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No One Should Have to Earn a Living
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The other day, I caught myself using the phrase “earn a living.” For the first time in my life, I questioned myself.

The idea that one must “earn a living” is the fundamental assumption of capitalism. When you stop to think about it, that’s some extreme libertarianism.

Americans are constitutionally guaranteed the right to speak freely, worship as they choose, purchase and own a firearm and keep their homes private from prying government officials. As important as these rights are, none are nearly as important as the right to living. You can live without expressing yourself. Religions are fiction. We would be better off without guns.

Yet life itself, without which no other right is worth a damn, is not guaranteed.

We need a few things to keep breathing: clean water, food, shelter and medical care. Yet our society can’t even codify the government’s obligation to provide water. While some municipalities push liquid hydrogen oxide to our sinks for free — unless you count taxes — many others charge. Unless you earn that living to which you are not legally entitled, you die of thirst or are poisoned or starve to death or you die from exposure to the elements or you succumb to an injury or disease that science would have treated or cured.

When you think about it, and we mostly don’t, the gap between the system and our psychocultural wiring is a gaping chasm. Capitalism says you aren’t entitled to drink or eat or sleep inside or see a doctor, that you must somehow “earn” those privileges or die. But for hundreds of thousands of years before settled civilization 6,000 years ago led to the grain storage that fed a previously nonexistent profit incentive, homo sapiens lived in clans of hunter-gatherers.

There are accounts of traditional societies abandoning the elderly or driving the infirm to ice floes. But there is also considerable evidence that early societies took care of those who couldn’t take care of themselves. Archaeological digs have unearthed broken bones that were mended by primitive medical means. Ancient people carried their elderly and sick on litters. Even now, in situations where human beings find themselves separated from civilization’s requirement that everyone pay for the most essential goods and services, the overwhelming tendency is to help one another without expecting remuneration. Parents not only take care of their own children, they pay for the privilege. After a plane crashes in the wilderness or miners are trapped underground or a pair of buildings are destroyed in lower Manhattan, accounts inevitably emerge of the survivors’ camaraderie and generosity.


It would take one hell of a sociopath for a survivor of a shipping disaster to deny a share of his sunblock or his extra hat to his fellows in a lifeboat. Yet we routinely conform to psychosis that violates the communitarianism that is central to the lifestyle of our species. Almost every day, I walk by a woman sleeping outside my apartment building; sometimes I give her money but not always. Except for the cat, the extra bedroom in my apartment remains empty, neat, useless.

I have “earned” a living, you see. She has not.

It is cold. At night, it’s in the 30s.

I don’t know why she sleeps outside. Is she mentally ill? Lazy? Addicted to drugs? Maybe it’s bad luck. She worked in a field that’s no longer looking for workers. I do know she’s cold and hungry.

Capitalism gives me permission not to care. I justify my callousness by judging her choices, none of which I know anything about.

But this is only the beginning of the brief against capitalism. Capitalist society not only denies the concept of a human right to the most basic elements of survival but it creates necessities that no one ever needed or thought about before in order to commodify them and coerce us into feeding these new profit centers.

Were we to advance to the moral heights of our ancestors of previous millennia and constitutionally guarantee that everyone would be fed and housed regardless of their willingness or ability to earn a living as do Congo and Pakistan, it would be a revolutionary political and ethical development.

Yet billions of people would remain deprived of the new necessities of the modern age. Whereas hunter-gatherers spent every waking minute near everyone they knew and loved, we require pricey communications networks in order to keep in touch with our friends and families. Perhaps you are reading these words when they were published, over a Thanksgiving weekend when millions of Americans were driving and flying to visit relatives — spending billions of dollars on gas and airline tickets.

Higher education has become an essential need as well. Before the first settlement in Mesopotamia, people proved their suitability for mating by exhibiting skills like hunting, sewing and cooking. In America today, millions of men remain involuntarily single because women are more likely to have a college degree; they refuse to date “down” to a guy with a GED. A four-year degree at a private college can easily run a quarter-million dollars.

Not only do you have to earn a living, what it takes to live has never been more complicated or out of reach.

The country is rich. Not everyone must work. There is plenty to go around. Those who work must share. Socialism and communism are political structures designed to distribute that sharing.

Please retire the expression “earn a living.”

Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, co-hosts the left-vs-right DMZ America podcast with fellow cartoonist Scott Stantis.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Poverty, Socialism, Universal Basic Income 
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  1. Ted sez:

    Were we to advance to the moral heights of our ancestors of previous millennia and constitutionally guarantee that everyone would be fed and housed regardless of their willingness or ability to earn a living as do Congo and Pakistan, it would be a revolutionary political and ethical development.

    Precisely the difference in standard of living when comparing the Congo with the United States. Don’t you get it, Ted? They’re poor because they have no viable market structure that assigns an exchange value for different behaviors in their societies. Ours is an improvement upon theirs.

    In a Matriarchy, all are loved unconditionally. Mama’s breast nurses all her children. In a Patriarchy, all must earn their Father’s love. Father is stern, but fair. Mother is generous, but fickle. Choose your poison. I guess you have.

    • Replies: @G. Poulin
  2. gay troll says:

    Those who work must share.

    No, those who employ should share. If you don’t work for someone then you better work for yourself, hunting and gathering if nothing else. Otherwise you should expect to starve to death. It’s not a free market that has fucked up the U.S. and world economy, its socialism. Ted just calls socialism capitalism and then advocates more socialism as the cure. Who do you think the socialist ringleaders are, Ted; they’re not the commoners, they are the self selected nepocrats. They want to control all capital (and thus behavior) for themselves. That doesn’t mean they’re going to give you or anybody else a free lunch. That’s just what they promise in exchange for your useful idiocy. They may even bribe you with a free lunch. But it’s not because they want you to eat. It’s because they want to hold the one and only purse and they’re not afraid to sweet talk their way to success.

