The future of jobs

"Cocooned" by Fié Neo, photographed by Anna Skahill

Products based businesses

If we look at businesses, many business models run on ads, like Facebook. But what ads do is essentially sell products and services. Most of which, we don’t actually need. Fashion being the most environmentally damaging industry also creates one of the most adverts we see on a daily basis. We are wasting resources and worsening climate change everyday while feeding desires artificially created through compelling story-telling tools used by media-advertising. Capitalism built on excessive consumption is not sustainable for Earth yet we are not breaking out of this vicious cycle; we have greater inequality caused by unequal distributions of profit; global warming worsened by products-based economy that creates more waste; exploitation in developing countries to feed the demands of cheap products to be sold in developed countries. Yet new businesses are focusing on producing even more products (and our environment continues to suffer because the materials needed to make them ultimately come from nature). We are all responsible for this because we consumers are the driving force that keeps capitalism going.

What is the solution?

Post-automation jobs will be in technology or social in-person jobs.

Alternative economies

There are alternatives like The Gift Economy. We don't have to live the way we are living now. We don't need money to live. Think out of the system. Don't forget that money is just a tool in which we peg value.

Maybe someday, we won’t be chasing after money. Maybe someday, we will start prioritising wellbeing and happiness instead of economy when we think about jobs. Maybe someday, we will find happier, healthier and more sustainable ways of living together.

Earth doesn't belong to anyone. It is our right to live on it, as much as every other animal born into the world. There is a place for everyone in this eco-system. Every animal serves a function to maintain the balance. But we humans are tipping the balance. We are claiming land and nature as ours and then charging people for it when they don't even belong to us to begin with. We are exploiting nature, exploiting animals, exploiting other humans. Live a couple more years the way we are living now and we will be fighting for water, fighting for disaster free zones, fighting for food. The rich will end up somewhere in a safe haven built to protect them from the disasters to come, everyone else will probably brutally fight for survival (See history). The fastest way to break out of this vicious system is to leave cities. Build eco-villages. (Contact Sharehouse if you are committed to building an eco-village, it's their next project.) But well, I understand that's not very realistic for many people because it's a huge lifestyle choice that requires many sacrifices. This brings about my next point. In a system that is built for endless consumption, perhaps we can tilt it towards a more sustainable slant by providing services that connect people and facillitate social spaces, instead of creating more businesses that produce goods.

Jobs that facilitate and mediate purposeful conversations

Participation is important. Civic engagement is important. Conversations are important. We need spaces for conversations. But we have increasingly less and less public spaces that allow us to engage with our local communities.

Bottom up movement

I believe there is power in collectivity. I believe we all have the power to change something, to make a difference. We need to be active not just in words but in actions too. I don't believe that only rich people have the power to change something. We are wealthy too, in the kindness we can show, the patience we can give, the listening ear we can offer.

It does not take a couple of rich billionaires to change the systemic structures we live in now. It takes us, 7.7 billion of us who live in this world, to change the way we spend and the way we think, in order to change the system.

Paying for community engagers has a much less environmental impact than paying for fast fashion. Community engagers will likely spend what they earn on food, housing, expenses that will eventually make its way back into the economy. But when you pay for products by big corporates, a large amount of that ends up in the pockets of shareholders. In addition, this ensures a circular economy, builds up social capital and creates new jobs. We need a fundamental shift in mindset, we need people to be conscious shoppers, we need people to support initiatives that will reverse global warming, we need people to value services that create greater and deeper human connection. But for that to happen we need to first create these services and build social jobs for the future.

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fié neo

fié neo

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Fié Neo is an interdisciplinary artist and intersectional thinker. Instagram @feeyeh_neo | Podcast: OnionsTalk