(Un)employment obsession

Let's suppose that there is a bank with three workers: the first one attends to the customers, another one dedicates his time to accounting, and the third one is the office manager.

One day, the area manager comes to the office and decides to run fully over the internet. He just contracted a consulting group to install new software to respond to user queries and does all the accounting automatically 24/7.

When he goes to the office to give the news, he politely apologizes, but the three workers go unemployed the next day.

Is it good or bad?

Society benefits from the technology upgrade since the customers don't need to go to the office anymore. They can operate using a computer from their homes, and without opening hours limitations.

From the bank point of view, it's also positive because it reduces costs, saving the salary of three employees (especially the one of the office manager).

But, of course, you will feel sad for the three employees; what about their families, the future of the kids, would they become homeless and hungry?

It doesn't need to be so.

Sharing technology benefits

Businesses can share the benefits of technology as society automates jobs progressively. We are currently benefiting from agriculture automation (only 4.2% of the population in Europe are farming).

This is good news. It means that if 95.8% of the population in Europe got suddenly unemployed, we would be still able to survive. This is not about having the best quality of life, but the supermarkets will be still full of food.

You have experienced how society can survive with very little as the pandemic forced us to lockdown.

Why this obsession with employment?

So, talking about the mania to have all the modern population employed; why governments around the world are obsessed with lowering the unemployment rate? As we have seen, employing a large part of the population generates waste, pollution, and inefficiencies. Some industries shouldn't exist in the first place, for example, telemarketing, advertising, fast retailing.

Imagine a world where businesses were rewarded to create products that last forever. Instead of launching a new iPhone every year, what a joy would be to have the latest iPhone for, let's say, 10 years. Or imagine Zara launching a decade (yes, ten years) campaign. It sounds crazy, but it should be the norm. Short cycles of technology upgrades, new clothes every year, and the obsession to have every single soul employed is harming the planet and its resources.

Let's pause and enjoy what you have got over the last century. You only live 100 years, there is no need to run.

Hi, I'm Erik, an engineer from Barcelona. If you like the post or have any comments, say hi.