The End of Work: 1 of 2: Why Your Passion Can Become Your Job by John Tamny

May 19, 05:53 AM


(Photo: A scene from Karel Čapek's 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), showing three robots)

Twitter: @BatchelorShow

The End of Work: 1 of 2: Why Your Passion Can Become Your Job by John Tamny

We don't criticize business majors for focusing on business even though over 99% will never even be interviewed by Goldman Sachs. We similarly don't criticize journalism majors for focusing on journalism even though even fewer will ever darken the doors of the New York Times. But when individuals are talented and - yes - intelligent enough to rate a scholarship that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, we tell them to cast a wide net while in school to develop other skills for life after football. The thinking is wrongheaded, and is rooted in a 20th-century view of work that no longer applies, and that ignores what appeals to employers. The opinion piece can be found here.

It reads as positive that the Supreme Court would hand to the states oversight of sports betting, but why is such a benign act among individuals something states should have control over? It seems like mob rule on the state level will take the place of federal control. Figure that the SCOTUS ruling doesn't make gambling legal in all fifty states; it just means states can 'grant' us the right to do what we already do. That's what's disturbing. While drugs and gambling would be legal in a sane world, the fact that they're illegal doesn't mean that people act as they are. Sports betting is widely done, and drugs are widely used. If states make either legal, they won't be making us freer as much as they'll legalize what is already a fact so that they can tax it. They'll 'grant' us freedoms in order to increase the size of government with predictable results. The opinion piece can be found here.

Bryce Covert is the latest pundit to fall for the silly notion that wages in the U.S. have stagnated since the 1970s. Implicit in what is laughable is that markets aren't just stupid, but that they're stupid for decades as they fail to incorporate the information that most informs human migration. In short, if Covert's wage assumptions were true then it would also be true that there would be no immigration issue for each side to play politics with. That immigrants have come by the tens of millions since the 1970s (a happy development in my mind) is the surest sign that wages have risen substantially since then. Having fallen for what's untrue, Covert concludes that fewer freedoms for the shareholders without which there are no companies and no jobs is the answer. Reliant on bad information, it's no surprise that her conclusions are even worse. The opinion piece can be found here.

It's popular to say that "grit" is the path to success. No, avoidance of grit is. Grit didn't make Warren Buffett, nor does is make basketball savant LeBron James. Both work endlessly, but their genius isn't pursuit of grit. It was finding work that didn't feel like work to them. That's why robots and automation are so crucial to progress. They won't force us into breadlines as much as they'll free us to specialize. The division of labor among humans elevates every human, and robots will trump the human division of labor many times over. Precisely because they'll represent hundreds of new hands as opposed to two per human, our ability to specialize (and avoid grit) in the future will be much greater. Robots will greatly enable human success precisely because they'll free humans from unnecessary work. The opinion piece can be found here.