The Economy “Doesn’t Need You Anymore”

The Economy “Doesn’t Need You Anymore”

Are we in an "awful" in-between phase of our planet's productivity curve and that technology is rapidly reducing the number of workers and resources that are required to make what the planet needs?

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 22 september 2009

In an essay by Hank Williams, the tech entrepreneur argues that we are in an “awful” in-between phase of our planet’s productivity curve. He says that technology has vastly reduced the number of workers and resources that are required to make what the planet needs. Williams says:

When you read in the press the oft-quoted concept that “those jobs aren’t coming back” this “reduction of need” is what underlies all of it. Technology has reduced the need for labor. And the labor that *is* needed can’t be done in more developed nations because there are people elsewhere who will happily provide that labor less expensively.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Williams goes on to say that society is going to evolve with technology so we become self-sufficient and individuals will be able to produce the stuff they want with the energy they create:

In the long term, technology is almost certainly the solution to the problem. When we create devices that individuals will be able to own that will be able to produce everything that we need, the solution will be at hand. This is *not* science fiction. We are starting to see that happen with energy with things like rooftop solar panels and less expensive wind turbines. We are nowhere near where we need to be, but it is obvious that eventually everyone will be able to produce his or her own energy.

The same will be true for clothing, where personal devices will be able to make our clothing in our homes on demand. Food will be commoditized in a similar way, making it possible to have the basic necessities of life with a few low cost source materials.

Interesting future thinking about the impact of technology on our lives.

Hank Williams: “The problem with the economy: you aren’t needed any more”

[image via avramc]


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