The coming storm

I see a real fundamental change in society coming,  as jobs are both exported to countries with lower wages/lifestyle expenses, and automation/robotic employees take entry-level jobs. If there ARE no jobs, but the amount of wealth (owned by the companies that outsourced or automated) remains the same, the entire structure of shame around poverty  and “laziness” becomes obsolete. It evolved during a time when we NEEDED every hand to participate, so shaming and pain for not contributing made perfect survival sense. But now? Why shame someone for what they cannot help, even if they try? And if we have the resources (remember, production remained the same) what precisely is our justification for denying them resources? We COULD say: “It’s mine, screw you” which would be honest and actually rather honorable in a way. But that leads to the underclass reasonably saying: “you don’t care if I starve, or my kids starve? Why should I care about your life?” and the very fabric of society becomes threatened because it literally stops making logical sense not to steal from people who arranged for you to have no way of making a living, and are sitting atop resources they don’t NEED (yes, they want them) while your kids scream with hunger.

I see this as a major challenge for the future, because if you grew up in a system that NEEDS your labor, in which it is reasonable to shame or inflict pain upon people who don’t work, it is possible that those circuits, older than any human being who has lived in the last 10,000 years, integrated into all social rules, religions, entertainment and philosophy, cannot be changed in a generation. Maybe not within a human lifetime. We may need to have several generations in which we see that these sets of thought patterns ONCE were survival values, but in this Brave New World, can actually be destructive. This is fundamental change.  And the old guard, for the very best of reasons (survival of the tribe!) may not be willing or able to change in time to prevent real chaos, collapse, or revolution.

Concepts like the “living wage” arise from this.  Discussions about what human beings would do if not compelled by starvation to work arise.  Few people think THEY would do nothing, but frequently believe “they” would sit on their butts and fall apart.  Your belief about this is therefore either “I would behave in such and such fashion” or “I wouldn’t, but I’m extraordinary.  Most people are lazy bums”.    I believe that if we removed the stigma of unemployment, but still encouraged and created opportunities for study, exploration, civic service, artistic expression and more, we could be opening the door to the best era of human history EVER.

But, of course…I could be wrong.  Thoughts?  And if you agree, how do we get there? And if you disagree, what do we do?





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