Preparing for Life without Jobs

The majority of humanity will need to prepare for living a life of dignity, joy, meaning and fulfillment without “jobs” as we have known them. We have actually succeeded in achieving that 300-year goal of creating more “leisure”. Now we have to learn to live with it. – Quoting myself, Liza Loop


Sonoma Coast - small

When I look around my local community, Guerneville, Sonoma County, California, I see serene rural beauty punctuated by lots of problems:

  • impoverished, homeless people begging on the streets and sleeping in the bushes
  • decaying built infrastructureInstalling pipe - 1
  • underemployed job seekers struggling to maintain the lifestyles their parents were able to provide for them
  • disillusioned citizens who question whether government can work in their interest
  • concern over unsustainable agricultural Korbel Vinyard - 1practices and dwindling wild spaces
  • growing fear of civil unrest fueled by local crime and global terrorism
  • skepticism about whether our existing educational institutions can actually help prepare their children for an unknown future


In spite of these negatives, almost everyone here is an artist of some kind — painter, sculptor, photographer, actor, musician, writer, landscape gardener — even the homeless are following their bliss in a way.HubBubClub - 1 This makes the present bearable, often joyful. At the same time, there is an underlying sense that we are under siege, threatened by a global human society that is rapidly imploding. Our art helps us soothe the pain of our local troubles but few of us are turning our gaze outward and asking how our personal solutions might be used to address the depredations breaking out all over the planet.

One key solution is literally under our feet. Most householders in these parts have gardens and many businesses are very productive farms. This, Garden - 1combined with an ethical commitment to volunteering and sharing, means almost nobody starves here. And, since the climate is mild, you don’t die from the cold if you live unhoused. Even the wealthy have chosen this place because it offers an opportunity to live simply, without ostentation in an atmosphere of sharing and community. It isn’t Utopia but it is certainly a hopeful place to be.

What lessons can we offer the rest of the world from our little bit of success at living joyfully in this local “garden world”? How can we foster the emergence of similar positive communities in other places so that this one does not suffer “the tragedy of the commons”? This blog site is one place for me to offer my vision and for you to share yours. I’ll try to answer some of the questions I’ve posed today in upcoming posts but right now I’m going to go pull some weeds among the vegetables. Catch ya’ later…

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Are we dying of boredom?

I’ve just discovered

Too Much

I’m hoping to find bytes of wisdom on how we may address what I believe underlies today’s global unrest: widespread inability to participate in Earth’s growing abundance.

Here are some excerpts from one of their articles:


Yellow Canaries and Middle-Aged White Men

Alcohol abuse and the other drivers of America's rising midlife white death rates all seem to reflect the strains that start to multiply whenever people find their societies becoming more unequal. Photo: ShutterstockStartling new data from the National Academy of Sciences suggest that
extreme inequality may be exacting a much steeper price — on our health — than we’ve up to now expected.

By Sam Pizzigati


Americans live longer today than we used to live, sometimes a lot longer. Just over 32,000 centenarians called the United States home in 1980. In 2010, we had more than 53,000 Americans in triple digits…

The wider the economic gaps between us, Wilkinson explains, the more status anxiety increases. The more we judge each other by social status, the more lower status hurts. The deeper this hurt, this pain of feeling devalued, the more reckless our search for relief. Instances of drug and alcohol abuse proliferate. People die before they should.

But why, in the Case-Deaton data, do only poorer white Americans in midlife show declining lifespans? “Thwarted aspirations,” suggests Wilkinson, may be at play here. As whites, these poorer Americans “would have had unrealistic expectations of upward mobility.” Over recent decades, these expectations have collided with the reality of lives spent on an economic treadmill, working ever harder but getting nowhere.

Social mobility, notes Wilkinson, runs lower in more unequal societies. And middle age, he adds, usually marks the time that many of us realize that the success we sought “hasn’t happened and isn’t going to happen.”

Still, as Wilkinson points out from his Yorkshire office, we may be doing Case and Deaton a disservice if we focus our discussion on their work too single-mindedly on the midlife decline in lifespan. The pain that the pair have found appears to be much more than a generational phenomenon.  See more


Liza’s commentary:

This article provides a thought-provoking take on an increasingly important problem. Building on it, I’d like to see a more nuanced discussion of the various kinds of inequality experienced in the countries polled. As used in the quoted article, “inequality” refers specifically to the difference in financially measurable assets one individual controls compared to another. We have other forms of wealth we could add into the analysis: friends, family, access to non-financial services (often “women’s work”), perception of safety from local or foreign violence, value the surrounding community puts on personal creative expression (art, craft, music, dance, etc.). The majority of White, middle-class males in the States have been educated to be bread-winners, not artists (who don’t sell their art) or care-givers (who don’t sell their services). As labor-saving technologies decrease the financial return on their work perhaps they are dying of boredom.

