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A World Without Work: Star Trek Edition

Star Trek Enterprise

“The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century… The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity.” Jean Luc Picard

A world without money and paid work is, of course, pure science fiction, socialist-seeming, nonsense. Except that future is already here, at least partially. We know because we’re already living a variation of that future along with a growing rank of others.

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Are the Childless Necessarily Selfish

The Childfree Life Time Magazine Cover

Selfish, decadent, irresponsible are just a few of the words sometimes used to describe those of us who have chosen not to have children. Oftentimes these charges are nothing more than a kneejerk reaction to an emerging lifestyle choice that is at odds with longstanding tradition. It’s common for such criticisms to be levied at people who buck convention. But that fact alone doesn’t prove the accusations untrue.

So when we saw that Time Magazine had titled this week’s cover story The Childfree Life, we hoped it might address these charges. And while the article takes a sympathetic stance regarding childless women, it ducks the central question. Are we and others like us selfish for not having children?

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An Old Tale Worth Retelling

Fisherman

A fisherman on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Standing on a pier in a remote coastal village, a vacationing American businessman watched as a tiny boat ladened with tuna docked nearby. Clearly impressed with the quality of the local fisherman’s catch, the American asked how long it took him to reel in his haul.

“Only a short while,” responded the fisherman.

“Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”

“With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.”

“But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

Seeming a bit perplexed by the question, the fisherman smiled and said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed, “I can help you. If you spent more time fishing you could earn enough to buy a bigger boat and even hire some extra hands. By plowing your profits back into the business you could buy more boats and eventually amass an entire fleet of trawlers. Then you can leave this little village and move to a big city where it will be easy to manage your growing enterprise.”

“How long will this all take?” asked the fisherman.

“Fifteen, maybe twenty years.”

“That’s a long time. Why would I want to do that?”

The American laughed and said, “Because after all of those years of hard work your company will be large enough that you can sell it and use the proceeds to retire.”

“What will I do then?”

“That’s the best part. Once you retire you can move to a small coastal village, sleep late, fish a little, play with your grandchildren, take siesta with your wife in the afternoon and, in the evening, stroll into town where you can sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”

Adapted from a story by Heinrich Böll

A World Without Work

Margaritaville

Fantasizing a world without work is one of our specialties at EverywhereOnce. So when we saw an opinion piece of the same name authored by conservative Times columnist Ross Douthat, it got our attention. Given his predispositions, it’s not surprising that he disapproves of the concept. Given ours, it’s not surprising that we find fault with his reasoning.

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How to Revolutionize Your Financial Life

Money

With New Year’s celebrations now over it’s time for the hard work of resolution honoring to begin in earnest. Many of us will start the year resolving to spend less money and save more. If you’re like me and Shannon, the objective may be to accumulate enough to travel the world; or maybe you’re trying to build a college fund or pad a retirement nest egg. All worthy goals.

Unfortunately our good intentions are typically doomed to failure right from the start. By mid-year most of us will have fallen back into the same bad habits we resolve each year to end. We do that not because we lack the necessary willpower, but because we lack the correct perspective. To change our financial behavior we need to fundamentally change the way we think about money. We need to find a way to turn human nature, which constantly tempts us away from our long term goals, to our advantage. Fortunately that is easier to do than you may think.

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