Sunday, July 10, 2016

End of Work

There is a difference between working because you have to, and working because you want to. Some people are able to find jobs that combine what they are good at, what they love, and what pays well. The dream job

What we are good at is relative. Roger Federer has only one French Open title because he happened to play at the same time as the greatest clay tennis player of all time. Roger Federer is the greatest tennis player of all time, and yet he was only 'good enough' to lift that trophy once (so far).

There is also feedback between what we are good at, and what we love. Emotional creatures that we are, what we end up loving depends on the feedback we get. Ken Robinson talks about how almost all 5 year olds love art, but only a handful of 15 year olds. We are trained out of our love of creativity because we are compared to others.

What pays well is very fickle. Price is determined by two factors - Supply and Demand. It has nothing to do with inherent value. That is a completely personal thing. Value depends on the perception of the the person and what they themselves hold dear. Price is just a clearing mechanism. A salary is the price of your labour. If there are lots of people who do what you do, that price goes down. If more people want want you do, and the number of people who can do what you do doesn't change, the price goes up. Pretty cold. 

Is water only valuable when there is none?

Supply and Demand are powerful in a world of scarcity. A world without enough. The Great Enrichment of the last 100 years has seen the world get far richer. The measure for extreme poverty is people living on less than $1.90 a day. In 1981, more than half the world's population lived in extreme poverty. Today, that figure is less than 14% (See Our World in Data - World Poverty). In a world with freedom of movement for goods and capital, the work has shifted to where the poor are. Material poverty is being obliterated.

To a lot of people, none of this matters! More and more people are getting angry because their cog value has stayed the same or gotten lower. This has happened because more and more people can do what they can do. We treat capital and goods better than we treat people. We want Single Markets, but we don't like the idea of a Global Community. We don't want to do the work of overcoming our prejudices. We still live in a world of Global Apartheid, so instead of people moving to where the work is, the work moves to where the people are. This means there is no community building. There are restrictions on the kind of face to face interactions which make people care about each other. All people see is their jobs leaving and they get angry.

When I dream of a post work world, it is not a dream of a world without exertion, effort, stress, productivity or meaningful engagement. It is a world with new economics. One where we have completely let go of the idea of salary as a measure of worth. Where we have completely let go of the idea of progress being an increasing salary. We are approaching a world of abundance. Flow and Relationships become the new measures. Measures you can't count. Measures you can't compare.

Measures that feed community rather than anger.

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