There are many great quotes attributed to the recently-departed Stephen Hawking. This one from a few years ago seems timely:
“If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.” (from Reddit)
Back when i was a young wart-hog, futurists talked (endlessly, it seemed) about the bright promise of automation making manual labour totally unnecessary. We are more than half-way there, but the expected life of creativity and leisure for the former working class has not yet come to be. As an aside, predicting the future continues on-line.
Until we live in a society that removes capitalism from the pedestal on which it is placed and introduces a guaranteed basic income to bring those decades-old predictions into reality, I need to sell merchandise and services to cover living expenses. And so, I use Print On Demand companies to sell t-shirts with designs both snarky and life-affirming and offer prints of my photography and digital designs. And I exchange spiritual card readings for donations, plus do various seasonal & part-time assignments.
This is ‘the new gig economy’ that is supposed to be progress. Sadly, it is mostly regressive. About the only ‘gig-based industry’ that should serve as an example is the infamous ‘Entertainment Industry’ – aka Hollywood. I don’t know if it’s still true, but at one time being in ‘the biz’ meant working on changing assignments, with various companies and people, but with the underpinning of a strong union. Obviously crew members and support staff don’t get multi-million dollar deals, a percentage of proceeds, and other perks. But definitely more protection than we of the new version.
The fight for economic and social justice continues- and new generations continue to question whether justice can co-exist with capitalism and corporatocracy. Stay tuned.