During Campaign 2004, I gave a talk to a sociology class at Bluffton College about part of my plan for: Jobs in America. I said I believed we needed to be looking at this issue through a “different lens.” And first off, we needed to assess how many people were feeling fulfilled in their jobs now, in relationship to the God-given talenst they’ve been given. (I suggested we use a “National Social Survey,” like the ones being used in a number of European countries at present, to help gauge this.) And two, we need to be looking at the nature of jobs in general in America through a “different lens” as well. Is, for instance, a particular job itself, “life support,” or not? California author Steve Gerdsmier told me he believes some 80% of the jobs in America (CPAs, tele-marketers, insurance agents, stock analysts…) don’t produce “life support.” That is, he said, these jobs consist, primarily, of just shuffling paper and don’t contribute much to the “necessary stuff of life.” What is necessary? Gerdsmier said it’s the basics around: food, shelter, medical, energy, education, transportation, clothing, communication… Gerdsmier quotes Buck Minster Fuller, who designed the geodesic dome and authored the book Critical Path, as saying many of these paper shuffling jobs have started up in the last century, and with them has come an economy geared to making money, but not common sense. (Fuller said these paper shuffling jobs have become so entrenched in American society, that we can’t see the forest for the trees at this point.) Gerdsmier added a shift to much more of a “life support” oreientation would have a lot more people back to the land on small organic farms, more people researching and developing non-polluting wind and solar energy for heating, cooling, transportation…, there would be more local interdependency, including some barter, more teachers (and much better student/teacher ratios), more skilled craftsmen (carpenters, metal workers…) doing more local projects for local people… What’s more, Gerdsmier said a change to a much more uncomplicated “life support” way will naturally lead individuals to live more simply, and with less. With people living with less, and with more people focused on the basic “stuff of life,” there would also naturally be more free time — for God, for family, for community.