We can see how one type of job after another no longer requires a human workforce; one of these being factory workers. We no longer need people to create products or run machines; these days, 3D printers are becoming more and more the standard. These printers can 3-D print products almost instantaneously, and such printers can easily be overseen by robots. This will wipe out an entire workforce world-wide, all across the Industrialized World.
In order to find answers to what is going to happen when the machines take over our jobs, many researchers and different kinds of media have turned to Youngstown to study what has happened there since the steel mill shut down in September 1977, almost forty years ago. Albeit people are still struggling to make ends meet in Youngstown, it’s not become a ghost town by any means. People still live there and obviously survive somehow. Many want to know how they do it.
One town member explains:
“It is the end of a particular kind of wage work,” said Hannah Woodroofe, a bartender there who, it turns out, is also a graduate student at the University of Chicago. (She’s writing a dissertation on Youngstown as a harbinger of the future of work.) A lot of people in the city make ends meet via “post-wage arrangements,” she said, working for tenancy or under the table, or trading services. Places like Royal Oaks are the new union halls: People go there not only to relax but also to find tradespeople for particular jobs, like auto repair. Others go to exchange fresh vegetables, grown in urban gardens they’ve created amid Youngstown’s vacant lots. [Ibid. op. cit.]
If this will be the trend and eventually the norm, it’s quite obvious that we need to go back to bartering, and in case this is the way to survive in the future, it’s a good idea to practice skills that include something you can barter with. It can’t be emphasized enough that hardship is the mother of invention. History shows that people are actually much more creative under threats to their survival than they are when a job, food on the table, and a place to live are taken for granted. One idea is to work on a local level, community by community, as they do in Youngstown, by using a certain center where people could meet to socialize and teach each other new skills—not via computers and electronic devices, but in face-to-face interactions. Townspeople could communicate what they are able to teach others, and those who would be looking for skills to learn could go to a person who could teach them these skills. People could then go out and practice their particular skill, and when feeling confident, perhaps teach it to someone else. Hopefully, there would then be a variety of skills in the community to barter with.
Bartering is always a way to go, but let’s investigate a little further to find out what the Controllers are actually planning for us. Bartering does seem to be something that would benefit the super-rich.
The Governor of the Bank of Japan has suggested a similar solution to what I was suggesting above, i.e. having a center where people can meet. He suggests that the local governments invest in such a center, where people can learn skills from each other—not to barter, but to be able to open up new small businesses and become a productive part of society again. The question is if it would work, however. Over the last 50 years, small businesses have become less and less profitable, which mainly is because the larger industries are taking over the market making it nearly impossible for small businesses to compete and survive. Moreover, if a small business does manage to become successful, it is usually bought up by the large corporations and this way, they are taking over an even bigger piece of the overall market. Eventually, the rest of the small businesses succumb.
However, this is what the Governor of the Bank of Japan has to say:
One way to nurture fledgling ideas would be to build out a network of business incubators. Here Youngstown offers an unexpected model: its business incubator has been recognized internationally, and its success has brought new hope to West Federal Street, the city’s main drag. [Ibid. op. cit.]
The fact that mass employment will be an issue is not something that concerns those in power; it’s only crying for temporary solutions at this point. It’s all about keeping the show on the road until the Singularity is here. After that, human thinking capacity will be at its peak, and according to the Singularity gurus, we will be a billion times more intelligent. Then, who cares about small problems, such as unemployment? It will be a non-issue. However, the mass unemployment that might hit us before 2045 will be a stress factor necessary for the Controllers to be able to usher in the Singularity. Again, we have the formula, problem-reaction-solution, being used on us. I am sure you can easily figure out how this formula applies to the above situation; mass unemployment is the problem, people will react and demand that something must be done about it, and the solution to the problem that the Controllers created in the first place will be the Singularity.
Oxford researchers predict that in two decades from now, will robots have taken over fifty percent of the U.S. workforce. [Ibid. op. cit.] One idea is—and it’s not a new one—to have the Government provide paychecks to the unemployed, calling it Universal Basic Income. Even President Nixon supported such an idea during mass unemployment. The money would come from heavily taxing the rich and then giving these taxes to the people as basic income.
The most dominant suggestion is, however, that people come together and have local or federal government pay for a place to meet and exchange skills, as we discussed earlier, but also to discover and develop latent skills in people. A good example is to bring certain people’s artistic side to the surface; a side that they never had the chance to develop while being part of their stressful former work environment. Now they might be able to develop these skills. Musicians could come together to compose, play, and build groups, which later could play for an audience. Others might be visual artists or painters. Whatever the hidden skills of a person are, in the post-work society, he or she might have a chance to openly develop them and be encouraged by others to do so. Some people might also be employed by richer people to help out with childcare and taking care of facilities, The Atlantic article suggests. However, I would suggest that the latter kind of jobs might already be occupied by robots.
