Monday, 22 July 2013

Shrinking jobs: A bug or a feature?

Less full-time employment sets off alarms but is this a bug or a feature?
It's a bug in the States where part-time is replacing full-time because of perverse incentives in Obamacare but why is there not greater outcry?
Only in modern times have most adults been employed in a public taxable sphere.
If folk have enough food and shelter and can look after their babies comfortably, how much work will they really need to perform?

If as a couple you have no kids instead of  2.1, that's $25000 (Canadian link) to $30,000 (American link) less money you need to earn yearly.
A hundred dollars a month will bring you all the sitcoms, movies, pop songs, world and sport news and Hollywood gossip you can handle on your wide screen TV and smartphone.
The car you are driving may go over 300,000 km before needing replacement. (Remember the Urban Legend in the 'sixties that GM was buying back any car that ran more than 100,000 miles to see what was wrong with it?  Remember when tires lasted one third of what they now last?)
If your lifetime medical has a default cost of zero bucks per annum because your income is low and government feels sorry for you, you are ahead one to ten thousand dollars each year.
When you see kids playing video games, texting, staring at LED screens, you know they can be kept happily distracted for a few dollars a day when they grow up.

In the background is the possibility of cheap fusion.  One year's work may earn you a cold fusion module that will supply a lifetime of electricity, buried in the back yard.    Those 3-D printers (link to print a bicycle) will mean that a large percentage of the little gadgets you must have to run a household can be printed out from a file stored on your phone. (Try this link:  "NASA will transport 3D printers to space so astronauts can print tools -- and potentially even food.")

Cheap energy is a disruptive technology.  It will also make unemployment numbers meaningless.

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