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This essay is about jobs and employment.  As background I will provide a brief summary of the conclusions of the first essay in this “Invisible Hand” series which examined the physical object nature of our money and some of the unfortunate consequences of that nature.  I will be concise so this review won’t take long.

All money in history (and pre-history) has been considered to be or to represent physical objects such as a basket of grain, a cow, a coin, or a paper bill.  Today most money is in computer accounts and though it zips around the world from account to account at almost the speed of light, it still is treated as if it were a physical object of some sort.  Because we treat money as if it were a physical object, anything which is true of physical objects in general will also be true of money.  This obvious point is ignored by economists and others who talk and write about money even though it is the most important truth about money.  The importance of the physical object nature of money cannot be overstated.  What follows are some of the consequences of that physical object nature.

First, money is like other physical objects in that it can be taken from its owner against that owner’s will; by force, fraud, or stealth and it can also be lost or destroyed.  This means that you need to suspect almost everyone of trying to get your money by fair means or foul.

Second, money must be amoral because all inanimate physical objects are amoral.  Even animals are amoral, in that they have neither an ethical sense nor morality, especially when they are used as commodity money.  You can use your physical object money for anything, good or bad.

Third, the money supply is independent of the supply of goods and services for sale because the supply of one physical object is independent of the supply of other objects.

Fourth, money falsely simulates a zero-sum game in monetary transactions because the money gained by one party must be lost by some other party or parties.  Money makes us think that other people can gain money at our expense and that we can only gain money at their expense.  It makes us treat others as if they were competitors, rivals, opponents, or even enemies.

Fifth, money is almost impossible for a society or nation to control.  In every nation that attempts to limit, regulate, or tax trade a black market comes to exist; and organized crime flourishes in all nations.

Sixth, money transactions are two-party interactions.  Two-party interaction is inherently unstable because if one party gets an advantage in power such as having more money, the stronger party can use that power to gain still more advantages.  This is particularly true of money.  The old saying “them as has, gets” is true.  Possession of money does make getting more money quite a lot easier.  Naturally, the weaker party in such two-party interaction will eventually want to end the interaction.  Thus the relationship is unstable.

Keeping that review in mind, let’s consider jobs.

For our purposes we will consider work done for pay to be a job.  Volunteer work is not a job.  Doing chores around the house is not a job.  Just because it’s “your job” to do so and so does not mean that you have a job doing so and so.  With a job there is an employer and at least one employee.

There are a variety of ways one can be paid: One can be paid in currency or by direct deposit to one’s bank account.  One can have part of ones one’s pay exist in the form of health insurance, use of a company car, a country club membership, or some other “perks”.  One can also be paid a bonus and/or commission.  But no matter how the money is conveyed, the basic idea is that the employer pays and the employee complies with what the employer asks.  The golden rule is that “he who provides the gold makes the rules”.  Yes, there are government regulations, and even labor unions in some cases.  But the employer/employee relationship is basically the same: one pays and the other obeys.

Long ago, almost no one had a job.  Jobs did not come about until the advent of commodity money.  The relationship between workers has never been the same since then.  Yes, people did work 10,000 years ago, but if they worked with someone else they were merely cooperating.  Picture a barn-raising from 1820 (or in today’s Amish community!).  The neighbors would all get together, each bringing tools and perhaps some lumber, nails, screws, or other hardware.  The women would bring food to prepare for meals and take care of the kids.  The kids would have chores caring for the draft animals and helping the men.  The men would cooperate and organize themselves to perform the various tasks involved in erecting the barn.  Those with more knowledge and experience of building would instruct others, and at the end of the day there would be a feast, a bonfire, singing, dancing, and lots of good will.  The barn owner did not pay anyone for their help – and everyone would have been insulted if he had attempted to do so.  Naturally, when lightning set fire to one of the other farmer’s barns; the new barn owner would be among the first to volunteer his help to raise a new barn for that neighbor.  Note that there were tasks, chores, “jobs” to do, and work to be done, but there was no employer and no employee.  That used to be how all the work in the community got done.

But, of course, that was before money developed.

