I Love My Job

by Don Boudreaux on July 5, 2017

in Myths and Fallacies, Technology, Work

Here’s a letter written and sent in mid-April to a college student in Texas:

Mr. Caleb Woolf

Mr. Woolf:

Thanks for your e-mail.  Let me answer your question straight away: No, I don’t worry about “technology bringing forth a situation where there no longer are any jobs” for humans.

If you show me a job, I’ll show you a human want that that job satisfies.  The very existence of jobs implies the existence of human wants – human wants that are met by whatever goods and services workers produce for those people who hire them.  So if we ever do achieve a condition under which technology eliminates all need for us to work, we’ll have achieved a condition under which the satisfaction of our wants is so complete that none of us will have any need for the help of others.

I’m confident that we humans will never achieve such a state of complete want-satisfaction – which means that I’m confident that we humans will always have as-yet-unsatisfied wants that can at least potentially be satisfied by employing other humans.  But if I’m mistaken and such a state of complete want-satisfaction is in our future, then, yes, there will no longer be jobs for humans.  But there will also be no unsatisfied human wants.  We – all of us – will be in paradise.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

To worry that technology eventually will destroy all human jobs is to worry that technology eventually will alone satisfy all human wants.


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