UBI and B******* Jobs

In typical No Rocket Scientist fashion, I have been trying to expand my mental horizons and read a bit wider afield than usual. I’m a fan of self-development, science and health books, but I find history, politics and religion a bit tedious.

That said, two books that I have found particularly intriguing are Rutger Bregman’s book, Utopia for Realists, and David Graeber’s book, Bullshit Jobs.

Bregman argues that a Universal Basic Income (UBI – free money for all to cover basic expenses like food and rent) is a possibility and a positive solution to many problems such as homelessness, poverty and even environmental damage. Well I’m all in favour of that. Elon Musk, despite stating that it’s not what he would want to happen, sees UBI as inevitable due to the automation of so many jobs. The left and the right have their own versions and motivations for UBI – which is reassuring, as I’m repelled from either in side their extremes.

So lockdown is giving us a taste of the future. Many employees have started to question (if they weren’t doing so already) the point of their current job. Many are learning the distinguishing features of a s*** job – a hard job with terrible conditions or low pay, but which is of use to society e.g. nurses, and a b******* job – a meaningless and pointless job you do but can’t justify the existence of e.g. advertising executive. I can therefore drop the “bull” from my job description, but that doesn’t negate the small print I ignored when I signed up. A few questions that thinking about these things has brought up for me are:

What meaning do we find in life without employment?

Without work, what’s your ikigai (reason for getting out of bed)?

What employment would we choose if our basic needs were covered and we could retrain?

Debt Cancellation

The current crisis understandably throws some anomalies into my initial analysis of this concept.

I have heard people I admire (e.g. Russell Brand) talk about this in the past, and they lose me for the following (faulty or questionable? Happy to discuss) reasons:

If I go out and choose to drink more alcohol than my body is able to handle – there will be a consequence to that action. One I’m all too familiar with.

If I eat continuously, especially high carbohydrate or highly processed foods, and don’t move enough, there will be consequences to that action as well. As I get older, those consequences become apparent a lot more quickly than they used to – and take a longer time to put right again!

So if I spend more money than I earn, and borrow to spend more than I have saved, the obvious consequence to that behaviour is debt. My values, beliefs and actions i.e. habits, have landed me in that debt. My inability to spend only what I’ve earned (hopefully a little less than I’ve earned), my inability to wait, my insatiable desire to consume.

If I’m hungover, overweight or in debt, I don’t expect sympathy. As much as I would love someone to come and solve these problems for me, I don’t expect it or see it as a right. I don’t want to be in those situations in the first place, so I do my best not to end up in those places – and double my efforts if I do temporarily end up there.

What I’m saying is – does being “saved” from the consequences of our actions really help us in the long run? Shouldn’t we be assisted, helped to change our habits, rather than having our slates wiped clean and getting ourselves into the same mess all over again?

My initial knee-jerk reaction is a feeling of injustice. “Hold on a minute, I’ve been denying myself beer/donuts/expensive holidays for years…trying to be responsible…only for them to get a saline drip/liposuction/bail out?”

But two thoughts help me see this from a different perspective and rid me of those negative (insensitive? immature?) sentiments.

  1. What if it was my brother or friend who was being saved? I’d feel relieved for them, and joyful that their burden had been lifted. I’m sure they would learn whatever they could from the past and not end up in the same situation again without a fight.
  2. What if it was my arch enemy who had been saved? Let him drink – and mask the true consequences for a while. Let him post his six pack photos, but he knows, we all know, he didn’t earn them. Let him go to Bora Bora, and forget how boring boring the other 50 weeks of the year are (don’t worry, the booze will help ease the pain).

Win-Win. So governments will do what they will do, and I suppose the important thing is not letting them get in the way of us living a life of purpose and meaning.

For my own sanity, I need to work. It’s nice to feel needed. For my own self-respect, I’m not looking for handouts – but I don’t blame anyone for trying the occasional short cut (gotta love a lifehack)!

Our identity and self-worth can’t be solely based on our occupation however, and I am more than my job. So if my work does become automated, just like when marathons get cancelled, there are other parts of me to weather the storm. It does motivate me to start looking at alternatives to my current work though – and use this lockdown as a chance to retrain in something less vulnerable to automation. Apparently I’m a closet Luddite!

Thank You

Post 9 out of 10…so close…just – one – more!!! Thanks so much for reading, liking, sharing, commenting and SUBSCRIBING! I really appreciate your time and attention, but I think I need to start trolling a few bloggers to get some comments! Either that or I need to start writing some more controversial posts that get me trolled?! I’ll work on it!

#LONDONREALARMY

I may be asked to take this down, so read it quickly!!!

Some of my favourite ways to p…put off what I should be doing (making a committed effort not to use the “p” word) include:

Reading – but technically, you can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader, so that’s not a problem until it becomes excessive. Anyway, I use that age-old time-hack of listening to audiobooks while I’m commuting or training.

