Drawing on Alfred Schütz’s thought, as well as on a number of modern pragmatists and practice theorists, we theorize incomegetting
—referring to practices of getting income, typically salaried work—as the paramount structurer of everyday life and, therefore, also the chief mediator of the human–nature metabolism. Even though the pragmatics of everyday life as an aggregate underlie the bulk of environmental impacts, these insidious impacts impose little immediate influence on everyday life, in particular in the urban Global North. In other words, the pragmatic dimension of everyday activities—principally, work—that takes place within a vastly complex and globally interlinked productive world system, has most often no immediate connection to the “natural” environment. While parts of the populations are directly dependent in terms of livelihoods on the “natural” environment, these populations are typically pushed to the margins of the global productive system. The understanding formulated in this essay suggests that in environmental social sciences there is a reason to shift the epicenter of the analysis from consumption to everyday life, to the varied practices of incomegetting. Against the backdrop of this paper, universal basic income schemes ought to have radical impacts on the way we relate also to the “natural” environment and such schemes necessitate understanding the essence of money in our contemporary realities.
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