Time to look at distribution of labor, education and job skills, and self-determination.
Like I said previously, I’m targeting a $1,000-per-month lifestyle that covers food and housing for a family. In practice, the way I imagine implementing it is with a three-tier system:
- Tier 1: $2,000/month
- Tier 2: $1,000/month + part-time community maintenance
- Tier 3: $0/month + full-time community employment
Each tier is designed to meet a different individual need. Tier 1 is for people who have money and/or good employment, and who just want to escape from the mundane responsibilities of life. They’d have their meals, laundry, grounds maintenance, etc. taken care of. Kind of a sustainably affordable vacation resort, albeit in a shed-cabin.
Tier 2 is for people who want to make enough money to support a family while doing work that they love. In Alison’s words, they are the one’s who want to spend their time “painting sunsets”…or running a dance studio, or writing novels, or throwing pottery, or researching and publishing on obscure academic topics. The idea is that you might not be able to make enough money doing that to support a family in a conventional modern American lifestyle, but you could probably pull it off here.
The trade-off is spending some number of hours each week (probably in the 10 to 20 range) doing the work that makes the community function, i.e. the meals, laundry, grounds maintenance, etc. that the Tier 1 group is paying not to do.
Tier 3 is for people who want to build job skills or get work experience for a resume. In addition to the part-time community maintenance that the Tier 2 people are working on, there are full-time jobs that need to be taken care of — things like running community finances or marketing or administration and management.
The key idea here is that this structure flips the traditional job hierarchy in Tiers 2 & 3, which provides an alternative path to employment for the unemployed and under-employed.
Our job market is currently structured in a Catch-22 loop: to get a career job you need work experience, and to get work experience you need a career job. The way many people break into this loop is through personal connections. My first internship as a computer programmer happened with the help of a family member. My first non-internship position as a computer programmer came through an acquaintance at church.
Since then I’ve obtained several jobs on the merit of my work history alone, but I probably wouldn’t have gotten into the loop without that initial help from personal connections. The problem is, how do people who don’t have those kinds of connections get into the loop?
Conventionally, they don’t. The USA provides relatively poor career opportunities for the poor and uneducated. So we have a stratified system where the people at the bottom only have access to dead-end jobs — work that won’t lead to the sort of stable, well-paying middle-class career employment.
My second and third tiers flip that equation. The third tier gets specialized work opportunities while the second tier performs the community labor that we traditionally associate with the poor and uneducated. What the second tier people get out of it is free time and the opportunity to pursue their interests rather than be stuck in well-paying careers they don’t have any passion for, while the third tier gets an entryway into the middle-class economy.