Homesteading is the best path to wealth. By homesteading, I mean putting as much of your energy as you can into upgrading what you own and use. That can mean upgrading property that you own, or upgrading your skills, or even improving your social connections. Homesteading, as I use it here might be defined as any other way to make money or become more comfortable other than the just having a job.
There are several reasons homesteading is a better path to wealth than the job. Number one is that homesteading income is much harder for the government to tax. That, of course, is why the government puts up so many obstacles to homesteading. The obstacles include building codes, business and professional licensing, and of course government propaganda. And the list goes on.
The government is shooting itself in the foot with these obstacles to homesteading. A society of small business owners is much more affluent than a society of wage slaves. America before 1900 is a prime example. A more affluent society can be more easily milked for taxes, but Governments often put quick income ahead of any other considerations and seem to spend a lot of time killing free market geese that could lay golden eggs while feeding and housing government geese that just waddle around and get fat.
The homesteader is more efficient than the wage slave for several reasons. She or he often doesn't have to commute to a job. They can just roll out of bed and be in a home office or farm. That means she can get things done before breakfast, or during sleepless nights. Her motivation is better because she is working on something that she can pass on to her children, and because work is more directly tied to reward. The spouse and children also have an incentive and ability to help. A salaried worker gets the same pay on good weeks and bad weeks, so there tend to be more bad weeks. The homesteader does not have do deal with the entire corporate overhead of boring meetings and time-sucking trivialities. She can just work for the most part.
The homesteader works in a stable and comfortable environment that he owns. What does it profit a person to have a mortgage on a four bedroom house with three bathrooms and spend 50 or 60 hours a week in a 6 by 8 cubicle sharing a bathroom with 40 strangers?
Government roadblocks to homesteading have contributed to the dissolution of the family. The family that works together stays together, and divorce is not on expensive for the individuals involved, it is expensive for the larger society as well.
As a society, we need to pay more attention to making sure people can get rewarded for productive work that they do, and less attention to making sure they get permission to work.
As individuals, we need to stop measuring our lives by numbers on a paycheck, and look at the larger picture. Income is not the measure of a person, or even a very good indicator of wealth. In some places the chances that a person could become wealthy and remain honest does seem to correlate with the chance that a camel could get through a needle's eye.
Government is not the solution, it is the problem. Just because this saying was made famous by a person who failed to deliver on his promises does not make it entirely false. Freedom works and slavery sucks. Slavery usually damages the slave master as well as the slave. Authoritarians can never seem to understand that slavery is a two-way weapon the deals damage from both ends.
As Nobel economist Friedrich Hayek has explained, a network of independent small businesses is a much more efficient economic engine than a large government or corporate bureaucracy. Economic actors who are insulated from the actual prices of the products they are using are economically blinded. Also, if you it's your own money you are spending, you tend to pay a lot more attention to how far it is going. Our problem is not that we don't have enough jobs. Our problem is that we have too many jobs and not enough essential work is getting done.
Some people would argue that the large corporations dominate the economy, so therefore they are more efficient because the economy works on competition. It's true that they are more efficient, but the question is more efficient at what. Is it producing goods and services more efficiently, or is it being better at cozying up to corrupt government officials who are willing to grant regulatory favors to individual companies in return for under-the-table rewards.
In practice, because of graft and corruption, the large corporations are really just branches of the government. But they do fail. In the past they were allowed to fail, and in that way the systems maintained some minimum level of efficiency. But now we have "too big to fail" so that the only way some level of economic sanity can be restored if for the whole system to fail and be broken up in some way.
As GW Bush famously put it, "This sucker could go down".