One day, if we’re lucky, we as a species may come to the point where we no longer need money. When we have enough resources that everyone will have access to just about everything they could want. No need to work. What will we do then?
If all your needs were met today, what would you do? Travel? Go on vacation? Spend more time with your family? Work on that dream project?
Everyone will probably answer a little differently but instead of theorizing lets look at people that already do.
What do Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Jim Walton, and Mark Zuckerberg do with their time? Skip the billionaires, what do the millionaires do? Leonardo Dicaprio, David Guetta, and whatever other rich celebrities do? Seems like they spend their time pretty much the same way.
When the fear of poverty is lost people mostly keep working.
Ok, but those people are all mega rich. I know a few people that are more normal rich. Rich enough that they could retire and not really worry about it. What do they do? Same stuff. These people don’t quit their jobs and just sit around all day. They keep creating. When the fear of poverty is lost people mostly keep working.
I think one day in the future we’ll find a way to make it so that no one has to ever work to support themselves financially. But they will work to support themselves mentally. To engage with life. To engage with creation.
There was an idea that struck me a while ago that sounds a little crazy. I was sitting and thinking about a goal I have, an embarrassing one. In my life I want to change the world. I don’t know what that means, it doesn’t have to be huge or anything. I was trying to boil it down into different areas of philosophy and I got to thinking about economics. Economics is all about efficiency. Everyone becomes richer when you can make something cost less resources. That, in a sentence, is the history of man and economics. Create, invent, cajole something that makes it so that something costs less resources. Time, food, energy, these are all resources.
Let the creative destruction begin.
But what is the cost of making things cheaper and therefore, us all richer? The cost is jobs. If you can find an example where something was made cheaper and it didn’t cost jobs I would love to hear it. The discovery of oil creates jobs right? It creates oil jobs. That might be of little comfort if you’re a steam engineer.
So the best possible thing we can do with our time, the best way we can reach that point where we all have more than we could ever want or need is to look for ways to destroy jobs.
Madness? You tell me.
For a look at the flipside listen to this excellent series that Planet Money did on disability in America. Its amazing.