The Post-Work World

I can still remember when I visited the 1964 New York World’s Fair on my high school senior trip. It was a mesmerizing place unlike anything I had seen before. I especially remember the General Motors “Futurama” exhibit. It was about looking forward to the year 2000. I couldn’t imagine that far ahead, I would be an old man by then instead of a kid just finishing high school.

The exhibit showed us that robots would take over the mundane jobs so that it would not be necessary for any of us to work more than 20 hours per week. It would be like a four day weekend every week. Flash forward and much of what was in the exhibit was about has yet to materialize, but one thing that is quickly being realized is that robots are doing much of the work that was once necessary by humans.

But, instead of now celebrating that possible major accomplishment, many have come to fear it. They see themselves as possibly destitute and homeless because of it. They see the future as a “Mad Max” world. It is taking our jobs away from us. What a vast difference the mentality is today compared to that exhibit 50 years ago.

We will soon be at that point where we could realize the “20 hr work week”. Except for the last two and a half years, I am an optimist by nature. If our government puts the proper rules and regulations in place a 4 day weekend is certainly possible and I still have hope that that will happen. If not then the wealth imbalance will only get greater. If that doesn’t happen then the greed of Wall Street may just produce the world the fear mongers see.