Monday, December 01, 2008

True Work

The National Bureau of Economic Research announced today that the US is in a recession. With over 1 million jobs lost, and the DJIA about 6000 points down from it's high, including almost 700 points today, the announcement is hardly news . Here's part of the story from the International Tribune.

In a statement released Monday, the members of the group's Business Cycle Dating Committee - made up of seven prominent economists, most from the academia - said the economy entered a recession in December 2007, when economic activity peaked.

The declaration came after the euro zone itself fell into recession last month. Economists say they do not expect it to grow again, even marginally, until the third quarter of 2009.

Further signs of economic stress emerged Monday, with surveys in China, Europe and the United States showing that manufacturing had declined precipitously in those regions."

According to the economists, the last expansion lasted 73 months with the prior recession running from March to November, 2001.

The expansion of the 1990s ran for a record 120 months.

Yesterday, as we waited for 2 1/2 hours on the International Bridge at Columbia to get back into the country, we had plenty of time to chat. One of the conversations that came up is the notion that an advanced society shouldn't strive for full employment, just the opposite in fact. I wrote about it in a early book called Lightland.

Here's a bit of it.

In a robotic society in which full employment is not the goal, it would be necessary to completely reexamine these generally accepted roles of government. A society in which jobs are being systematically eliminated through advancements in technology and efficiency would need a completely different work ethic in order to prosper and grow.

Such a work ethic would embrace the notion that work is not a daily repetitive motion in which the participants strive to earn a living in the world system of markets or in the dead halls of government. Rather, true work would be more likely represented by the work of the artist who has labored over her canvas.

True work would be represented by the creative scientist who has once again failed trying to describe the effects of gravity in such a way that it can be manipulated to benefit humankind. True work would be the care that one human has given to another.

Such a Robotic Society would need to feed and house its participants with a minimum of intervention in their lives. Food and housing would be a right of each citizen who participates in the community.

How might this be accomplished?

A Robotic Society will more likely need to provide for these basic needs with new inventions of social contract. Perhaps there will be private food coops which act like the health service organizations that were considered in the US health care debate. Perhaps they will be organized around communities. However, these communities would not just be geographic, they could be electronic. They could be professional. They could be based on personality or personal choice.

The same kind of creative solutions that will work in the areas of food provision will need to be exalted in the quest to provide shelter. The answers will be there when the right questions are asked. The answers will not be found in big government and authoritarianism.

They will more likely be found in the hearts and minds of a humankind that has thrown off the models and institutions of the past and has stepped into the light of the eternal future."

The primary ethic of a robotic society would hold then that full employment as we know it is not a virtue, but is actually a remnant of an immature culture.

Whether or not this recession turns into something else, we'll know soon enough.

But the fact that our entire economic model of growth and consumption is unsustainable on a global scale is becoming more and more known everyday.

We must throw out everything we thought we knew.

And open the windows of our minds.

To our True Work

Earthfamily Principles
Earthfamilyalpha Content IV
Earthfamilyalpha Content III
Earthfamilyalpha Content II
Earthfamilyalpha Content
art courtesy of Cora Van

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home