We should strive for an economic order that far surpasses the American Dream of the 20th Century. This economic order sees the working-class households operate more like the wealthy households of the 20th Century. This means that the working-class household, in addition to owning a wide and diverse portfolio of stocks, also owns a diverse collection of fractional ownership in real assets that are both local to the place that the family wishes to reside, but are also spread across the world in cities and regions.
Why do we live in a society that cannot bring exceptional wealth to all? This is a question that I have thought a lot about over the years.
There is no ‘upper-bound’ or ‘limit’ on the amount of wealth that a society can create. We only thought there was a limit when society’s economic production was largely centered around agricultural and materials-based industrial production. Now, in both cases, production can be nearly infinite. In agriculture’s case, production is surpassing the need when the economy is functioning in a healthy manner. Of course, this will likely change as supply chains are disrupted during the coronavirus pandemic economic crisis.
Manufacturing has long been ‘bounded’ by the materials and labor input that go into the outcomes of production. This is changing on both fronts. New, synthetic materials are being created daily that are better than ‘natural’ materials, and of course, labor is being automated rapidly.
In the 21st Century and 22nd Century, it would be incredibly misguided for society to take an approach that ‘what has been built previously’ is enough. But that is exactly what advocates of a diminished workweek propose when they suggest that humans do not need to work because machines can automate the process. Operating at a higher-level of business is much more than work, it is both enjoyable and professional rewarding. Furthermore, automation still needs the creative spark, will, initiative, to begin work. The working class of the future may not go into the ‘shop,’ they may review a dashboard of assets from the comfort of their own couch.
This is to strongly refute the notion that different types of work or labor are superior or less superior than others. The same amount of pride that goes into a 60-hour workweek, like my Dad who worked bi-weekly as an electrician, goes into carefully evaluating and managing a dashboard of assets. The management process in the later case still serves an important role in the new, global economic order. Assets needs to be continuously monitored and evaluated based on their performance. This happens constantly at the corporate level and is one of the reasons why corporations can run efficiently. Do not get me wrong, there are many challenges and inefficiencies associated with the stock market. However, corporates generally identify and successfully pursue existing and new opportunities at more efficient rate than private companies do.
The privately held sector, which does means small businesses owned and operated at a local level, needs a much more rigorous oversight and accountability mechanism to ensure the firm-level success and the success of the downstream local economy. We would do well, as a Nation, to apply the same type of corporate culture, in this case the fractional ownership of assets, to the privately held economy. The one thing that holds society back from doing so is an outdated view of work.
All work is created equal.