We are about to experience the most unequal societies in human history. Economic inequality has run terror on this world for millennia, leaving the poor with little option to overcome their circumstances. Unfortunately, this economic inequality may soon translate into a biological inequality, solidifying the gap between the haves and have-nots for good.
And it starts by leaving day laborers in the dust.
Rise of the Useless Class
Undeniably, the future of work is shifting away from labor masses to highly skilled individuals.
The 3.5 million truck drivers in the US may soon be replaced by a self-driving algorithm – same goes for taxi and Uber drivers. The 12.3 million manufacturing workers are slowly being replaced by robot arms.
Does this mean if you fall into this category you are a useless person? Of course not. You just won’t be useful to corporations in your current role.
One of my childhood neighbors worked in a factory for about a decade. Two weeks ago, he gave me the news that he was going back to school to study the operation of CNC (computer numerical control) machinery. In other words, he realized that his job was at risk and adapted to the looming transition.
The future of work belongs to creative problem-solvers.
Learning a new trade may be out of the question for many of the people encroaching on the “useless class”. But, basing your entire existence on working is foolish. There are millions of ways to find your purpose in life.
In fact, the book Ready Player One showed us a possible arena for the “useless class” in virtual reality video games, accomplishing quests and feeling purposeful.
Escaping current reality to go to a virtual reality may sound like a cop-out. Which is why many economists, philosophers, and visionaries ponder this vast transition away from the 9-5 as the ingrained purpose in one’s life.
Although I’d like to think that the world’s billionaires would band together and help the hundreds of millions that are jobless, hopeless, and homeless. They haven’t tried solving economic inequality yet. Plus, there is no doubt a sweeter alternative for them to think about.
Widening Economic Inequality
Anyone who’s spent time in the professional world can quickly tell you that it’s not about what you know, but who you know. It’s the basis for economic inequality. Although I’d like to think the best person for the job always gets the job, that’s just not the case.
Is there an unfound writer out there, scribbling a story, better fit for my job…or Stephen King’s job? Yes, of course.
Is there a more instinctive, business school graduate that could run Apple better than Tim Cook? No doubt in my mind.
But, if these unfound people aren’t well connected, they may never get an opportunity – leaving a very slim chance at success.
Unfortunately, this slim chance gets even slimmer with biological inequality. As biotechnology research continues to progress, soon, “first class” citizens will be able to buy the best biological make-up – furthering the gap between aspiring professionals and the incumbents.
For instance, neural implant technology has huge upside potential for better utilizing our underutilized brains. Essentially, these implants bring the computing power of your laptop directly into your head. Imagine getting into an argument with your boss, when he/she could retrieve any report, data, or research to their argument just by thinking about it. You wouldn’t stand a chance.
Not only would these biological superhumans be more intelligent and more creative, but they’d also be healthier. Currently, researchers are reprogramming human cells to fight disease and sickness in the most effective possible way. So, instead of relying on expensive treatment and medication, supercells would solve problems the moment they arise.
Technology like this won’t be cheap. Only the economic elite will be able to afford these biotech advancements, thus translating their economic inequality into biological inequality.
Biological Inequality Creates New Class Systems
The creation of distinct biological inequality will spark a shift from economic classes to biological classes. This is known as speciation or the divergence of humankind into different biological castes, even different species.
In the year 2075, you may walk the same streets as one of these biological elites. Except, while you are walking and thinking, they’ll be walking, speaking with friends through their thoughts, consuming the latest news, writing a novel, and scanning their bodies for diseases.
Although biological inequality may seem like the end of all biologically-inferior people, it’s not. It’s just a rigged game getting more rigged.
In basketball, like in life, you encounter unfair advantages all the time. Traveling to an opponent’s city gives them the unfair advantage of the home crowd. Angering the refs gives the opponent an unfair advantage of getting all the calls. And there is almost always an unfair advantage present in the skills, height, and abilities.
Even though greedy people have harnessed many of these inequalities in life, you still get a chance to play the game, whether or not you are biologically-inferior.
That’s why you must measure your performance against your circumstances, not by someone else’s.
My aunt was great at consoling me after a basketball loss. She’d say, “You can’t control the way the calls go. But, you can control your effort. The only thing you should ask yourself is, ‘did I play my heart out? Everything else is out of your control.”
Luckily, this transition from economic to biological classes isn’t happening tomorrow. I say all of this to make you aware. If this scenario scares you, then there is time to change your circumstances through effort and persistence.
Ultimately, you must ask yourself what truly matters to you, and do your best to live that every day.
Peace is Every Step
As Yuval Harari points out in his book, Sapiens, we evolved and progressed because of our collective belief in fictions such as money, religions, and nations.
At birth, we are given a choice to follow whichever fiction we wish and attain as much enlightenment in that fiction as possible. But, often times, we realize that blindly following these fictions leaves us unsatisfied.
That’s because inner peace is only attained through non-fictions: the memories you make, the bonds you create, the people you help, etc…
This isn’t to say that you should dump all fictions you believe in because that would be ridding you of essential components to living in this culture. However, it’s very important to understand the fictions you follow and realize the role they play in your life.
For me, I don’t follow the money with the hopes I’ll make as much as possible. Every time an opportunity presents itself to get me closer to that “magic number”, I ask myself “What non-fictions am I sacrificing to follow this fiction?”
Peace is every step of the journey. Don’t sacrifice any moment without a great purpose in mind.
Often times, people tell me that I waste my time creating these Quick Theories articles – that they are a fiction. But, to me, this is a crucial non-fiction in my life – spreading ideas and experiences with others. It would mean the world to me if you shared this article with others (you can use the social links below).
Thanks for reading this week’s Quick Theories.