Jake Gordon

Wealth Concentration & Technological Freedom

19 September 2003

I intend to write a dissertation this year on technology taking away the need to work. That is, in the not-too-distant future, a large number of people in the Western world, around 50% say in 2030, won’t be able to get a job because the jobs simply don’t exist any more as technology makes them redundant.

I recently came across Marshall Brain who seems to think along the same lines as I do, having written Robotic Freedom in which he describes a similar future to the one I envisage, with the emphasis on robots rather than technology as a whole. I strongly recommend people read his articles and not to be disillusioned any longer by the bullshit we’re fed by our governments every day. Capitalism simply cannot continue as it is today - wealth is being continually concentrated, crime is increasing and unemployment will soon reach critical levels.

The fact that unemployment is at a 28-year low in the UK tells us nothing. An increasing percentage of these jobs are part-time and minimum-wage paying and consist of increasingly rational McDonalized tasks. Meanwhile, fat-cat business leaders are earning more and more money, and continue to try to rationalize their absurd remunerations.

For years I’ve been in an extreme ethical dilemma: I’m a technologist and a business leader. Yet I can see how technology can destroy jobs and decrease wages, whilst capitalism is inherently geared towards concentrating wealth/capital and creating an entirely undesirable police-state society of high crime, fences and windows.

My dissertation this year will seek to explore the likelihood of the end of work but will concentrate on solutions to the ‘problem’. These will include ways in which capitalism must change and adapt, including ways to decrease wealth concentration and increase the ability of people to live enjoyable and financially secure lives without having to work.

I hope to be able to conclude that our future is a good one, where we’re free from the constraints of work, able to spend our time on more creative pursuits. Following on from this, I hope to take action to realise this conclusion.

I am both idealist and realist. For there is no point in ideals if they cannot be realised.

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by Jake Gordon, some rights reserved