10 February 2015

Quote for the day -- the great distraction

Related thoughts here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. That is a beautiful thought.

10 February, 2015 13:14  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

This issue of expecting every able-bodied person to find gainful employment has been gnawing at me for a number of years. Unemployment remains a major political football. Income disparity is increasing and the net worth of the working class is decreasing.

My unease regarding this started when I bought a book by Jeremy Rifkin titled "The End of Work". Rifkin extrapolated that due to automation and increases in productivity, the new business model would be in providing leisure time good and services. What bothered me was, what good would having a lot of leisure time be if you didn't have the income to enjoy your leisure, let alone be able to pay for basic needs?

Then recently I discovered this video: "Human's Need Not Apply" http://youtu.be/7Pq-S557XQU

This really puts the spotlight on the shaky future of the current employment economy model. Union membership has been in deep decline, wages stagnant or falling, employment gains in low wage service jobs being the major source of job growth. The video discusses how we have always looked to technology to usher in a new type of employment as the old ways of doing things were made obsolete. But as the video explains, things are different now, those assumptions may no longer be true.

I worked in IT as a computer network technician. The job was hands on, requiring skills, problem solving, knowledge, experience. But over time more and more of what I used to do was taken over by the systems themselves. Systems which required manual configuration became automatic (plug-n-play). Eventually I no longer even installed software or managed the servers in the next room; that was all done remotely from a central location. My IT career started looking like the Maytag Repairman. And not surprisingly, the compensation for techs started to stagnate. Only a few system administrators were now needed in central office where there once had been many.

We continue to look to our political leaders to solve our employment/economy issues. We are going to have to get over this "takers" mentality as Romney termed it. I believe we are entering an era of humanity where it will not be practical to expect that the only people who can prosper, or survive, will be the ones with a paycheck.

10 February, 2015 21:27  
Blogger Woody said...

A beautiful thought, but seems based on a learning ideology which does not always or even often match possibility within one's life.
I've worked in education and appreciate learning, don't get me wrong. As a sceptic, learning is to me the most important factor involved in forming my conclusions, but comments about how we should spend our time at the expense of making a living for ourselves and our loved-ones, it seems somewhat pithy to me. Am I wrong?

11 February, 2015 03:49  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Obviously with current technology it's not practical, since the production of goods and services we need is still largely tied to human labor. He's talking about near-future technological innovation (see the "related thoughts" link for where I discussed the same issue). It's already starting to happen -- even today, a significant chunk of the population is simply not needed to produce things. But in order to manage the transition to the post-employment economy, we'll need to overcome the old idea that drudgery for its own sake is some sort of virtue which people (those not born into wealth, anyway) need to submit to to earn their right to survive.

11 February, 2015 04:09  

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