(Stillness in the Storm Editor) On the one hand, the idea that human jobs are being replaced by machines is quite disturbing. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be a better use of humanity’s time and energy to limit progress in favor of maintaining mundane under-stimulating jobs? Wouldn’t it be better to use the innate power of the human mind for innovation, art, science, philosophy, and intrepidness to explore the unknown and master existence in a harmonious way?
Of course, every individual has the right to do with their time what they want, so long as it doesn’t harm others. But I think the vast majority of jobs in the economy wouldn’t be needed if we used our energy and resources better. One of the problems with an economic system based on profit and money is that there will always be an elite and a working class. In order for there to be rich people there must be some population of poor people who have less, and are therefore motivated to work jobs that they otherwise wouldn’t. The rich enjoy the benefits of the poor’s labor in the same way a parasite enjoys the energy of a host.
Today, the creation of jobs has taken on a sacred reverence, but people rarely ask whether the job is truly of benefit to the individual and society as a whole. For example, we could eliminate customer service jobs in companies like Walmart, using the Amazon Go technology discussed in the below article. Patrons could simply purchase their products using automated systems tied to their bank accounts. And while there are certainly other concerns about using RFID chips to track a person’s whereabouts, the point is most people in the customer service industry don’t really want to do this work, they are forced to do whatever they can to earn a living. Thus, it is this deceptive fallacy of people feeling driven to earn a living that must be addressed.
Human beings have an incredible untapped potential for mental and emotional stimulation and creativity. Yes, we could maintain certain job sectors that provide people income, but if the work is greatly limiting to one’s personal evolution and life goals, does it really make sense to do this? Furthermore, if jobs are nothing more than busywork for people to earn a living, this practice also limits the progress of advancing human society as a whole. We wouldn’t expect horse-drawn carriage businesses to be maintained under social welfare if it meant the reduction of progress—yet this is exactly what society has done for most of human history. Limiting innovation and advancements that could benefit the whole of humanity is a common practice. The energy industry has quietly worked to suppress innovations that would have ended the oil energy paradigm.
The Venus Project developed by Jacques Fresco proposed in the 1960s that technology would eventually change life on Earth as we know it. It would eliminate the need for people to toil away in meaningless jobs that are essentially busy-work, like spending ours in a mine pulling raw materials out of the Earth. It would create a Star Trek-like society where people can actually pursue their passions and help maintain civilization at the same time. But in order for this utopian world to come to fruition, we must redefine what the monetary system is and how we use it.
Presently, people who contribute almost nothing to society enjoy incredible benefits, often more than they could hope to use in a life time, while other people on Earth work their lives away in horrific conditions just to earn enough to feed themselves and their family. The current definition of ownership is not balanced by the realities of what an individual can reasonably use. When a person, family, or corporation claims ownership of something to the extent that it prevents other people from reasonably using it for their survival, despotism and monetary slavery is the result. Consider that as I type these words, the people of Flint Michigan are being forced to drink polluted water, while Nestle Corporation drains the clean water supply for corporate profit.
Almost everywhere we look in the economic systems of this world, corporations and the ultra rich have claimed more resources than the vast majority of the population, wherein everyone on Earth has essentially become a debt-slave and surf on land owned by others. When someone claims to own more than they can reasonably use, they commit a crime against humanity, forcing their fellows to become land slaves while the landlord contributes almost nothing to society as a whole.
Clearly, without changing this little-recognized way of life and the insidious nature of absolute ownership rights, a mechanized machine world would be a dystopic hell. If we, as a people, continue to give our power away and never redefine ownership, the rich will continue to get richer, and the poor will continue to be hopelessly dependent on them. Income disparity is a symptom of oligarchy and the world that has forgotten the essential need for balance. The indigenous peoples of the world, many of which have no concept of absolute ownership or monetary systems, would never allow one person to own more than they can use—the idea of owning the Earth seems insane to them.
Jobs, to the vast majority of people, are merely a means to earn a basic living wage, becoming traps that destroy a person’s passion for life. Mechanized replacements for jobs are one way to end this nightmare, but only if the underlying problem of despotism and plutocracy are addressed. If not, the plutocrats will invent new menial and meaningless forms of labor to maintain the earn-a-living paradigm of enslavement and control.
Stillness in the Storm Editor’s note: Did you find a spelling error or grammar mistake? Do you think this article needs a correction or update? Or do you just have some feedback? Send us an email at [email protected]. Thank you for reading.
December 10th, 2016: Minor grammar corrections were made to this article.