Take a horrific peek at the dismal future awaiting those who expect to earn a livelihood in the near future. This is what's forecast in this New York Times article titled "After the Jobs Disappear". It reminded me of a time in earlier human existence where hunter-gatherers traded and bartered goods and services with their counter-parts, such as nomadic herders.
This shift from employment to livelihood, while far from prevalent, has become a necessity for many in the wake of the 2008 global financial collapse, which led to the loss of more than 8 million jobs in the United States. At the time, I and other observers predicted that these jobs — a victim of labor-saving technical change, globalization and financialization — were unlikely to return. Five years later, the employment-to-population ratio in the United States, 58.6 percent, is at its lowest since 1983. As jobs disappear, people have begun to carve out new ways to gain access to income, goods and services.
In the sharing economy, people are returning, in a sense, to modes of independent production and self-provisioning that preceded (and persevered through) the industrial revolution...Like most economic innovations, these trends promise their share of pain. [Web] sites where people bid to perform tasks have the potential to create a race to the bottom, particularly in times like now, when the supply of labor in wealthy countries is abundant, and the demand is limited.
These trends won’t solve the most urgent economic afflictions facing the West — a shortage of jobs, soaring inequality and a fraying of the welfare state — but they represent one significant response to it...They can participate in urban food growing, an increasingly popular phenomenon...So while they are no panacea, the emergent trends of community fabrication, self-provisioning and the sharing economy collectively suggest a future for work in wealthy countries that involves more making, sharing and self-organizing.
Now keep in mind: Globally, those sitting on over $1 million in personal net worth make up just 0.7 percent of the world’s adult population, but they hold 41 percent of the world’s wealth. This striking info-graphic from Bloomberg neatly depicts how rising income inequality tends to slow upward social mobility. Meanwhile, read why a vineyard in Italy is now a "must-have" for the super-rich.
But last week Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was opining about how unjust our society would be if people of means could stuff no more than a mere $3.5 million into the pockets of their favorite political candidates. Said Scalia: "I don’t think $3.5 million is a heck of a lot of money."
Maybe it's true, and it's only a matter of time before the starving peons begin storming the ramparts.