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transform-work

The Transformation of Work

Everyone was working, but less and less. Many senseless jobs were abolished. There were no more CEOS, no more police, no more attorneys, no more watchmen, no more bankers, no more bank robbers and bank employees, no more cashiers, no more politicians, no more supervisors, no more teachers, no more foremen, no more blackmailers, no more head waiters, no more bureaucrats, no more plutocrats, no more mafia, no more military, no more jailers, no more exchange agents, no more swindlers.

To all these and to the victims of physically exhausting jobs, was offered the choice of rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty and doing their part in socially useful work. For most it was a pleasure and a liberation to return to the productive community. At any rate, if you did not work, you did not eat. But with almost twice the number of effective workers, the necessary man-hours diminished. The normal working week was reduced from 40 to 20 hours.

After the first reconstruction, the point was rapidly reached where nothing was lacking. It was understood that the problem of global capitalism had been overproduction, for example of the grain with which rich countries flooded poor countries so that false competition produced famine. Thus the overproduction of cars, whose surplus incited firms to forever seek new markets by flooding the media with sexy advertising, having new highways built, sabotaging public transport, forcing themselves into countries in the south, and polluting the atmosphere. Clearly the number of cars already in existence largely sufficed, as long as they were maintained and repaired. Certain auto factories were converted to the production of tramways, while many of their former workers opened repair shops.

These conversions were organized most often by the factory committees which, after having occupied their work places during the big strike, took over management, working with local assemblies of communities where these industries were installed and where the employees and their families lived. Installations judged too polluting, or too dangerous for workers, were closed. Others were cleaned up. There were no more bosses. Cooperatives and work collectives under self-management organized production in ways appropriate to each sector. These management collectives aligned themselves with other self-directed collectives that were both producers and consumers. A wool collective, for example, with a collection of weavers, and so on. Here was work for all. Each person worked at the trade that pleased him or her and with the team that felt right. And when anyone wanted to change trade or location, they were welcome elsewhere.

During the first period of the Utopias, workers in general got from the community what they brought in through their work. (Communities looked after children, of course, the old and the sick.) But little by little, with abundance, that old idea was put into practice: “To each according to his needs, from each according to his/her abilities.” It was working very well. For each practicing disciple of Laforgue’s 'The Right to Be Lazy' there were others so passionate about science, music, agriculture or travel for whom life would be unthinkable without work.

Less and less was being produced, but the little that was being made was more beautiful, durable and useful. Work was becoming a pleasure, production an art. In the autumn, citizens and intellectuals went off joyously to the country to get back together again with the earth by helping in the harvest. Ancient festivals took on new life.

Many people opted to live close to nature while remaining in contact with global culture. Troupes of artists of each culture were crisscrossing the planet, and everywhere you could connect with libraries and concert halls by the Web. Moreover, associations of athletes, musicians, amateurs of wine or postage stamps were flourishing in each locality and undertaking visits and trades. Culture was no longer a spectacle but real life.

Education

transform-work.txt · Last modified: 2017/09/30 16:01 by Richard Greeman