  3. The country is rich. Not everyone must work. There is plenty to go around. Those who work must share. Socialism and communism are political structures designed to distribute that sharing.

    Sell it as universal aristocratism.

  4. Nobody in the U.S. is dying from lack of food, water or shelter, except those in the grip of insanity or addiction. And there’s nothing in capitalism that says not to be charitable; it only says that the government shouldn’t force you to be charitable. The charitable impulse you experienced with you homeless neighbor is an admirable one and you rightly characterized it as “communitarianism that is central to the lifestyle of our species.” It’s charitable to give your neighbor money out of your own pocket, but wanting the government to take money out of one neighbor’s pocket and put it in another’s is not charity and is not central to the lifestyle of our species.

    • Agree: Roger
    • Replies: @Brooklyn Dave
  5. ruralguy says:

    So, Ted Rall, why didn’t you give that extra room to that homeless woman, instead of complaining that others are not providing a room for her? Repeated studies have found over the decades that people on the political Right give significantly more to charities and volunteer far more than people on the political left. Seattle is 75% Democrat, but these virtual signalers don’t walk their talk. Like their socialists comrades in Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, they don’t volunteer their homes or rooms in their homes, to house the homeless. If they did, there would be no plague of homelessness in those cities. Like Ted Rall, they just want to preach their superior morality, without putting any of their own money, time, and housing behind it. They are all pure phony balonies.

    I’m on the political right, but most of my relatives are on the far left. I was the only one in my family to devote over five years to helping a schizophrenic relative, escape the plight, by committing her to court ordered medication. I housed her and provide all of her food and care. That was off the scale stressful. It took me five years of fighting lefty social workers and court appointed left-wing psychiatrists, to get proper treatment. I was finally successful, when she moved to a conservative county, where the County workers helped, rather than hindered me. I don’t think its a coincidence that all the homelessness is in left-wing areas. People like me, on the right, take care of our relatives. The experience was a nightmare, but I was the only one willing to do it. What’s especially galling is hearing my lefty relatives continue their sanctimonious preaching, like Ted Rall. When you walk your talk, Ted Rall, then you will earn a right to preach. But, once you’ve walked your talk, you’ll likely experience a bit of maturity, without the need to impress anyone with your fake sanctimonious political philosophy.

    • Agree: AKINDLE, Roger
    • Thanks: PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @dimples
    , @Greta Handel
  6. Meh. Simple answer: our reach has far exceeded our grasp. Actual families care for each other and don’t publicize it, while globalists care for nobody and constantly trumpet their altruism. The 20th Century capitalist middle ground left a lot of room for both family values and philanthropy, but that happy medium was swamped long ago by fewer haves and uncountable have-nots.

  7. Nonplused says:

    “Those who work must share.” Why would I do that? I’d rather not work and receive “my share” from those who do.

    • Replies: @Jim Richard
    , @Bro43rd
  8. Alrenous says: • Website

    “The government should mandate that lunches are free.”

    Yeah just revoke the second law of thermodynamics. I mean really, who passed that piece of trash in the first place? It’s nonsense, honestly.

    • Agree: Tallest Skil
  9. meamjojo says:

    “The other day, I caught myself using the phrase “earn a living.” For the first time in my life, I questioned myself.

    The idea that one must “earn a living” is the fundamental assumption of capitalism. When you stop to think about it, that’s some extreme libertarianism.”
    One of the few things I might agree with Rall on.

    After all, none of us asked to be born. If parents (best case) or anyone who gets caught up in the enjoyment of sex and creates a baby, then they should have to put money aside to fund a proper savings account to be released to the child at say, age 18.

    If you don’t have the money to raise the kid AND fund a saving account, then the kid gets aborted and both parents get forced into having their tubes tied/vasectomy and those operations will not be reversed until these actors can prove they have the means and ability to properly raise a child.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  10. meamjojo says:

    Two words for you Rall – “post-scarcity”.

    This is where we are heading as a society in 200-600 years. Once we get off this planet, we will have all the resources of the universe at our fingertips. Robots will build everything and do most, if not all, of the work. Money will mean nothing when anyone can have anything they want. No one will have to work for anyone else.

    Many SF writers have built who universes around this idea. Iain Banks, Peter F. Hamilton and so many more.

    Of interest to the many racists here, Peter F. Hamilton’s Commonwealth universe presupposes a future where travel between planets is cheap and easy via wormhole AND many planets have chosen to organize themselves base on some religion or lifestyle (Orthodox Jewish planets, Muslim planets, Quaker planets, etc.), no technology allowed to the masses, whatever.

    • Replies: @tyrone
  11. @Nonplused

    You “must share” because Ted’s people will have a gun to your head and a boot on your neck.

    • Agree: HammerJack
  12. Bro43rd says:

    Yes the essence of socialism. It works great until you run out of other people’s money.

  13. Mr Rall has apparently made a mistake and posted this article here as opposed to the Onion. Either that or he has a PhD in Stupid.

    • Replies: @Greta Handel
  14. gay troll says:

    Something cannot be your right if you require another person to give it to you. No one can give you freedom of speech, or freedom of belief, or privacy, or association; it is only that tyrants may take these things away. A tyrant can also take away food, water, and shelter. But that doesn’t make these latter things anybody’s right. Food, water and shelter are commodities that must be constantly renewed. If you claim that people have a right to these things, what you are actually saying is that the government has an obligation to supply them. As if the fairy godmother of socialism is going to pull a fully balanced meal out of her ass for every shiftless journalism major who feels entitled to freeload off of civilization. “But we are the artists, and the dreamers, and the geniuses, why shouldn’t food just appear on our plates?” You are just asking a tyrant to violate other peoples’ natural rights by stealing for you.

