Also, the guaranteed level for food is food that is healthy and safe, but bland and dull. If you want better housing and/or better food, you have to work for it. Luckily, Traipahni society does everything it can to find you a job you can do, and usually one you can be happy doing. Since the aspect of "must work or I will die" is taken out of the equation, work becomes a means to better one's life and relieve boredom.
But I'm not going to talk about that anymore. The article I mentioned got me thinking because one of the questions that long ago came up about Traipah's economic system is how do they motivate people to do crappy jobs like garbage hauling or sewer system management if survival-level needs are guaranteed? The answer is - and was back then - that they don't. They don't need to. They have machines to take care of garbage (which on Traipah is split into composting and recycling. They don't *really* throw anything away) and sewer stuff (which also involves a lot of recycling). A lot of it is automated, and what isn't automated is remote-controlled. Occasionally machines will break down and get stuck, but there are machines to take care of those problems as well, if sending a person down there would involve disgusting and dangerous work.
Reading that article, it occurred to me that the Traipahni people would use machines for other things as well, using machines/robots to do all the most dangerous jobs like firefighting, repairing dangerous machines, etc. They might even take over other really disgusting jobs, too. This cuts out jobs no one would do if they didn't have to.
Also, certain things are not manufactured by machine. Wooden furniture, buildings, jewelry, clothing, none of these things are manufactured by machine anymore. Machines and machine parts, and various electronics are made by machine, and that's about it. Everything else is made by hand to give people something to do. But instead of being set up in the stupid "people as meat machines" setup that we have in our society today, most of these items are made, bought, and sold locally. Big, worldwide Guilds only exist for machines and electronics and other things that are difficult or impossible to make by hand (like liquid nitrogen).
Of course, there is trading still. People might not like their local options. They can get on the Traipahni Internet and buy from merchants elsewhere, and pay for shipping. But since a lot of people prefer the convenience of buying local for most things, they do, and it keeps the money mostly local.
In short, the Traipahni people built their economic system for long-term stability, not caring about growth.
Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org