Amplifying “Abundance Theory”

This morning’s web surfing brought me the following blog post:
Guest Blogger

Abundance theory in the workplace

By Naphtali Hoff on December 9th, 2015 |

“He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.” ~ Confucius

A few years back, I made the decision to shift careers from school leadership to that of executive coach and consultant. To that end, I enrolled in a doctoral program studying human and organizational psychology. In my first course, I was told to interview someone who was in the same field that I sought to pursue and ask that person a series of questions relating to their career path…This woman’s behavior not only helped me to get started but she also inspired me to rethink a lifelong script that had become part of my inner thinking and attitude. I refer specifically to scarcity theory.

Scarcity theory, a term coined by Stephen Covey, suggests that everything in life has its limit. Whether that thing is a spot on the team roster, a scholarship, a job, customers, funding, promotions or something else, we need to hoard as much as possible for ourselves because there is simply not enough to go around. This same theory also says that there are limited ways to achieve success, and that anyone who wishes to make it must follow the same path and prescription that others have done previously.

In contrast, this coach, through her word and deed, demonstrated to me a living illustration of what Covey labeled abundance theory, or AT. Abundance theory is a mindset that looks at each glass as half full (at least) and sees the world as offering endless opportunity.

To the abundance theorist, there will always be room on the bench for one more player, and that the new guy will not detract from their ability to earn a livelihood or achieve other professional or personal goals. The world offers plenty; our job is to know how to go out and find it, then share some of it with others…Read whole post

Nicely done, Naphtali. Encouraging us to reorient around abundance instead of scarcity opens exciting opportunities for sharing, collaborating and “synergizing”. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to abandon the idea of limits entirely so let’s enhance your thesis.

In the physical/material world that we inhabit on a daily basis there are limits and scarcities. If I have one potato and I eat the whole thing I cannot then give it to you. In contrast, if I know how to grow potatoes there is no limit on how far I can share this knowledge. We tend to categorize things as “material” (limited, countable, e.g. potatoes, computer chips) or “abstract” (unlimited, without number, e.g. truth, love, beauty). In the digital age we also need an “informational” category. These things (e.g. know-how or software) can be replicated and transferred to others at little or no marginal cost. They are intrinsically abundant unlike material objects which eventually become scarce. However, instances of informational objects can be counted, they have boundaries or limits. Social institutions, such as copyright law, can make them artificially scarce. AT thinking leads us to open source our informational creations enabling more circulation of our truly-scarce, material, planetary resources. This increases our personal experience of abundance. Scarcity thinking encourages hoarding, making laws to permit control of the informational as if it were material.

Humanity has an urgent need to incorporate Abundance Thinking into our economic institutions. Failure to do so is creating concentration of wealth among the few even as we see poverty and unrest blossoming among the many. This blog is an unlimited space to address this problem.

Thank you, Naphtali, for being part of the solution.


US Wealth Inequality Update

Pretending Not To Panic

US wealth inequality continues and has reached the level where 20 Americans are now worth as much as half the population. The 400 richest own as much as the bottom 61%. The 20 fit on a bus. The 400 fit in a restaurant. While the data may seem extreme, the estimate is considered to underestimate the inequality because, while the wealth of the bottom 61% is relatively easy to track, the wealth of the wealthiest may be greater if off-shore holdings and loopholes could be accounted for. A majority should hold authority in a representative democracy, but change is hindered by the role wealth plays within the political parties.

(Click on the infographic for the link.)

forbes400-graphic1-2-01-400x200Billionaire Bonanza” -Institute For Policy Studies

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Economics Without Scarcity

The “dismal” science is predicated on the premise that there is not “enough” of something? This immediately raises two questions:

What are the scarce somethings?

How much is enough?

high building - 1As automation, exhaustion of natural resources and pollution of the environment become ubiquitous  we are seeing changes in what is abundant and what is scarce. At the same time, our aspirations rise as we develop the possibility of higher standards of living. What was “enough” yesterday is unsatisfactory today. “Old” economics could content itself with looking at the supply and demand of entities people were willing to pay for. “New” economics must cast a wider net to address issues that used to be the purview of psychology, anthropology, biology, ethics, to name just a few.

Let’s pull together some New Economic Thinking with Analysis and Action  suggestions (NETAA) on this site. I’ll make a few provocative comments to kick us off. Please add your own thoughts and comments as well as links to other interesting sites on this topic. Maybe we can pave the way for a better world for our great grandchildren.

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