Today is Labour Day in New Zealand – and given I’ve written about “co-ordination” so recently I can’t do one of those posts where I talk about public holidays as a co-ordination device. Instead I intend to discuss the costs and benefits of “jobs” – or the costs of benefits of supplying your labour
A lot of people are complaining about there not being enough jobs. But is it jobs we want, or the income/consumption that comes from them? As Paul Walker notes in many ways the job is a cost – not a benefit!
But this doesn’t feel quite right does it. As we’ve pointed out in the past when we talk about an economy, and jobs, we are really discussing an issue of co-ordination between individuals. A job provides us a social group, perhaps even a purpose, and these things give us value. Stumbling and Mumbling covers this off very nicely.
In this way, the question becomes more complicated – merely giving someone the income that they would receive in a job does not necessarily imply that are better or worse off as:
- There is a benefit from no long having to supply our labour – we get to consume “leisure” and don’t have to do something that we may dislike!
- There is a lost opportunity from social interaction, and it is unclear what exactly could or would fill this void. Furthermore, if jobs are currently seen as a means to providing someone purpose in their life – how will someone find purpose if we move into an economy without scarcity that doesn’t require human work. [Note: I have a bias here as the novel I'm working on is on this issue ].
Anyway, happy labour day and all of that!
Side bleg: I have a preference for writing ‘co-ordinate’ rather than ‘coordinate’ and from what I’ve read both variants mean the same thing and are correct. But ‘coordinate’ is more common. Is there anything I’m missing that should know?