Currently there is a huge debate going on, on how to compensate all those loosing earnings because of the Corona Virus. Everyone agrees, it's not fair for some to loose all because of circumstances beyond their control.

This a big opportunity for a complete reset on our illusion of what work is and how it should be compensated.

 In 1935 Bertrand Russell published a collection of essay, including one entitled "{phocadownload view=file|id=7|text=In Praise of Idleness|target=b}", in which he suggested that the technology available at his time, meant that one could easily have a system where people worked for, say, 8 hours a week for the common weal, and that would be enough to produce sufficient quantity of goods or services of whatever was needed. How much more true this idea is today!

 The technological innovations of past 50 years are staggering. One result is that many of the traditional manual skills have gone or have become increasingly redundant. At the same time, it appears to me that those who have a job, have to work increasingly more hours, whilst huge numbers remain unemployed. There is definitely something wrong with this picture. 

It goes along with a previous argument I've made, regarding money. There is an assumption that everything we do has an intrinsic value which is a function of time, skill and responsibility. That this is not the case is obvious to any worker. There are too many who are paid vast sums for doing very little, who may have skills, but it's mostly the skill of sales and obfuscation and who clearly do not take responsibility. 

To me, I have never quite grasped why a minute's time of one person is more valuable than a minute of somebody else's time. Given that I didn't give myself life and therefore time, how can I claim a specific value for one of my minutes? It doesn't make sense. I am alive and I have to take part in life by using my body and energy. Putting a value in terms of money is meaningless. 

Add to that the fact that whatever you accumulate during this lifetime, all stays here when you leave life. So, again I ask, what does adding a monetary value add to anything, except to foster greed and envy. It is only aspirational if everybody has the same chance. And we don't, whatever the Americans may say.

Work, using a skill developed and honed over time, has value. The biggest value is what the individual learns about themselves during the process. The next biggest value is in using the skill to help others in developing themselves or easing their life, allowing them to focus. It is not in scraping and selling skills to the highest bidder. We see the result o that system every day: child labour, forced prostitution, slavery, torture. Is that really the best system available?

My suggestion is to really consider Lord Bertrand Russell's suggestion of, in effect, a minimum ground level income allowing every human being to live with their basic needs supplied and treated with respect and dignity. Be glad if you can do something for others.