Working for the Man. Hill Country News, August 24, 2016

Small B&W MG_6032by Chuck Robison

A friend sent me a chart by the Cato Institute that outlines what States pay unemployed workers. It was meant to belittle the “government giveaways” to people unwilling or unable to work. Here is my response:

“At the moment, there is no State in America where one can find a one-bedroom apartment a worker earning the minimum wage could afford.  Even Walmart workers are forced to apply for food stamps and welfare for their children to compensate for the meager salaries paid them by this international retail giant.  And this is built into the system. There are less real jobs and less willingness to pay for the work people do.  So some of our States’ willingness to support people who cannot find work more profitable than the support offered by the various State governments is a step in the right direction.

We have reached the 500 year deadline for the end of the Protestant Work Ethic. I hate to see one of my theological heroes, John Calvin, retire, but we are replacing people and jobs at every turn with machines and systems. This will go on for the foreseeable future. Ask your ten-year old child to explain how AI will change work in the future.

There is an old hymn in every Presbyterian Hymnal that puts to music a poem by James R. Lowell, published in the Boston Courier, December 11, 1845.  Titled, Once to Every Man and Nation, it contains the following lines:

New occasions teach new duties
Time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward,
Who would keep abreast of truth.

We are moving from the 5000 year old Age of the Warrior to the new Age of Cooperation.  In this migration to a new understanding of who we are and why we are here, we will see the words “Welfare” and “Charity” become “Sharity”  There is more than enough of everything to go around. Along the way, as we begin to really cooperate with each other across the globe, the need for security will change, and we will be able to dismiss the Military Industrial Complex and its greed for perpetual war and for all of our resources, money and even our meager spiritual lives, as Eisenhower warned us would happen. We are destined to experience the goal set for humankind by our Maker, through the divine process of our spiritual evolution, and we will see the ending of today’s dark ages.   The lights are coming on all over the world and compared to where we will be 500 years from now, we will marvel at how difficult a time this has been.

The visionary Buckminster Fuller (1895-1993) saw and influenced the future.  Imagine how this almost blind man could see, back in the 1980’s, so clearly what is happening today!  The momentous change in which we find ourselves in is really only beginning and it gives a hint of things to come. Here is what Buckminster saw:

‘We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.’

Like it or not, we cannot go backwards and the future, although dramatically different, looks bright and positive. And God is in the center of it all. Come and see!”

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