In a rational world, how many people do we need to provide all the goods and services that we need ? If it turns out that we don’t need everyone for this, what should then be done ?
In any given population, some are too young to work, and some are too old, and others need care for one reason or another – perhaps a total of 50% of the population fall into one of these categories (included their assorted parents at home, family carers, etc.).
I’ve tried to estimate what we actually need to maintain our present level of civilisation – who needs to do what task for the whole system to work satisfactorily. Stand by for some major approximations …….
- 2% to work in farming, food production and processing
- 1% in transport and distribution
- 2% in manufacture of industrial products, mining, etc. (this is much lower now than before because of robotics and automation)
- 1% in public transport and repairing the transport infrastructure
- 1% in retail, purchasing, online and other sales teams
- 1% in health care
- 1% in social care
- 1% in education and the universities
- 1% in all the many varieties of banking, insurance and financial services
- 1% in the building industry and in all types of building maintenance
that’s 12% of the population so far
- then, maybe we need 1% in police, security and defence, but I doubt it
- perhaps another 1% in “the media” – publishing, internet, TV, film, etc.
- then another 1% in “culture and the arts”, perhaps even including in that some who work in restaurants and cafes
Anyway, we have struggled up to 15% of the population now, (plus the 50% who need or give care), and I can’t really think of anything else that is needed.
What are the implications of this – we can say that about 30% of the population aren’t essential to the supply and production chains, even though they seem essential at the moment, nor for the current levels of care provision. What can they do? and how can they be treated ?
Perhaps this assumes that technology will reach a plateau, and/or that competition will diminish – a lot of capitalist competition is already spurious – motor manufacturers mostly compete over the styling of their headlights, rather than over any substantive technical differences between their rival models ! So it seems inefficient for them to be "competing" for market share and
Well, the “spare people” could be given a decent living wage – not as much as those who work, but enough to be comfortable. And then they can start improving things – there is a lot of ugliness in our roads and streets, and many improvements could be made with small budgets. Or, there can be job-sharing, so that everyone works a 3-day week, and has time for their interests and self-development, etc.