What happens when no one needs to work?

Eventually, there could come a day when workers no longer need to work. Eventually, someone could have the technology – the assembly lines, the robots, the computers – to do all the work with almost zero human effort.

If that happens, one person could be at the top. By definition, if the system doesn’t need anyone to work, just someone to push the button to say go, then the system could be run entirely by one person.

And if that’s the case, if one person’s running the whole system, then that one person gets all the wages. The robots would repair the computers and assembly lines and even themselves, so they wouldn’t need any help from people. And they wouldn’t need any wages because they’re robots.

The whole thing would be self-sufficient, except for the one person in control of the button.

If this happens someday, what happens to all the people, all the workers who are no longer workers because they’re no longer needed? The person on top deserves all the wages. That person after all would be in control, the only person required to get the job done.

If that happens someday, what happens to the rest of us?

On one hand, this situation could be the ultimate dream, the one in which everyone gets plenty of food and clothing and care without working at all. On the other hand, though, this could be the ultimate nightmare: enough food and clothing and care for everyone but no one getting it because they didn’t earn it, well, except for the person on top pushing the button.

Somewhere along the way to this ultimate situation then, it seems the rest of us will need to decide to pay people who don’t do any work. Otherwise, in a perfect world where no one needs to work, no one will get paid.

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