    • Agree: Roger
    • Replies: @Old Brown Fool
  15. @RoatanBill

    Mr. Rall’s apparently the best that Mr. Unz could get to fill Tom Engelhardt’s NPR-level Progressive roster spot. (I’ve speculated that they may have already known each other, but that’s so far been kept opaque.) He’ll occasionally voice dissidence about Red+Blue politics, but soon gets back in line with a column on reforming the Democratic party; this complements the several GOPium authors, apparently adding “balance” to TUR.

    Mr. Rall’s chief credential is having been squashed with a big newspaper by TPTB in LA, a topic on which he knows something and writes well. Otherwise, his columns are a diary about whatever firefly he’s chasing that day.

  16. dimples says:

    I agree. This is a truly bizarre article. The author whines about soulless capitalism and wants love and sharing for all, but he won’t lift a finger to house a down and out in his spare room because, apparently capitalism has made him callous. He appears to have no agency of his own, it’s only when the rest of society has embraced love and sharing that he will think about it. Meanwhile he moonlights as a pious virtue signaller.

    • Replies: @meamjojo
  17. @ruralguy

    So, Ted Rall, why didn’t you give that extra room to that homeless woman, instead of complaining that others are not providing a room for her?

    The hypocrisy is transparent. So all that Mr. Rall can do is anoint himself another victim with some pathetically detached navel gazing:

    Capitalism gives me permission not to care. I justify my callousness by judging her choices, none of which I know anything about.

    No serious person thinks, much less writes, like this. An own troll?

    • Agree: ruralguy
  18. SafeNow says:

    A related idea, one that has indeed taken hold, is that one does not have to work…as proficiently and conscientiously as one is capable of. Rather, just get it basically okay; good enough. This is quite contagious, and many traditional people have looked around them, and through “mirroring,” have dumbed-down their own work ethic; they do not wall themselves off from “good enough”psychologically. Signing-off from California (stuck here), the leading edge for this.

    • Replies: @meamjojo
  19. Anonymous[285] • Disclaimer says:

    The only problem is that humans, like animal organisms in general, seem to need to struggle in order to develop the appropriate characteristics which enable them to survive and thrive. Look at this review of the coddled mice experiment. The startling conclusion is that without struggle, the mice failed to develop the attitudes and behaviors which would unsure their propagation and survival. Most authors who wrote of this experiment stopped at the point when the rules which generally prevail in mouse society broke down, but the final result was even more devastating.

    “Other young mice growing into adulthood exhibited an even different type of behavior. Dr. Calhoun called these individuals “the beautiful ones.” Their time was devoted solely to grooming, eating and sleeping. They never involved themselves with others, engaged in sex, nor would they fight. All appeared [outwardly] as a beautiful exhibit of the species with keen, alert eyes and a healthy, well-kept body. These mice, however, could not cope with unusual stimuli. Though they looked inquisitive, they were in fact, very stupid.

    Because of the externally provided abundance of water and food, combined with zero threats from any predators, the mice never had to acquire resources on their own. The young mice never observed such actions and never learned them. The life skills necessary for survival faded away. As Kubań notes,

    Utopia (when one has everything, at any moment, for no expenditure) prompts declines in responsibility, effectiveness and awareness of social dependence and finally, as Dr. Calhoun’s study showed, leads to self-extinction.

    The “behavioral sink” of self-destructive conduct in Calhoun’s experiment (which he replicated on numerous subsequent occasions) has since been mostly interpreted as resulting from crowded conditions. Demographers warn that humans might succumb to similar aberrations if world population should ever exceed some imaginary, optimal “maximum.” Others like Kubań point out that the mice utopia fell apart well before the mouse enclosure was full. Even at the peak of the population, some 20 percent of nesting beds were unoccupied.

    My instincts tell me that Kubań is correct in suggesting that a more likely culprit in the mice demise was this: the lack of a healthy challenge. Take away the motivation to overcome obstacles—notably, the challenge of providing for oneself and family—and you deprive individuals of an important stimulus that would otherwise encourage learning what works and what doesn’t, and possibly even pride in accomplishment (if mice are even capable of such a sentiment). Maybe, just maybe, personal growth in each mouse was inhibited by the welfare-state conditions in which they lived.

    Calhoun himself suggested a parallel to humanity:

    Herein is the paradox of a life without work or conflict. When all sense of necessity is stripped from the life of an individual, life ceases to have purpose. The individual dies in spirit.

    By relieving individuals of challenges, which then deprives them of purpose, the welfare state is an utterly unnatural and anti-social contrivance. In the mouse experiment, the individuals ultimately lost interest in the things that perpetuate the species. They self-isolated, over-indulged themselves, or turned to violence.”

  20. Several points. First, as we move to robots we will have to find alternatives to employment for the vast majority of people and we cannot allow them to be impoverished. That is a political nightmare. The reality is if we are to allow business to use robots and AI, then the 1% who profits must be compelled by law to pay for everyone to live a comfortable life.

    Second, labor surplus has been the story of our industrial economy since 1900. Once we moved to the modern assembly line, and we adopted more modern farming techniques using things like motorized tractors, we had a condition of perpetual labor surplus. What did we do? We reduced the availability of labor. We banned child labor. We required kids attend high school instead of calling 8th grade sufficient. Following WWII, we have tried to make college a requirement. The effect is to remove everyone from age 14 to age 23 from the labor force.

