Everyone must know by now that the twenty-first century is a century of unbelievable change. Much more upheaval to society than had by taming horses, discovering electricity, inventing gunpowder, defining economic theories, the internal combustion engine, or plastic. War is changing from gunpowder-driven murder to electronic invasion. The weather is changing. The biosphere is in the midst of crumbling. Think of something; it will change – if it still exists by 2100.
Even jobs will change. In fact, the reader must imagine that they’ve never heard the word. Or that particular meaning of the word ‘work.’ Mariner has presented the statistics in earlier posts. Just a few examples that soon will disappear are truck drivers, motel employees, white collar employees, primary care physicians, many creative writers and musicians, many fiction authors. Of course, the list is endless. Truth be told, how the entire economy functions will change.
For the purpose of this post, the word ‘value’ will replace the word ‘job.’ A sample of how to use value was proffered by mariner years ago in a post that said a mother deserves recompense (cash will be gone, too) for raising children. One could ask, “What’s your primary value?” “Raising my children,” she would reply. This is not a new idea.
In 1935 President Roosevelt (AKA FDR) signed into law a bill creating the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It was during the depression and money just wasn’t to be had because the public, in general, wasn’t ‘working’.
“While FDR believed in the elementary principles of justice and fairness, he also expressed disdain for doling out welfare to otherwise able workers. So, in return for monetary aid, WPA workers built highways, schools, hospitals, airports and playgrounds. They restored theaters–such as the Dock Street Theater in Charleston, S.C.–and built the ski lodge at Oregon’s Mt. Hood. The WPA also put actors, writers and other creative arts professionals back to work by sponsoring federally funded plays, art projects, such as murals on public buildings, and literary publications. FDR safeguarded private enterprise from competition with WPA projects by including a provision in the act that placed wage and price controls on federally funded products or services.”
A few things to place in mind: FDR taxed income above $25,000 ($460,000 today) at 100%; the Green New Deal legislation in the House today uses this WPA idea to create jobs that return manufacturing to the economy except it uses private companies to bid for contracts; FDR had no choice but to underwrite WWII in the depth of the depression (the war, however, launched the US into a new economy).
Returning to employment value, it may be that significantly more people will contribute to local projects, volunteer for special needs and create home services and homemade products that improve the value of community life or provide government services similar to the WPA. This interpretation of value for pay can only succeed if government provides a livable base of income for all citizens. True, many if not most individuals still will provide value through typical employment for pay. Even today with a growing number of elderly and retired individuals, and millennials already putting off normal life expectations, a significant percentage of citizens would have a more stable lifestyle if government paid a stipend today.
Two financial conditions must be in place to ease the move from ‘job’ to ‘value’: The tax code must be transformed and cash must be transformed.
TAXES. Everyone will agree that paying taxes is a silly, expensive game. And game is the right word because the complexity is nothing more than years and years of fixes by the wealthy, corporations, banks and lobbyists. Taxes should be nothing more than a statement sent to each individual. In other words, an individual’s taxes are paid through their place of employment – ‘paid’ not withheld. The stipend would not be taxable. In fact, employers would be taxed by size and number of employees as well as by profit.
CASH. Today cash already has started to fade. Increasing numbers of companies will not handle cash – especially retail stores. The next item that should be removed is credit cards. Banks relish being in the middle of a person’s assets, liquid or invested. Banks make huge profits for being nothing more than bookkeepers.
Politics certainly will interfere when the role of banks is challenged but modern technology is so fast and so intricately connected that big banks aren’t needed in the future. The reader may already have come across the term cryptocurrency. Unlike banks, cryptocurrency is one single database called a blockchain that keeps track of every individual’s financial activity. Once cryptocurrency is de rigueur, money will be no more than an electronic transaction called a bitcoin. Historically speaking, humans have progressed from paying bills with chickens and bags of flour to pieces of metal or shells to pieces of paper called money to not having to carry anything to perform financial transactions. Just ask Ethiopians – they’ve been doing it for many years.
The redefinition of job to value, the reinvention of taxes and the conversion to electronic money each will take decades if not generations to be accomplished. But, we have a whole century . . .