Sunday, November 8, 2009

Willful Ignorance

Ask yourself why so many of us expect "the government" to compensate for jobs lost to increases in labor productivity (i.e. output of a good or service per unit input of labor.) Ask how it is possible we CELEBRATE increases in labor productivity even as we cringe at rising unemployment. Just how stupid are we?

And what about those of us who believe the biophysical limitations of Earth all but guarantee that Mankind's consumption of resources will soon shrink, and shrink dramatically? Who have concluded from the recent financial crisis that we have substantially exceeded our powers to vacuum ever-more credit from the future in order to stimulate ever-higher consumption in the present? Who recognize that marginal increases in material consumption throughout much of the industrialized world often have a NEGATIVE correlation with human well-being?

Is there any chance that we-the-consumers and we-the-investors will be willing to shift our fidelities from the lowest prices and highest rates of return to intentional, meaningful, fulfilling employment for one-another…and for ourselves? Doesn't our love affair with the automobile prove that we don't even want to employ our own legs?

What shall become of human employment in a future of limits? If the means of production are not widely held, what will be the fate of those who own little or none of it? Is a Darwinian economic religion compatible with love for one another? And even if all these other factors could be overcome, are our human natures suited for life without needful labor?


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