Such a post can go in several directions.
First, if I join Socrates, Jesus, Lao Tzu, Buddha, then I find that striving for production in the spiritual sphere leads to an employment of the irrational and paradoxical to shock and stimulate the embodied spirit through challenging the development of the (potentially) rational animal.
Buddha says to stop craving.
Socrates asks me questions until I utter contradiction.
Jesus tells me to not let my right hand know what my left hand is doing.
Lao Tzu tells me that the way that can be spoken is not the way or that I should achieve non-action.
How I love this use of “beyond” rational. It is, to my mind, often the exposure of the under developed and the challenge to the embodied spirit that there is still work to do. In my better moments I love the work.
Here I must live with the irrational in the sense that I must live with me. And so, there is a sense in which I must live with the irrational that permeates every other instance in which I encounter. But moving on…
What even this undeveloped creature sees clearly is the irrationality of punishing voluntary production and trade. Even this undeveloped creature sees the irrationality of slavery, of assault, of coercive taxation. Here, one is human becomes predator and the other prey. Here one is offender and the other victim. Here, is the modern state, in various degrees of irrationality.
New Zealand is different from North Korea. One employs much more coercive irrationality on its citizens than another. Not all states are equal. But, formally, all states are territorial monopolies over decision-making in which some non-producers (those state thugs who parasitically live off of the production of others) force other producers to support them and take enough to satisfy enough of the population for a time to maintain good public relations.
How to live in such a situation? One should expect, relatively, for production and wealth to be reduced the more thuggish the state becomes. As poverty and non-productivity increase one should expect all that comes with it.
When the human animal is cornered, and there is nothing like suppressing productivity and wealth to corner the human animal, there is much that is predictable in his snake-like striking out and his willingness to employ means that are irrational in order to overcome the results of the irrationality that has cornered him.
We are currently in a wild model across the Western world where the state extracts from producers in order to pacify those it has cornered through suppressing production (the unemployed). This is a downward spiral.
In addition modern developments in technology have made it possible for the state thugs to even a greater degree to set those living with the effects of state irrationality against each other. So, that there is not ready employment and need for labor is the fault of state suppression. That this leads to increases in aimlessness, lack of direction, altered time-preferences, alterations in the costs and profit potentials associated with various choices is no difficult matter to examine. That such would lead to increases in fatherlessness, crime, drug use, delinquency, and rage is not difficult to predict.
That the state would pit producers against the non-producers it supports through its coercion is easy enough to imagine. Certainly such misdirection diverts attention from the initial cause–state suppression of productivity and wealth through taxation, regulation and behavioral control.
What can one do? In such a time the disincentive to production and trade is palpable. It has to be intentionally met with resistance by continuing to believe in the ultimate truth of the value of absolute private property rights, production and trade. One is offered support in a thousand ways. There is incentive to reduce production and trade and rely. That must be resisted. And it is not easy.
In addition, the most effective way to increase well-being materially is to produce, reach contract in trade voluntarily, and to consume with restraint. Consumption is relative to choice (within limits). He who has more but refuses to take by force must no spend what he is able to get. If he starts with much he must make much more with his much. If he starts with little he must make much with little. This is close to impossible over a week. This is close to probably over several decades.
Through the augmentation of consumption (say a 15 year loan for a cheaper house instead of a thirty year lone for a more expensive house, say a car for cash instead of a five year loan with heavy interest, say two meals of low-cost but nutritious food (rice and beans) a day instead of high-cost, say hobbies with single one-time cost like musical instrument over hobbies which take regular supplementation (like the bar or club twice a week)) and the saving of that which is NOT consumed capital can be built.
The power of saving and capital formation is beyond what many of us have been led to believe. So much of what can be done is in the free choice to enjoy without. I do not recommend life as a sufferer. I recommend enjoying without spending. Can it be done? I boldy say it can be approximated.
The result? In some parts of the world, in some locals, carefully tucked away and ready for rationality to return, some (maybe you) will be willing to employ your capital for production. Maybe you will be a source of wealth for others. There is no production without capital. Production is reduced in the irrationality of coercive taxation and regulation. But where rationality returns those with capital (and you could be one of them) will employ it to their profit.
Do not too quickly turn away from my praise of capitalism. I know there have been coercive businessmen as there are always coercive governments. I want neither. BUT, where there is prosperity there is the conversion of waste into goods through labor and the investment of capital. For too long now we have been led to believe that capital is just out there, that it is up to government to (like a god) bless and curse with its distribution, and that anyone can be at the top. This is irrationality. In the rational world of necessary knowledge production requires that action to be judged to be better than non-production. That means the employment of something to accomplish something is required. Who will go in for this if no profit is conceivable, or the costs become to significant compared to consumption? And who will even have capital to invest but he who saved?