Work and No Work

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Work and No Work

The question is, how will all these abundant goods and services be distributed? Just to those few who are sufficiently well off and who still earn enough from their non-automated jobs to pay for them? What social problems will that cause? We will need significant changes in our economic system to ensure that distribution is fair and socially responsible (whatever all that turns out to mean). Several suggestions come to mind, such as a negative income tax, more entitlements, shorter workweeks, and stock ownership by all citizens, so that they will own the machines producing the wealth and thus collect the dividends.

How can any of these things be accomplished without stirring up the usual bugaboos about “socialism” and “europeanization’’? Will our outmoded 20th-century political system prevent us from making the changes needed to prevent what could ultimately lead to significant unrest? Remember, many people will have a lot of free time!


  1. I don’t know., I know One thing, People better start thinking thing about it. And how they will fit in to this, life.

  2. I believe it is more than just jobs. How will automation impact the meaningful and purposeful existance of people? 

  3. Darius Gabriel Constantine Re: “Being liberated from drudgery will allow the awesome flowering of the full human creative potential.” Very idealistic.I hope that’s how it plays out.

    We can look to the mid-twentieth century when much household drudgery was automated with the advent of automatic washer/dryers (that’s the big one), electric or gas-powered ranges and stoves, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, and cheap, prepared foods. What happened?

     Well live-in help found other work in factories or shops. Many homemakers found the very notion of their work and worth so devalued that they’ve been defensive ever since. Some couldn’t handle the transition and turned to valium and alcohol. Some went back to school and began careers in the paying workforce. Others pursued self-fulfilment via hobbies, travel, or physical fitness and were mocked for being self-absorbed, the “me” generation.

    In many cases, the automation of home-making enabled women to work for pay (a good thing…if that’s what you want to do), which in turn flooded the job market. Now it takes two outside-the-home incomes to raise a family on what one outside-the-home income did 70 years ago. 

    I’d say there is reason for hope. But also reason to doubt.

  4. Darius Gabriel Constantine “in today’s case, there won’t be “other” jobs to go to, because all of those will be automated too.” I know. That’s part of my point.

  5. Darius Gabriel Constantine I appreciate your optimistic outlook. I would love to spend my time creating art and following other intellectual pursuits. My concern is for the segment of humanity that does not seek improvement or self-fulfilment. The lack of your so called drudgery will leave more time for less noble activities such as gang violence, drug abuse and stagnation. It is too easy to resort to the basest level of existence without structure. I would be curious to learn what percentage of those people would break out of that cycle to become productive, proactive members of society, given more free time. 

  6. What a wonderful world it will be. Free (time) is a good thing. Imagine all the possibilities of exploring and learning. Playing and spending time together. As we were all created. 

  7. Work and No Work The question @_@

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