Economic Event Horizon

The event horizon, as we all know from our hard copies of Stephen Hawkins’ Brief History of Time, is the point of no return along the perimeter of a black hole. “Abandon all hope,” ye who have travelled light years to this point… or not. After all, black holes could be wormholes, and take you to some totally cool parallel universe or another awesome far-off part of this universe. And then again you could be ripped apart on a molecular level and recondensed into a minuscule part of the black hole.

Whichever the case, the event horizon I’m thinking of today isn’t the type that astrophysicists and physicist theorists are muddling over, but a socioeconomic one. I know. No such thing. Regardless of the nay-saying from the disbelievers in quarks, I’m thinking to myself: When we get this close to the brink of economic collapse, when everything seems like it’s about to implode, to fall down on itself, what is it that we will find on the other side of the event horizon?

I’m wondering: what will happen if all jobs suddenly go kaput? What will we civilized people do if we don’t have to go act as the peons we have for the last 10, 20, 30 years? In other words, what would we do if we didn’t have to work? What if we didn’t have work?

Well, for starters, there are several hundreds of thousands who don’t have work, so don’t get ahead of yourself–some will say. Fully aware, my friends. Fully aware. Some of them are making ends meet (or not) through government benefit programs like unemployment or welfare, and some of them have exhausted those benefits, leaving them in so precarious a position it frightens me to even think about their plight. But I’m not really going there with this thought exercise. This is a hypothetical adventure.

As for said hypothetical exercise I was taking us through: I posit that we’d probably still need to work at sustaining ourselves overall. We’d still need our basic resources: food and shelter. But if all of these essential jobs that are sustenance-related were taken, if the rest of the consumer-employees were left to our own devices, what would we do? A part of me thinks that we would be left with no choice but to [d]evolve into communism, and if I only had to sweep the park or clean up after old people for 8 hours, with no future concerns for my own welfare or job prospects, I then wonder: what would I do in my “down” time?

I think that I for one would learn an instrument. Perhaps a fiddle. I’d go to a parking lot, and play my night away. If we had abbreviated schedules, even more time for creative endeavors. Of course, it gets sticky when we wonder who’s making the instruments, harvesting the wood for them, and who’s concocting the paint supplies, am I right? Don’t we really just start all over again?

I don’t know about what’d happen on the economy side of things–whether we capitalistically start over from scratch, shift into socialist-communism, or just implode and go for all-out anarchy. That’s not my forte. But I think it’s a good question as a vocational exercise:

What would you do if you didn’t have to work?

See this video for more on a marginally related topic.

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