April 21, 2023 / Protections & Benefits
Welcome to PB&J
Reimagining Protections, Benefits, and Joy for all
Under our current capitalist system, an individual’s work is far too tied to their worth. Employees are rewarded in the form of wages and benefits, which determine their security, stability, and social status. Thus, a person’s worth–their value to society–is nearly always measured by their ability to contribute to the economy.
This unhealthy relationship between work and worth manifests itself in myriad ways, including how employees are compensated for their labor, not just with wages but also “benefits” that protect them from risk. The system creates dependence on a single employer and a culture of overwork, where employees feel enormous pressure to endure long hours and sacrifice their personal lives and sometimes even their dignity not only to make ends meet but also to maintain their security, worth, and value.
This cycle is rarely fair or equitable and results in marginalized and oppressed persons, including people of color, women, and the disabled, working harder in low-wage jobs and more non-traditional roles to obtain security and stability and prove their value in the system. Solely because of the jobs they hold, these workers cannot access and enjoy the same opportunities and benefits as others.
But what if we eliminate the association between work and worth? What if we embraced the idea that everyone, regardless of their employment status, deserves a suite of protections to ensure their security and stability and time to care for themselves, their families, and their communities?
What if we reimagined a system that does not extract from workers but is additive, imbuing them with abundance and the inalienable right to Protections, Benefits, and Joy? PB&J for all!
We not only believe in the power of this possibility; we’re ready to fight and help build the changes we imagine. We need new solutions that allow workers to maintain continuity, security, and dignity in the face of job changes and economic uncertainty. Together, we can build new systems of protection that perpetuate the kind of world we all need–one that values diverse perspectives and voices, sustains and is sustainable, sustains and is sustainable, and structures interdependence for a healthy civil society and democracy.
What are we building?
An interdependent platform cooperative that delivers aggregated social protections to non-traditional workers in ways that perpetuate sharing of prosperity in our economic systems and enables people to live with enough safety, time, and security to realize their full potential for themselves and society.
Why are we doing this?
To enable human dignity, flourishing, and joy by providing nontraditional workers with access to affordable, portable, and mutually beneficial protections, and to do so in a way that shifts ownership and governance power to the workers themselves.
As long-time supporters of arts and culture workers, we understand the harms all gig workers experience due to the lack of benefits and protections that are typically tied to full-time employment. Rather than push workers into employment models to expand protections to them, we seek solutions rooted in benefitting how they work and live their lives.
This platform is meant to fundamentally expand the social safety net to recognize, validate, and support independent workers of all types. Independent, freelance, contract, gig, and informal workers need protections that are tied to the worker themselves and in ways that aggregate rewards while pooling and reducing risks–all outside of the employment model. Building alternative systems of protections could also support traditional employees, giving them access to a safety net that doesn’t tie them to their jobs. Ultimately, PB&J’s goal is to break the financial, technical, and socio-cultural barriers for workers who fall outside the traditional employee benefits system.
PB&J’s services and offerings will be rooted in worker-identified needs, and the benefits will be funded and administered to offer equity and agency to those who need them. By using blockchain technology to aid in the funding, delivery, administration, and governance of PB&J’s offerings, we hope to distribute ownership and governance of mutual protections at scale, shifting power to individuals and communities.
We understand that Black and Brown workers, disabled workers, and immigrant workers in particular, are vulnerable, and PB&J aims to leverage its resources to prioritize these communities. If we can solve for communities most excluded from today’s safety net, chances are good that we’ll forge a path to benefits and protections for all.
How will we build it?
- Assess the overall needs of an organization such as this
- Determine what aspect of blockchain technology we can leverage to bring the DAO to reality and in ways that structure manifesting values
- Involve or reflect the community’s interests and cultural identities in various governance proposals
- Develop a treasury for distribution of DAO funds for benefits
- Serve social and government needs for this type of safety-net delivery mechanism
In the very near future, we will extend invites to individuals that we think would add significant value to our minimal viable community and who can help us strategize potential solutions for the challenges listed above.
Interested? We would love to hear your vision of truly liberated work. Please share your interest in PB&J in the text!