Working Less And Living BettersteemCreated with Sketch.

in wealth •  7 months ago 

John Maynard Keynes predicted in 1930 that the grandchildren of that generation would work 15 hours a week. The idea was that technology was going to provide some much in the way of productivity that people would not need to work a lot of hours.

This led to the idea that the biggest threat to humanity boredom.

Of course, things did not turn out this way. People do not work only 15 hours per week. In fact, in the industrialized world, there is only a few hour difference on weekly basis between the hours worked today as compared to Keynes time.

So what gives?

The truth is that Keynes was actually correct. His prediction of it happening in 100 years was actually too long an estimate. We surpassed his time with flying colors.

What makes this point clearer is that we expanded since the 1930s. If we look at the hours of work required to achieve the same output in the 1930s, we see how far the industrial world as come.


The developed nations crossed Keynes threshold 30-40 years ago. So why do we still have people working close to 40 hours per week?

There are number of variables that go into this. The first is the insatiable human thirst for more. People in the 1930s did not spend money on cable television, mobile phones, applications, computers, large homes, and big screen televisions. When they say it was a much simpler time, they are correct. The technology was very simple back in Keynes time. Television was just coming into being with the phone still not in every home.

Another factor in this is the hours truly worked in one's life compared to the total hours one lives. It was common for people to drop out of school and get a job in their teens. This means that work started, not at 22 or 23 but a decade earlier. At the same time, people often worked until death since most did not make it past 70.

Today, it is not uncommon for people to live into their 80s, giving a solid 20-25 years of "non-work", called retirement.

In spite of all this, we still are operating in a manner that is very similar to Keynes time. Most people still work for sustenance. They are there for the paycheck, pure and simple.

However, things need not be this way. We do have the tools and ability to enable people to work less yet live better. I believe the next decade will bring this to the forefront. The world of business is changing before our eyes, putting people in a unique position to make large scale changes.

Automation is going to create a lot of havoc over the next decade. Thus, we are confronted with the situation of how we adapt to this as a society. The idea that one can simply get ahead by following the traditional avenues is being shown to be false. Overall, very few are benefiting from how things are. Most are struggling to keep pace.

We are going to have to question who controls the tools that allow for abundance. When it is in the hands of mega-corporations, only a select few benefit. However, when we push that power outward, into the hands of individuals, we see a completely different scenario unfolding.

This is why open source projects are so valuable. We are even starting to see this from the likes of Google who open sourced their entire AI platform. Enabling different entities, smaller in scale, to get a hold of different tools, creates a layer of abundance which was basically absent the last 20 years or so.

De-monitization is an important concept. Technology traditionally pushed things down toward the zero margin level. As prices drop, the pool of users increases. This allows for a spreading out of the abilities the technology offers.

Digitization brings things to the zero level very quickly. Over the past 20 years, we saw an upshot in the abundance of music, video, and communication devices. These industries went digital.

Just consider the fact that an messenger application does more in terms of communication than the POTS (plain old telephone system) did without the need to run millions of miles of cable. What took 60-70 years can now be achieve in a few months of writing code.

Compared to Keynes time, we are living in a world of science fiction. Things that are commonplace to use today were not even a thought in his time. I believe the next 20 years will reflect a similar advancement.

Thus, we have the tools to enable people to not slave away at "jobs" just to make ends meet. Everyone can live a prosperous life if we simply structure things in a manner that achieves this end.

I believe cryptocurrency is going to be a large part of that. As we see the wealth of people in this industry grow, we should see a pushing out of that wealth towards others. It is ironic but value is derived by more people being involved. Sharing the wealth, hence, helps oneself.

An oxymoron compared to today but a basic piece of the "network effect".

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