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On Miller Time, hunter-gatherers, and the freedoms we too often overlook
In certain circles, it remains fashionable for people to make fun of capitalistic systems, as though the systems are somehow the source of all inequality, all substandard working conditions, and all momentary occupational ennui. Yet it shouldn't go without some appreciation that jobs are inevitable -- even hunter-gatherer tribes still require some division of labor. And those jobs don't actually have to destroy the individual's quality of life.
■ People used to have jobs that were so static that they became surnames. Many people still carry those surnames today: If your last name is Archer, Cooper, Miller, Smith, or Baker, then you are carrying a surname that is based entirely upon somebody's old occupation.
■ If your name is tied to your occupation, then there really isn't much of a sense of being free to change. That's a valuable sort of freedom that shouldn't go without some kind of acknowledgment. Nobody in the future is going to be named with a surname of cybersecurity technician or actuary.
■ Yet those are jobs people today are free to enter and leave at any time -- without changing surnames or being anchored to a particular places. That freedom to move about or to find new, more satisfying work without undue encumbrance is a real reward of modern living, enabled by the economic system we enjoy. The results of that freedom should be celebrated, not hated.