If money disappeared overnight, who would still go to work?
I for one would, and perhaps because I love to work myself I don’t find it hard to imagine that many other people would do the same. If everyone felt an active part of society, I believe there would be enough working people to keep society going even without a complete machine take over of labour.
But regardless of my beliefs, let's continue this thought experiment...
If there was no money many services would become redundant instantly. Anyone working at a bank with stocks and shares, anyone working with insurances of course, but also anyone working with accounts, sales, at the till in a shop, etc. But the impact would be felt far beyond the financial and professional services sector – which only make up around 14.5 % of the UK's GDP (despite just employing 7% of the country's workers (source).
Although money wouldn’t exist anymore, we would still need doctors, nurses, carers, and teachers to go to their jobs and we would need access to food, clothing, housing etc. We would probably still want to keep going out to restaurants, see plays, get our car fixed if it broke down and things like that. As far as someone would take pride and joy in their work he or she would probably still be there. For example, if a mechanic would feel that his or her work was one of the cogs that kept society running, this person would perhaps still be there to fix your car even without monetary reward.
Still from FUTURE MY LOVE
But what if they didn’t want to? Would it be better to force them to work by monetary means, rather than to relieve them from the toil? Jacque Fresco says in FUTURE MY LOVE:
“In the future we will design cars that are not designed to break down.”
So if we can replace the need for a mechanic with better-built cars that don't break down, or could be fixed in a fully automated garage, why don't we? Because in our current economic model this is undesirable.
Jacque has designed technical solutions for a staggering amount of jobs, from fully automated restaurants, self-erecting structures and self-cleaning houses, to machines who help caring for the elderly. Having had this conversation with him, he has got the answers to that question “who would still bother to go to work”.
I would rather have a person taking care of me when I’m old than a machine, but I'd still prefer to be taken care of by a person who is doing so freely than out of monetary necessity. Similarly, I would rather care freely for people around me.
When Jacque first described his ‘non-work based economy’ to me it scared me: I don’t want anyone to take my job from me, I love my work! However, that was never the point, I can keep working as I please, there will just not be anyone to tell me to do so, or any means to force me with. I think man’s love for work goes far back and is rooted deeply inside us. Yet today, working as free choice is a luxury not many can afford.
This is not to say that motivating ourselves out of bed on a Monday morning by our ‘own free choice’ would not be a challenge. Especially now that we are accustomed to burdening others with our responsibilities and blaming them when times are difficult. Nor do I think it’s an existentially insignificant challenge; I can’t think of any other organism that lives completely beyond survival and can eat, work, play and mate simply for the pleasure of it. Yet we know what happens to organisms that refuse to adapt. Once we have created our own redundancy through technology, we better find a way to deal with it.