Earth Sharing Vs. Destroying the Middle Class
|October 27, 2013||Posted by Staff under Editorials|
Making the economy serve us is a solution that we can no longer delay.
This 2013 excerpt is for September 13 by Peter Smith.
Computer programmes are getting better and better at carrying out tasks traditionally performed by white collar workers, including within schools and universities, law firms, media outlets and hospitals. This trend is set to continue with automation ultimately leading to the destruction of countless previously secure jobs throughout the economy.
Some pundit’s advice is to develop the high tech skills needed to ensure one stays on the right side of the dividing line between benefactors and victims of technological progress. Singapore’s prosperous innovative economy is built on a foundation of high quality education in mathematics, science and technology.
Realistically though, how many of us will be able to retrain in the way advocated and earn a decent living in this new economy? Surely we won’t all be able to be employed building robots for each other. At best this remedy only offers safety to a relatively small proportion of the workforce.
Are people supposed to serve the economy, or is the economy supposed to serve the people?
Buckminster Fuller once quipped, “It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”
“Jobs” divert our attention from our true economic problems: unused land, wasted capital, huge fat gobs of monopoly privilege, and tax burdens that hinder enterprise. When the resources that workers need to make a living are kept from them by monopolists, then “a job” becomes the best they can hope for. The extent to which we focus on “jobs” is a good barometer of how unjust and wasteful our economy truly is.
Let’s value all people and ensure everyone benefits from the wealth we have all had a hand in delivering – an economy centred on the principle of Earth Sharing.