The modern time offers us a paradigm in the form of work. Where people in the past spent more of their time working, they would find it baffling how we, with so many labor-saving technologies, spend more time on the job and have less secure careers. This occurs because employment is not actually productive, but a loyalty test.
Most of what we do in offices contributes nothing to anything except portraying a functional workplace. Like everything else in democracy, it is play-acting, designed to create an appearance and then offer an inferior substitute. Someone always takes away the profits saved between doing a job right and making it look good.
How it works is this: you show up and do nothing — meetings, paperwork, trainings, email, conference calls — and this allows the business to claim you as an expense and point to “productivity” that consists of achieving arbitrary tasks at half speed with half accuracy.
The government taxes this, then points to the raised GDP as “growth,” and brings in a few million more illegals to work the manual jobs while shipping all manufacturing overseas to avoid the unions. The new tax money gets spent on the underclass, who spend it on low-cost versions of luxury lifestyle products.
This Keynesian circular Ponzi scheme (KcPs) enables the mixed economy, in which government relies on capitalism but taxes it heavily so that it can pay for socialist benefits, that keeps democracy in power and allows it to claim vast improvements so the voters stay quiet.
After all, since the French Revolution, the first task of any government is to stay in power by any means necessary.
If you are a loyal citizen of the republic, repeat your diversity mantras, and make it through education having memorized enough immediately forgotten stuff to be considered well-informed, you will go through a series of entry-level positions and then make it to the promised land, the email job.
An email job is any job that you can do mostly or entirely through email. You have underlings and coworkers who need your input, so you opine on items emailed to you, then take the revised product and send it on to the right person to keep it moving up the chain. You are basically a conduit that performs slight sorting roles, a glorified clerk.
Society hands out email jobs to those who are loyal. Testify against a Republican, and you get an email job at a Fortune 500 where you have to do nothing much for the next few decades but get a fat salary plus benefits. Help steal an election, and you get an email job at a voting machine company.
Email jobs are the currency of a dying regime. They use them to reward loyalty, to trade for favors, and to buy silence. If you see something weird happen at your work, the lawyers will show up with an NDA, and then offer you an associate-to-the-assistant-vice-president-of-marketing-assistance type email job.
If you sign the papers, you get a job where you can do two hours of work a week for the rest of your life. You will be insulated by your underlings, who are still trying to rise therefore will notice when you slip up and cover for you when you are on a six-week bender in Monterrey.
Everyone works to get to the level of an email job, and then they pretty much stop doing anything but absorbing benefits like the underclass below them. Ever wonder why the stores are full of people at ten in the morning on weekdays? These are people with email jobs; they might show up at the office a couple days this week.
Even before COVID-19 gave us all the excuse of working from home, lots of people worked outside the office, which since these jobs are glorified clerkships — filing, mailing, taking notes — had zero impact on their non-productivity. They were fake productive, going through the motions, following the procedures, and churning up pointless activity.
A glorified clerkship can take many forms. If you are a coder, your email job involves keeping track of versioning and the latest standards of development process, all of which are neurotic gibberish. If you are a lawyer, you tag along to see clients and edit Microsoft Word documents to insert little changes to what are basically form filings.
By the 1990s, corporate jobs had become the type of time-wasting activity satirized in fiction of the time, notably Michel Houellebecq Whatever and the movie Office Space that came out a year later. People were in jobs to fill niche roles, subdivided by regulations and affirmative action, and no one did much of anything.
Somewhere in the Clinton years, government discovered that it did not need actual productivity. It could fake it by having people go through the motions, and with regulations and red tape, make those motions extra detailed. As a result, our economy is as fake as that of the Soviets, and will unravel if any major industry crashes even briefly.