The economy works in cycles, from high spending to merciless cutting despite (mostly) failed attempts by governments to stabilise it (i.e. interest level manipulation).
The leaders consistently make every crisis worse than it could have been, but they like to fly high on catchy phrases – flatten the curve, tax the rich, no child behind left… no wait, that’s the Vatican version – no child left behind.
Talking about income inequality is another one, but we can flip it around and call it outcome inequality, switching the meaning to the level of output.
Then the question becomes – how do we handle this, and all of the sudden the discussion gets real. The idea of Universal Basic Income (UBI), which makes rounds through the media outlets, is no solution to no problem.
No problem because progress of the world is not a problem and never will be, and no solution because this is like giving a person a fish, instead of a fishing rod.
Instead, too much time is devoted to nonsense - the Artificial Intelligence is a buzzword, nothing more than pattern recognition, it is in the category right up there with Blockchain which is in essence just an advanced spreadsheet.
And by now nobody really knows what to do with any of them.
AI will mean anything if it’s a software that writes itself and if you believe we’re anywhere close to that, I have the Eiffel tower to sell to you.
The point is - both get more attention than they’re worth.
There is nothing in the computer world today even remotely approaching creative thinking, which is the key in moving the humanity forward.
What doesn’t get the attention it deserves is the idea of meaningful work, which goes together with being creative and original. Meaningful work requires mental effort, routine doesn’t . Mental effort is harder than physical effort.
As humans, we were never programed for the 9 – 5 working days; that came with the industrial revolution and it is going away.
The information age will reverse the industrial age, and the smart people already started figuring it out and they started to work more and more remotely, on their own schedule, their own time and pace and in their own way. And this is actually how we’re most productive.
Human nature doesn’t change with the speed of technological progress – evolution takes time. As hunters-gatherers we had moments of high performance followed by periods of rest. Think lion’s lifestyle.
As farmers and settlers we became more structured, but it was mostly family driven. What we have now is a new way of working, with four or five levels of management and this is fresh on the time scale of human progress. The important (and attractive) part of it is that it dilutes accountability.
It goes with the size of a company, no question, but they will become smaller as we move on.
The current virus scare that we are going through, will seriously weaken people’s trust in governments and media, but businesses will adjust the ways they operate to a more lean way.
Truly, socialism comes from the heart, we all want to be good, but capitalism comes from the head, and this is how we survive.
I like Nassim Taleb’s take on this – “with my family I am a communist, with most of my friends I am a socialist, at the province state level politics I am a democrat.
At the federal level I am a libertarian.”
Now I am asking myself who am I, sitting here in the sun typing this essay – creative and cynical I think.
There is a lot of Kurt Vonnegut in me, if you know the writer.
Also, I used to do boxing hard, I can hit 200 on my motorcycle and I admit that I did things in life I should have done better.
So on a second thought - replace cynical with real.
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Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler