The economy needs a major impact because it has been failing to provide for our needs. Instead, we have been providing for the economy’s “needs.”
The coronavirus pandemic has illuminated the question about what is essential and nonessential in life.
In the face of crisis, life’s essentials—food, housing, healthcare and education—were extracted from the dark alleyway we had them in before the virus struck us, while we focused the spotlight on growth, production, consumption and trade surplus or deficit.
The coronavirus then came along and reminded us about what is essential in life.
During this period, we have a chance to revise the way our lives are headed, and in the process, upgrade our economy to make it suit our needs.
The irony of our era is that the modern work force works more hours than slaves did in the past.
Today, we think that we have more freedom and security than the slaves of the past, but the coronavirus highlighted that, in a moment, our entire infrastructure can overturn.
A period of social distancing and stay-at-home conditions put the housing and even food that many take for granted into question.
Today’s office jobs, which provided many with a sense of security, showed themselves to fall short when it came to providing many people with the safety net that they envisioned.
While we still try to recover from this blow that the coronavirus struck on the economy, we have some time to revise the idea of work in general.
As we head into a future where technology is expected to replace much of the work force, and we will discover that we need not work all the hours we currently work in order to provide for what we need in life, then we can expect that:
- Governmental allowances, such as Universal Basic Income, will become the way most people will receive their income.
- Job titles will lose their value as markers of social status.
- In order for society to not stagnate and grow in an age where our job titles cease to mark our value in society, we will need to mark social status according to the contribution we make to society.
- Such a change would be possible if we provide basic income in exchange for participating in programs that let people develop and express their contribution to society.
In other words, the economy we are headed toward, and which the coronavirus period has hinted at, is one where we will need our life’s essentials covered, and one where we will shift our focus to strengthen and grow human society—social happiness, health and well-being—instead of each of us trying to build our personal empires.
In such an economy, we will place much higher importance on cultivating positive human relations than we do today.
As more and more of today’s professions will show themselves to be unnecessary for the world we’re headed toward, we will need to replace all the effort we place into educating and training ourselves into such professions, with education and training of a different kind: one where we will train ourselves to relate positively to each other and contribute to others above our growing divisive drives.
Featured in Quora