[ExI] Is unemployment the future?

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Tue Nov 3 16:19:12 UTC 2009

On Tue, Nov 03, 2009 at 04:15:20PM +0100, Stefano Vaj wrote:

> Sorry if I am pestering you, but I think it is at least equally
> plausible to see things the other way around. Engineering is declining
> in Europe because cultural values dictate that you should be instead a
> banker, a lawyer or a consultant.

The distinct problem I have that smart people are moving to these
professions (because of the value society puts into them, measured
in terms of hard cash) that they're a symptom of an overregulated,
mature, bureaucratic society. You no longer create stuff, but squabble 
over allocation and distribution of existing stuff. Zero-sum, not positive-sum.
Hence the need for conflict resolution, arbitration, mock-property, claim
and pretend-wealth management (alas, the knowledge nor money 
doesn't like to work very hard).
> And the view is widespread that a society can live perfectly well by
> simply selling financial and commercial services to one another.

Well, we're seeing where such views have taken us. And it sure ain't pretty.
> As a consequence, economy (and technological innovation!) slow down.
> This in turn creates unemployment. And ultimately poverty, for that

Worse, it creates static, brittle societies which are unable to deal
with change. Coming just at the time where the need for adaptation and
change is highest, as we're running into limits of resources without
having achieved escape velocity yet.
That is a recipe for failure, not survival. At least, for established
old, I'm hoping the emerging new ones will do better, by necessity alone.

> matter. Not that this makes any easier to find a good butler or
> lute-maker, eg, even though in such jobs technology remains largely
> irrelevant.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
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