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This is a short follow up on yesterday’s short bit about writing in the new economy.

The implacable Fred Reed muses the coming age of automated unemployment. As usual with Fred’s work, this is a must read.

Today we will reflect that the economy will shortly wither, no one will have to work, and we will all die of starvation sitting on street corners and trying to sell each other pencils.

Work is going the way of the dodo, the Constitution, and common sense. Won’t be any.

If an automated economy employing a small fraction of the population were spewing out goods, perhaps the rest could be given EFT cards with some amount of “money” on them. Call it PAWS, Pathologically Advanced Welfare System. We do this now with welfare folk. Which is to say that the problem I am talking about already exists, though we haven’t quite noticed it.

A great question would then be: Can people handle leisure? The intelligent and educated, probably. They read books, write them, enjoy the internet. The distributed cognitive stratification embodied in the net would let them talk with each other around the world. For them, so good. But for others?

Classic Reed. I’ll handle my leisure by reading Fred. You?