Why earning a living is “velvet oppression”

Time is freedom.001You’ve heard the term “Velvet Handcuffs.” It describes a job with benefits so compelling, leaving is a non-choice. Even if you hate the work.

Gotta feed the kids, pay that mortgage.

Velvet Oppression is similar. It is oppression, but oppression so good-feeling alternatives pale in comparison.

You hear it all the time:

“I hate this job”

“Working for the man”

“Nose to the grindstone” (what imagery!)

“Slaving away”

These unconscious quips permanent parts of our lexicon owe their definition to their context. If not for earn a living, he’d use time differently.

What exactly would that be? Who knows? Rare is the person who kicks to the curb a promising career for passion. Earning a living comes with so many benefits, vacations, children, nice homes and cars, sex, drugs, etc., it’s challenging to see the oppression amidst the velvet.

Some argue earning a living is a personal responsibility.  Everyone must do it. We disagree. Feeding, clothing, educating oneself, and maintaining one’s health are personal responsibilities. Having to earn money to do these things is an artificial overlay.

The overlay causes people to sometimes make less-than-responsible choices. People aren’t always rational. They are highly susceptible to suggestion, leading to them doing things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. The system which requires us all to earn a living is rife with circumstances that eliminate personal-choice freedom. A non-biased study of marketing reveals this.

Someone recently told me:


If a free citizen wants to sit under a tree and play the guitar all day they have that right; that doesn’t mean however he can expect the rest of us to support him for it.


The problem with this statement for me is it enforces the the overlay. If that person had the freedom to play the guitar all day, without having to pay for necessities, they could elevate that skill to a level of mastery, which indeed could earn them far more income than any “job” presuming they have an aptitude for it. This is exactly what happens in rich families and is the reason why many (though not all) successful artists are from wealth.

Wealth buys time. Unfettered time is freedom.

The fact that this hypothetical person does not have the freedom to take her passion to the level of mastery reveals her oppression. As for others supporting her, that is exactly what happened prior to governments, kings and capitalism: societies supported individuals, in return, individuals perfected their unique skills in a variety of areas leading to a rich tapestry of individual contributions back to society.

We’re going to see a resurgence in this kind of relationship between “society” and “individual”. It’s over due, but it’s on the way.

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