Sunday, January 17, 2016

Post Work World

I regularly write about my excitement about a 'Post Work' world. I am not against the idea of work in the sense of engagement. I consider myself far more engaged since I stopped 'working'. What I am excited about is moving to a world without the Monetising Filter. Not all ideas make good business ideas. There are quite specific criteria about what makes a good business. The best books I know of on the subject are Michael Porter's 'Competitive Advantage' and Benjamin Graham's 'The Intelligent Investor'.

I have been writing daily for a year and a half, and have yet to earn £10 from that endeavour. That doesn't make writing a bad idea. Having studied businesses for several years, I have a good idea of what I would need to do to monetise my writing. Frankly that is a bad idea. If I want to make money there are better ways for me to go about it. For me, it was a case of sitting back and deciding what was important to me. A lot of the things I enjoy doing are really cheap. Wikipedia is awesome. I can get lost in it for hours for free. I have amazing friends and spending time with them is my idea of the good life.

I actually enjoyed my job. I loved studying businesses. I loved understanding how they worked. A lot of investment is very philosophical. No one really knows exactly how things work. There is a lot of trial and error, and huge scope for learning. What I found frustrating was the constraint on my time. I felt time impoverished. I felt that I was prioritising work over other things that were important. In my view more important. I am now in a position to make time for people who make time for me. That is the most important thing for me.

I know this puts me in an incredibly privileged position. Most people can not simply decide to cut back drastically on their expenses and live a simpler life. They don't have the finances to sustain that. I think more people could do this than realise it, but I also know that is not the choice many would make. Cutting back expenses is emotionally difficult. We are used to trying to steadily improve our lives through a capacity to slowly increase how much we spend. Either because of savings or career progression. The idea of stopping that progression is not attractive to a lot of people. A lot of people love their work. Awesome.

So a 'Post Work' world doesn't mean people would need to stop doing things they find fulfilling because a machine can do it better. It just means that in deciding how to spend our time, we will be able to expand our options beyond things that can be monetised in some way

In my Utopia, there would be a Sovereign Wealth Fund for Global Citizens. It would pay a Universal Income sufficient to cover the first few rungs of Maslow's Hierarchy. Everyone would be able to afford food, water, warmth, rest, safety and security. This doesn't mean we would need to stop working, and people who like fancy stuff can still work for it. It just means that we would be free to work on things that provide other incentives like relationships, mastery, and actualisation.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

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