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Ending forced labor in the developed world

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Many people have to work just to live, even in civilized cultures. Inordinate productivity, meanwhile, ruins the air, water and soil while depleting natural resources. It's unsustainable.

We should pay people to not work.

Many people like to work, and work needs to be done. But work has no intrinsic value and can be harmful. For some people, work is onerous. Maybe we can draw down unnecessary productivity by phasing in unemployment for those who do not want to be employed. A program could handle casework on a scale of eligibility.

These criteria may help to determine a proper level of assistance as well as to assess the urgency of need:

• Category 4:

These are the worst cases. These people really hate work; don't believe in it, and often can't keep it up. Sporadic employment record and chronic under-employment are standard criteria.

• Category 3:

These people just don't like work. It doesn't make sense or mean much. Maybe it's better than the alternative — the unknown. Or maybe they have obligations. They work when they can, because they have to.

• Category 2:

These folks don't like their job. They may feel like wage-slaves in some abstract sense — but nobody takes a vote on the matter, so they try to not think about it.

• Category 1:

These people just don't usually feel like going to work.