[I]f Martian propaganda was right, most of the people she
could see right now didn’t have jobs. She tried to imagine that, not
having any particular place you had to be on any given day.
What the Earthers had discovered is that when people have
nothing else to do, they have babies. For a brief period in the
twentieth and twenty- first centuries, the population had looked
like it might shrink rather than continue to grow. As more and
more women went into higher education, and from there to jobs,
the average family size grew smaller.
A few decades of massive employment shrinkage ended that.
Or, again, that was what she’d been taught in school. Only here
on Earth, where food grew on its own, where air was just a
byproduct of random untended plants, where resources lay thick
on the ground, could a person actually choose not to do anything
at all. There was enough extra created by those who felt the need
to work that the surplus could feed the rest. A world no longer of
the haves and the have- nots, but of the engaged and the apathetic.
if you apply to a university, you have to have at least a year of
work credits. To make sure you like working. You know, so they
don’t waste classroom space on people who will just go on basic
The work hours and collective intelligence of fifteen billion
humans just tossed away as acceptable losses for the system. It
made Bobbie sad to think of.
Which sure sounds like the usual 'indolent, useless, haplessly breeding* Terries' stuff SF likes.
Except there's material that makes it clear that the Martian work ethic exists because the poor bastards have to work as hard as they can to keep their incredibly marginal planet from killing them.
If Martians didn’t have to fight every day to make enough resources to survive, would they turn into this?
Plus there's this:
But one thing was for sure: All that running and exercising the
Martian Marines did at one full gravity was bullshit. There was
no way Mars could ever beat Earth on the ground. You could
drop every Martian soldier, fully armed, into just one Earth city
and the citizens would overwhelm them using rocks and sticks.
* When are the books set, anyway? If population is only double what it is now, population growth per year must be pretty low.
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