For most people their job is their life, their identity and their future. Therefor the future of employment is a major issue especially for those young people who, through no fault of their own, are finding the job scene difficult. It is both an opportunity and a challenge,
It is an opportunity because most if not all of us can be freed from the drudgery of daily life to soar in the enjoyment of our humanity. It is a challenge because to achieve this we will have to reorganize our economy and cope with limited resources.
The opportunity comes from the huge agricultural surplus which has allowed us to build an incredible civilization. Only a few people are required to do the work to provide all of us with food and shelter. This leaves open what the rest of us do, how is the surplus distributed and who makes the decisions.
Up to this time the rest of us have been making goods and providing services for each other, the surplus has been distributed via employment and it is not clear who has been making the decisions. Bankers are probably deeply involved as they create money when they make loans and this control over the money supply gives them a lot of power. We like to think we make our own decisions but there are limits. We can make decisions so long as they are politically and/or economically correct.
This system is now breaking down and it is not clear there will be a recovery in the near future. Our civilization is very precarious with numerous threats ranging from a breakdown of the food factories through disease pandemics to an electro magnetic pulse from the sun (or a nuclear bomb) which could knock out most of the electric power grids and all computer chips. A major source of current economic problems could be that we have used up the most easily accessible energy and mineral resources. There are lots left but they will require excessive amounts of energy to extract them.
This crisis is being felt most strongly by the “lost generation” of young people who are finding employment difficult.
This breakdown in employment provides opportunities to use the agricultural surplus in new and hopefully satisfying ways but we will also have to make changes in how the surplus is distributed. One way would be some sort of universal income scheme – the “free money” giveaway which a few people have been talking about. This would also spread the decision-making power to more people. As subsidies distort prices they should be given to consumers rather than producers. An income scheme would set a minimum wage and those who like fast food would have to pay enough to attract workers.
The opportunities are great but the challenges are even greater. A lot of people have vested interests which would be crushed and even more people have religious-like beliefs and faiths in the current economic system. Some people believe with committment that everyone should work and support themselves. A lot of us who are comfortable now will not worry about those who are less comfortable and will not want to make sacrifices. But if we don’t make changes in how our economy is organized, a lot of people will probably live poor and miserable lives.
What do we want the future to look like. There is a lot of potential for the future and lots of visions. But overcoming the differences of opinion will be a major challenge.
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