The economy is in between gears right now, and that’s a growing problem because as is true with all higher gears, we could be accomplishing so much more with so much less and prosperity could be greatly increased for not only the lucky few, but everyone. What do I mean? Well let’s look at the gears of capitalism, of which there have so far been three, before moving on to what fourth gear is, what’s stopping us from it, and how we can achieve it.
The Gears of Capitalism
First gear was made possible by the invention of the steam engine which allowed for the beginnings of industry and the bridging of great distances with trains and steam-powered ships.
Second gear was made possible by the invention of electricity which allowed for industrialization to go into overdrive while bridging even greater distances with the telegraph and telephones.
Third gear was made possible by the invention of the computer which allowed for full globalization and the connection of everyone to each other all over the world with information technology and the internet.
So what is fourth gear?
Fourth gear is the handing over of labor to machines, and that does not only include muscle labor as was already true in lower gears, but mental labor. It is the long awaited freeing of humanity to pursue human interests, paid or unpaid, as payment is of less concern when machines are working for us… that is as long as we humans are earning the machines’ paychecks to purchase what they’re producing.
And that’s the rub. That’s why we’ve so far refused to shift into fourth gear capitalism, because in fourth gear, human labor necessarily becomes unnecessary. This can be an obstacle within the mind, for capitalism itself was built to combat scarcity, and the division of labor meant everyone need pull their weight so that all may survive. But each gear along the way has enabled us to do more with less energy expended, so where once a majority of humanity’s time was spent in the fields, now about one percent is.
continued … Medium