I was originally against Barry's job rotation idea, because i was udner the misconception that EVERYONE would have to do EVERY job. Now I see that I was wrong, and I believe I must recant my objections tojob rotation.
I like your idea of having a mandatory two-year period of doing unskilled labor for the State, to be required of all young people. I've thought of that idea before myself. I would probably make it mandatory, though, instead of voluntary, otherwise only the poor would have to do it (for the money). By making it mandatory everyone would be required to work.
Here's another idea, though. It would, I think, be a compromise between Barry's full job rotation and the idea of specialization; it would take into account that some peopel might be better at, or prefer to do, unskilled labor, and others prefer skilled labor.
Everyone would work 2.5 days at their chosen specialization, be it skilled or unskilled. A carpenter would work 2.5 days at carpentry, and a surgeon 2.5 days at surgery. Then for the next 1.5 days, the carpenter would work at some skilled job, and the surgeon at some unskilled job, for pay. On the 5th day, all labor would be unpaid volunteer labor for the State. The surgeon would perform unskilled labor for teh state, e.g. maintaining subsidized housing or digging ditches. The carpenter would do some skilled job for the state, such as helping to provide basic medical care.
This scheme would allow for both rotation and specialization. Everyone would work no less than HALF the 40-hour week doing the task that they specialized in and (presumably) especially liked or excelled in. But everyone would ALSO divide their time equally between skilled and unskilled labor. Scientists and artists, among other people, would presumably not be able to indulge their interests fully in teh 2.5 days allotted to them. Presumably, many of them would choose to put in extra hours on the weekend in their chosen specialty. That's OK.
How are the wages to be determined? Unlike Barry, I do not believe that money needs to be totally abolished, not initially at least. I think that wages need not be TOTALLY equal, they can vary within a SMALL range. The exact wage paid should be based on considerations of:
1) how much effort the worker puts in (NOT how much he produces, since as Barry has shown, that depends on the technology he uses).
2) how socially valuable to worker's work is. For example, a truckdriver is very important, because if he didn't come to work one day, people would be missing their daily vegetables or whatever. (This example was apparently actually cited by the Soviets). A fast food worker, on the other hand, performs a task of little social value. So the truckdrivber should be paid more than the fast food worker.
3) any extra factors such as if the worker had been a loyal soldier in the past or if he was especially morally worthy, should alter the wage paid to him.
That said, the wage differential should not be high. Also, wages will be only for luxury items above and beyond the necessities of life. All necessities, including shelter, housing, food, medicine, education, and leisure time, will be guaranteed by the state free of charge.