Offsetting Technological Unemployment

In this post, I’ll discuss why popular support for public works job creation is likely to dramatically increase as the virtual reality spiral gets underway over the next 15 years.

vr spiral pdf

In “The Jobs of Tomorrow: Part 2 of 2” I explained why I believe that societies will use “Virtual Public Jobs Programs” in the 2030s to alleviate technological unemployment.  I expect these virtual reality focused public works programs to only be broadly adapted after a very difficult economic period in which it becomes clear that:

  1. Very few options for individually meaningful and socially useful work are left that can replace the huge numbers of jobs lost as a result of technological progress [1]
  2. Massive fiscal stimulus is needed to restore employment and wages to socially acceptable levels

In the Industrial Age at present, reality molding technologies are typically used to provide consumers with access to “real world” experiences.  Yet by the dawn of the Virtual Age in the early 2040s, reality mimicking technologies will provide consumers with excellent substitutes for most “real world” experiences at fractions of today’s costs.  These reality mimicking technologies will also provide consumers with access to a universe of amazing new experiences that are completely unprecedented in human history.

As the global economy transitions from one paradigm to the other, traditional “real world” businesses will have to shed numerous jobs in efforts to reduce their costs and stay competitive.

Governments that are striving to maintain robust job markets in their countries during this time will face a series of difficult choices.  I expect that they will repeatedly have to decide between either saving inefficient/obsolete jobs by bailing out failing private sector firms, or creating new public works jobs to offset unemployment.

Although some governments are likely to use bailouts initially, I expect this to change after several instances are encountered where the projected cost of saving a group of inefficient/obsolete jobs by repeatedly bailing out a failing private sector firm significantly exceeds the cost to create the same number of new public works jobs.

Around this time, I expect more and more governments to start using the option of hiring citizens to work on public works projects and letting inefficient private sector businesses fail.  The resulting improvements in private sector and public infrastructure efficiency should increase personal convenience for their citizens and encourage them to use public works programs more.

Popular support and financial justification for public works programs should thus increase significantly as more and more private sector jobs become obsolete over the next 15 years, affecting higher and higher percentages of the global workforce.  Because of their many potential benefits, several of which I discussed in my previous post, I expect “Virtual Public Jobs Programs” to be a popular choice for public works employment in the 2030s and beyond.


Additional Notes

[1] As I discussed in “The Jobs of Tomorrow: Part 2 of 2,” public works job creation is likely to be seen as more beneficial for societies than simple handouts of money to the unemployed.  This will be particularly true if public works jobs are used for purposes like building out and efficiently utilizing Virtual Age infrastructure.