Andrew Yang is the last minority standing in the DNC field. His success is a mix of his reddit appeal, his genuine charm and UBI. The UBI idea is one to watch as this will gain traction with each election cycle. It is a cope for our economic issues not a solution to root problems. It will also spark an angry debate between the two political tribes because we have an obsession with work.
This is an inherited obsession from our Anglo roots, that nation of shopkeepers. It is written into our blood to work hard. One came across an ocean to work for a decent life. One works hard to make it. The American Dream is that anyone can work hard and get the white picket fence, family and patch of heaven. America has also had the tension of a frontier, which forces one to be useful and a hard worker just to survive. America’s classless society further pushed this as the only way to measure oneself, financial success, was associated with how hard one was working.
This has come to an end but no one really wants to admit it. We live in a post-scarcity environment where the poorest Americans use iPhones and buy expensive hair extensions cut from Indian women. Many individuals’ high net worth is now from parasitic industries and the connections game. The corporate game? Corporations have begun to sneak vague measurements like diversity and inclusion into metrics, and so many people understand that their job is make-work. Working hard has become twisted into the hustle. In his beautiful and sad book on his hometown, Charlie LeDuff comes back to this theme over and over again that the hard work of Americans was replaced with working hard to have a hustle to cheat and live fat off of.
This understanding is widespread and revealed in the obsession over automation. Automation can and will eliminate many jobs. The only disagreement is on the exact percentage of jobs in the ’20s that will disappear. Corporations will want to eliminate the variable cost of labor as much as possible (except farming) and they are also anxious about the incoming crop of human capital graduating every year. Even our military wants robots over what the recruiting pools have to offer in the ’20s. People obsess over automation because they do not want to be automated away, proving that their job was not all that necessary. If not necessary, they are not working and then not useful.
This is a problem only because we have destroyed the value one can accrue for their self-worth and status via other means. The progressive machine has done an effective job of defeating any private organization for competition of your time and status generation. Examples are many. Who cares if you are a good man in your church if you are not holy in the progressive system? Why bother competing in private social clubs if your social club is evil for excluding people? Why donate time volunteering in your community when your real community are like minded progressives you can chat with online? Our multicultural society also means fewer people will have anything in common with you to value what you devote time and resources to, denying you of opportunities for status, What is left is the progressive status generator and the proper consumer identity to match it. As the system destroys economic sectors that are not aligned with the progressives, making it financially becomes attuned to being a progressive.
What many people are left with is competing for more money to buy more consumer goods. Having the money to get the goods is still a means for status. If we automate things away and send you a UBI check, then you do not even have that bit of status. Everything becomes a gift from the central authority. Even if one side of the eventual fight over UBI understands work is a scam, they will fight to death over loafers receiving a benefit. Work is the last thing they have that can give them a higher status in their eyes versus the progressive stack. They may not be holy to progressives, but they at least are productive citizens for the GDP.
We are obsessed with work because as everything else has been destroyed for status generation, there is a truth to the criticism. We know a nation bought off would do nothing. The loafers would continue to produce nothing of value for society. For all the supposed artists out there, few would become the voice or visuals of their community or generation if given a small UBI. The next great American novel will not be written. There would be no boost in volunteering. We would have a nation of stoned out gamers, e-thots and hedonists.
The obsession with work should be discarded in an admission that that the America that is rooted in is gone. We should take advantage of automation to allow for much greater freedom of our citizens to live lives set to status for values not devised in Manhattan marketing brainstorming sessions or Harvard lectures. Attention and priorities should be refocused much closer to our Dunbar number for effect and much closer to home for whose benefit it serves. This refocus would also help many with the issue of purpose and belonging. There are targets of opportunity all around us. With the fallen nature of our homeland, we should automate what is tedious and transcend the dumbed down consumer society of 21st century America. We must rebuild, and it will take transcending these basic status systems of an empty consumer society and a malicious, progressive secular religion. We should embrace not having to work because there is so much work to be done.