The sharing of needed labor, especially when a neighbor was in need, was how the community provided a form of insurance to its members.  But look what happens when work is done for pay from an employer.

Remember those consequences of physical object money, or POM?  Let’s start with that false simulation of a zero-sum game.  Remember that consequence turns participants in a money transaction into opponents or rivals; so the employer wants to give up as little money as possible, to get as much work as possible.  The employee wants to get as much money as possible for as little work as possible.   Oh, yes:  I hear you say that you would never do such a thing.  And of course, neither you nor I would shirk our work or pay less than an employee deserved just to satisfy our greedy natures.  But there are countless others, some with control of large amounts of money, who would happily underpay or do as little work as they can get away with.

Then there’s that consequence of two-party interaction which tends to increase the power of the strong and reduce the power of the weak.  In an employer/employee situation, especially in a large corporation, which party is likely to gain power and which lose power?  You may have noticed that since the peak of union power shortly after WWII the power of the corporation has grown and the power of the unions has shrunk, with the last 30 years of pay for the middle class stagnating along with the reduction of benefits and pensions for the middle class.   There has been a corresponding increase in pay and perks for those at the top.

If I had written this essay 50 years ago I would have pointed out all the waste and destruction that resulted from the conflict of labor and management.  There’s no need for that today because management has won.  The struggle is over for all practical purposes.  The major strike affecting the lives of millions is a thing of the past.

The amorality of POM means that the actions taken using money as a means of gaining power are not limited to moral or ethical actions.

So we have to expect that those who have jobs will lose out relative to those who have capital.  We should also expect those who have capital to desire a high unemployment situation for the economy so that they can get cheap labor.  High unemployment means more power and tighter control for those who hire… the employers.

But there’s more to having a job than just being dominated and exploited.  As we pointed out in the essay that emphasized responsibility, being paid to do some work seems to eliminate all responsibility for the consequences of doing that work.  Those who manufacture guns assume no responsibility for the uses made of their products.  Those who work in the tobacco industry assume no responsibility for the illness and death caused by the use of their products.  Those who produce junk food assume no responsibility for obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and other bad health conditions consequent to people’s bad diets.   Advertising agencies assume no responsibility for the products they persuade people to buy.  When one is offered a job, one rarely (if ever) asks about the ethics and morality of the job to be done.  Politicians who advocate for gambling to raise tax revenue or to increase the employment in their states never bring up whether those jobs will improve the living standards of people or merely deflect people from productive labor into destructive labor.

In other words, much of the world’s evil is perpetrated, forwarded, and made possible by people who are “just doing their job”.

Today we are recovering from the consequences of a major world-wide recession.  This means that people were looking for work and would do almost anything to get work.  Jobs were something that was in short supply.  Our impression of jobs is that there are a fixed number of them; so if Joe gets a job, then John cannot.  We consciously realize that the number of jobs is not fixed, that it fluctuates as a total for the economy and also changes by region over time; but our emotions, our subconscious doesn’t think of jobs that way.  We apply for an advertised job and 50 other people apply for the same job.  That makes it feel like there’s one job and if someone else gets it we cannot.  That makes us feel like competitors for that job.  That makes us act like rivals, opponents, enemies.  We start thinking of reasons why those others are bad people.

Immigrants are getting jobs, so we must hate immigrants:  Any jobs they get I can’t have…  Not that I would want the jobs they take, but it’s the principle of the thing.  If other nations have high unemployment and their citizens want to come to the U.S. and compete for a job in our job market that’s more competition for me.  Naturally, I don’t want to compete for a job.  I want a job handed to me on a silver platter.  I want to be given preference because of “who I am” over other applicants who may be better-qualified, or willing to work for less pay than I am.  After all, I am a citizen of the U.S. and my parents were citizens.   I speak American English with a good Midwestern accent.  I graduated from U.S. schools.  That means that I’m entitled to and deserve any job that I want here in America. Right?

