by Charles Hugh Smith
Of Two Minds
We need a new economic model that recognizes the value of useful work that isn’t necessarily profitable.
All the media chatter about work disappearing due to automation fails to draw the critical distinction between useful but unpaid work and profitable work. Since value (and profits/wages) flow to what’s scarce, what matters is not the decline of useful work–there’s plenty of that even in a society that has automated production–but the supply of paid work–work that is profitable and hence worthy of wages.
Mark Jeftovic and I discuss work, profit and new models of paying for useful work (44:47) in a free-ranging podcast on my book A Radically Beneficial World.
The great fantasy that many are depending on to solve the decline of paid work is taxing the robots and software that ate all the jobs. These taxes are supposed to pay for the Universal Basic Income that everyone will enjoy once work is automated and jobs become scarce.