Are You Trapped by Modern Society? – Part I

Are you trapped by modern society? I think you are, but you’re probably not aware of it. Do you feel that you’re not living the life you want to live? I know, you are probably being told it’s all your fault. People say that if you haven’t reached your life goals, it’s because you haven’t worked hard enough. Let me tell you this: In most modern societies, working hard won’t get you want you want. The game is rigged and you are going to lose. I spent the first twenty years of my adult life playing that game before I realized that those dice are loaded. I’ll get back to this in a moment, but first, let’s take a look at your place in our modern society.

Most people in our part of the world take some kind of education after the obligatory school years. Then, we try to get a good job and when we finally and hopefully get such a job, we work hard for the rest of our lives. We buy a car, a house and lots of other things. To finance this, we have to ask some greedy bank to borrow us money, which makes us unable to stop working. So, we work. Our kids grow up, we get old, and we die. And that’s it. Most of us never get to travel to those places we wanted to see, we never get to learn the skills and crafts we really wanted to learn, we never get to do what we really wanted to do. We are, in fact, slaves to modern society and it’s hard to argue against this classic libertarian line of thought: Modern society takes care of you (healthcare, roads etc.) In return, you pay taxes. That’s the deal. But what if you don’t want to accept that deal? Then you’re facing some serious challenges. In fact, no matter what you think about that deal, you are still expected to pay taxes on everything you earn and buy, and governmental bodies will want to know where you are. Also, you will certainly be financially punished if you do not fulfill your duties as a taxpayer – you might even end up in prison and have your freedom taken away from you. You see, modern society is actually only nice to you as long as you play by its rules. If you don’t want to play, you will be financially punished. If you refuse to be financially punished, it will take your freedom. If you refuse to have your freedom taken away from you, you will actually, in the end, be subject to violence. You will be clubbed to submission or shot.

By far, this is actually how it works. I know this can be hard to get your head around, so I’ll give you a second to think about it… There. That said, modern society is a system that does a lot of good, too. At least in Western Europe, North America, Japan and a bunch of other countries, it actually does a relatively good job when it comes to caring for people. If you get sick, you will get some help. If you can’t get a job, you will probably not starve to death. Most civilized countries have (almost) free healthcare and schools, we have a police that keeps the streets relatively safe and we have roads to drive on. We have electricity. We have a legal system. Those things are good and most of us want them. So we work, and we pay taxes.

But do you remember what I wrote a few lines above, about the game being rigged? It is, but we don’t think about it that way. We think about it as “being a good citizen”. You see, most of us will never get far just by working hard. This is because if you work hard, you are expected to keep working hard, which means less spare time to do what you really want to do. But even more important is that if you earn a lot of money, your tax percentage goes up (in Norway, a lot). Nothing is more expensive than earning money and your wages alone just won’t make such a huge difference – at the point where you start to get rich you’ll be taxed so hard it’s no point anymore.  I know lots of people, small business owners most of them, who say that they would like to invest and expand, but they don’t – because that would mean an even higher tax percentage. If you already work 1/3 of the year to pay the tax bills, you are probably not very motivated to work harder when that means you now have to work 1/2 of the year to pay those tax bills. So you have to know that you’re getting really, stinking rich before you accept that deal and start investing.

But modern society means much more than paying taxes… Read more: Are You Trapped by Modern Society – Part II



-Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen



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