As I sit there another day at Big Firm, Douglass Rushkoff’s blog post from September 2011 comes to mind. Wherein Rushkoff’s ask the question, are jobs obsolete? Are Jobs Obsolete?
This passage jumped out at me:
“We’re living in an economy where productivity is no longer the goal, employment is. That’s because, on a very fundamental level, we have pretty much everything we need. America is productive enough that it could probably shelter, feed, educate, and even provide health care for its entire population with just a fraction of us actually working.”
Societies first evolved where families worked and hunted for the provisions required to feed and shelter their families. As technology progressed, people turned to trade and factory work to produce essential items that society needed. Instead of making or growing items oneself, people earned a wage and purchased these items. With each technological jump, few workers were need to produce the same level of products.
Could society actually evolve where a few dedicated workers work to provide the basic items that we need while the other members of society pursue other avenues in science and arts?
In Star Trek, we hear about the ideals of the Federation that provides the basic essentials for society and everyone is able to pursue loftier ideas.
“We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity” (ST: DS9 In the Cards)
What has to happen to get this change to come about? The shift in philosophy that wealth is not the goal of our energy but the expansion of our creative selves for the betterment of humanity. We are living in a time period that the accumulation of wealth is the more important than any other pursuits. Corporate profits are at their highest as unemployment rates remain high. “But the record profits come at the same time that workers’ wages have fallen to their lowest-ever share of GDP.” (Isidore, C. Corporate profits hit record as wage get squeeze http://www.cnn.com 2012)
Will this take generations to make a shift away from the pursuit of wealth. How will society decides who produce the basic needs while others pursue their creative dreams.
“We start by accepting that food and shelter are basic human rights. The work we do — the value we create — is for the rest of what we want: the stuff that makes life fun, meaningful, and purposeful…
This sort of work isn’t so much employment as it is creative activity” (Rushoff D. Are Jobs Obsolete? http://www.cnn.com 2011)
We seen now that the Millennial generation have a vastly different agenda than the Baby Boom generation. “…77 percent of workers believed the millennial generation has a different attitude toward workplace responsibility than those in other age groups.” (Porillo, E. New poll shows many think millennials aren’t hard workers www.chicagotribune.com 2011) Younger generations are taught that their needs are extremely important and consequently their goals are to fulfill their self defined needs.
The things I think about when work is slow…