Class in My Classless Society

This week’s bit of Restoration Stories trivia takes a look at the Subsistence system and the way good ideas always have unintended consequences.  Like the earlier ones I’ve posted, it’s framed as a bit taken from faux publication.

Excerpt from “A Call for Change,” the unofficial manifesto of the anti-Subsistence movement.

The Subsistence system, with its simple and dignified expectation of work in return for support, was originally implemented by the Constitutional Restoration Committee to rebuild the country’s demolished and neglected physical infrastructure. It was a brilliant temporary measure, but when it became an integral facet of the Social Aid Network developed by the New Senate in its first session, it grew into a monster.

Outsourcing health care, other support services, civic development and maintenance spread the costs of such unprofitable necessities over the whole of the business community. The tithes for the social contract are specifically mandated and tightly controlled by the Senate, but a system that awards any tithing corporation voting rights along with representatives of every recognized political unit is doomed to favor profit. Everyone has loved to hate this ugly compromise for more than forty years, and the time has come to move from hatred to action.

Modern corporate success is grounded on the backs and bellies of a population whose members are trapped in a vicious web of bureaucracy. Inertia is a powerful force; once citizens fall into the Subsistence network, many find themselves stuck there. Our Federal government is a tacit partner in a corporate plot to create a permanent underclass.

Citizens who accept Subsistence jobs constrain not only their own opportunities but those of their children. The percentage of Subsistence-raised children who break into the free-market employment pool as adults has fallen under thirty percent, with military veterans disproportionately represented. The safety net is warping under the burden of its current obligations. Something has to change, and soon, or it will break under that weight.

All companies above a minimal profit bracket are expected to maintain a quota of Subsistence-pay positions to broaden the jobs pool as well as contributing Social Aid funds that provide work for people earning adult citizenship status and for citizens who have no other options.

In theory those with ambition or talent move from Subsistence into the world of free enterprise. In reality many businesses fulfill their obligations with menial or unskilled service positions that offer no chance for advancement. A system meant to reward labor has instead choked off hope.

Hopeless people are desperate people. If history of the Revision years taught us anything, they taught us that desperation leads to anger, and anger to violence.

I paint a pretty picture of humanity, don’t I? The future I envision isn’t all bad, I promise. Thanks for reading. There’s more to come.