People don’t work if they get things for free

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People won’t work if they get things for free.

It’s a common conservative response to safety net programs, and subsidies to individuals – anything they consider a “handout” or entitlement (interestingly though, corporations receiving such benefits are ok, but that’s another story). We don’t blame conservatives for their concerns. Their world view, to them, is confirmed by what they see around them.

We wonder what is the concern behind such statements. Taken to an unreasonable extreme to uncover the fear, we ask: so what if

people don’t work? What will happen?

If we don’t force people to earn what they need to thrive: food, clothing, housing, education, healthcare will society collapse? Will America no longer be great? Will Europe, Asia, or Africa fall into ruin?

We don’t think so.

At Copiosis we believe that people are better motivated to produce tremendous value only after their basic needs are met. Only then can they operate at the higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy, where higher order human expression comes out.

In economies today, “Earning a living” motivates us all because we can’t get and maintain our basic needs without doing something that earns us money. This is a problem. The majority of people in the world get stuck just “earning a living”. Rarely do they rise to any other level. They get fleeting moments where talents and passions are expressed in the highest and most valuable ways…for themselves. Rarely for others. They may paint, collect things, study subjects that light them up, explore inventions, practice a craft…as hobbies. Rarely are these skills honed to where they can offer something to others. Why? Most would likely say “I don’t have time.” But the reality is, “I’m too busy earning a living.”

Today, education and “time” cost money. Passions rarely get to the point where their expressions benefit society. Most of us never make it. Some do, after retirement. Other brave people go against the system and do create value for society through their passion. That is rare. The rest are forced to “earn a living” in jobs fearful that any income disruption will ruin them and their family.  Paige Thomas’ comment to a recent article about poverty in the US takes our assertion out of opinion and into reality. Another commenter challenged that all people can “simply” go out and do anything to earn their way out of poverty. Her response we believe is similar to those who’d like to pursue a passion, but can’t:

I work 50 hours a week, have raised three children and went to school for advanced degree. While I am now in a relatively comfortable middle class space…..Sure I could borrow money and open a business – no one is stopping me. And there is a chance statistically that it would be successful and statistically it could fail (even if I work hard). So I chose not to take that chance and risk the stable (yet middle class) status of my family. Because I do not have the support system if my venture fails. I have no expectation that somone will be there to pick up the pieces. …..

Earning a living today leads to socially destructive behavior. Drug dealers, pick-pocketers and others who commit crimes or abuse other people sometimes do so for lack of opportunity and the need to earn money for basic necessities. Luxuries too, yes. The point here is they may have options they can’t see for how they afford these things. Forcing them to earn these things gives them no time to explore such options. They can’t pursue education to increase their skills. Even if they could see them.  The way our systems motivate people by forcing them to pay for things they need works in some cases, but in many, many cases it produces terrible results.

Copiosis gives people positive motivation. First, by providing basic needs for everyone not free – but at no cost to them – people can relax, breathe then figure out the best way to express their talents. Suddenly they have time. They don’t have to worry about mortgages, debt, bills. They don’t have to worry about massive student loans.

Second, we use human greed to inspire people to add net-positive value to society. If you look around, what people are really doing with the money they earn is using it to buy things to express themselves to themselves and to others. They buy experiences and things that coincide with their interests, they obtain things that enhance their personality and characters, enrich their lives and generally make life more interesting and enjoyable. In Copiosis, all these things are Luxuries. Luxuries can only be obtained in two ways: 1. a person who owns the Luxury can transfer it to the other person, or 2. the person who wants the Luxury can buy it. Obviously, there will not be enough people who own enough Luxuries for those people to give everyone Luxuries. So the main way people will obtain Luxuries is to buy them.

Now, in Copiosis, money serves only two purposes: it rewards Producers for the value they create to society. It also allows Producers access to Luxuries. So, we motivate people through human greed: People want Luxuries. The main way they can get them is to earn reward. What’s different (among many other things) between Copiosis and today’s economies is that the only way to earn reward is to create social value.

People are greedy. There’s nothing wrong with that so long as that greed can be expressed in a context that makes that expression create value and only that. Copiosis channels greed in a way that produces maximum positive benefit for all thereby gradually, gently motivating all human beings to do things that create social value. All without making them earn a living.


2 thoughts on “People don’t work if they get things for free

  1. “People are greedy.”
    Are they? Is greed a state of “being”, an essence of humanity, a human disposition? Or is that which we label as “greed” an unhealthy form of something else (desire) which is produced, not by something inherent in human nature, but rather by the social environment that humans have constructed (our economic system). If so, it seems to me that Copiosis may offer a healthy social structure which facilitates our desire to create social values and thus eliminates the unhealthy symptom of “greed”. And that is what I believe is the point of your blog.

    So, in case I didn’t make my thoughts clear, let me state my beliefs and really muddy up the water. I believe that ‘desire’ is ubiquitous. It is a fundamental property of the universe and everything in the universe. It is the driving force of evolution. It is, in my mind, correlated with creativity. There would be no creativity without desire. There is an element of desire in every event – even down to the quantum level. Without desire, there would be no change or possibilities – nothing that would take us from “what is” to “what could be”.

    Desire leads to the creation of values. That’s a good thing. Greed is an unhealthy form of desire. Greed produces values that are in most cases less than optimal, and in many cases, values that are destructive of other values. That’s a bad thing. A person who is greedy would be a bad person. I don’t think people are bad – but people who are in an unhealthy situation can have unhealthy desires. It is the situation that needs to be fixed. We can’t fix people.


    1. I know, I’m probably necro-posting, but Mr. Krol’s got it. A firm understanding of Copiosis’s goals is needed to properly heal our “greedy tendencies.” Well written article, though.

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