Don't work hard!

Hard work and longer working hours are praised by politicians and business in many EU member states. The 'shining example' is the USA, which indeed has the longest workweek of any advanced economy. But hard work is morally wrong - with certain exceptions, such as the fire service or health care.

By working hard, you strengthen your nation's competitiveness, its economic power. This power is directed against (for instance) Mitsubishi or Daimler-Chrysler or Deutsche Bank, but they can take it. However, it is also directed against the poorest countries of the world. In the present world order, nation states compete with each other, as if they were business firms. Slogans like "Great Britain Limited", "BV Nederland" and "Deutschland GmbH" are typical of this competition.

There is no tribunal or commission, which grants exemption from this global competition. Powerful national economies, such as those of Britain, the Netherlands, and Germany, also compete against the poorest village of the poorest region of Eritrea. This is no 'sporting competition' - it is like a heavyweight boxer beating up patients in intensive care.

Every success story, of a hard-working British or German entrepreneur, means that others die of disease or hunger. It will always be like that - as long as the world economy is a market-place of aggressively competing nations. Economic competition means, by definition, harming the weakest party in each transaction. The loser can only compensate for this, by finding an even weaker party to compete against. In the last decade, some of the rich western countries, above all the United States, have become extremely competitive. All of that competitive power ultimately falls on the shoulders of the weakest inhabitants of this planet, and it kills them.

When neoliberal politicians call for a strong and competitive economy, they are calling on you to crush the economy of the poorest countries and regions. In the present world order, each employee (certainly in the private sector) is a soldier, in the national economic army. And for an army, "more hard work" means "kill more enemies".

The poor are not our enemies. If neoliberals were good people, they would weaken their national economies, not strengthen them. They are not good people. But you are not powerless against the neoliberal ethic. You can do something. You can choose morality above market...


Don't work hard. Try to reduce your productivity.


Don't work long hours. Reduce your working week to the minimum necessary. Despite the current recession, most university graduates earn enough to live comfortably on 10 or 20 hours work per week.


If you work in 'industry' (i.e. production of transportable goods), ask your employer to relocate the activities to a poor country. Even with half the present production, EU countries will still be rich.


If the employer refuses, make high wage demands. That is the quickest way to undermine competitiveness, and force relocation of employment. High wage demands are the best form of development aid.


Inform potential foreign investors of your high wage demands. Ask them not to invest in your country, but in a poor country.


Best of all would be, to abolish the present world order, in which rich and powerful economies compete with poor and weak economies. But that would mean the end of 200 years of market liberalism - and that is unlikely to happen in the short term.