ost nations of the world are troubled by unemployment and under employment.  Popular media,  governments, big business, and mainstream educational establishments tote the idea that the solution to unemployment is to “create more jobs.”

More often than not, these establishments band together to do just that. Municipal, state, and federal governments often grant tax breaks, subsidies, and other rewards to large corporations and multinationals who open factories and storefronts in areas with low employment rates.  Although these “big businesses” reek havoc on communities by driving out mom-and-pops, creating more environmental pollution, and encouraging gross consumerism, the justification for their existence lies in that they “create more jobs.”  Although this is true, many of these jobs offer meager wages, no benefits, little room for advancement, and a lifetime of drudge work. Nonetheless, people need to eat, and to eat one needs a job.

In more simple economic systems, such as hunting and gathering and subsistence farming, the members of the economic community pitch in to provide for their individual and collective survival necessities.  So if there are ten houses to be built, three fields to be plowed, and one hundred animals to be herded in a thousand member community, each person will more or less do a thousandth of the work necessary to ensure that everyone’s basic needs get met. With the shift from these simple economies into feudalistic and capitalistic ones that stressed making profits, the commodification of labor, and consumerism as a way of life, a “work ethic” emerged. More than providing basic needs for one’s self, family, and intimate community, “work” became increasingly about competing with neighbors, associates and friends in the game of materialism.  Working forty or more hours a week became the status quo standard for everyone, including droves of women across the globe who pried their way into the male-dominated workforce.  No longer was work about directly growing, building, and maintaining one’s own familial and tribal nest. Instead, the masses in so-called developed and underdeveloped countries alike slaved to turn the planet into one big toxic concrete cage filled with all kinds of needless junk.  Work was no longer merely the practical means of survival—it was now a moral ethic that saturated the collective consciousness of the toiling masses.  To be a bum, a starving artist, a wondering poet, or a welfare recipient became a thing of shame, while the workaholics and over-achievers were rewarded, honored and worshiped.  Of course, there is certainly nothing wrong with hard work. But our current global “work-ethic-based” economy, in the process of “creating more jobs in the name of economic prosperity”, precipitates mass poverty, spreads pollution, encourages destructive consumerism, and diminishes leisure time. 

f one were to determine the number of hours of work necessary to provide for all the basic needs of any given community, and then subtract that number from the actual number of work that the members are laboring in order to produce a plethora of toxic and unnecessary goods and services, one will be shocked by the amount of time, resources, energy, and land wasted by their participation in the work-ethic-based economy.
PII, a need-based economy, will eliminate that grave waste by localizing economies, reducing distribution expenditures, discouraging a consumeristic lifestyle—and by doing so—replace meaningless sweatshop and bureaucratic drudgery with real work and more leisure time.