But that’s my emotions talking, not my rational mind.  My rational mind tells me that every immigrant is another customer who will be spending money here.  My rational mind tells me that an immigrant is another human being with needs to be met for whom goods and services need to be produced.  In fact, if I really think about it, I see that immigrant as someone who is ready to work and produce without having to be supported as a child for 20 years before our economy could start making a profit on his labor.  In other words, immigration to the U.S. has been a huge benefit to our economy.  That’s how our economy grew so much over the years 1830 to 1930.  Without those immigrants we would have been a much poorer economy with a much lower standard of living.  So my rational mind tells me that I am better off being in a nation which attracts migrants to our shores (or our side of the river) rather than being in a nation which drives away its young to seek opportunity in other lands.

This hatred of immigrants is a product of an irrational fear.  It is foolish and counterproductive.  It harms both the immigrants and us long-time residents.  The chamber of commerce wants your town to grow, for business to increase, that’s immigration.  But draw a line down the center of Main Street, and say nation A is on one side of that line and nation B is on the other side… and our minds go crazy; all because we think of there being a limited number of jobs, because we think that jobs are in short supply.

And why do we think that jobs are in short supply?  That’s right, the nature of our money:  That’s POM at work… there’s that zero-sum game again.  When we also consider that deflation is possible because the supply of POM is independent of the supply of goods and services for sale it’s easy to see how consumption can be reduced when the supply of money drops.  Once consumption falls (consumption is another word for demand by the way), less goods and services are being sold.  If less is being sold, less needs to be produced to be consumed.  That means fewer people are needed to produce what is being consumed.  So if you have a business that produces some product and you are selling less of that product it’s only natural that you would spend less of your POM to produce that product.  You don’t want to give up more money than you take in.  There’s no profit in that.  You want to take in more money than you give up, just like everybody else.

Jobs in a POM economy require that people give up money.  People don’t want to give up money.  They want to hang onto as much of their money as possible.  Everyone else wants their POM and they defend it, so the number of jobs is limited.  It’s not limited by the number of people who want jobs; and the number of jobs is not limited by the amount of things that we need to have produced, nor is it limited by the amount of things we would like to have produced.  It’s not limited by any limit imposed by nature.  There’s nothing in the Bible or other holy books that says “God has ordained that the number of jobs is limited”.

We have a nation that has overwhelming needs to build and maintain its infrastructure.  We have a desperate need to develop renewable sources of energy.  We have a huge number of poor children who need to be cared for.  We have major health issues as a nation.  We know that there will be geologic and astronomical threats to our very existence.  But instead of attacking these problems with our total human resources, we sit idle: sick with worry about paying the bills and feeding our families.  Is that sanity or insanity?  Is that good sense, or is that foolishness of a high order?  Are we being stupid or what?  Can you give me one good reason why anyone who wants to work and has things to contribute to humanity should be forced to sit idle?  Can you give me one good reason why there should be a shortage of jobs when there are so many things that desperately cry out to be done for the sake of humanity?  Is there any reason why a situation where everyone has work to do is immoral or unethical?

We have all heard about job creators and job killers.  I have pointed out above that the nature of our money is what kills jobs.  I have pointed out in other essays that poverty is a product of the nature of our money.  I have shown that slavery is a product of the nature of our money.  So there’s really no value in pointing our fingers at anyone in or out of government as being responsible for killing jobs.  Likewise there’s no point in praising anyone in or out of government for creating jobs.  Jobs in a POM economy are created by consumers buying things.  You might as well praise someone for eating or playing.  Who deserves praise for consuming?  Like it or not, we all do it…  well, at least we do it until we die and then our loved ones or the state give us that final consumer demand to dispose of our bodies.

So how do we keep our familiar POM and yet have full unemployment to solve the myriad problems that plague us?  How?  Have you been paying attention?  Didn’t I just tell you that it’s POM that creates the shortage of jobs?  If POM is creating the shortage, if POM is why you can’t get a decent job doing something that is really meaningful, why do you think we can keep using POM and still solve the problem?  You might as well ask to get well without getting rid of the bacteria that’s causing your illness.

We have to eliminate POM and replace it with a superior kind of money, an improved standard unit of account, a safer store of value.  Yes, solving the jobs problems requires change.  I know you don’t like hearing that.  You also don’t like hearing that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  But you know it’s true.  There is no gain without some effort!  You have to earn success.  The way we earn success in having work for everyone is to change the nature of our money.

