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Where Are Today’s Misemployment Figures?

When unemployment figures start to decrease in many countries, economists and governments congratulate themselves on their ability to ‘stimulate’ demand.

This week, one London-based school that is devoted to teaching emotional intelligence responded by releasing a video that explores the distinction between good and bad demand, and ‘employment and misemployment’.

They have uploaded the full script of the video on their website. I found this passage particularly inspiring.

In a nation properly concerned with misemployment, the taste of the audience would be educated to demand and pay for the most important things. 20 per cent of the adult population might therefore be employed in mental health and flourishing. At least another 30 per cent would be employed in building an environment that could satisfy the soul.

To achieve such a state, it isn’t enough to print money. The task is to excite people to want to spend it on the right things. This requires public education so that audiences will recognise the value of what is truly valuable and walk past what fails to address their true needs. – The Philosopher’s Mail, The School of Life, London

I believe that we can all play an important role in exciting others to move beyond their currently limited concept of what it is to truly be gainfully employed so that they too choose to engage in more meaningful work, at whatever level they can realistically manage. Even incremental shifts amongst millions would have a profoundly positive impact on our beautiful world.


Misemployed…

7 Comments

  1. I suspect that being employed in almost every case means being misemployed. Could there ever be a world in which people are paid to do the right thing? Surely doing the right thing means following the dictates of your conscience, not being motivated by money? Whenever money enters, conscience flies out of the window. I don’t see any way to reconcile the two. Of course you can apply your conscience in your work, many people do, but in the end you are serving people who have money and power. The way forward surely is to gradually shrink the money economy down to nothing by depending less and less on paid employment and generating more and more natural abundance and true wealth. Whenever we are working for money, we are essentially misemployed…

    1. Charles Eisenstein, the author of Sacred Economics, has some interesting things to say about this. He speaks about the gift economy amongst many things. One of his recommendations is that less sustainable or unsustainable products should attract much higher tax rates to reflect their true cost over their lifetime. He also has some interesting things to say about why money, as it currently stands, isn’t working. There’s plenty on YouTube if you’re interested.

  2. To expand on “Mis-employment”

    Money is not wealth. Money is a measurement: of flow, or as a bank account, of accumulation (or potential flow) – just as ‘inches’ are a measurement of length and ‘square inches’ of area. All are just measurements. Just as a house is built not of ‘inches,’ wealth is not the digital bits or paper that people call ‘money.’

    Right employment creates wealth: food, housing, bridges, roads, education. And more. Mis-employment creats NOTHING!

    1. Of course “employment” can be understood in different ways. But for most people now, it means what you do to earn money, because that’s how most people understand work — it’s something you do for money.

      I agree money is not wealth, but nor do I think is it an accurate way of measuring anything. Frankly I think it is a giant con. It was bad enough in previous ages when people were obsessed with gold and other precious metals — things of very limited value in themselves — but now we are obsessed with something that only represents the merest shadow of these commodities.

      I think once you realise that money is really just a meaningless construct, it gives you a certain amount of freedom. As they say, in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king.

      John, you say that “right employment produces wealth: food, housing, bridges, roads, education.” But all those things which could represent true wealth, in our society, have been twisted in order to merely generate money — whether it’s agribusiness growing food that makes us sick and them rich, or the construction industry churning out houses that cost the earth in every sense, or education tailored to the agendas of corporations or governments. So where’s right employment to be found? Only in turning away from money entirely, and towards true wealth, I suspect.

      But I’m interested in hearing other ideas about this…

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