10 Jan 2011, 8:29pm


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  • CalvinistWatch – Happiness is having a job, according to Civitas

    In a shocking confusion of correlation with causation, Anastasia de Waal from Civitas bangs the drum for the Calvinist world-view that happiness is having a job. I’ve already had a run-in with the Calvinist work-ethic on here. It may be damned fortuitous that this makes the wage-slaves pliant, but it still needs shooting wherever it arises.

    Say it ain’t so, Anastasia. Even at Civitas they must know deep down that there’s more to life than having a job. It’s also damned convenient for a right-wing think tank to take the line that the serfs do it for the good of their souls and the money doesn’t matter. So there’s no need to pay the oiks a living wage then, leaving more for Sir Hector Fat Cat’s bonus, presumably.

    Clearly the standards of logical discourse are slipping these days. I think that in a capitalist society such as ours, for most people having a job would appear to be a necessary, but not sufficient condition to be happy. Me, I’d kick the job into touch in a heartbeat – it’s having an income that is necessary, though again not sufficient for being happy.

    Civitas take a look at the undoubted unhappiness that goes with not having a job if you have no other means of supporting yourself and your family, and flip the sense of it to imply “Happiness…. is having a job” to plagiarize the Hamlet cigar ads of yesteryear.

    Anastasia de Waal, a social policy analyst at the think tank Civitas, said employment was central to people’s sense of identity and wellbeing.

    “A job is about your life, it is not about your income,” she said.

    “It is about every aspect – having the motivation to get up in the morning, self-esteem and being a role model to your children. Income is almost secondary to that.

    “People’s lives fall apart if they don’t have a job. They are much more likely to be depressed if they are out of work, and there is a strong relationship between unemployment and family breakdown and health difficulties.”

    Well, colour me stupid , but let’s just run that lot again with “have any money” swapped for “have a job”

    Ermine, a cynical bastard at the blog Simple Living in Suffolk, said having enough money was central to people’s sense of identity and wellbeing.

    “Having enough money is about your life, it is not about your job,”

    [Calvinist claptrap omitted]

    “People’s lives fall apart if they don’t have any money. They are much more likely to be depressed if they have no money, and there is a strong relationship between being skint and family breakdown and health difficulties.”

    Works pretty well for me. None of this is to gainsay the obvious suffering and hardship that many people are suffering as they lose their jobs, but I’d say that the hardship would be a damn sight less if they didn’t lose their income at the same time as losing their job.Some of the wage-slaves might even get to meet their kids and see what they’re up to these days…

    We need to understand this subtle difference if we have to re-engineer our societies for a world in which the myth of continuous growth is shown to have been an illusory dream all along. Although it is hard to image from where we are standing, it is possible to conceive of a society where not everybody had jobs, but everybody had enough income to lead an interesting life.

    Say, for instance, we were in some sci-fi future where we had matter replicators and robots. Provided we had managed to avoid the MegaCorporation of Earth copyrighting everything beforehand, this could lead to a society where there were no material wants. Of course it would probably be unsustainable and environmentally destructive too, but hey, if you run out of Earths you could always make another, that’s what a matter replicator is there for 🙂

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