Here’s the sales pitch.  With a non-POM you earn money by acting in ways that result in net benefit for others.  You don’t need anyone else’s permission to earn money.  Your earning money does not take money away from anyone else.  In fact, if you earn money that means more money for lots of other people with non-POM.  If other people earn money there’s a good chance that will result in your earning more money as well.  After all, what you did helped them… so you get some of the credit.

Right, you don’t see how that’s possible do you?  I’m not a bit surprised:  It is impossible with POM.  But just for a couple of minutes, imagine what it would be like to live in that kind of economy.  You just graduated from college majoring in liberal arts.  People can get paid for giving you food so you will not go hungry.  People will get paid for making available to you a place to live, so you will have shelter.  If you need another pair of shoes, people will get paid for getting you good-fitting shoes… though they may not be at all stylish.  You have no educational debt because there was no tuition or fees to attend college.

Is there any rush to find a job right away?  No.  Do you think you could use the assistance of others in finding something to do to earn money?   Well, people can earn money by helping you maximize your earning potential.  No fee is charged for that service either.  Are you competent, reliable, and thoughtful of others?  Do you get along with others easily?  Then people should welcome your assistance with what they are doing to earn money.  In fact, there are probably a lot of people who have good ideas for things that need to be done to solve problems, to maintain infrastructure, to build capital, to research what needs to be done, and a host of other useful things.  They want your help.  They are seeking people with your talents.

So you have a lot of options.  You can choose to help out one or more of those good ideas people or you may elect to go with a long-established group of people who have been generating a good income for themselves.

But who can you trust?  Might they try to take advantage of your youth and inexperience?  You really need to know their reputations, and how they have behaved when working with others in the past.  Have they been honest, cooperative, reliable, trustworthy, and successful… or have they been difficult to work with and a font of bad ideas?  Well, there are people who earn money by arranging the information available about how people have acted, and providing easy access to that information for people like you.  You can see the track record of the folks you consider helping in their efforts to produce net benefits.  Of course, your own reputation for how you work with others is also being made available to everyone else, too: that’s only fair.  It means that if you behave irresponsibly and try to harm others by taking credit for what they have done, or by not being careful, or by simply not doing what you said you would do… that information will follow you.  You can’t leave it behind by changing cities.  It’s like the old days in the village where everyone else knew you really well.

So you decide who you want to work with, and they accept you because you have a good reputation with recommendations from some of the faculty from the college you attended.  There are no forms to fill out, and there’s no contract to sign.  The folks you work with will not be the ones who pay you.  But since you are working with them, your earnings will benefit from their success.  Thus, if you see they are doing something the wrong way, or if you know a better way to accomplish what they’re after and you pass the word along… you will all earn more money.  Therefore, they have a vested interest in your understanding how things work:  They want your advice and feedback, and they want you to seek responsibility; even though you are the new guy, the rookie, the one who has not yet learned the ropes.  Why do they treat you with such respect?  Why don’t they resent your making suggestions or treat you with contempt?  Simple: because they have learned that good ideas are where you find them.  If you resist learning from everyone, you will miss out.

What about the union, though?  Will you have to join a union?  You would be wise to join a union if one is available because the union will know “the ropes” of your occupation.  They will provide you with resources to make you more productive.  They get paid for helping you earn more money.  Of course you pay no dues:  You only get money if the consequences of your actions result in net benefits for others, so they only get more money if your actions result in net benefits for others.  Thus the idea of a strike is repugnant to them.  Refusing to be productive is like refusing to accept money.  Worse, it’s like refusing money for all your friends, too.  One’s reputation would never recover from such behavior.

But let’s say that you just don’t get along with the group of people you decided to work with.  It’s just a personality clash thing.  Can they fire you?  Well, in a way, yes, they could.  They could simply refuse to cooperate with you.  They could chose to not share capital goods with you, or invite others to take your place and do what you have been doing with them.  Likewise, you can also quit working with them.  Of course, to avoid a bad reputation, you would need to give notice as well as help recruit and train a replacement.  To just stop showing up for work would be a really bad mark in your reputation.  Who could trust anyone who would do such a thing?

