Sunday, 12 June 2016

The future of work: "Capitalism will abolish laundry day" >>> or: "Fully Automated Luxury Communism"

There are very different ways of seeing the future of work:

The Protestant Work Ethic is bad for your health:
Futures Forum: In Praise of Idleness: working less could actually be better for everyone.
Futures Forum: Saint Monday: in defence of skiving

There are other ways of seeing the working week:
Futures Forum: In Praise of Idleness: "If Hadza nomads get by on 14 hours’ work a week, why can’t we?"

Working too much is bad for the planet:
Futures Forum: "A shorter working week would make us healthier, give us more fulfilling and sustainable lives and be better for the environment..."
Futures Forum: Live more: work less... earn less... spend less... emit and degrade less

Things need to be seen in the context of moving to the 'sharing economy':
Futures Forum: The four-hour working week, the sharing economy and going beyond the master-servant relationship

Innovative technologies are reshaping how we work:
Futures Forum: Artificial Intelligence: 'complements labor and increase its productivity'
Futures Forum: Creating/destroying jobs >>> Creative Destruction and Artificial Intelligence

We are in a period of 'transition':
Futures Forum: A post-work society >>> transitioning to a fully-automated economy
Futures Forum: On the Transition: "Future Primitive"

This month, two very different takes on the future of work emerged: both hailing the use of technology, but from very different starting points:

Does the Division of Labor Make Us Stupid?

Adam Smith’s Ambivalence about Specialization

Sarah Skwire Thursday, June 02, 2016

Most often, when we think about the division of labor, we think about Adam Smith’s classic example in The Wealth of Nations of the division of labor in a pin factory. 

But Smith was also worried that all this increasing specialization — this dividing up of jobs into their smallest components — would render us stupid. Someone whose work used to be making pins becomes a person whose job is straightening wire or cutting wire. That’s a major decrease in the intellectual demands of an occupation. If the division of labor means we no longer need to do a wide range of diverse jobs as part of our work, won’t we become turgid and dull?

Alfred North Whitehead responded to Smith’s concerns when he said, “Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them.” Whitehead’s comment is most often taken to mean that the increased automation that comes with civilization (washing machines, dishwashers, self-driving cars, and so on) frees us from tedious tasks and thus renders us more civilized. I’m a big fan of that argument (see, for example, “Capitalism Will Abolish Laundry Day”). But the problem I have with that claim at the moment, as I contemplate my hornet-free porch from my pristine living room, is that the emphasis on being able to “perform without thinking” seems to join with Smith’s concerns about the division of labor making us stupid.

Does the Division of Labor Make Us Stupid? | Foundation for Economic Education
Jeffrey A. Tucker


Capitalism Will Abolish Laundry Day

The Most Hated Chore in the History of Housework

Sarah Skwire Thursday, April 07, 2016
In the 1920s, the average housewife spent about 11.5 hours per week on laundry and ironing. By 1965, that had dropped to just under 7 hours. In 2014, that average housewife (and her spouse) spent about 20 minutes a day on the task, or just over 1.5 hours per week.

Capitalism Will Abolish Laundry Day | Foundation for Economic Education
The Advocates for Self-Government


Weekly Economics Podcast: Fully Automated Luxury Communism


How is technology changing our lives and what do governments need to do to catch up?

Aaron Bastani joins Kirsty to discuss his ideas about the future of work and Fully Automated Luxury Communism.

Fully automated luxury communism: a utopian critique


Fully automated luxury communism

Brian Merchant Wednesday 18 March 2015 

Supporters believe fully automated luxury communism is an opportunity to realise a post-work society, where machines do the heavy lifting and employment as we know it is a thing of the past

Fully automated luxury communism | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian


No comments: