A Predator of Information

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9 October 2019 6:33 PM (politics)

I work a well-paid, high-prestige job. This means that when I get sick or a family member dies or I have to go to the doctor, I can take time off.

People further down the labor prestige cycle get hit with a double-whammy since having a lower income overall means there's less 'slack' in their lives to rearrange things. (I have good enough health care coverage that I can pick doctors and look for one who has openings before I go in to work, for example, or offer later hours.) And this is terrible, as people can have their lives thrown into disarray and financial ruin just by getting sick even if they don't accrue terrible medical bills.

This is one reason why the Republicans in the Michigan legislature gutting our paid sick leave bill was so despicable. Though providing leave is really only a temporary fix to a larger problem.

As a communist (but not a Marxist), one of my basic beliefs is that we should reduce the necessity of work. (That doesn't mean we can't reward people for doing socially beneficial things, or even give them incentives to prompt people to develop their creative and intellectual faculties. It just means that the base level of material needs required for eudaemonia (food, shelter, clothing, freedom of movement, communications, beauty, and so on) should be available to everyone for nothing. When jobs are things that one does for a time either for the satisfaction of the work or to gain some luxury, people's lives wouldn't be balanced on the edge of a precipice.

There'd still, arguably, be a need for a notion of 'leave' or protecting someone's ability to participate in a project through illness or accident. Otherwise we risk entrenching ableism and sexism in our systems of prestige and participation as people need time off to care for their health or raise children. (Though ultimately I'm more on board with Shulamith Firestone's vision of the elimination of cultural and economic significance of physiological sex.)

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