I want to take the chance to zoom in on on angle of that last, winding, post…
This is about one shift in perspective, one question:
What if the work (briefly explored earlier) imposed upon us by the collective dealings and aspirations of a commercially successful group of individuals, were instead created in a grassroots fashion – needs identified, groups of people gathered, work done, supported by collectively-guaranteed provision of a provided-for life?
What if instead of taking the work that was offered to you by whichever rich company has decided on a commercial fancy to set up its factory on the outskirts of your town, or what instead of lapping up the casual golden drips of wealth selling fancies and conveniences to the comfortable, it was a viable option for you yourself to take part in deciding what work should be done, and take part in doing it? That you could forge a viable life in society by working on what you wanted to work at, whilst also working on what everybody, or lots of people, need/want?
What if instead of work being top-down and commanded, it were grass-roots and agreed?
If we managed this, would we change the pattern of work for all, or would we just swap one group of power-hungry entrepreneurs for another (those able to command money for those able to command people-power)*? We would perhaps change the logic under which work was commissioned, organised, and would this be enough for us, or good? Would we gain in freedom and creativity what we lose in ‘efficiency’ and cheap consumer goods? Starved of the ability to pay the oppressed and poor to do our dirty work, would the comfort of our lives suffer too much? Would we gain in collective dependency what we lose in blissful independence from our neighbours?
And then: what would it look like, how would we make it work…. the more practical questions on which we traditionally stumble across the “life isn’t like that”s, the “think of human self-interest”, the “but look what happened in Russia!”. And I respond: we are not so sufficiently unimaginative, we are not so sufficiently dull, we are not sufficiently asleep.
*even if we are irredeemably, even happily and wonderfully, sheep, we can take a step back to design our sheep-pen, and think about which sheep we turn to shepherds in some particular social-transmogrification. Elaborative post to follow.
Maybe in future I will present/collate some arguments to try to suggest answers to some of these questions. At the moment, I just want to argue that they are still definitely up for discussion. And action.