The secret reason for Jobs/Employment


Escher’s Relativity. Courtesy Wikipedia. [1]

Listening to a recent NPR episode on automation, a thought came to mind.

How will people earn money once all the jobs are automated?

What is money?

In its simplest form, money is a promise to exchange certain amount of goods or services in return. A $10 note in your pocket is a promise to you (from everyone who participates in the dollar economy) to render you goods or services worth $10, if you ever ask for them in exchange for the $10 note you currently have.

Jobs and Money

Employment (or Jobs) provide a socially accepted means of deciding the relative prosperity among peers. Anyone who works harder(or smarter) than his peers, contributes more to the welfare of the society. The relatively higher productivity is rewarded with him having more money than his peers. This means he has a larger number of “promises” from the rest of the world compared to his peers. Effectively this gives his opinion a better chance of being accepted as he can “call-in the promises” owed to him whenever someone else has any objections.

Make the world a better place
= Be rewarded with money to enjoy more of the better place.

Money also provides an incentive to do more than what is barely adequate in the present. Money is like one of those bonus lives you rack-up in a video game that will come in handy in case of trouble in the future. A nest-egg for retirement.

Jobs = an Algorithm
Money = an Implementation

… for the (re)distribution of wealth (and power).

So once the world is mostly automated and employment/jobs are no longer a necessity for the survival/prosperity of mankind, what will someone need to do to be able to lead a higher standard of living compared to his peers?

No jobs = No Money?

Once we enter an era where the survival/prosperity of mankind is a solved problem, the quest to improve productivity will no longer be the primary driving force.


Source: A theory of Human Motivation – A H Maslow (1943). [4]

Employment/Jobs will not be the primary source of money (and power). However, it is likely that money/wealth will continue to be the proxy for the relative rank of a person in the society. A job (the art/science of earning money) will transition from productivity to happiness. Once the  Physiological and Safety needs are met (Food, Clothing and Shelter), the society will transition to rewarding behaviour that fulfills the higher order needs of others like enhancing their self-esteem and enabling them to reach the pinnacle of their capabilities (self-actualisation).

Working harder(or smarter) than one’s peers, will no longer be a significant contribution to the betterment of the society. Instead people involved in satisfying the higher order needs will be rewarded with more money than their peers.

Make the world a happier place
= Be rewarded with money to enjoy more of the happier place.

So all the software engineers out there – Get an early start.

Be nice.

Share your knowledge. Help your peers at their tasks.

Maybe even write some FOSS.

[3] Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – by FireflySixtySeven
[4] A theory of Human Motivation –

~ by CVS268 on Mon, 15 Aug, 2016.

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