, the time is probably not yet ripe. Because people are used to their enslavement, their dependence, and glorify it so much that anything else must seem strange to them. Humanity would rather perish in its misery than make changes in the hope of improving the situation. People today can imagine the end of the world rather than the end of capitalism, and so they will probably get that end.

Felix Feistel, born in 1992, writes in many ways about the idiocy of this world and also against it. In a world reduced to numbers and data, which has always been alien to him, he searches for humanity and the meaning of life. He tries to use his powers and talents to create a world worth living in by opposing injustice and destruction. Despite the madness that is rampant everywhere, he is not ready to give up his belief in the goodness of man and his potential to transform the planet into a paradise. He is a member of the Rubicon Youth Editorial Board and writes for the Young Feathers column.

Read more

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Underlying the phenomenon of enthusiasm for war is a rejection of reason.
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