    For a time, we removed women from the labor force and created the “stay at home mom.” That cut labor by 50%.

    In the golden era of the US eoncomy from 1950 to 1970 our system of managed labor scarcity created a strong middle class and reduced US wealth disparity tremendously.

    Then along came the Ronald Reagan Republicans who turned the Republican Party over to the FIRE sector and abandoned US manufacturing.

    The goals of the FIRE sector modern republicans is to bid down wages to third world levels. That means end stay at home moms, encourage child labor with sub-minimum wages, gig jobs and anything that can put children to work. Import unlimited labor. The new Republican trend is tell kids they don’t need college at all. So you either have massive college loan debt, or you live in uneducated no union gig labor purgatory.

    Modern Republicans have moved the US from manufacturing to FIRE and all profit as economic rent to the 1%.

    Third, classical economics by the 1920s had reached agreement that to maximize the productivity of capital from manufacturing, government should provide (or regulate the monopoly that provided) rails, communication (mail and telephone) water, sewers and the like. Bismarck had pioneered social insurance and the understanding was that there should be free national health insurance so that labor did not have to make health costs a source of wage demand. There was also an understanding that government should provide (or provide enough) housing to bid down housing prices. FHA finance for mortgages was a start. BETTER would’ve been the FED lending mortgages directly at zero interest. Public housing for renters should exist massively such that in rental markets, a person would never have to pay more than 10% of income for rent. Housing, owned homes or rental, should be 10% of income not the 30 or 40% typical of Americans.

    You can accomplish the proper “base” as understood by classical economics with a mix of programs or alternatively with a Universal Basic income sufficient to guarantee a middle class lifestyle.

    Classical economics would have given the US nationwide high speed rail, not our expensive inconvenient air travel system (which is a massive civilian investment in military war time air transport). Americans fly daily in the civilian air reserve aircraft that would be used to fly US troops to Europe or Taiwan in an emergency. Before Reagan, the US, especially under Eisenhower and Kennedy, was aimed at making the middle class wealth. Since Reagan, Republicans are all always about the 1%. So are the Democrats.

    The current US economic model is designed to reduce everyone to debt peonage, or to the modern equivalent of serfs. It is the new feudalism.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  21. Anonymous[149] • Disclaimer says:

    This is a good plain-English précis of the world consensus:

    The civilized world has committed its states to devote all available resources to our rights and fulfill them over time. That includes our economic rights as set out in the ICESCR. We have the right to a livelihood, leisure, social security. The right to food and housing too. Health and education too – N.B. not crooked corporate health care but actual requisites for health; not debt peonage with vocational training as bait but education for full individual development.

    It cracks you up to see GOP dupes obsessing about communism. The Comintern had 50-some fringe parties at its peak. ECOSOC unites 171 countries. Communism is over. Capitalism is over too, except in the US corporate shithole where you’re stuck.

  22. @Harry Huntington

    Oh, my god. Somebody who actually knows something about economics instead of these sappy, emotional, ignorant as a blimp libertarians on here blindly expostulating, “Work or die! Work or die!” like a bunch of monkies.

  23. meamjojo says:

    She might have bedbugs, some contagious disease or be a junkie thief that you don’t want in your house.

  24. tyrone says:

    Please retire the expression “earn a living.”

    ……….maybe “create wealth ” would be better …….socialist /communist countries turn into dictatorial hell holes ,i.e. no wealth /no freedom ……..but I know you and your friends would do so much better being smarter and more virtuous than the communist of yesterday year.

  25. meamjojo says:

    How many would choose to be born, given the possibility of choice, if you were told that once reaching the age of ~6, you would be in school all day for a large part of the next 12-16 years with nightly homework? After school you would likely become an involuntary indentured servant to a series of employers where you would work for them 35-70 hours per week in exchange for a salary that allowed you to pay living expenses for 40 years or so until retirement. Assuming you successfully skimped and saved along the way, you would then be able to begin enjoying life around age 65 or so, further assuming that you had kept yourself in good heal to be able to do so?

    I would have said, “thanks but I’ll pass”

    • Replies: @Roger
    , @Boomthorkell
  26. tyrone says:

    Is this your movie pitch, Nice ,…..when you are rich and famous don’t forget your good friends at

    • LOL: Alrenous
    • Replies: @meamjojo
  27. G. Poulin says:

    In the glorious future, all moralizers will be shot on sight.

    • Agree: Alrenous
    • Replies: @Alrenous
  28. You can live without expressing yourself. Religions are fiction. We would be better off without guns.

    Yeah, it’s time for this guy to be banned from here permanently. This is genocidal psychosis that only communists (read: jews) support.

  29. Avid says:

    I really tried to see this article from your point of view; however, I can’t. To me, it is insane and contrary to human nature. Afterward, I felt somehow “unclean”. To that end I have decided to end my subscription to the Unz Report.

    • Replies: @HammerJack
  30. Legba says:

    Didn’t you hippies try all that bullshit in the ’60s?

    • LOL: Liza
  31. Avid says:

    Avid here again.

    BTW, how can you say all of this and still have an empty bedroom?

    If this was supposed to be satire for some reason and I missed it. Still, I hated it.

