"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." -Socrates

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rich Dad, Poor Kid, Broke Earth

Ever since I watched the first half of this year's State of the Union Address, I've been thinking. Obama kept talking about the US economy and jobs, briefly addressing how technology is lowering the demand for people and raising unemployment levels. I don't have the exact quote, but he said how factories that used to require one hundred people now only need ten. He continued by saying we need to work harder through innovation to create jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs...he said that word a lot.

But here's my question- If we can get the same results with 90% less work, why do we need to work harder? Why do we need more jobs? If through technology we are able to yield the same production, what would happen if those one hundred employees all kept their jobs and were able to work 90% less hours?

I have to think that the answer is that people have always been inclined to innovate, create, and make better. Well, I suppose more jobs create more taxes, but without getting into politics, I want to look at humanity. With the Earth's natural resources being depleted through innovation, at what point will the enhancement to modern day living be declared destructive?

Today we have technology that couldn't be fathomed one hundred years ago, and Obama wasn't lying, this technology has greatly reduced the demand for physical labor. I also agree with him in that we need to focus more on renewable energy. That's the kind of innovation we need, but do we really need more jobs? Do we need to work harder, or could we work less by reducing our consumption, in turn, sanctifying the parts of the planet we haven't destroyed? Just a thought.

And these are my thoughts, that's all. I'm not saying I'm right and that others are wrong, but just imagine with me for one moment that Windows Seven is the last operating system and the iPhone 4 is the newest there ever will be. We stop building more houses and making more stuff. We have clean water and food, made easy to acquire through the technologies in place. We stop sitting in rush hour, because we don't need to work tens of miles away from our home. Through telecommuting and the internet, we eliminate the need. An average work week consists of twenty hours as opposed to forty plus, and there's no need for both parents to work. A place where money is no longer a commodity, but where time, relationships, family, passion, art, and love are what's viewed as successful and important.

Has there ever been a world like this? If so I have not seen it, though I do hope that at some point in my life I will. But I suppose we are the herd, and the century of the self is the time in which we live. I suppose clean food, clean air, clean water, and health are no longer all that we need.

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