Social Participation Tax

Builds Upon: Social Real Estate

Social Participation Tax—All the money you wouldn’t spend if you were completely isolated or with a small number people close to you.

SPT is the price in cash we must pay in order to participate in a mass society.
Consider a social rule such as ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service.’
This rule is tacitly understood in nearly any commercial establishment in an industrialized nation. Failure to adhere to any one of those rules means rejection and possibly arrest by the authorities.

Of these items, let’s first consider the shoes. Implicit in ‘shoes’ in an industrialized nation is the assumption that the shoes are manufactured. Homemade contraptions won’t do. You must at the very minimum have some kind factory made foot covering. Something could probably be found for $15-$20 US dollars. However, this takes some doing. When most industrialized persons think of a shoe, they mean something costing from $35-$80. These shoes typically wear out in about a year to six months. It is a recurring expense, a tax one must pay for the ability to walk into a supermarket or just about any indoor area.
Now consider that people are going to need different pairs of shoes. The same pair of shoes that’s a basic passport to the grocery store isn’t necessarily able to take one through a job interview. Once again, one has to buy shoes in order to be a social participant. This time likely in the range of $60-$100 US dollars.
Now that we’ve considered shoes, the same pattern recurs for shirts. Shirts are a lot cheaper than shoes, but one needs a lot more of them. As with shoes, one can’t really get by in our society without purchasing a manufactured shirt. Shirts too wear out. They too represent a tax.

In an industrialized country, it could easily cost a few hundred dollars per year to keep a worker clothed at a bare minimum level.
This doesn’t seem like much, but for one of the millions of first world peasants, these basic expenses tie up over a week’s wages.
Someone who is already living from paycheck to paycheck can’t afford to have an entire paycheck disappear!

I can understand if the reader might ask: “Are you saying we should run around naked to save money.” No. There are some legitimate reasons thousands of people shouldn’t walk over the same place barefoot. Yet there is no flexibility in how the goal of covering the feet is accomplished. There is one solution that’s acceptable and it must be paid for in cash. This is the basic pattern that I seek to address…

Yet industrial clothing tax is just the first of many mandatory expenses to meet the bare minimum of social participation.
Membership in a mass society is not free. We must funnel money into a membership account as the aggregate will sees fit.

Once we’ve satisfied the basic requirements for appearing in public as a functional member of society, we’re still at a very basic level. To be taken seriously as an adult in the United States(outside of the biggest urban areas), one must own a car. A car is an enormous money drain. In the American culture, cars are a symbol of freedom. Yet ironically, cultural visions of driving through verdant forests and vast deserts remain unrealized. Car owners are too busy being owned by their cars to go on driving adventures. The cost of a car is so prohibitive that it’s only usable for activities that help pay for it. In an age of automobiles, peasants are confined to their town or part of town just as surely as they were in any previous age.

One can’t just have a car. One must also have a place to live. A place to live is the king of living expenses. No matter how one might handle their finances, one must always pay the rent. Rent/mortgage devours a decisive majority of a peasant’s pay leaving them to support themselves and their family on the remaining scraps.

Surely paying rent is an intolerable expense. Why would anyone pay such outrageous prices for the bare privilege of existence? Because there is no other choice within the bounds of the mass society.
Modern peasants can’t afford to live in houses or apartments but they have to manage it somehow or else be cast out from society.
Because we have bodies made of matter, we can’t help existing someplace. Therefore, it is a matter of course that the mere fact of existence is most heavily taxed of all.


2 responses to “Social Participation Tax

  1. Loved that “….cultural visions of driving through verdant forests and vast deserts remain unrealized.”

  2. You summed up beautifully, and so tragically truthfully: “it is a matter of course that the mere fact of existence is most heavily taxed of all.”

    I wish we could do away with this: living as savages in the wild would be less restrictive and more in sync with our true nature!

    On the humorous side, I am already a two-meals-a-day/minimal-clothing frugal person (who said middle class was affordable!): one of these days, I am going to invest in a tipi — might see some payback for real!

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