When I was a kid I watched the Jetsons. In that show, the father, George only had to work a few hours a week and he didn’t work very hard. Why? Because everything was automated. But, he was able to support his family just fine. We are there now. Or at least we could be.
Instead, there are some people working 40 or 50 or 60 or even more hour weeks while others are unemployed. Instead, there are more empty houses than homeless people. Why?
The old way of doing things isn’t working anymore. There are increasingly more people than jobs. 3D printing and other technologies will, within a generation, eliminate all manufacturing jobs. This is inevitable. Plenty of jobs are going to go away because of technology. This has been happening for a long time and will continue to happen.
And if we continue doing things in the old ways, there will be a lot of suffering.
Why not the promised future of the Jetson’s and countless other utopian visions?
We could change things today.
People used to say that some day technology will bring us to a point at which there won’t be this need for arduous toil. That day is here already.
We evolved to live in a world of scarcity. There was a time when there weren’t enough resources to go around, when there was only enough for the strongest and smartest. We live in a post scarcity world now. We need to evolve. We need to get out of the scarcity mindset. It’s simply not serving us anymore.
There are so many creative people that would love to spend their days writing or painting or sculpting, but they can’t support themselves that way, so the world misses out on seeing their art because instead they are working jobs that they don’t want.
This is my solution. It’s beyond the simple right left paradigm that America is under. I’m too busy looking at Tomorrow to look at Yesterday.
We have to let go of the idea that everyone should work. The fact is there are less jobs than people and that discrepancy is getting more significant every day.
This is what I want to do:
1) I want the government to give every American citizen 30,000 a year. (obviously we’ll adjust this number for inflation, as needed). There are countries that do this. It’s called a guaranteed basic income. That way no one has to starve. Also, if you don’t want to work, cool. Don’t. And if you want to make more than 30,000 a year, great. Find a job that fits your needs.
2) Companies that can automate more, like Mcdonald’s, will. When they are only left with employees that really and truly want to be there, they will have no choice. They will modernize. The truth is that with technology the way it is there’s no reason why any human being should work in a Mcdonald’s. Machines can do all of that. They could switch to that system right now if they wanted to. Only fancy restaurants need humans. The same goes for most retail stores like Wal-mart. Some Wal-marts have already started with ‘self checkout’. Again, only fancy stores need humans. So, people making slave wages at these companies will be free to quit. Or reduce their hours.
3) Another industry that will be changed is professional driving. Truck drivers and taxi drivers are going to be out of work soon anyway. We have cars that drive themselves now. Soon they will be the norm. It’s only a matter of time. Best to get ahead of that issue now.
4) Manufacturing jobs will be over soon. We have 3D printers now. Soon that will be the normal way things are made. Imagine a world where everyone who works in a factory in this country is suddenly unemployed. It’s coming.
5) How are we paying for this? 30,000 per person sounds like a lot. It’s simple. Well, obviously, we won’t need these programs that help poor people: food stamps, wic, welfare, because we are already taking care of poor people. But, there’s a bigger source of revenue. There are two things in the military budget that are completely useless. Tanks and Jet Fighters. Stop making them. It’s a waste of money. We will never see another war in this world in which Tanks and Jet Fighters are necessary. They were designed to fight the old kind of war, the kind of war that is over. We build more every year and they do nothing but go into storage.
6) I think getting rid of the income tax and replacing it with a consumption tax is probably a good idea, if the math works right. Although we want to create a world where people don’t have to work, we don’t want to give de-incentivize working. If we have a consumption tax, we can have a high tax on things we don’t want people to buy, like cigarettes and fried food, and a low tax on things we want them to buy, like vegetable and solar power. Creating incentives with the income tax system has been increasingly difficult.
7) If you’re convinced that this is the kind of change we need, you might be wondering, “How can we do it?” The truth is there are many people who think it’s in their interest to stop this kind of change. But we CAN change things. It starts with you. Tell everyone. It takes a cultural shift to truly bring about change. So, this information has to spread. If these ideas get enough momentum, then we can start demanding these changes from our leaders. If the current political parties won’t listen, then we have to walk away from them. Maybe create our own. We have to demand change. What I am calling for a revolution. An overthrow of the current corrupt system. A peaceful revolution. All we have to do is say, “No more”. If we say it loud enough and often enough, we can change the world.