If you didn’t have to

A friend mentioned basic guaranteed income in passing, and it led to an interesting thought experiment. What would the world look like if no one had to work to survive?

Imagine that you have enough for all the basics: a simple apartment, utilities, medical care, groceries and a small amount for entertainment. What would you choose to do with your time when you don’t have to do anything in particular? It’s depressing that I can’t answer that question. I’m at a complete loss.

I like the idea of getting a job — any job — for only the amount of time it takes to be able to afford the next extravagance. What fun to try on jobs as you might try on hats. I could work for 3 months as an investment banker and make enough money to tour Southeast Asia for the rest of the year. If I wanted to buy a newfie, maybe I’d have to work for 2 weeks as a chocolatier. I could consider every luxury vividly as an exchange of my freedom and units of my life. How many hours of your life are you willing to trade for a BMW?

The saddest thing might be that people would still choose to stay at jobs they don’t particularly care for because their lists of extravagances are inexhaustible.

What would you do if you didn’t have to work?*

* I’ve considered that some so love their work that they’d be doing it even if they didn’t have to. Unfortunately, I’m not one of these. Unless you know someone who would like to pay me to travel, blog, write letters, hottub, cook, brush my hair, bake, do things with yarn, read, attend symphonies and operas, play with dogs, solve math riddles, learn new languages, and travel aimlessly, crying over old architecture. Anyone?

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