I posted the following this week on a blog and got some typical responses:
I come from a town in Maine that was majorly impacted by the industrial revolution. Vast textile mills were built in 1850 and the town prospered and grew beyond expectation. By 1950 the mills were dying or moving to less expensive labor markets. The old brick mills still stand, mostly abandoned. The town maintained for a couple of decades with a number of small factories, but it is now impoverished, barely able to keep head above water, its people despondent, drug addled. And much of the country is in similar straits.
There is no solution as yet on how to correct the industrial revolution's demise, if it is correctable. What measures have been taken to date are desperate attempts to finagle the system into a financial Ponzi scheme of ever widening gyres. And the hegemonic schemes to hold on to global power are backfiring (this summit ought to be a doozy.) The situation is such that one hopes for the crash that will bring an end to the madness. We have a government that, to all extents and purposes, is completely corrupt and useless to address the country's woes. And it will get worse as an army of AI's will shortly be deployed as the new workforce.
Yet, I see hope. We live in a false world which is destroying basic values of respect, privacy, moderation, thrift, laws. In order to change course, current principles of industry which hold perpetual growth as given have to be chucked and a new paradigm set up that gets us out of the factory mindset where one works oneself to death. Hopefully, allowance will be made for leisure, creativity, art, spirituality.
Ø Leisure, creativity, art and spirituality? You can see it in real time on any street corner in the Ghetto on weekends.
Ø Humans do not handle idleness well, nor extended periods where a lack of adversity is an issue….
What I gather after reading these comments, is that leisure and well-being is something to be seen on a ghetto street corner on week-ends and leads to corruption. That modern humans can’t handle idleness well is a byproduct of the system they live in. There’s no need to create adversity it’s a natural part of life that one learns to cope with. Why add more?
Ø a free-ride promotes sloth. People without a work ethic many times will take the path of least resistance. How is a work ethic promoted? Ask that to the “manor born”…few answers will be forthcoming.
Ø Ghetto street corners are rife with those who have never held a job and yet they do not starve, and seem to be able to indulge in various habits…ditto the halls of the country club….
There are people, cultures, and let us put judgment aside for a moment, that do not value mindless work. But as the 70’s adage, There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, ascertains, the free lunch turns out to be pretty costly. These street corner folks mentioned are made to pay such a heavy government toll to maintain their impoverished lives that most would rather avoid it.
Are these people bad, worthless scum to be eliminated? What’s to be done with them? Prison? That costs more than the money spent now to maintain them. I imagine the fear is that “free shit” will turn us all into slackers. I don’t believe that. If the rich are able to receive welfare with no strings attached, why not the poor?
When kids start shooting each other up in schools we can safely conclude that our present system is collapsing along with its harsh and punitive values practices. Let’s hope for better.
You know where this discussion is going . . . How do we maintain our standard of living if onerous work is not accomplished? Who will clean the toilets if they can get welfare checks to support them. That’s really what it comes down to. The vaunted work ethic is about pressuring people on point of homelessness and starvation to do the dangerous, filthy, mind-numbing work needed. That’s the problem America needs to resolve. The AI’s will do the work and should be taxed to support the folks they’ve displaced.