Our future is at a crossroads

What will our future look like? What are we heading towards?

Many people try to find an answer to this question which is difficult to predict. So take everything I write with a grain of salt. And please reflect about what I write and what it causes inside of you, if it does cause something. Furthermore, be patient with me, I have a lot of thoughts in my head and they are fleeting, so I will try to remember everything and put it into a neat order. If you have questions in the end, feel free to write a comment =).

Bear with me, it is going to be a longer article…

I think that we are headed towards a crossroad. I can see a beautiful future ahead of us, but I can see a very dire future ahead of us, too. It will largely depend on each one of us and what we will stand for as a society.

I already wrote about the advent of robots and how this will influence our lives. There are many reports that paint a picture of robots or automated processes taking over almost all of the jobs. Sure, there will be new jobs, tending to those robots and others we might not know will exist, but I think it is fair enough to say that there won’t be a need for as many workers as there is today.

There is also an upside to it. People who have been pushed out or people entering the job market might resort to jobs that are closer to their true calling. And yes, I speak about people becoming painters, musicians, poets, writers, carpenters, gardeners and so on. Imagine people being more themselves and being more patient and happier just because they do what they want to be doing. Imagine how you would feel, talk and walk, when you would do exactly what you want to be doing. If that is already what you do, then imagine all those people around you having the same feeling.

I know that some people will be devastated by this development because they defined themselves by their jobs. But this won’t keep the development at bay. We might all face challenges that result from this development and I think companies and politics need to start working on plans now to help with that transition. Nevertheless, I see huge potential and beauty when people are doing jobs that are close to their hearts.

But you might say that they won’t be happy, because where to get the money from to live? That is where we touch upon a topic that is more and more present in politics. You might have heard about UBI or Universal Basic Income. There are different ideas how this should/could look like and there is a nice video (10 mins) called Universal Basic Income Explained. In essence, UBI is about giving “free” money to everyone whether they work or not. And please watch the video and look for results of studies about this topic. Otherwise, this already long article will become, too long to read enjoyably.

And if you agree with the idea of a UBI or not, the fact remains that we need to come up with a social contract to take care of those who will be pushed out of the labour market and/or cannot join it anymore. In this article, I wrote about lawyers who might have difficulties to find a job due to advanced automatization. So even if you did everything right, you might end up struggling to find a job.

I think that in the future, we need to tax those who will have control of the robots or AI which does all the work. You can call it a robot tax. The owners of those will be very rich and benefit a lot from the development. And I think it will be in their own best interest to make sure everyone is going to live a decent live. Imagine millions of people unemployed and fighting to make ends meet and a few who could buy everything they want. This would lead not only to jealousy and anger but to upright social unrest and maybe even revolution. It is no wonder billionaires started to think more about this issue and some even plan to donate half their wealth.

Moreover, I think we could already start with it today. A couple of weeks ago, I watched a video about patents and how worse this system is and what might be a good alternative. I know, I share a lot of videos with you today, but they are short and it helps me to keep this post to a length that you might be willing to read.

So let me continue…

Today, when someone founds a company and he/she is successful, they earn a lot of money by either selling the company or going public. And they earned it. They went through difficult times, put hours upon hours of work in it, they probably neglected their relationships, and I think they should be rewarded for their struggles and the risks they took. However, I don’t understand, why they continue to earn and benefit so much more over the years to come. Yes, they still have a higher risk, but they are often not the ones who do the real work any longer. Those are the workers that are at the bottom of the organizational charts. I think we should rethink and reshape how we distribute income in companies.

Additionally, I think we cannot trust in the companies to change. Especially large corporations who employ many workers and who are listed on an exchange. They will always have the pressure to generate enough revenue to satisfy their stake- and shareholders. I am not against capitalism, but I feel that it is getting out of hand and we need to do something to help people being able to flourish.

Sure, there are also studies that we live in a world that has fewer very poor people than ever before, and that is already a wonderful development. I just think that this brings its problems, too. When people are not preoccupied with meeting their basic needs, people will go higher on the pyramid of needs and will start to think about meaning and self-actualization. I just finished reading Martin Seligman’s book Authentic Happiness, and I agree that in order to live the good life, we need to apply our strengths and they need to be applied to something greater. Unfortunately, many current jobs don’t play to their employees’ strengths. Maybe UBI could help people by giving them a sense of safety to pursue activities that will help them flourish.

You can read that I did not really elaborate on the dire or beautiful future. At least not always directly. However, when you reflect about what I have written you can see either of those futures unfold, depending on what we as a society will stand up for and what we as individuals will do. No matter if we are in a position of power or not. I will do my best to fight for a beautiful future and to add my part to creating it. When I close my eyes, I can see it. I want to see it, because the alternative is not pleasant and I am convinced, contrary to our nature.

Thank you for taking the time to read the article and watch the video. If you agree with me or like some of the ideas, please share this article. If you don’t like it, then please write me directly or in the comments what you dislike.

 

Have a wonderful day and take care, Stephan

PS: I wrote the article yesterday evening, and today I saw a kind of counterargument. I think it is important to read/listen to those views, too. What do you think?

 

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