To Live And Not To Work

The very idea of a job market would sound utterly alien to the denizens of human space, with the concept of people having to put their skills and time to sell on a market controlled by job givers bordering on madness. Conditional salaries are a tool of capitalistic oppression, but most importantly they are confined to history books. Under the cooperative and communal organisation of human space, one of the most fundamental imperatives of any self-respecting polity is to decouple work from the means of subsistence. This endeavour is not carried through basic income (which is often considered as "the spare wheel of capitalism") but through a much more comprehensive system, which renders the very existence of capitalistic economies impossible: unconditional lifelong salaries.

Under a communal system, everything is socialized, from factories and agriculture to healthcare and transportation. Cooperatives and communes do not own the means of production directly: they are but the structures through which citizens own and control the means of production via democratic processes. Inside a commune, there is no difference between public or private economies, nor between capitalistic and non-capitalistic economies. Everything is shared and socialized.  Within such a shared economy, it stands to reason that profits are to be socialized as well. One half of this socialization process is implemented through communal and cooperative investments in infrastructure, healthcare, transportation or services. The other half is the unconditional lifelong salary.

Every single member of a commune, regardless of ability or availability, is entitled to a lifelong income that is necessarily separated from work and employment. Whether they work directly or not, citizens of a commune are the collective owners, managers and beneficiaries of the wealth produced by their cooperative and as such are entitled to this income due to their very existence. There are no strings attached to lifelong income, which is always paired with extensive welfare and social security measures in order to flatten external inequalities. In effect, unconditional lifelong salary abolishes job markets, capitalism and the very notion of mandatory work altogether. It is the central element of something that is more than just an economic organisation but a true civilisation system, one that considers every kind of activity worthy of a salary, regardless of its value in the capitalistic sense. In effect, the lifelong salary system rewards activities such as raising children, doing free art, maintaining your garden, helping your neighbours...which do contribute to a GDP yet aren't considered as valuable in salary terms under a capitalistic system. Employers still exist in some capacity, but one's subsistence doesn't hinge on employment any longer. 

Lifelong salaries are not completely flat. In most large communes they follow a system of tiers that are tied to diplomas and qualifications, with each additional tier increasing the lifelong salary: in the most archaic communes, the upper tier may be two to three times higher than the lowest tier. Tiers may sometimes be complemented by bonuses attached to high-risk or difficult activities that would not attract workers otherwise. The base amount and tiering of the lifelong salary is one of the most crucial aspects of communal governance, one through which cooperatives and communes live or die. In communes where these incentives aren't enough to cover hard or difficult jobs no one wants to do, mandatory communal work may be implemented for those able to participate, though it is a rare occurrence.

Note that the word "commune" is used in a generic sense in this article. When communes are integrated under the umbrella of a state such as the USRE or the Eloran Ekumen, this state generally handles the financing and management of lifelong salaries on its own. Communes may then have the choice to either merge their budget with the state budget or pay a "salary tithe" to the state while keeping independent investments.  The Eloran Ekumen follows a hybrid model where one half of the lifelong salary is paid for by the state and the other by the qiths.

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