    • Replies: @Liza
  32. anarchyst says:

    Wall street sees “labor” as being a necessary evil, its true value to be minimized at all cost while valuing the CEOs and “stockholders” above and beyond their true worth.
    This even applies to CEOs, that run their corporations into the ground while still receiving massive “rewards” for their “expertise”.
    Let’s not forget the corporate vultures (a la Mitt Romney) that specialize in parting out viable businesses in order to maximize their “profits”
    Henry Ford “got it right” when he CREATED a market for his cars by making them inexpensive while paying his workforce a decent wage. He realized that a well-paid workforce would be able to buy his products, among other things. It could be safely argued that Ford, CREATED the middle class. Automobiles, once “playthings for the rich” were made affordable for the “ordinary common man”.
    Henry Ford KNEW who the banksters and vulture capitalists were and made no bones about calling them out and naming them, Father Charles Coughlin did the same thing and was ostracized by the Catholic Church for pointing out the TRUTH about our vulture capitalist society.
    “Vulture capitalism” can be defined as the owners of businesses and industries that collude with each other, also in collusion with the “money types” (banksters) depressing wages solely to increase their stockholder “profits” at the top while impoverishing those who actually WORK, producing their products.
    All one has to do is look at today’s CEOs, even in failing companies, being paid exorbitant salaries, along with stock options and other “perks” while pleading poverty, pushing down wages for their employees.
    Today’s capitalist “mantra” is that labor costs must be as cheap as possible while the “value” (profit) to the stockholder must be as great as possible. Sacrificing labor on the altar of “maximum profits” NEVER works in the long term.
    Of course, in the short term, with cheap Chinese goods flooding the market, the economy looks, good, but without CONSUMERS who hold jobs that pay reasonably well, all bets are off. There needs to be a balance between profits and labor.
    Presently, labor is looked upon as a “necessary evil” to be minimized at all costs. The problem arises-without labor there are no consumers. As I previously stated, a “balance” must be maintained. Labor is not evil, but a necessary component of capitalism.
    Pre-WW2 Germany’s economic successes and the rapid rise of the German economy was predicated on labor being assigned “value”and monetized-something that is (and has been) missing in capitalist societies today.
    If labor costs need to be trimmed to assure “profit” at the top, something is seriously wrong. In fact, in the well-paid American automobile industry, labor costs account only for approximately 10% of total costs.
    Offshoring production results in consumers (customers) being “lost”.
    As to “tariffs”, the American country ran on tariffs from its inception until 1913, when the “income tax” and “federal reserve” was established.
    The American economy is being propped up by the “social safety net” which obscures the TRUE economic situation in the U S .

  33. anarchyst says:

    Most Protestants have been “infected” with the jewish penchant for maximizing one’s own “profits” and “wealth” while ignoring and even marginalizing their (workers) whose physical labor made the Protestant (and jewish) business owner’s wealth possible. Protestant see the inability to amass great fortunes on the backs of others as a moral failing just as jews do.
    Of course, there were exceptions such as Henry Ford and a few others who knew that giving labor value and paying their employees more than the minimum would come back to reward them (and the rest of society) in spades.
    Even Adolf Hitler knew that monetizing labor, giving it value and throwing out the jew-controlled banks would be a positive development, which made Germany into an economic powerhouse before WW2 while the rest of the western world was mired in the “great depression”.
    The Protestant belief that “good works” have no bearing on salvation is a major reason for making it OK to “squeeze” their employees, having no regard for their well-being paying them as little as possible while amassing great fortunes for themselves.
    THIS is what differentiates Catholics from Protestants and jews and is responsible for the hatred that both Protestants and jews have for Catholics.
    It is the Catholic Church which established universities, hospitals, and other institutions which serve to improve the lot of all humanity, not just Catholics.
    “Good works” are not useless as Protestants and jews believe, but DO serve to improve humanity.
    I could never understand the Protestant belief that “good works” are of no consequence when attempting to achieve “salvation”.
    According to the Protestant ethic, a person who has committed great grievous “sins” (harm) against his fellow man can, on his deathbed, proclaim a belief in Jesus Christ and will automatically be “saved”. Such a belief makes absolutely no sense, but is the excuse that Protestants use to justify their questionable behavior.
    The sad part of this is that the Roman Catholic Church has been “infected” with the Protestant (jewish) ethic with the infiltration of the Church by both Protestants and jews with the implementation of the changes wrought by the Vatican II Ecumenical Council.

  34. anarchyst says:

    The men who built industry had only one thing on their minds–the accumulation of wealth but only for themselves–no different than the financial “robber barons” of today.
    They were indeed robber barons who almost always slashed wages for those who made their success possible–their employees–always pleading poverty while living grand lives themselves. They cared not one wit about the welfare of their employees–only how much capital they could amass for themselves on the backs of these same employees.
    American prosperity did not filter down to the employees of the robber barons until Henry Ford broke the mold, instituting his $5 per day wage and 8-hour workday.
    Free trade” is actually a “race to the bottom” which can only be detrimental to the true human condition. Expecting first-world wage rates to compete with third-world wage rates never works.
    I would hope that people would start to see that Henry Ford was absolutely correct when he blamed the banksters, vulture capitalists, and wall street types for the economic conditions, not only in the USA, but the world.
    Adolph Hitler’s Germany was successful because labor in Germany was “monetized”–given intrinsic “value”, unlike what the mantra in business is today, that “labor” costs must be minimized and that the “shareholder” is king.
    The internationalist banksters have to do something to “nip” the monetization and valuation of labor as it will “upset the (existing) order–just what the “new world order” types want.

  35. Alrenous says: • Website
    @G. Poulin

    Proselytizing is the only true form of immorality.

  36. Being totally unfamiliar with Ted Rall’s political orientation and with zero interest in finding out, I assume we’re being trolled.

  37. meamjojo says:

    “Is this your movie pitch, Nice ,…..when you are rich and famous don’t forget your good friends at ”

    The books are already written. I doubt that few UNZ comments actually read books but give it a try someday instead of wasting your time posting useless comments. Look up the authors I mention.

    I am just the messenger. This is he real future. So bright you will need sunglasses! Everything will be free, money will not exist. Rall will be happy.

