Imagine being an office worker 40 or 50 years ago. Your sole morning task was to re-write what your supervisor gave you. It took you 3 hours every morning. Boring, mundane work. Then one day, some smart arse invented/bought/dreamed-up (choose your pick) a photocopier. Great. Then you can spend 10 minutes photocopying these documents and have the rest of the morning off. Right? Think again. Very Wrong. Fast forward to today and we see office workers being given equally mundane tasks. These 'machines' didn't emancipate humanity from mundane work at all, as once envisioned by futurists of the past.
So what do we see today under the forced conditions of Covid? After one year, I hear people saying 'I want to get back to work. I'm so bored at home..etc, etc' But are they? Are they really wanting to get back to work? Maybe many do, of course, but not everybody by any means. They miss the sociality of their job, they miss human communication, they miss the money (of course). But, here's my point, you don't actually need to work to get any of this. 'Ah, the money. I need to work to get money,' I hear you cry. And you are right. But it doesn't have to be this way.
Here are some facts; In 2019, the world population was 7.7 billion; the world GNP was 88,792.24 billion or 11,531 USD per person. Today 62 billionaires have as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people. Most people in the world have to work to survive. No choice. We have seen the results of Covid when people can't work and receive little or no support. People with real financial hardship. On Al Jazeera, I saw an interview with an ex-factory worker in Jakarta now selling home-made cakes for 2 dollars a week. Does she want to? No. I am sure she doesn't; she HAS to. But here is my point. There is enough money and resources in the world for everyone to meets their basic human needs but most people don't meet these needs. The problem is the current system is a failure. We need a new way of living. We need to decouple work from money.
Many jobs we have and do are unnecessary. The Covid lock-downs have shown us the valuable and valueless jobs to a degree, but there is more. Lawyers, accountants, salespeople, and many office workers are valueless; I, myself, sell electricity to people who have electricity......Can you think of a more pointless job? And all the office staff are employed to support this. Again valueless. In fact. the whole company I work for is valueless...and there are many like them. All we do is cause pollution and traffic and stress. There must be a better way. And there is. Universal Basic Income (UBI).
Here, citizens are given a month's income..and they can decide to work on top of that if they wish. Some people could be excluded, like the 2153 billionaires in the world or certain categories of criminals. Many people would still work and would be valued by society. But those doing valueless work because they had to, could do something else. They wouldn't need to leave home and risk their lives crossing oceans and deserts for a chance of some financial freedom; they wouldn't need to sell pens, sweets, cigarettes or drugs on the streets of the world's cities; they wouldn't need to be locked in factories from dusk to dawn doing mindless tasks. They could live. And do stuff. That is what life is for. The world can afford it.