What’s next?

Cory Doctorow is an interesting person. Creative, out-of-box thinker and constructive instigator. His take on what’s next for our poor world after COVID-19 is…interesting and alarming. My favorite quote from his essay:

“Look: when the pandemic crisis is over, 30% of the world will either be unemployed or working for governments.

This isn’t after an Artificial General Intelligence Singularity in the distant future.

It’s next year.”

That seems about right to me, and it’s a sobering thought. Either we find a way to employ that 30% of our citizens or our nation falls/fractures. You can see the cracks forming right now.

Another gem from Cory as he opines that the real crisis we face is global warming/climate change, and the pandemic is just background noise:

“Keynes once proposed that we could jump-start an economy by paying half the unemployed people to dig holes and the other half to fill them in.

No one’s really tried that experiment, but we did just spend 150 years subsidizing our ancestors to dig hydrocarbons out of the ground. Now we’ll spend 200-300 years subsidizing our descendants to put them back in there.”

I definitely think he’s right about that. The hydrocarbon economy is ending.

A less esoteric way to think about this is that post-COVID it will be time for another WPA-like government-funded employment program, echoing the Great Depression. Build/repair infrastructure, replace hydrocarbon power with renewables, move away from factory farming of meats…there are a lot of things we need to do that involve loads of human labor. I could get behind that vision of a post-COVID future.