Work Hard, Live Well
Dustin Moskovitz

Thank you for saying this. As one of the founders of Facebook, and a millenial, you have special credibility in this area. To put it in economic terms:

The problem with salaried employees is that it encourages the “all-you-can-eat” mentality with an employee’s time. Economics students will understand that a rational actor will consume a free thing until the marginal utility of the next unit is zero.

And for a company, and specifically its investors, the marginal utility of your time is NEVER, EVER Zero. Unless you’re a pilot, maybe, or the control room operator of a nuclear plant. So, even if you’re 10% as productive as normal at 80 hours; that’s still incremental labor at no additional cost to the company, so they do not care. But for you, that negative utility affects your health, your family, etc. And you have no recourse as a salaried employee to say no. You don’t even have a guaranteed job for all that sacrifice.

Capital is just acting rationally: they have a natural incentive to devalue labor. Labor needs to act rationally and do the same and stop buying into the psychological warfare of “socialists” not being patriotic or being somehow “lazy.”The solutions are:

A) serious and strict laws that prevent employer abuse, and to prevent young people, immigrants and labor from overseas on electronic platforms from killing themselves and undermining the value of all labor in the US. This solution used to be called unions, but I’ll settle for government regulation.

B) start your own business, where you decide these things and which you are doing. More power to you. Until Labor wakes up you should enjoy a nice arbitrage in the hiring market. Smart move.

C) Work as a consultant and get paid by the hour. It’s AMAZING how much more efficient some of these startups are, or get, when you charge them hourly.

The hardest part is getting those who can afford it to understand: when you give your labor away for free you devalue it, and everyone else’s around you. The problem is that there’s always another poor kid, another young person who will work for pennies just to feed their family. That is the real impact of wealth stratification — or as George Carlin used to say, “The poor are there to scare the shit out of the middle class.”

We in our libertarian bubble in SV would be wise to question this dogma: who perpetrates it and what their real motivations are for insisting on it. How many MORE unicorns would there be if founders weren’t doing stupid stuff because they are so exhausted?

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