Proper Value

Russell Davies, writing for Wired UK, notes that we need an internet of unmonetisable enthusiasms.

I agree that we need to do things without the desire to monetize them. The problem is that, if something is popular enough, *someone* will find a way to monetize it. It’s playing out on social media, where “content aggregators” steal artists’ work, and make money off of the massive amount of views/followers they build.

The problem, as I see it, is that we fail to value art properly (and this is not a new issue), and that we continue to fetishize money, and people who make money. In addition, we continue to tie personal self-identity, and self-respect, to a fetishized idea of ‘work’. If you look back at essays from the dawn of the Industrial Age, you’ll see thoughts that we could be on the verge of moving ‘beyond’ work… and somehow we couldn’t handle that. The problem I personally have, is that I’ll never hustle and sell enough art to make enough money to live. So I need a day job, which drastically reduces the time and energy I have to produce art. Which sucks, because honestly I’m pretty damn good at it.

Universal Income would level the bottom of the playing field. Universal Health Care would make us all feel human and valued. The top end could still play their “let’s invent more ways to make money” games to procure their slice of marginally less decadent opulence. We don’t do it because we (the everyone else who isn’t super rich) let ourselves be divided by everything else. I’d love to know that everyone I see on the street is above the poverty line, has access to free health care, and can do whatever they damn well please with their lives… even if their choice is: “absolutely nothing”. But we’d all be valued humans, together.

It’s a pipe dream. Made worse for the fact that it could be easily accomplished by a society that wanted to.