I'm starting to think autonomy — the freedom of a self-directed day — is the real currency of human life.

You know the feeling, it’s the one you have when you get an unexpected day off. A day where you get to decide what to do.

I’m starting to think we only speak of income inequality as a proxy for talking about autonomy inequality.


Some people have so much autonomy they don’t even know what it is, they think it is normal life.

If they even consider the condition of a person having little or no autonomy, they imagine that such people had it and willingly, foolishly traded it away.

Being a parent means giving up a lot of autonomy. But (assuming you have a co-parent to share the load) it’s nowhere close to the autonomy you forfeit by selling your labor for a wage.

I am very interested in capturing a large slice of the income being created and using it to buy large amounts of autonomy for normal people.

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In other words, while I crave autonomy for myself, I am also extremely interested to live in a world where just about everyone around me also has lots of autonomy. What would that be like? I can feel myself unwinding just thinking about it.

Furthermore, individual attempts at hoarding autonomy generally do so at (ultimately) the expense of someone else’s. The only feasible ways for most of us to truly increase our individual autonomy require all of us to organize for more autonomy for everyone.

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@joeld Just to jump on your thought-train for a sec...this could also explain the disconnect between worldly wealth and contentment. Because at a certain point you realize that the value you give to material goods ends up devaluing your "true" currency of autonomy. Thank you for sharing this, it has given me reflection time this busy morning!

@joeld I think this is an incredibly interesting way to look at the issue....

@joeld Oh my goodness. What an amazing insight! I think you are 100% right in how income inequality is actually autonomy inequality.

Think about the Star Trek utopia. In Star Trek the human race has evolved passed using money. Everybody's needs are met. And everyone chooses what they want to do. Sounds like a world where everyone has autonomy. The currency to them then becomes reputation, or "what have you done with your autonomy so far?"

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