Benns’ Belief: The absurdity of equating jobs with work

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By Roderick Benns

Roderick Benns is the publisher of The Advocate. An award-winning author and journalist who grew up in Lindsay, he has written several books including Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World.

Twelve issues ago I launched The Lindsay Advocate as a monthly magazine (and online publication) that would focus on the social and economic wellness of Kawartha Lakes. (It’s actually been a year and a half for our news site).

Wellness, to us, starts with big picture policy. It means we advocate for progressive social policies that will improve Canadian society. It also means we advocate for our small businesses as the engine of our local economy; the best form of capitalism is local and community-based, not corporate and faceless.

Advocate Publisher Roderick Benns.

We believe in a society that has human values, not ‘market’ values. In a society that prides itself on human values (like many Nordic nations), we find a way to have national pharmacare, just like every other nation in the world with universal health care; we find a way to invest in child care; we value education; and we do everything we can to ensure people don’t slip into poverty, which only costs all of us more in the long run.

All of this costs public money of course and so we need to re-imagine the all-important federal tax code to achieve more income equality. It is difficult to justify a system that goes easy on the top earners while letting ordinary Canadians fight for the scraps.

We dedicated our latest issue of the Advocate to the all hard-working women out there in Kawartha Lakes and beyond. And by work we don’t just mean paid labour. In fact there is an absurdity of equating jobs with ‘work.’ Economist Arthur Pigou once observed, “If I hire a housekeeper, national income goes up. If I marry her, national income goes down.”

So, hats off to women everywhere. While more men are certainly stepping up, research continues to show that women still do the bulk of work in raising children, caring for family members, and building relationships and communities — all the things that make life worth living.

At the same time, as our latest issue demonstrates, there are so many amazing women entrepreneurs, business leaders, and community members who are changing the face of Kawartha Lakes for the better.

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