by J.Larochelle & C.A. L'Hirondelle
2004, updated 2013

Jobism is the belief that jobs are the solution
to all social and economic problems.

Jobism views any job-creating economic activity as success
even if it destroys our environment
- the very source of our ability to live.

"That 50 per cent, or more, of society's labor is wasted has been known
by some of the world's best philosophers and was discussed extensively
in academic circles seventy years ago."

–J.W.Smith, The World's Wasted Wealth II, Institute for Economic Democracy, 1994.

"We find all the no-life-support-wealth-producing people going to their 1980 jobs in their cars or buses, spending trillions of dollar's worth of petroleum daily to get to their no-wealth-producing jobs. It doesn't take a computer to tell you that it will save both Universe and humanity trillions of dollars a day to pay them handsomely to stay at home." –Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path (xxxv).

Jobism is a non-critical loyalty and belief in the jobs system. In all modern economies there is now a total loyalty to the idea of jobs as a good in and of themselves regardless of the actual impact the job has on people, environment or other living things. Jobism means there is no overview or critical thinking about whether or not the activity requried by the job (including indirect activities such as having millions of people drive back and forth each day to makework jobs) might be wasteful or harmful. Jobism has hidden how the jobs system is a bane and not a boon to people and the planet. Jobism is also one of the main obstacles to support for guaranteed livable income (aka basic income, citizen's income, guaranteed annual income).

Both the political left and right believe different variations of the job system, but the result is still the same: vast quantities of human and natural resources are wasted. Under the jobs system, there is no differentiation between work that is necessary and beneficial and work that is unnecessary or harmful. As long as it makes the economy grow, then it is considered 'productive' and beneficial.

In addition, anyone doing informal but necessary work such as unpaid care-giving is put under financial duress because their time used for unpaid work cannot be used for paid work. Families, neighborhoods and communities are robbed of the time and resources they need thrive and be healthy. This robbing resources from the informal sector causes great harm to children, elders, people with extra needs from illness or disability and it breaks apart families and communities. This creates a negative feedback loop because the subsequent problems fuel the need for more 'fixing' jobs (e.g. social workers, addiction counsellors, police, lawyers, jailers, etc.).

Jobism forces human activities into two categories: paid work (visible and financially rewarded) and unpaid work (invisible and financially unrewarded). Paid work is considered a valid activity and unpaid work is generally not considered valid or 'real' work. This means that many harmful, wasteful and unnecessary activities are financially encouraged and many forms of beneficial work (e.g. unpaid caregiving) are financially discouraged.

The toll of jobism is huge because all the resources used to support the infrastructure of the job system cannot be used to meet people's real wants and needs.


photo of two tractors on a huge heap of trash


The job system is a massive wasteful resource diversion machine.


Read more on Jobism: The Last Taboo: How Jobs Cause Poverty
Read more: Vested Interests as a Barrier to Change
See 6 min. slideshow: Crapitalism - Iatrogenic vs livable economics

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