Is everything just for profit?
“Is everything just for profit, Dad?”, my 12 year old daughter asked me the other day, then she answered it herself, “everything is just for profit isn’t it.” By this statement there was a realisation in her voice that it was rare for people to do anything for the greater good. The reason Waitrose or Morrisons are reducing packaging or replacing plastic bags is not because they want to its because they have been told to or because they are doing it to be ahead of the next supermarket and increase their profit. Somethings invented to retrieve plastic from the ocean how far does it go unless it can be sold to someone who can see profit in it.
Is everything just for profit? because it seems as if everything is for sale. people complain about cultural appropriation, so I watched a video on LinkedIn of the buying and selling of culture as some team of corporates was led in a Haka. Nothing is sacred, nothing matters as long as it can be bought and sold for profit.
Why have we got to change?
The answer is AI and automation. These two things will totally reduce the need for a work force and break the cycle of wage based labour which is what gives us the ability to buy things. The profit seeking society creates scarcity in order that it can continue, some suffer so others can live well, but what if this wasn’t the case, what if people did things out of kindness, for the welfare of all, for the greater good. What if machines were the workforce, and removed this drudgery from our lives, repaired themselves, (if they ever needed repairing)? We have been encouraged to be afraid of this by films like Terminator, because the profit motive. However what would we do if there was no work that could not be done by a machine? What would societies aims be, how would its inequalities be addressed, its laws recalculated.
No one is addressing this question. Except perhaps some of the glitzy socialist thinkers such as Aaron Bastani in Fully Automated Luxury Communism or Paul Mason who touches on it in Post Capitalism It is as if we see our present society as so monolithic that it is impossible to remake it, recreate it even reimagine it. Yet the opportunity lies ahead of us to make the whole world a better place, to reach for the stars, to create a better world.
Its the 12 year olds that are calling out in the streets, asking us this question, they will not be brushed off with a patronising pat on the head. They are asking what are we doing with this world, whilst they are in classrooms being schooled to inhabit a world that will probably not exist unless we change everything…yesterday.
What about you, do you even understand what is happening? Are you aware the first person (a student) to produce a gun on a 3d printer was tried and sentenced recently? Will the automated world be corrupted what do you think, do you agree…what is possible, or is everything just for profit?