Did Plato Have a Side Hustle?

I’m curious if the philosophers of the past had to earn a living just to survive? Afterall, how much money can one make by just philosophizing? Maybe if you’ve got a real busy street corner and the locals are loose with their spare change. Naaaaaah!

Capitalism drives our society by keeping everyone busy, busy, busy; trying to justify their own existence. Meanwhile, technology has advanced to the point of making better quality products, outputting more products in less time, while reducing unproductive down time. How we survived before this time, no one can explain. (sarcastic eye-roll) But an unfortunate by-product of these improvements is that we don’t need to employ nearly as many people as we used to. And if people aren’t working, they aren’t earning money, thus they can’t afford to buy those same products.

Changing this conundrum means we need to change the entire way we look at “life”; we need to redefine exactly why we are on this planet and how we are supposed to spend our time here.

In the past, a king or queen could grant you a parcel of land as payment for slaying the local dragon. Or at least that’s the way the fables tell the tale. If they want to start paying me in acreage like they did with knights and lords, we can come to an agreement about how you’ll give me 10,000 acres for my mechanical repair services over the next 5 years.

“JOB” is actually an acronym for “just over broke“. It’s very telling to see how many people, who are working full-time, still can’t make ends meet.

Every modern business is a way for the business owner to write off expenses that an ordinary employee can’t do. Just think how much farther your food budget could stretch if you could write off every meal as a “business lunch”. Wouldn’t it be nice to deduct your car loan payment as well as miles travelled, maintenance costs and ever-increasing fuel expenses; simply by putting your name & address on a magnetic sign attached to your car door? Sounds ridiculous, but that’s the exact kind of power having a business gives you. And the bigger your business, the more power it can utilize.

A friend of mine lives in a small town in Montana, and like many places, the prices of houses there have skyrocketed recently. You’d think that the cold winter temps would keep all but the heartiest of people out of that area (myself included!), but not the case if you can afford unlimited heat. When the show “Yellowstone” ramped up, the production company bought 300 houses in the local area so that the crew would not have to stay in hotels each night. Sounds great if you’re a realtor, but not-so-great if you’re an average family hoping to find an average house that you can afford with your average income.

The old question of “How much is enough?” also raises the question of “At what point does money stop being an impediment?” What could you accomplish if you didn’t HAVE to work just to earn a living?

If your annual income is, oh let’s say…. $50,000; getting into legal trouble or owing a large hospital bill is an actual worry. Exactly HOW am I going to pay this?!? If I take out a loan, that’s….. uh….. THOUSANDS of dollars, every month, for many, many years. It’s a mental strain that takes a toll on your psyche. On the other hand, if you’ve got $50 million in the bank, having to pay a 6-figure sum is no big deal. In fact, it’s a small fraction of your total net worth, one that you can probably earn back without too much actual effort. That is, if you’re good at playing “the game” better than the next person.

It appears the next generation will need to find a “side-hustle” if they are going to survive; because no one wants to tackle the ultimate problem….. why do we allow this insanity to continue?


About hemibill

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