Last night I spoke to the Cornwall & District Labour Council candidate debate. I must say that I have a lot more to say on the subject of jobs and the debt economy we live in. Please permit me to focus on ‘jobs’ here.
I am the President of the Resource-Based Economy Group, a Cornwall based non-profit. Our focus is on education, education on alternatives to the current debt based economy. Our first project is the Cornwall Tool Library, which is a demonstration of the ‘share’ economy. Lending tools to reduce the burden on the community, we don’t all have to ‘own’ a miter-saw for that one home reno project.
Jobs play a central role in our current economic system as without a job one cannot earn sufficient income to access the resources needed to live a high quality of life. In virtually every public announcement by a politician there is talk of ‘creating’ jobs, as if there wasn’t enough work that needs to be done in society already!
Competing against this need for jobs to allow people to earn a living, is the necessity for businesses to make a profit and for government spending to decrease (aka austerity) to reduce debt. In both business and government, the drive for efficiency or doing more with less, often translates into less work as opposed to more. The little-acknowledged concept of technological unemployment proves this as it is increasingly cheaper to replace human labour with automation and machinery to reduce costs and increase profits and productivity. Remember, machines don’t need to take breaks or vacation and don’t complain when they are overworked.
It is a common notion in our society that without money people will not do any work. While this may be true to a degree, especially with jobs people have little interest in doing, this argument does not hold when it comes to lines of work that offer more creativity, mastery and ability to contribute to building a better society. In Canada alone there are over 12 million volunteers and thousands of extremely bright people choose to work in medical research, engineering and the arts despite lower salaries in these industries compared to the fields of law and finance.
So why am I telling you this? In these very trying and changing times, we all can sense that this economic (endless growth) system is just not working. We need to look at alternatives, we need to prepare for a future with less and less ‘jobs’, become more self-reliant & grow our ‘community’.
Cornwall City Council Candidate