“Are Jobs Obsolete?”

I once read a science-fiction book (Poul Anderson’s The Boat of A Million Years) about a dozen or so unrelated people with genetic mutations that cause them to never age (though they can die in other ways). Something like six or eight of them make it to a point in our future when technology will create anything you want for you, and everyone gets a basic allotment of credit regardless of whether they work or not.

That’s what I was strongly reminded of when I read this.

I don’t think our society is ready for that kind of economy yet, but I do think that it — or something like it — will happen sooner or later. Probably not in my lifetime, but I could be wrong.

11 Comments

  1. Responses like that are what I believe will eventually convince people to adopt such a measure. I’ve seen economic models that might support it. Unemployment would have to be significantly higher than 10% before that happens though, 10% isn’t enough to generate sufficient political will for such a radical change.

  2. Kind of reminds me of “The Ship” in “Wal-E”

    The way our government and large corporations are handling things, we may yet see unemployment go over 10%. Yesterday I thought the “Occupy Wall Street” movement was just an American thing but in this morning’s news I heard that the movement has spread to Europe.

    Sometimes I wonder if our society is finally beginning to collapse under its own weight. It was never a sustainable society to begin with.

    • Sorry, never had a chance to see “Wal-E”.

      Governments are examples of feedback systems, and feedback systems are a hobby of mine so I see them everywhere. 🙂 A feedback system is anything that is capable of responding to feedback to maintain itself in a viable state, and such a system can only collapse when its state is pushed to the point where the feedback mechanisms are overwhelmed and can no longer correct its state.

      The US government was pushed to an extreme in the Bush Jr. era, one that I don’t think it has seen since the time of the Civil War. It hasn’t had time to recover yet, but I’m sure that it still can recover, and that it will if nothing happens to push it further out of whack.

      If the Tea Party gets its way, that would be enough to push it over the edge. I have no idea what would come after, but there would almost certainly be a very uncomfortable interval before it is replaced by another viable system. Fortunately, I think it’s highly unlikely that the Tea Party will be given any more power than it has at present, and that should be survivable.

      • You should see Wall-E, fun movie, especially for an Apple fan because of product placement. 😉 The tea party will be marginalized if they don’t win the Republican nomination, and it looks like one of theirs won’t get it. Romney may have a lot of flaws IMHO, not the least of which is that he’s an especially two-faced politician who’s probably a borderline psychopath (like many CEO-types) considering the way he treated one of his pets, but he’s not a tea party member really although he tries to adhere to a Conservative message to get votes. (He’s a governor from Massachusetts, not exactly a hotbed of conservative activism.)

        • I can’t keep track of all the Republican nominees this year. The party seems to think that more is better… they were trying to add a ninth candidate a couple weeks ago! But none of them seem very compelling from where I sit. Of course, I haven’t been enamored of the Republican party since before I was allowed to vote.

          • They also seem to think the more weird extremists the merrier too. The Republican party has been hijacked by the lunatics even more than usual this election cycle. Except Romney, but he’s one of the slimiest politicians to run for high office in a long time also. Looks like I’ll probably hold my nose and vote for Obama, despite that he doesn’t have guts and there isn’t really much difference between him and GWB in a lot of ways, or maybe some third party, they couldn’t be weirder than the Republicans.

          • Obama might be a lot bolder in his second term, since he won’t have to worry about re-election again. We can only hope.

  3. That would be somewhat unusual, most U.S. Presidents get things done in their first term, especially their first few months in office, than any other time.

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