My Macro Problem of Our Civilization
I was told by a friend of mine that in a book: The Coming Job War, by Jim Clifton, Gallup Press, 2011, Clifton claims that Gallup research shows that there are five billion people looking for a full time job on this little globe of ours, but there are only 1.5 billion full time jobs.
Not strange unemployment is high in many countries. And it is going to get worse as automation and robots increasingly take away jobs that humans perform today…
What is the solution?
Riots? Fight for jobs or what the author called a “Jobs War”?
Unfortunately that is already happening, but it is not the solution. It is merely the reaction to the present situation.
What is needed is job creation. And every politician today finds himself pressed to develop a workable plan to create jobs.
The media has become part of the cycle as well, though not part of the solution. It seems as if every other day there is a press account detailing how many jobs have been created since the last report, as if our life depended upon it. For some probably that is true, their life does depend on it.
I suggest to you that job creation is only a band aid. It is not a sustainable solution.
Because the more jobs we create, the more resources we use (or destroy) and as we create jobs we deplete our globe of necessary resources.
We are probably the most wasteful civilization that ever lived.
I believe we will destroy the planet with pollution and exploitation of natural resources all in the name of providing full time jobs for everyone.
The alternative is what I call a strategic, disruptive cultural change. We must change from the idea that more is better to better is more.
Recognize that more possessions do not determine our quality of life. It is how we spend our time that determines quality of life.
Ironically, it was the hippie movement that gave us a hint of what life can be.
I was driving along the California coast recently from San Diego to Los Angeles and noted how civilization was progressing.
First I saw agricultural fields, then chimneys of some factories, and when I arrived at Laguna Beach I found a colony of artists.
Apparently a number of people in Laguna Beach made their money early in life. Enough to live not lavishly, but comfortably. And now some of them have settled in Laguna Beach where they live modestly and paint, or write novels, or play music…
They no longer work to have more. Instead they work to have a better life.
Come to think of it, that change in life style has been occurring in many places without us paying real attention to it.
Check any leading University in the United States. Go to the school of engineering or science and notice: most of the students are Asian. Mostly Chinese, in fact.
Where are the American kids? Schools of art, film, music.
It seems to me that this represents a conscious change in our values. Perhaps only the beginning of a change in what we expect.
We are not living in a time of scarcity anymore (I am speaking of developed countries only). We live rather in a time of abundance.
In a time of scarcity, if there is abundance, you need to accumulate for rainy days. But when there is constant abundance, accumulating more and more makes us obese.
The wake up call has long since sounded. Our behavior has to change. Like legitimize early retirement. Applaud those who live modestly.
If we change what we expect from life, the pressure for job creation will not be so acute. And the destructive exploitation of our limited resources will not lead us to live quite so precariously.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes