Why would people work if they get everything free?

introduction to the question

A friend of mine on Facebook just posted:

People just want a place to chill and sleep, food and to have a good time, but we have created this maze of insanity and control writing fictions on papers channeling most of our energy and efforts into creating even more of it. ~ Andrew Osagie

Which reminded me, one of the things I get asked a lot about the practicalities of a Resources Based Economy ( RBE ), and the vision of the Open Empire Foundation, is:

” … why would anyone work if they can get everything for free, where is their motivation … “

Which first of all tells me they haven’t actually read a damn thing I’ve written – as this question is multiply and thoroughly answered from multiple perspectives in the various pages and posts of my blog – and secondly it tells me they have no imagination whatsoever.

the answers

People work in the status quo because they have to. If they’re lucky, they do something they love, if they’re even luckier, they don’t have to work ( ie – born wealthy ) … BUT … that’s not the only reason someone could have for working, because let’s face it, there’s some fascinating and enjoyable stuff to be involved in.

Anyone of even mediocre level intelligence is probably going to get bored with life pretty quickly if they never got involved in anything, never created anything, and only ever looked out for themselves in terms of immediate gratification of their urges … such a person is arguably an evolutionary dead end.

The other answer to the question being that: “getting it for free” doesn’t necessarily equate to “contributing nothing to society” ( within an alternate economic paradigm ) – which shows me they’re failing to think of the question before they’re coming up with their answer – ie: they’re not asking “how would this work in an alternative economic paradigm”, they’re asking “how does this alternative paradigm work inside the status quo”, which of course is the wrong question, not what is being proposed in the first place, and thus neither a valid question nor answer.

the details

So if you’re not already familiar with the answers in detail from other pages and posts, here it is again:

  1. the consequences – both deleterious & beneficial – of your actions are quantified and recorded
  2. this includes the way you harvest resources, store, process, utilise, discard, and recycle them … every action you undertake, every interaction you engage in, has consequences
  3. regardless of those consequences, you may access any abundant resources you require. Since the term “abundant” refers to the scenario where supply is greater than demand, there exists no reason to deny you access
  4. where you desire scarce ( demand greater than supply ) resources, you must show merit for access … so if you contribute nothing, you’re unlikely to gain access, unless you can convince the supplier to give you those resources for some other reason, which he or she is unlikely to do if you contribute nothing, because this would reflect poorly on their own merit for access to scarce resources ( so they’re only going to do it as a personal favour, or if you have some other very good reason they feel personally aligned with )
  5. THEREFORE: if you want to sit around and surf all day and contribute nothing, that’s fine, but you’ll live a pretty meagre life if you do so … but the more people who contribute nothing, the more resources become scarce, and thus at some point, the system rectifies itself, because those people unworthy of merit for access to scarce resources will be forced to get off their arses and contribute something if they want to get access to that which used to be abundant, but is now scarce because none of them are doing anything ( and perhaps also because this particular resource cannot yet be produced by automation )