Keynes in an essay had said “his grandchildren’s generation would only work 15 hours a week.” Apparently, that generation is in the workforce now. Are we working <2 working days a week? Far from it. According to some studies, working population of the developed countries are still working at least 34 hours a week (if not 40 hours). Possibly the prediction was incorrect by a generation.
On a leisure weekend, we were wandering in one of the biggest cities of Latin America last month. It was our first visit to the country. We were talking about the way of living there and possible future for us. I said, in future, we may be working for enjoying what we do, not for earning our living. So, when Keynes said working 15 hours a week, it is possible that rest of the time, people do what they otherwise would want to do – it can be work too. Given a choice I would want to study, read books, wrote blogs 🙂 share my knowledge etc. Some of it I still do though, but over the weekends. Was this the future that Keynes saw as possible? I think yes.
Uber, Apple and Google are working on autonomous cars. We’ve technology intervention in everything – industrial revolution brought partial automation, technology revolution increasing automation. It is possible that in future organizations will be minting money on robots alone. Hopefully when we reach that state, we will be beyond food, shelter and social standing. In fact that possibly can be one of the reasons for the following outcome of a research – population of developed countries are not that happy. Perhaps our mind has the habit of occupying itself. When there is nothing to be occupied with, either one is unhappy or one can think of bigger purpose in life.
The statistics can be contested such as – how were these 50 years compared? This discontent and prosperity will surely lead to the questions towards spirituality. When a society is prosperous that is when it starts or tend to move inwards – at times capitalism it is that provides opportunity to dig deeper within [From my previous blog]. I see a lot of people pursuing Buddhism or for that matter meditation in west.
Besides, when development will lead to unhappiness, the journey of inwards will start. People will ask question – what makes me happy? That is when people will start working for 15 hours a week for wages and rest for self. I see that as an impact of capitalism. When that happens economies would not remain purely capitalistic. There will be change in our approach of economy, it wont remain purely capitalist.
Image Source – https://twitter.com/nareshnshahani/status/938937338431807488 tweet from – Mr Naresh Shahani.