Are Jobs Outdated?
The post I am writing about is http://www.rushkoff.com/blog/2011/9/7/cnncom-are-jobs-obsolete.html
“ the post office will have to scale back its operations drastically, or simply shut down altogether. That’s 600,000 people who would be out of work, and another 480,000 pensioners facing an adjustment in terms.”
What is the cost of email, messaging services and many other electronic conveniences? Well, in March of 2014, the USPS needed a bailout due to a large decrease in customers.
“Frank Todisco, chief actuary for the Government Accountability Office, told a House committee last week that the agency had $100 billion in debt and unfunded health benefit liabilities at the end of the last fiscal year.”
It is understandable why new technologies are causing these problems, but the overall idea of the post is that perhaps we do not need jobs. The rest of the post is about having some people work to make food so that food becomes available to everybody. The probelm I have with this is that the argument is laid out so that everybody gets their needs, and their wants need to be earned by doing a more creative “job” so that technology may still advance. This is a very unrealistic thought because the jobs are now going to be split into labor and creative work.
We start by accepting that food and shelter are basic human rights. The work we do — the value we create — is for the rest of what we want: the stuff that makes life fun, meaningful, and purposeful.
This sort of work isn’t so much employment as it is creative activity. Unlike Industrial Age employment, digital production can be done from the home, independently, and even in a peer-to-peer fashion without going through big corporations. We can make games for each other, write books, solve problems, educate and inspire one another — all through bits instead of stuff. And we can pay one another using the same money we use to buy real stuff.
This quote from Douglas Rushkoff’s website post is the explanation for his idea of a “jobless” society. The main focus seems to be on the people who do not need to actually make the food. It’s already the case that people don’t generally like physical labor, but it would be even harder to get people to do it once “food and shelter are basic human rights.” After all, if it does become accepted as a basic human right, then what’s stopping the potential laborers from taking advantage of this idea?
My question is, if “food and shelter are basic human rights” and the other things that people desire can be earned from creative jobs, then who would do the hard labor required to make the food in the first place?
In video form: