Wage And Gifts
We pay for clothes. We pay for rent. We pay for food, petrol, parking spaces, town water, and medical treatment. Even the services that appear to be free, like libraries, parks and the use of roads, are paid for by taxes.
But the money we pay for these goods and services does not really do anything. It is a myth – part of a universal religion called “economics”.
From the time we are very young, we are taught to expect payment, or “wages” for everything we do. Wages may be lollies, beads, shells, coins, or just numbers on a balance sheet.
We are told that we could not survive without wages. The tokens (called money) that we receive as wages become a “means of exchange”, in a world where people do not trust other people to help them freely. When we have money we don’t need to trust people: we can force them to work for us… but only if they too stay convinced that they could not survive without money.
Working for wages destroys good human relationships. This system stems from distrust: it also leads to competition, pride, self-righteousness, hatred, and full-scale wars. (James 4:1-3).
People who are working for wages are never really free. Even if they like their work most of the time, they know that they cannot leave it or upset their employers for fear of losing their jobs. They are slaves to the “system,” or religion of economics (Romans 6:16).
This subtle dissatisfaction makes wage-earners resent anyone who breaks free from the system. Non wage-earners are called “bludgers”. The wage-earners envy the bludgers, but are frightened to imitate them. They say it is “righteous” to work hard for wages and they invent religious defences for their self-righteousness.
These wage-earners could be genuinely happy… if they would forget about money and just do things that are helpful for other people. They would actually work harder and stop envying others as well.
But could they survive without wages? We believe they could. (Luke 12:31)
They would survive on gifts. Their time and possessions would become gifts to others. And others would give gifts to them.
People who live by gifts, (rather than by wages) have more time to make friends and less need for possessions (which are often substitutes for human relationships anyway.) They don’t get rich. But then they don’t need to get rich to be happy. Because they have the important things. (Matthew 16:26)