    • Replies: @tyrone
    , @tyrone
  38. JasonT says:

    This is one of the most incredibly uniformed articles that Rall has ever written.

    Earning a living is NOT about capitalism. Let me repeat that. Earning a living is NOT about capitalism.

    Earning a living is about doing work to feed yourself and your family. If you expect someone else to feed you and your family, you are thief and a hypocrite.

    At the same time, there are those who CAN”T work. This is not the same as those who WON”T work, to the extent that they are capable, but fake that they can’t work. For those who CAN’T work, some charity is required from those who can work to the extent that those who can’t work can CAN’T. This is simple human decency.

    For those who WON”T work to the extent that they are capable, but fake that they CAN’T work, I have zero sympathy.

    • Agree: ruralguy, Roger
    • Replies: @xyxxyz
  39. tyrone says:

    Everything will be free, money will not exist

    ……hmmm, sorta like heaven……

    .Rall will be happy.

    …OK, now you’re going to far.

    • LOL: ruralguy
  40. Mac_ says:

    Agree with several parts article, except a right to anything, which only natural law effort makes a real right, not paper scribbles, or only claiming something. Dictators that take from some to hand themselves or others is threat or force using natural law. Pointing at false papers such as ‘constitutions’, is to push ignorance, until they destroy the ignorant when it suits them. Also skools were made to train ignorance. Most supposed jobs don’t matter and distract from what does. Water, food, tribe, weapons, earth.

    The problems stem imo from false money, false state, which schemes continue because of selfish femy focus on breeding, instead of what matters. No right focus, no control no future. Super point in article is how we once lived. It’s natural inclination to be part of a group or clan, each benefits doing a share, including fighting for each other and the future as necessary. The cons behind the ‘govt/state, and mass ‘media’, made the schemes to take the place of real grouping, so people stay separate, as the cabalers are gangs. Suggest make note, paper pen better than copy paste, and we should question what our life is.

    Why ‘change’ time twice a year, no reason. The covid dictators, people somewhat succeeded pushing down the vaxs schemes, for now, though we should continue to push back, on everything, while we have energy.

    It’s not realistic to ignore constant subtle threat of those claiming to be ‘state or ‘courts’, or sit as swarms continue to come, and as others control water and food. Have to make what rights we want t by using them per natural law, effort/force is rule. For instance people could have taken revenge such as could have taken back food lands they schemed by false ‘depressions’. We should be talking, thinking, making real life directions instead of going along a false script. Appreciate the article.

  41. The one problem I see with all this is that it would take a lot of activist and educational work to make people abandon their old Capitalistic way of thinking the world. So, perhaps the workload will have to increase instead of decreasing, at least in the short term, and, since there is no clear end in sight for this kind of process, perhaps in the medium and long terms as well.
    So, either way, people must earn a living, either in the old fashioned sense of doing Capitalistic work, or in the new, socialist sense of earning the right not to earn a living.
    I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble, frankly.

  42. Roger says: • Website

    “I would have said, “thanks but I’ll pass””

    What a horrible assessment of life and all that it has to offer.

    If this is really the way you feel, then it is not too late for you to “check out” now. Assuming, of course, that you have not already reached the age of 65 or so and are enjoying life in good [sic] heal.

    Be consistent with your philosophy. Pull the trigger. Or hit a bridge abutment at high speed with your seat belt unfastened. Or jump off a skyscraper. Or any one of other life-ending actions. My guess is that you do not have what it takes and when crunch time comes, you would bail.

    Now, I am not encouraging you (or anyone) to commit suicide and would do whatever I could to prevent that from happening, but with your attitude, this seems like the most consistent action you could take. Otherwise, you are living (if you can call it that) out of sync with what you say you believe.

    • LOL: meamjojo
    • Replies: @meamjojo
    , @ThreeCranes
  43. tyrone says:

    The books are already written

    ……. REALLY!?…..where can we find it !?…..maybe your fan base here at Unz can help boost sales !…..give us the title please!

    • Replies: @meamjojo
  44. anon[240] • Disclaimer says:

    – Not only do you have to earn a living, what it takes to live has never been more complicated or out of reach. –

    Would think by now this sentence should occur to many, costs increase, electric, food, tax from every angle, city, federal, gas, and much else. Seems before there was less distraction, gadgets, people sorted priority more, because there was less illusion of dependence. Gadgets, and tv type fones seems to have made people more feminized, possibly also food products, soy oil in everything is estrogenic, and plastics in food can have effect also. Between those seems a cycle. How to break it, would seem informing others of choices, so masculine thinking becomes more predominant, along with questioning monopoly.

  45. Roger says: • Website

    “For the first time in my life, I questioned myself.”

    Really? You ought to try it more often. Self-examination is one of the keys to personal growth.

    “Yet life itself, without which no other right is worth a damn, is not guaranteed.”

    I totally agree with this statement, but Rall has made a serious mistake. Anything which government grants is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, all the “rights” he lists can be rescinded at any time, for any reason. Rights are inherent within the human being and cannot be taken away by anyone.

    “Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize the government … doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety… It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible.” — George Carlin

    It is too bad that George Carlin is not here, but that only means that the rest of us will have to step up.

    “We need a few things to keep breathing: clean water, food, shelter and medical care. Yet our society can’t even codify the government’s obligation to provide water.”

    Where is it written that the government has any obligation to provide water? Or any other necessity, for that matter? Why is the government obligated to provide anything at all? The word “obligation” implies a debt owed which must be paid. Again, I ask, where is it written that the government owes us anything which is necessary to sustain life?