Films/TV – guilty, but I’ve limited this to the TV I watch with my wife, or my kids. I rarely watch TV on my own unless I’m also running on a treadmill, cycling using my turbo with Zwift.

Podcasts/Vlogs – and these may be my biggest time sink. There’s nothing better to ease the pain of hours on a treadmill or bike than listening to/watching Joe Rogan, Tim Ferris, Jocko Willink, Sam Harriss, Peter Attia, Russell Brand, Rich Roll, Floris Gierman, Tom Bilyeu and of course, London Real.

Photo by The Teens Network Daytime Show Studios on Pexels.com

I won’t tell you that I watch every episode – there are a lot of repeat guests on each show – but there are some episodes that I’ve watched more than once (Elon Musk getting stoned!?! WTF! James Wilks – Black Belt in Forest Plots…LMFAO!), so it balances out!

Why watch or listen to all of these podcasts? Because, I want to be educated not just entertained…although many of them tick both boxes. I won’t waste time going through my critiques of each, none of them are perfectly produced, none of them are perfect hosts, and none of them have 100% quality guests EVERY TIME. But their hit rate is good enough to keep me returning, to hear a variety of different ideas, theories, life hacks and perspectives on life and the world.

I love listening to the debates on diet with Rhonda Patrick, Peter Attia, Tim Noakes to name just a few – and the James Wilks Rogan interview where he is given the opportunity to respond to criticism of his fantastic documentary “The Game Changers” is EPIC!

The podcast episode was great, not because I enjoyed watching Wilks’s thinly veiled aggression, or the other guy squirm and retract his criticism, but because he was given the opportunity to say what he believed to be true and why. He backed up everything he said with evidence – there may be evidence to the contrary – but the fact that studies exist providing support for both sides means that it’s open for debate.

As much as I would love to believe that sugar is good for me and will do me no harm – the scientific evidence (and personal experience…skinny fat mean anything to ya?) points to the contrary. If Tate and Lyle release a study which goes counter to the wealth of other evidence out there, I will do my best to eye that research with scepticism. Promise.

Can you say, “Flat Earth?”

Now I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, and yet I’m grounded enough to make my own mind up. By “my own mind” I obviously mean what the latest peer-reviewed research that’s not tainted by industry sponsorship says.

So when some nutter tells me the Queen’s a lizard…I take it with a pinch of salt. Same thing with flat-Earthers, moon landings, virgins, be they miraculously pregnant or…well, let’s not even go there. Seriously? Each to their own – no disrespect – maybe it just hasn’t been explained clearly enough to me?

But…

…let’s just take a hypothetical situation.

Person A does something naughty, like stealing person B’s lunch.

Person C says, “Hey, Person B – did you see that? Person A just…”

Before Person C can finish, Person A does everything in his power to:

a) prevent Person C from telling Person B

b) prevent Person B from learning about it any other way.

Well what if we’re all Person B? I f***ing hope not! But what if we are?

I want to believe that “masks don’t work, so there’s no point in wearing them,” and not that “actually they do work to prevent you spreading stuff if you’re asymptomatic, but we haven’t got enough for the NHS so…”.

I want to believe that the people leading us know what they’re doing and that they’re not purely motivated by financial gain or myopic progress. Surely they wouldn’t jeopardise our health? We work (usually) and pay their salaries…we vote for them (or not).

I want to believe (I’d rather be Hank Moody than Fox Mulder though).

Suggestion

Once this whole Covid-19 business is behind us, the medical advisers and political decision makers are going to have a lot to answer for in some cases – worldwide. Some countries more than others, but wherever you look, there are faces and names accountable for those decisions. Just like James Wilks standing by his documentary.

Where are the scientists battling this out with David Icke, point by point. Where is his Joe Rogan episode to come back, point by point, forest plots and all? I think accountability is all that’s lacking here, and the powers that be should sort it out before I lose internet connection because of some lunatic, and I can’t watch any more “Too Hot To Handle”.

Verdict

Eamon Holmes – free-thinker? Definitely not one of the sheep. It’s open minds that get us to the moon or Mars, that discover DNA or the Higgs Boson, evolution or “the growth mindset”. But I suppose like school teachers, policeman, politicians and religious leaders, that free mind is something you should keep to yourself – if you want to keep working. Think what you want, but don’t tell anyone else…just like mast….MASTS, that’s what I was talking about…or getting to anyway!

David Icke – Nutter? Time will tell. If the science checks out, knock your one-from-each-pair-where-do-they-go? socks off . In the meantime, leave the f***ing masts alone!

I love the UK – because unlike China, we do have free speech…I think.

God bless you UK. God bless you Queen Liz.

Peace.