A different perspective on “unemployment”
Yurts at Poncha Pass - Colorado Yurt Rentals and Sustainable Building Workshops - Photo of Chris in ground of Earthship

Written by Chris

May 9, 2012

October 21, 2011 at time of writing, I had just come back from Canada to the United States in search of work to witness this negative phenomenon regarding the stigma surrounding unemployment.

If there is one word I strongly dislike at present, it is “unemployed.” Here in the states we are experiencing what many say is a recession, depression, a weak job market. Call it what you will, but whatever it is, roughly 10% of Americans, about 30,000,000 people are considered “unemployed.”

I strongly dislike the word “unemployed” because of the cognation we attribute to it. If someone is unemployed, we are trained to think that they have no job, no work, and no income. Being “unemployed” myself at present, I feel the stress of having no monetary income, and understand completely why people are angry, upset, and in trouble. Our economy is based off of a system of division of labor; it is the reason why we have currency and the reason why the system is unhealthy at present.

But is there more to economy than currency? Is there something more valuable than the health of the system? What about the health of the individual? What about bartering, foraging, hunting, and exchanging services? Just because we have a shortage of currency based jobs, is there not still work to be done? We have a weight epidemic, energy and climate crisis, and the vast majority of people who live below the poverty line.  I feel as if the word “unemployed” is currently associated by American networks and social stigma with words such as inadequate, not productive, or not needed. It seems as if this stigma pushes people who are “unemployed” to only try to become employed.

What about all the other work that needs to be done. We have so many problems that can be solved with real work. Forget the monetary system for just a second. If we as unemployed have time, why not realize the true value in that time and in addition to working strictly towards gaining employment, spend time on real work. Health concerns, work out at home. Food shortage, teach each other what nature provides in the area and forage for mushrooms, roots, berries, and herbs. House is falling apart, help each other rebuild. Why must we focus strictly on currency in times of stress, difficulties and hardships, why not focus on each other. 30 million Americans is a force to be reckoned with. If we look to each other, support one another, perhaps we are far less dependent on this currency based economy than previously thought. Perhaps we can gain more skills, languages, agility, and happiness in the process.

There is a lot of work to be done in America. I say welcome stranger, neighbor, and friend. Let us work for each other, help one another and see where that takes us for a change.

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