    We need water to live, therefore, it could be said that we have a “right” to water. However, while the concept of “free water” may be appealing, the provision of water has a cost. It must be collected, purified, bottled, pumped, distributed, metered, etc., and every one of these steps taken is an expense which someone must pay. The water may be free, but the provision is not.

    “Capitalism gives me permission not to care.”

    No, your free will, right to choose, gives you the freedom not to care. This is actually one right which everyone has and which cannot be taken away. You are not obligated to care about your neighbor. Do not blame capitalism for your lack of love, compassion, and the capacity of humans to care for the more needy persons among us.

    “Capitalist society not only denies the concept of a human right to the most basic elements of survival…”

    No, capitalism is the most efficient means of providing for those basic elements of survival.

    “…but it creates necessities that no one ever needed or thought about before in order to commodify them and coerce us into feeding these new profit centers.”

    If Ted Rall does not like nor approve of all those “created necessities”, then he is free to simply quit using them and revert back to basic survival. Will he? Do pigs fly?

    “Those who work must share. Socialism and communism are political structures designed to distribute that sharing.”

    Rall apparently wants to live in a socialist or communist society, yet he cannot even bring himself to share more than a pittance with a woman who needs his help. Apparently, “…from each according to his ability…” does not apply. He wants compassion and generosity to be forced on everyone, but is not willing to voluntarily give it of himself.

    One rule for thee, another for me. In a word, hypocrisy.

    “Owe no man anything, but to love one another, for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
    For this, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” “Thou shalt not kill,” “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” “Thou shalt not covet,” and if there be any other commandment, all are briefly comprehended in this saying, namely: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” — Romans 13:8-10

    I will take this timeless wisdom any day over Rall’s foolishness.

  46. Apparently this moron has never heard of the welfare state.

  47. I get it: Ted Rall on Unz occupies the same perfunctory seat held by the Liberals aka Progressives aka Communists (LPC) Jessica Tarlov and Harold Ford Jr. on The Five, and with equal ignominious failure.

    It’s funny how our LPCs always sound so downright foolish and hypocritical when forced to express or defend their actual LPC policies and beliefs.

  48. meamjojo says:

    Thanks Roger but how about you do you and I’ll do me?

  49. meamjojo says:

    If you weren’t thick as a brick, you would be able to find couple of author’s names in my OP. You can go search on those names for a start. Reading comprehension declines when you don’t read enough…

  50. @Roger

    What part of his description did he get wrong?

    • Replies: @Bro43rd
    , @Roger
  51. Bro43rd says:

    Spot on, but Roger’s comment stands regardless of meams descriptions validity. It wasn’t a question about his accuracy, it was a question of his scruples.

    No offense meant to meam by referring to them by a male pronoun. Figure of speech.

    • Thanks: Roger
  52. This is indeed a point in time which we are approaching fast, when we have to overhaul the very basic concepts of our economies – capitalism or otherwise. All our economies are based on the premise that everyone needs to work to keep the system running. Everyone is assessing others’ contribution and pays them accordingly (at least how the system works in theory).

    But now for the first time in economic history, a situation has come where we do not need the work of 100% to run the society; instead, it is enough if 3-5% work in agriculture, 15-20% in manufacturing and another 10-15% in services sector. Thus, only 28-40% people need to work to sustain 100% population. Then how do we pay the remaining 60%?

    The present option is by wasting the work, we force all the 100% to work, “to earn a living”.

    A better option would be to recognise that it is not necessary for everyone to work. It is a very difficult concept to understand, because then the question arises how we pay them.

    Essentially, we all can get a lot of free time – just in the distant past, when the society was not centralised much. But the basic question still remains – what do we do with the remaining 60% population – to keep the idle, or to use their output for any long term project.

    Here we must understand the essentials of personal economics. A man in his working years is required to earn to cover the following expenditures:

    1. His upkeep during these years – food, shelter, health, etc (including taxes, which are individual contributions to the common infrastructure)

    2. To repay the past – a part of the debt incurred in bringing him up – repay the education loan, look after his aged parents (they may chip in something, but not always), etc

    3. To invest in future – the upbringing of his children, and save for his old age (his children may chip in something, but not always)

    Now, if a man fails to earn to cover these expenditures, making up for the shortfall falls on the society – his relatives at first, and public money afterwards.

    If he fails to earn his upkeep, his family will give something; if it fails, he may fall to begging, where the society pays for his upkeep. Even if he dies starving, the society needs to pay for his funeral, at least to prevent his dead body from spreading diseases.

    Same with the expenditures of the three other categories.

    So, if a man is cheated in his wages, the resulting shortage falls on everybody. His employers’ gain, but society’s loss. That is why some sort of minimum wage is essential.

    Having built a society on such concepts, it will be difficult for us to switch to a situation where a majority of the population need not work. But economics teaches us that people will invent work for themselves, just to make the society pay them. Priests, for example, perform no useful production roles. Yet the society pays them. If 60% of a society need not work, soon that society will cease working, because everyone will want to be in that 60%!

    Therefore we have no option but to make all the 100% work. Now we have two options: to waste the surplus work of the 60% – by engaging them in useless labour, like Youtube influencers, etc., or by forcing people to throw away perfectly good things in the name of fashion, safety, etc.

    Our ruling elite is now trying to control the society’s output by curtailing the available energy and depopulation, both stupid ideas.

    A better alternative would be to direct the output for some real long term projects. China is building cities and roads and bridges, for example. Attempts to colonise the space will be even better. In the 15th and 16th Centuries, European countries invested their surplus into building ships and exploring the seas. It paid off handsomely for the mankind (and also for those countries). Similarly exploration of outer space needs to be taken up to channel the huge surplus human societies are generating.

