Thursday, November 8, 2007

The End of Work (1966)

Today, we have more from the 1966 radio documentary 2000 A.D.. In this part of the program host Chet Huntley talks with Irwin "Bud" Lewis about the future of computers and leisure.
My opinion is that we're going to have to readjust our old, Puritan perhaps, concepts of what a person should do with his life. We used to believe that work was ennobling, that a man who devoted himself to hard work was in some way virtuous. Now, it seems to me, that what is required is a different attitude toward what a man should do with his life. Because there's not going to be all the jobs that used to be around.

Listen to the program here.

See also:
2000 A.D. Radio Documentary (1966)
Going Backward into 2000 (1966)
Transportation in 2000 A.D. (1966)


Mark Plus said...

It seems to me that America hasn't abolished work in any meaningful sense, despite the pervasiveness of computers in our lives. We have more low-paying service jobs than ever; most of the job growth in recent years comes from restaurants, bars, hotels, casinos and department stores. Meanwhile, we've outsourced the stuff-making jobs to countries like China.

Mr. Cavin said...

And while I know it isn't really apropos for me to argue with the quaint attitudes in the curated content here, I thought I would point out this patent paleo-myopia:

We used to believe that work was ennobling, that a man who devoted himself to hard work was in some way virtuous.

Maybe in the scant decades, in the US, since the Depression, Mr. 1966, but otherwise there has rarely in the whole world (which is mostly divvied up into quantifiable castes for ease of scholarship) been a culture that honored the "working class" with much in the way of excess virtue. Explicitly, in the countries that gave manifest to our western destiny, having any job was the polar opposite of being a gentleman of worth.

The grist of the quote seems to be, then, that the future will bring some reversion to the past's lordly pursuits, if we can stomach a life without toil. It's future-paleoism.

Anonymous said...

The article is spot on that computers would bring about unparallel productivity, however...

You can go 2 ways with this:
1) 20 hour work weeks / R&R
2) 40+ hr weeks, and LOTS of places to shop, LOTS of things to buy, do, etc.

They underestimated consumerism. Whenever we have the option to have MORE stuff, we'll always take it (no whether our society should've gone that direction is another debate). Its suprising to see such cultural naivety in 1966.

Anonymous said...

He sort of sounds like Ray Kurzweil