Why is there so much concentration upon the number of people who left work? With AI and robots already encroaching on possible full employment shouldn’t we consider the possibility that we don’t necessarily want everyone working in the normal hours for wages trade? The old school thinking of everyone needing to be “good employee material” was never really true to begin with, and many of the misfits would be likely to add even more to the economy via self employment or community service if they weren’t being blackmailed with abject poverty as punishment for not fitting society’s mold that greatly benefits employers.
We also must come to grips with what the real job of the individual is in a consumption based economy, which is consuming. People can contribute simply by purchasing goods and services, rather than suffering in poverty as “punishment” for not fitting the mold and possessing the “work ethic” we demand of them. The assumption that all benefits not earned by contributing to someone else’s profit is somehow less than socially acceptable is also rooted in the privilege of wealth that assumes that the non-wealthy only exist to provide wealth to others. If you don’t believe that one can contribute simply by consuming ask any grocer what would happen to his business, and the supply chain that supports it, if food and nutrition benefits to the poor disappeared tomorrow.