    • Replies: @Bro43rd
  53. xyxxyz says:

    This is one of the most incredibly uniformed articles that Rall has ever written.

    The uniform must have been a clown suit.

  54. xyxxyz says:

    as do Congo and Pakistan


    Ted, go live in the Congo; if you survive, go live in Pakistan, try to get in before the population doubles again as it does every 10 or fewer years.

  55. @gay troll

    Something cannot be your right if you require another person to give it to you.

    This has been discussed a lot by the Social Contract theory supporters. Well, it argues both ways. If there is no government to enforce your rights, will you still have rights? Rousseau says, yes, you have. You have the Right to live, for example, even if the whole society collapses, and it is each for himself; nobody has the right to kill you. That is the origin of Natural Rights argument. No, says Hobbes, if in a collapsed society, a brute stops you from saying something you want to say, and you are too weak to fight him, where is your Right to Free Speech?

    “But we are the artists, and the dreamers, and the geniuses, why shouldn’t food just appear on our plates?” You are just asking a tyrant to violate other peoples’ natural rights by stealing for you.

    Unfortunately that is how the best masterpieces of art were created. Some Greek peasant had to forego his rightful share of crops so that the landlord could gift it to Homer; some peasants in Germany had to squeeze themselves for the Pope to commission Michael Angelo and Bernini.

    • Replies: @Bro43rd
  56. Roger says: • Website

    Meamjojo didn’t necessarily get anything wrong, but the inconsistency of his statement is glaring.

    If he had only known what life was like before he had been born, he would have passed, i.e., chosen not to be born. Since he did not, he is now doomed to suffer a life of unrelenting work until he is able to escape the routine by squirreling away enough so that he can live comfortably without working. Life is a bitch, and then you retire.

    Setting aside the impossibility of anyone choosing not to be born (or even conceived), he is saying that his (and everyone’s) life springs from a position of lack of knowledge. He says that he would have “passed” if only he had known what life was all about, yet the challenge remains–now that he does know, what is he going to do about it?

    If he is not willing to end his life from a position of awareness, gained knowledge, and experience, then how can he consistently claim that he would have done so from a position of total ignorance? His argument can be phrased this way–“Before I knew anything at all, I would have made this choice, but now that I do know, I will choose something different.” The choice made in ignorance has been superseded and overruled by the choice made from knowledge, which is as it should be.

    Apparently, life really isn’t that bad, after all, even if one does have to learn, work, and be responsible.

    • Agree: Bro43rd
    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
  57. Bro43rd says:
    @Old Brown Fool

    How about 100% work as much as they need to sustain themself and theirs. According to your calculations that’d be 40% of their time, allowing 60% to do leisure or whatever activities one desires. All this assumes there isn’t a 900lb gorilla in the room. But my point is really that it goes against dna & causes societal problems if one is not productive in society.

    That gorilla is government & a totally distorted economic system that picks the winners/losers.

    • Replies: @Old Brown Fool
  58. Bro43rd says:
    @Old Brown Fool

    We’d be better off without them if what you say is true. Were the greeks tricked into the sharecrop system or was is voluntary. And did the church extract those german peasants money at the end of a sword or was it voluntary tithe. A bit different than what we live under now.

  59. @Bro43rd

    Yes, that is a great option – keeping 100% people working but getting only about 40% work from everyone. Problem is, nobody would voluntarily stop at 40%; they always want to give 100% output so that they can earn more.

    Suppose the world needs one million handsets in 2023; then we need not produce two millions. But the way the economy is organised, there are several difficulties in doing this in practice:

    1. Wrong estimates of demand – we depend on paid bureaucrats or statisticians, the results are unreliable
    2. Even if the demand is accurately ascertained, how to divide it among various manufacturers – the result will be a messy bureaucracy that will decide which company to produce how many handsets and sell them where. Soviets tried this system with spectacular failure. That the USSR succeeded so much is itself a big miracle.
    3. If someone comes up with an interesting handset – say iPhone – the sales may be more than the expected demand.

    Humans solved all these problems by leaving these decisions to the individual manufacturers. Therefore there will be always some overproduction (or underproduction). How do we force everyone to work at 40% output, then?

    • Replies: @Bro43rd
  60. @Avid

    I have decided to end my subscription to the Unz Report.

    Ha! You’ll soon discover that subscribing is very much like not subscribing.

  61. @meamjojo

    Jokes on you. You did choose it. All souls did. Welcome to Samara.

  62. @Roger

    Yes, very good. Reminds me of reading the Stoics and Epicureans in my misty past.

    • Thanks: Roger
  63. Bro43rd says:
    @Old Brown Fool

    We don’t, let them decide if they want to eat or not. Either they’re totally self-sufficient or they will participate enough to get by. That you are contemplating forcing anybody tells me all I need to know about your bunk ideology. I believe in NAP as a guiding principle for life & governance. It is the moral high ground.

  64. Liza says:

    I’m in favor of sharing, too. Trouble is, some parties are picky as to whom they will share their money or food with. Certain cultures (I’m not naming names) tend to care only for their own.

  65. Liza says:

    I think it is satire.

  66. @Faraday's Bobcat

    I live in NYC and am very familiar with a certain community that works with the “honeless”. Going hungry, no excuse, there is always a soup kitchen to go to. Shelter is a bit different – more difficult to acquire if you’re homeless. If you are willing to go through the hoops, you can get a place to lie your head at night. Yes, the bureaucracy today makes it very difficult for a person to get off the street. The vast amount of those who are sleeping on the street are either strung out on drugs or mentally ill. They don’t have the wherewithall or the motivation to do anything else. Those who do have the desire, can do it, but it is very difficult.

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