Reminder that "meritocracy" and "work ethic" are toxic lies made up to cover for rich people's and countries' systemic looting :purple_sparkling_heart:

Wages are societal subsidies given for being rich, connected, male, and abled enough, or making up for the lack of such privileges at personal cost.

I mean yes, landlordism is visibly exploitative and terrible, but wages should not be morally shielded by the sanctification of work, either. This is truer the higher you go on the wage scale, but the ingrained idea of work ethic tends to hide just how much getting non-exploitative wages depends on existing privileges.

Your work is not a sign of morality.

Your work, especially work rewarded by capitalism, is a sign of privilege.

Kill the Calvinist in your mind.

None of this is to say work is never valuable, that worker exploitation does not exist, or that workers do not deserve support and livelihoods.

Rather the point is that work should be decoupled from morality. Work is just something people tend to *do* if they're able--and people who don't or can't work deserve dignity and survival just as much.

And of course, recognizing work and the value of work outside of capitalist remuneration and approved forms of production is a whole body of thought in itself.

And this is kind of Taoist but one way to conceptualize work and leisure is... not conceptualize work and leisure. Abandoning the duality of doing/not doing and understanding how it is all a part of *being.* Work isn't this holy endeavor set apart from mere leisure, it's just a process and function of life like growing, eating, shitting or dying. There is no lazy because not doing what we currently call work is just a part of being, too. A rather crucial part, in fact.

Obviously it takes social shifts away from societies organized around a work/leisure duality for such a cognitive shift to really take hold, but sometimes it helps to think a little differently, like a glimpse into alternate worlds.

@ljwrites idk what is work ethics in my country but here it is about privacy and not doing work you are not able to do or paid to do which is a reasonable start

@Archivist by work ethic here I mean mainly the Protestant work ethic and its offshoots, where work is held to be inherently moral and a path to salvation--the corollary being that those who don't or can't work are immoral or pitiable, and therefore a subject of punishment or charity. What you discuss here I would personally call "ethical work" or "work boundaries."

@ljwrites the 1% don't get "wages". They collect rent. Indeed, other people collect the rent on their behalf and cheques arrive in their bank accounts.

@celesteh @ljwrites In the Netherlands, poor people are not allowed to rent out a spare room in their house if they have one, while the rich are not allowed to pay taxes on the rent they receive from their 2nd (third, 20th, 500th) house.

@Corina @celesteh @ljwrites Ick. Many parts of the US, especially wealthy municipalities, are moving toward the first of those, at the same time housing rents skyrocket.

@celesteh this is true, and I also wanted to point out that even many forms of wages (especially in the higher bracket) are in fact a form of rent.


Also true. Dividends from investments are also a form of rent, imo. Long after an investment has paid off, people still collect rent on the work of others, more or less in perpetuity.

And yet, this is still better than stock buybacks....

@ljwrites if someone wanted to claim their labour made them a good person it needs to be work they aren't doing for money. But in current systems that would also just prove their extreme privledge.

I don't see a good solution other than a robust UBI.

Maybe explaining it to the Calvinists as something required so they can claim their labour really does make them godly will help?

Haha, nothing will help them.

@LovesTha Given that the tenet of work ethic/Calvinism is that work is inherently ethical including if done for money, and in fact money IS a sign of morality as a reward from God, I'm not sure that'll convince them. It does appear their God is actually Mammon, the god of money... 🤔

@ljwrites when I read this thread, I start thinking that this smells like that thing when people mix up "illegal" and "evil", and start saying that the law is moral.

Like they're pretending that captialism is a machine that makes the world better. Like they don't dare use their own moral judgement.

@panina yeah the confusion between what is with what should be is absolutely rampant! And I think it's a coping mechanism on some level. People adjust psychologically as well as materially to the situations they find themselves in, so it's easier perhaps on an emotional and spiritual level if they think constant work is not just a grim necessity under an exploitative system but the right and moral thing to do, it serves God, it's a path to self-realization etc.

@ljwrites I hate and resend the fact that living all my life in poverty is a 'natural' consequence of being too disabled to work.

It's not fair..

@Corina and it is anything but "natural," obviously. It's the way the system has been set up to punish and humiliate people who are insufficiently productive for capital :(

@ljwrites yes, I have little to no rights in the current system. It's ridiculous. It's not like getting ill/disabled was a personal failure, but the system thinks I need to be punished.

@Corina @ljwrites To neoliberals it *is* a personal failure. It must be. Because if it isn't, their success isn't 100% their own accomplishment either. And that's a thought they can never allow.

@meganeko @Corina thank you for that link, this post was actually spun off of yours and it's good to see it here!

@meganeko @Corina and of course, it's no coincidence that healthism goes hand in glove with neoliberalism. This is an idea that actually does say illness and disability are personal failures, and it fits so neatly into the narrative of meritocracy and work ethic.

@ljwrites I disagree on meritocracy.

If everyone was paid proportionally to their talent or impact, many of today's top managers would be on the very low end of the salary spectrum.

@blacklight oh, so you agree meritocracy doesn't actually apply in reality, hence, it's a lie.

@ljwrites I believe that, if well applied in realty (in combination with a healthy safety net that protects those who fall behind), meritocracy would be one of the nicest things to have.

Unfortunately, those at the top decide how much merit everybody has. And they, of course, would never choose a system that penalizes them (nobody would).

@blacklight As things stand, unfortunately, the idea that meritocracy is the reality of the world is used to justify the status quo of discrimination and has been found to be actively harmful to the well-being of marginalized people in particular. I think we agree on that point. For that reason I think it's important to emphasize the extent to which it's been used as a cover-up and a lie, whatever one's feelings about meritocracy as an ideal.

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