As governments around the world tighten fiscal belts and juggle shrinking balance sheets, the latest catch-cry is that the so-called ‘Age of Entitlement’ is over.
Both the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions required human labour to fuel them. The current Information Revolution was also initially as dependent on this resource. The nature of the beast, however, is to replace human effort with technology.
Coupled with the increased longevity of a burgeoning retirement class (thanks partly to technology in medicine), the net effect is that the only jobs that can be sustained are those where the incumbent can deliver a better profit ratio than his technological counterpart.
Although the feudal yolk of vassal/serf is relegated to machines, the human consequence is a redefinition of ‘personal value’. The bleak prospects of long-term unemployment and the concomitant depression and failing health issues exact a high price for this transformation.
Economic priorities and vested interests ensure that provisions for this collateral damage are kept to a minimum. The fight over Obamacare brought an administration to it’s knees, all over a basic safety net for the 40 million plus living below the poverty line in America.
So the writing is on the wall, relative security will soon become a term for how well-off your relatives are! Futuristic scenarios as depicted in ‘Escape from New York’ may be not all that far from the truth, however it does predispose a poetic license towards a fiction that presumes a collapse of civilisation as we know it.
The key to survival is to stay at the cutting-edge where our human contribution exceeds that of a machine in delivering a product or service. This is an art form instead of a mechanical response, without union officials or workplace agreements. Yes, we need to put our thinking caps on and be creative, but ‘singing for one’s supper’ has taken on a new prerogative that cannot be denied.
We thus become better at re-inventing ourselves, embarking on a journey of self-discovery which through expression serves as a remedy for suppression, repression and the dreaded ‘Black Dog’ of depression.
If every cloud has a silver lining, this change in the weather could bring some welcome ‘loose change’ from those gathering storm clouds. We were meant to be dynamic and creative instead of being shackled to a ‘job for life’ where initiative could result as easily in demotion rather than promotion in an organisation, invariably owned by someone else.
‘Farewell’ means ‘Goodbye’ but it also means ‘Fare Thee Well’. May your endeavours to be independent fare well and may you prosper.