Saved from Facebook:
ME: For shame: With all this so-called technology, innovation, efficiency, productivity, intelligence and tools, why are we still working to our end? What good is modern medicine if it just means extending our effective work life from 20 to 40 years. Because we just loooove to work? I think not.
Anonymous: “I’m not an expert in this by any means, but my understanding is that much of life is about gaining leisure time. Time to paint, write, invent, etc. A man alone can work a farm and sustain himself, but that is about all he will be able to do with his time without modern technology and conveniences. In a community a man can trade his skilled labor for compensation, which is then used to acquire his necessities. Ideally the greater or more valuable his skill, the greater his compensation and the more leisure time he can afford. The Renaissance could not have happened without patrons of the arts. So the goal should be to develop technology that makes the above sytem essentially obselete. Automated food and shelter for example, not dissimilar to what is described in science fiction such as Star Trek, would maximize choice and leisure.”
Me: Thank you. I totally agree! And your response opens up a million sub-topics I’d love to digress on, whether in agreement or not. There’s truth in what you say. Correct me if I’m wrong on any of the following. I’ll make a lot of generalizations but I want to jump up to a broader perspective.
Let’s just look at a few of the cause and effect relationships at play. Because of modern “efficiencies, technologies, productivities,” it takes many less people to do the same job of yesteryear, giving that hypothetical farmer the ability to run his entire 40 acre cornfield on his own, using a GPS driven tractor. Does he use the extra time to do art? NO (most the time), because the corn subsidies come with strings attached, and because the loans he had to take out to afford that tractor and REAL ESTATE have interest on the back end. So he finds other ways to make more money to pay for those technological upgrades. Who wins? Definitely not the farmer. Definitely not the misguided people buying the shitty corn. Not the builder of the tractor either. All of these people have skin in the game. Their goal is to make the other guy happy. The only one whose goal isn’t is the entity that created money for nothing, by means of interest: The bank.
The bank owns the real estate. They set the interest rate. They control the corn. They control the tractor builder, the farmer and the people who buy his corn.
But beyond the microeconomic aspects of farming, or any other industry, the population is not decreasing, but going up. Then think for a second what the underpinning factors are on a macroeconomic level, and what the resulting scenario will be for farmers and ALL workers in the future.
But wait. Don’t go about thinking like the average farmer does, or the common folk do. They think day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year, maybe down the line to what they want to leave behind for their kids. Think about a hundred, two hundred, three hundred years from now.
Very few living-wage jobs, in this future, will be available to a very large and growing population. What conditions exist when this happens? Extremely high unemployment, poverty, competition for jobs, rate of consumption and crime, extreme reliance on the people who control these resources and extreme vulnerability to the supply.
Now. I don’t care what anyone’s personal choice is right now: Whether they live in a cabin and want to be self-sufficient or stay at home and collect welfare from the state while creating all the best paintings in the world. The outlook is, that as the common folk become obsolete, it will become nearly impossible to sustain the quality of life (most of us take for granted now), the very freedom of choice we’re saving up for, the choice to live off the land or provide for ourselves(my personal choice). Those choices you speak of. All gone.
It will eventually be virtually impossible for the common man to cross the cross the boundary between proletariat/bourgeoisie a.k.a, “fulfill the American dream.” As resources become more and more scarce (land, energy, water…air?) their value will go up exponentially, while the amount of people and companies controlling them will drastically reduce.
This whole illusion of working harder for the man to save up or to buy more downtime, or to get the nicer house, or keep up with the Jones’ is easier to subscribe to in the short-term but I’ll just cut to the chase because I could go all day long.
This whole “system” isn’t rigged or corrupt. It’s just flawed and humans’ emotional nature is extremely hard to beat with logic. But if we can do just one thing in life, realize that whether man-made or not, the system of society, exchange of goods for money and the up and down advancement of people and businesses. It’s not just a system. It’s an ecosystem.
In a working ecosystem, everything is dependent on something else. And in an efficient ecosystem, wastes are minimal and reusable. So there is no single answer to fix our current system, like boycott this company or that company because they cut corners or enslave kids, generate wealth through extortionate amounts of interest and on and on. Focusing on solutions to symptoms has short-term effect. (I can touch more on this later)
There is a lot of good that comes through commerce, just as there is in the things we’re more proud of, like innovation, motivation, generosity, good will, creativity. Trade brings resources to lesser fortunate nations, employs people who have never dreamed of having a job. Power will shift from one empire to the next but eventually the globe will equalize. Death, pain, suffering, opportunity and advancement will still exist as they always have. They are all elements that balance the good side of the natural world. But one thing I like to be mindful of is that keeping an ecosystem alive, efficient and healthy relies on namely on thing, (aside from energy resources).
With fewer and fewer controlling interests in resources and wealth management, we are losing that diversity. Sure. The more small and local businesses that exist, the less efficient they may be, but they are giving up that efficiency as an economic trade off to better serve the needs of the workers customers they spend day-to-day with, taking time getting the time to know them. What it takes to succeed is directly related to the community they build among locals. And it may vary from one community to the next, but that’s where they gain it all back.
Lastly, humans won’t be around forever. Mass extinction is inevitable, (Just ask Elon) but if we want this ecosystem (man-made or not) to last longer (if we get lucky), we might consider respecting the resources that feed it.
- Promote diversity
- Minimize waste
- Increase productivity and efficiency
- Master feedback and closed loop system
And so what if any of this is true or false? We can stay totally happy (or unhappy) with life in either case, I’ve been just as happy, if not happier in times of misery and hardship. Most people would be content living as if tomorrow never existed, whether good or bad.
If such a condition existed then who is to say it is good or bad, or whether it stays the same or changes? I don’t know. This is just a thought exercise. Coming up with a scenario that fits my reality. Have I found meaning in my own life that trumps this? Yes.
You might call it a religion. I just call it. The Way it is.