This is another addition to the series about the future of work. This time, I ruminate about what would happen in case everyone is unemployed.
Let’s start with the “dark” scenario. If tomorrow everyone was unemployed we probably would face civil unrest. For many, work provides meaning, fulfillment, and stability. Do you know what you would do tomorrow given you become unemployed? Maybe. But the day after? Or a month after? A year after? Of course, for a while it might be a pleasant thought to do nothing or to travel (in case you are fortunate to be able to). But for many people this thought could be terrifying.
Another problem might be rising numbers of depression and suicide. If you take away a person’s meaning, his or her purpose of life, it is not something we can shake off and move on easily. Many might slip into a depression. It might be similar as losing a loved one or a body part. As AI and automatization might increase the numbers of unemployed people, this is something we need to figure out quickly. We need a safety net and we need emotional support to help those people.
Another problem might be that people focus on hedonistic activities to feel good, which can also lead to conflict between people.
However, I also see some light in that ocean of darkness.
Yes, we might have to deal with a lot of problems. But, we also have more time to tackle them. And we also have more time to tackle them together. We could spend a lot more time with friends and family to speak about personal issues and learn from each other. I am convinced that we will have deeper conversations because we have an increased awareness that we are in this together. We could coach one another and be present to help along the way.
And, once we are balanced and found meaning in our lives, and have meaningful and loving relationships, I bet we would focus on other matters. Matters such as how we design the society. How to eradicate depression and other mental illnesses. We could truly work on making this planet a better place to live. We would be driven by an internal motivation that far surpasses any external motivation and which is also more sustainable.
I know that the transformation process might be very hard, and I am not sure, if those sacrifices are worth the outcome. But at least I’d like to try and work on making it happen so that we all can live a life we are proud.
What do you think?
Love and hugs, Stephan