In a post-GLI world, people might do more of all the currently usually unpaid but essential "work" (often considered "women's work") like raising children well, comforting the sick and dying, telling local stories and contemplating the universe, being a good friend, making the world a more interesting and friendly place including by dancing, preserving local history, creating locally useful tools, studying and practicing to be a kinder person, helping make peace, writing good essays, thinking deeply about science and religion, advising people on how to stay well cheaply by eating more vegetables, fruits, and beans, and getting their vitamin D, giving more gifts specific to localities and individuals, and so on. (pdfernhout)
I guess the question is not whether people in a GUI-world would stop working. quite the contrary, they would do what they feel urged to do. But perhaps more important is whether these occupations would be occupations also directed to the benefit of the community or in connection with others. Perhaps this is what lies in the background of those admonitions that with a GUI everyone would live in a private hammock. At least, one could argue, current work-organization seems to be also a way to organize collaboration that is not about oneself and one's own interests.
Anonymous question: Would essential necessary work still get done and organized if there were a guaranteed income?
Many notable thinkers have estimated that 50-80 percent of current economic activity is not actually productive, but is part of a system that needs a lot of busywork and waste to keep it functioning. See J.W. Smith’s The World’s Wasted Wealth. See also Buckminster Fuller’s Critical Path.
"We find all the no-life-support-wealth-producing people going to their 1980 jobs in their cars or buses, spending trillions of dollar’s worth of petroleum daily to get to their no-wealth-producing jobs. It doesn’t take a computer to tell you that it will save both Universe and humanity trillions of dollars a day to pay them handsomely to stay at home." BF Critical Path
Questions need to be asked to determine what work is essential, what work is necessary and what work is beneficial.
On July 15th tweep @joepdx wrote: "OMG If I had a minimum basic income I would WORK so much: at the (tool) library, on the radio, writing news, landscape maintenance."
Which leads to the question, if there were a minimum basic income, or guaranteed livable income, guaranteed annual income, citizen’s dividend, lifetime fellowship, or whatever we choose to call it…. What activities would you choose to do?
The idea that people are inherently lazy and would sit around doing nothing is improbable. The idea that people do however, reject soul-sucking work is apparent and could be considered a natural response to an unnatural structure imposed on humans as described in Ivan Illich’s “The Right To Useful Unemployment" and in The Unemployed Self .
In addition, what looks to others like ‘doing nothing’ can be part of a creative process. Pierre Berton in The Smug Minority wrote about famed Canadian writer W.O. Mitchell:
"For years my friend W.O. Mitchell has been wandering about the streets and fields of High River, Alberta, thinking about his work, which is creative writing. For a long time Mitchell puzzled and baffled his neighbors. "When are you going to work, Bill?" they’d ask him, and it was useless for him to try and explain that in his terms he was working. Work to them was ‘a job’ and one of the problems we face in an automated world of the future is this dangerous confusion of terms. "
People like doing activities that are meaningful; they don’t like doing things that seem to be draining their life away moment by painful moment with no meaning, or with a side effect of causing damage to other people or to the environment.
So if there were a guaranteed livable income, what things would you want to be doing? (Keeping in mind, people might need time to ‘do nothing’ before figuring out who they were before they became their job. Conversely, some people might need structure provided by a formally organized volunteer initiative.)
Respond via this blog (click on ‘ask me anything’ and will be posted asap, not automatic) or through twitter to @livable4all (You can also post a photo reply.)
In the struggle for equality and social justice people often forget that a falling population means the remainder get a bigger share of the pie. I wonder how this has changed over the past century?
If you look at the book For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts Advice to Women by Barbara Ehrenreich, Deirdre English, you’ll see historically women were mostly in charge of reproduction and fertility, until women were banned from being healers. (This is also an excellent book revealing the early history of the medical industry)
Not exactly a direct answer to your question, but I think going back one century isn’t far enough to get a perspective of the whole issue.
And there have been waves of pro-natal policies and anti-natal depending. The audio with Michelle Goldberg, link at the bottom of the article, has a lot of information about this history (and probably her book also).
simsa0 : I haven't read Vine Deloria's book yet, but this take of the "pie in the sky" seems a bit overstreched. Ruining the earth _because_ in heaven everything will be fine (as I take your paraphrase) ignores that for 2.000 years Chistian societies have always lived in the permanent expectation of Christ's Second Coming, announced by the reign of the Anti-Christ, the Riders of the Apocalypse, & the opening of the earth on the Day of Judgement.
For Christianity the end was always "near", and the problem was not that it was "near" but that it rather didn't happen at the awaited times and seemed always being postponed. So Christianity always lived within a "story" whose end was a climactic catastrophe. (Accordingly, even in secular times people still expect dooms-day just around, but being secular, in the guise of a environmental catastrophes or something else)
The postponement of the Second Coming rather urged people to settle for an unspecified time on earth and in this life. The longing for the Second Coming was not an invitation to ruin the planet, it just helped to create a sense of history as goal-oriented at whose end lies a catastrophe and a resurrection (if lucky).
On the other hand one main difference betwen Catholicism and Protestantism is the understanding of the Sacraments, being a literal presence of the Deity in Catholicism and a mere symbol of its presences in Protestantism. Until the 17th century the Sacred was always present in the Christian mundus, the landscape was sacral, time was circular, structured around the events of the Church year. As the Deity could interfere in the world at any given moment as its will, there really was no sense of being free to ruin or exploit the earth.
So I guess Deloria would need some more arguments to make this point.
Thanks for writing. Definitely check out the book, think it’s also available as an e-book too.
In the struggle for equality and social justice people often forget that a falling population means the remainder get a bigger share of the pie. I wonder how this has changed over the past century? punkscience