Wards of the State

It is difficult to imagine the United States preserving its heritage of individualism, equal rights before the law, free people running their own lives, once it is accepted that a significant part of the population must be made permanent wards of the states.

This quote from The Bell Curve–taken out of it’s original racialist and xenophobic context–succinctly explains why I see more Americans (and their students of meritocracy, the UK and Australia) fretting about the end of work.

The communalist cultures of Western Europe, even with the neoliberal oligarchical trends of the last few decades, are much better prepared. Despite (or perhaps with the luxury of) high employment, these strong welfare states already support part-time work and can even experiment with basic income.

So when automation means less labor is needed, it will be sensible that people work less. Without labeling them as freeloading pariahs.

 
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