Often, the rationale that everyone "managed" to successfully evolve from time intensive agriculture to other forms of broad based employment, is taken for granted - without further ado. While that was true in many respects, some economic circumstance were negatively affected and yet never confronted. Hence there are residual (unsolved) problems for organizational work patterns which date back almost a century. As such, rural areas will need substantial representation in discussions regarding future employment potential.
No one should expect the evolution of work to proceed "normally" at this historical juncture, if everything re definitions of work and responsibility isn't carefully considered in the years ahead. Left to chance, workplace developments will likely not go well, for either employees or employers. In spite of the twentieth century transitions from agriculture, it also turns out that many workplace transitions of those years weren't left to chance, either. Many efforts to make knowledge use a part of society were only partially successful, given the knowledge commons which once benefited free market conditions and wealth creation.
As technology proceeds apace, there tend to be two versions of the future employment scenario. One of those consists of unsettling versions of a new "Dark Age", which some in the blogosphere are oddly looking forward to. It's a dystopian future where the multitudes are kept alive (if so desired, perhaps) by crumbs and handouts, because their efforts in society are supposedly not needed. The other side of the discussion one often hears, is that somehow we'll all "bumble" along till we reach a more positive phase of employment potential, once again.
Political factions have obscured the fact that people need to act now, in order to preserve economic stability. Not only do these political factions distort economic thought and monetary policy, they are sowing the seeds of hate and distrust among populations, families and neighbors. It is concerning that the elite continue to publicly blame the tribes they profess to be at odds with, instead of looking for solutions to the problems at hand.
Indeed, the elite carry on their faux battles with one another, knowing full well that by doing so they only make further prosperity less certain. There were musings in comments to the above linked MR post (and referenced essay), as to organized religion tending to charity in the future. But why not give individuals back their right to the knowledge commons, so that they can take care of themselves? If religion carries the burden of the weak, history tells us they are going to want the power as well. Meanwhile, many in the U.S. have become convinced that anyone who does not carry their own weight is just another deadbeat, dependent on the taxpayer dollar. But we are left with the fact this problem was built in, by the loss of too many production rights in the last century. Otherwise, the numbers of deadbeats in society would be far less, than they actually are now.
Granted, taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for deadbeats and others among the unfortunate. But if it is left to religion to tend to charity in the future, religion will only end up fighting with the state for power once again, in a marketplace which gradually becomes smaller, less diverse and more brutal. Even though states and special interests could successfully keep power to themselves in the short run, religion would likely take back that power, after populations have been reduced to sub optimal skills capacity and few means to tend the garden of their own humanity.
What bothered me most about the progressive movement of the twentieth century, was the fact it was willing to separate education from both the practical and experiential realities of life. It left too many people severed from their community roots, essentially stranded after high school graduation and more than a decade of false promises. In spite of these shortcomings, school environments were sometimes capable of promoting a love of learning. My love of learning, and the desire I have today for free markets in services and knowledge use, confuses conservatives, libertarians and progressives alike.
Progressives gave in to the urge to make higher education all about economic access, early on, and never looked back. In the process they made a travesty, of the love of learning. Many progressives don't quite understand their complicity, or the active roles they played to close the gates of economic access. As a result, there is little room for the love of learning, in the marketplace of the present. Even though elite libertarians and elite conservatives profess to dislike progressives, they benefit from the complicity of progressives for hard limits to knowledge access. These groups have been enriched, by the fact that much of education became a ruse which was never intended to benefit the masses.
Likewise, governments have been complicit in their power sharing with both elite libertarians and conservatives. Anti government talk is more intended to stir the emotions of the public, than to find actual solutions or accomplish anything in Washington. When the emotions of the masses are stirred, and family members spar politically with family members, how can they realize the tribal divisions from Washington are mostly high level entertainment.
For some years now I have been a very gullible libertarian who believed in the potential of free markets for knowledge use and service formation. But calls are now growing, for people to stay away from higher education if they don't have the money or social backing for it. For anyone with insufficient income or social support, this could make a love of learning, possibly the most solitary endeavor in the world.
A prosperous future, would be a future which still brings knowledge use back to the table for the 100%. But in order to do so, education cannot be sorted and sifted apart apart from other economic realities. Education needs to become part and parcel of economic life, not just one's imaginings as a young student for a life in the workplace. Economic life belongs not just in the cities, but in all the places where individuals desire to work and live - both in the pragmatic and experiential sense.
Is this possible? I know I'm a broken record on this subject, but just the same it remains my fondest hope for humanity. A love of learning should not have to be a cruel joke for anyone to be saddled with, i.e. just another sacrifice on the altar of economic access. If economic access remains at the forefront of group efforts, knowledge will still have a chance to flourish in the centuries to come. Knowledge use could still be a part of our employment futures, if it is not left to "chance".