A battle is raging for our cultural future. On the one side sit the old guard, extolling the virtues of traditional values such as hard work and sacrifice.
Younger generations don’t share those values. They see the exponential gains in technology as an opportunity to create better lives for everyone.
The debate made its way to the popular Antiwork community on Reddit when one user shared a Tweet from a popular Twitter account asking why we force people to labor for 60+ hours per week just to survive when the technology exists to allow everyone a basic standard of living.
The Tweet asserts that scarcity is fake, created by the powers that be to maintain their wealth, and asks why everyone can’t see it.
Most users of the Antiwork subreddit agree.
Technology Should Enhance Our Lives
The original goal of all these technological advancements was to enhance humanity. It was supposed to grant us time and opportunity for higher pursuits.
Unfortunately, as one user pointed out, it’s had the opposite effect thus far.
“The dream was AI will be created and do all the dirty work, so people can turn to science and arts. It turns out the AI is doing science and art, and humans are doing the dirty jobs,” they said.
Another summed it up far more succinctly. “We were all so worried about robots taking our labor that we didn’t notice when they took our leisure instead.”
A Common Problem
Users pointed out that faking scarcity isn’t new. Greedy people will always do what they can to maintain their wealth.
“This has been demonstrated several times,” stated one user. “ For example, we can artificially create diamonds, yet companies are artificially restricting the supply to keep prices high when they should be relatively cheap, as diamonds go.”
Of course, comparing a luxury item like diamonds to necessities like housing and healthcare is unfair.
“In America, people are rationing insulin,” exclaimed one user, adding that “ a government’s entire job is to make a country the best place to live for all people, and instead health care is about fleecing everyone for billionaires personal gain.”
The Prosperity Gospel
Some belief systems, such as the prosperity gospel and the just world fallacy, teach that struggling people somehow deserve to suffer, while those who are successful are somehow superior, and their success is a reward for their “goodness.”
One Redditor said this could be a reason why people want others to suffer.
“Many people actually believe the struggle is justified, since “success” is the measure of one’s worth as a person,” they said.
Many said there’s a simple reason why most people don’t see it: propaganda.
Big corporations control the media. They control the narrative. They push out content that fits their agenda, making people believe that scarcity is real.
“There’s a multi-billion-dollar propaganda machine devoted to the idea that anything more progressive than feudalism is a plot by poor people to take your money and get a free ride,” said one user.
The Battle Wages On
Society is on the cusp of a massive change; its direction is anyone’s guess. Perhaps one day, we’ll have the utopian society envisioned by antiwork adherents, but for today, we must find ways to make it work with what we have and hope we don’t fall even further into a dystopian nightmare.