Why Do We Work?

Is it time yet to divorce productivity from employment?

We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors.

The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.

— Buckminster Fuller, 1981.


This is one of my all-time favourite quotes by one of my all-time favourite humans. Bucky Fuller was the definition of a polymath, and notorious for a slew of really good and really controversial ideas across many different fields.

Let’s start with a definition of wealth that makes no mention of money:

Wealth is our organized capability to cope effectively with the environment, and sustain our (physical, mental, and spiritual) well-being for the forward days of our lives.

via Why Do We Work? — We Live in the Future — Medium.

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