In summary, scientists and governments can see the writing on the wall when it comes to the wave of mass unemployment that is most likely to hit us, and some of them are trying to come up with solutions. The most discussed solution is based on the following steps:
Under circumstances that we have very little impact on, these ideas sound reasonable, but I would definitely add two more things to this list. These things have been implied above, but I think there are some additional ideas that need to be added to the following solutions:
I think topics numbers 5 and 6 above will become common solutions in the near future, if worse comes to worse, and it’s strongly advisable to start learning some skills now; particularly if you’re a young to middle-aged person. Even if you are older and expect to live another decade or two, I believe it is good advice. Monsanto might have one or two things to say about growing our own gardens, but this company is in decline already. In this sense, people are getting smarter.
If we wish to look at this from a positive perspective, it might very well be an excellent way for the more spiritually inclined to create a break-away community, where likeminded souls come together and teach each other how to survive without the cities and government controlling them. This is another reason to learn skills and to know how to grow food. It’s time to ask yourself, how can I be valuable to others? What do I have, or what can I do, to contribute to this break-away community? Am I good at gardening, nursing, the arts, preparing food, repairing things? We need to be thinking in those terms to be prepared.
Also, it may be time to teach ourselves some “old school” healing techniques. How do we cure illnesses with herbs and plants? There are those who will object to this and say that they have already tried natural and alternative ways to cure their illness, or at least in an attempt to make it more tolerable, but they have failed. Instead, they have gone back to their doctors and asked for traditional medicine to suppress their symptoms.
The reason herbs and plants don’t always work is because we know too little about the Living Library. The cures to any disease are in the Living Library—that’s how it’s set up! We just need to study and research it. We can begin by studying what the witches of the Dark Age knew about the Library, and we will find out that they knew a great deal; that’s why they were burned at the stake by the Catholic Church.
It’s advisable to go even further back in time to find out what the old shamans (especially the female shamans in ancient times) did to cure people’s illnesses and injuries. These are good examples of what we can do. In addition, the real healing comes from within, and people who understand this can help others heal by having the sick understand what it was that really made him or her sick. We make ourselves sick with our own thoughts and emotions, and these thoughts and emotions often come about because of some trauma in the near or distant past. It can be a small or big trauma, but it’s still a trauma. Finding the reason for why a person became sick can do miracles. This is something that needs to be practiced as well in any community that intends to house happy and healthy individuals.
I have often talked about how we must start creating in our own local universe and our inner universe to get the future we want. I can’t stress this enough; this is tremendously important! However, we still need to develop ways to survive, and how to survive well. This can only be done hands on. Hence, the importance of developing skills is highly applicable to anybody, anywhere. It is crucial that we teach our children skills when they are little. We need to teach them how to grow food, help in the kitchen, and clean the house, etc. moreover, it’s crucial to carefully observe our children and discover what their talents are. Then we must help them develop these talents. Children are most likely to succeed in life if they have developed skills that they truly enjoy. In adulthood, these children will put much more heart and effort into their job than those who are more or less forced into a certain trade. We also need to gradually teach our children about how the world really works, and we need to tell them the real history as we know it. It’s from learning our history that we learn how to live our lives in the present, so we don’t make the same mistakes over and over in the future.
When everything breaks down, avoid government schools if you are planning on joining a breakaway community, or have already joined one by then. Educate the children locally by using compassionate, spiritual teachers with real knowledge. Meet in the community to decide what needs to be taught in school and skip the rest. We don’t want to copy-cat the current public school. Teach the children how to be compassionate, peaceful, and loving towards self and others. Never tolerate any signs of violence or verbal abuse; handle it in its cradle, but not by punishing the kids. Instead, educate them and teach them why it is not okay to be mean, inconsiderate, or abusive in any way toward self and others; teach them to develop self-worth and self-confidence, and encourage their good sides and reward and acknowledge those traits. Many of us have probably heard the Cherokee Indian story about the two wolves, but I think it’s appropriate to repeat it here:
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”
The bottom line is that there will be a time, and it’s almost here, when jobs will be sparse because they have been taken over by machines that can work around the clock for no other cost than repairs, which is something the robots eventually will be able to do themselves, as long as the companies provide them with body parts and electricity. This situation is creeping up on us gradually, but one day many people will find themselves without jobs in a job market that doesn’t need their services and skills anymore. We can’t stick our heads in the sand because the time will soon come. Therefore, it is imperative that we know how to proceed at that point and not become the victims of circumstances.
Fig 12-1: The Indian Legend about the two wolves
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