Along with climate change and maybe one or two others, the biggest theme we face, it seems to me, is how to organize ourselves to rejoice in — not implode over — the astonishing wealth and well-being technology is rushing to offer.
If there were a way to supply the nation with a reliable food supply with the toil of under 2% of the population instead of the 60% it once took — that would be good, right? If there were an eco-friendly way to make beds and wash kitchen floors without human effort — that would be good, right? (We’ll get to Mars long before we invent the self-making bed, but it’s still something to dream about.)
But as we rush toward a world where fewer and fewer human hours are required to supply the basics of a middle-class existence — where energy from the sun is virtually free, dramatically lowering the cost of everything and computers can do almost anything humans can do, but better and faster, without sleep — what will most people do? How will they find purpose in life? How will everyone get to share in the amazing world that the struggling and suffering of ten thousand generations of their ancestors have suddenly made possible, without many being made to feel useless and undeserving, while a few live like masters of the universe — and believe their good-fortune is not just self-made and well-deserved but over-taxed?
It is to ponder such questions that I commend “The Meaning of Life in a World Without Work” from the Guardian.
Have a great weekend. (Don’t work too hard.)
Quote of the Day
John Wanamaker found an employee in a dispute with a customer. She wanted a blouse that was being sold only with a skirt. The clerk was insisting they only came together. Wanamaker walked over to the clerk and whispered in his ear the secret of marketing: "Give the lady what she wants."~.
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