Is there any cost your family/dependents would suffer if you left your position?  It’s hard to see what that cost would be.  In a non-POM economy there is no such thing as debt, so you would not lose your house or car to repossession/foreclosure.  You’d have no bills to pay, so the utilities would not be cut off.  Education is always free if anyone is willing to teach you.  Medical treatment is also free if anyone is willing to provide it.  (Naturally, education and medical care earn the providers money if the education or treatment generated net benefit.)  So it’s hard to imagine where any suffering would come in.

Job stress would be far less than today:  You don’t have to have the money.  You’d have no debt.  You work with others rather than for a boss.  If you take orders (like an actor takes direction) it’s because you can do a better job that way.  (Bands don’t sound good if they don’t follow the conductor’s beat.)  You know that everyone you work with wants you to succeed.  You get respect if you behave so as to deserve respect.  Discrimination is overwhelmingly based on performance, not prejudice.

Under what circumstances in a non-POM economy would someone be unemployed?  Well, in one sense, everyone is “unemployed” in that no one has a traditional job in which they obey someone for the money that someone will give them.  But in another sense everyone is employed… because everyone who acts can earn money (non-POM) if their actions generate net benefit.  So it’s hard to retire.  If you keep doing nice things for other people you find that you have earned money.  If you are a stay-at-home mother you earn money for taking good care of your children.  If you keep your house in good repair you earn money when you give it to someone else for them to live in.  In short, employment is not something that people will be concerned about with non-POM.  Everybody who wants money will be able to earn it without any downside.  You can’t lose non-POM by a bad investment.  You might lose time and effort and get no additional non-POM for your work but you can’t lose any non-POM that you already earned.  You don’t need to save for your old age, but if you don’t spend some of your non-POM it will retain its full value and even, with improvements in technology over the years, will grow in value.  Finally, there are no taxes of any kind by any level of government ever with non-POM.  Taxes are physically impossible.  You can use non-POM to buy things but you can’t give money to anyone else, and no one else can take it.  Remember that non-POM cannot be taken from its owner against the owner’s will.  Even if one retires from the business as old sports stars must eventually do, one is not truly unemployed; one has just changed the work one does.

You will note that there is no contract between you and the persons with whom you have chosen to work.  There are no OSHA regulations to satisfy.  With non-POM your word is your bond since your reputation, good or bad, will always be known to those with whom you deal.  Every person is an independent entrepreneur who just happens to be cooperating and coordinating his or her activities with others.  If there is something dangerous about your workplace it’s up to you to report it to others and to see that no one gets injured, you will earn money by doing so.  Those who actually change the physical situation at your workplace will also earn money.  Their improving the safety of the workplace costs none of the users of that workplace any money, but an injury happening in that workplace would cost them possible future income.  As you might imagine, numerous occupations which today are quite dangerous (like farming, mining, and fishing) will become much safer since there’s lots of money to be earned by making them safer.  So the economy benefits in several ways.  First, there’s no need to waste resources on enforcement of regulations and laws or to even write such regulations and laws.  There’s no need for lawyers to haggle over interpretations.  There’s no need for insurance to compensate workers or the company if workers are injured.  Second, the loss of productivity when a worker is injured is greatly reduced due to better safety features and precautions.  Third, how things are done can be arranged to exactly suit the situation and circumstances.  In other words, there is no need for protections from others seeking to take advantage of employees or employers since there’s no advantage to be taken.  There’s no need to regulate when everyone is already trying to do the best thing under the circumstances.  There’s no need to require safety equipment when such equipment costs the business nothing at all.  So we have more people doing productive work and less wasted effort.  Work is simplified and safer.  So the economy derives much more production per capita.

The estimated increase in production is about 25% the first year and over 10% per year on a continuing basis for the indefinite future.  You can see how we are able to promise a better standard of living for everyone, rich or poor with a non-POM economy. If you still don’t understand it, go to and read or listen to the novel “Invisible Hand”. It makes it all quite clear!

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