I am currently reading Buckminster Fuller’s «Critical Path». However controversial, his vision is still bright and integral.
«70 percent of all jobs in America and probably an equivalently high percentage of the jobs in other Western private-enterprise countries are preoccupied with work that is not producing any wealth or life support — inspectors of inspectors, reunderwriters of insuranse reinsurers, Obnoxico promoters, spies and counterspies, military personnel, gunmakers, etc.»
This was written in 1980, and I suspect this is still shamefully true 27 years later, with a bunch of new professions like auditors of seo optimizers, metaverse travel guides, tamagotchi cemetery keepers etc. etc. The difference, however, is that now there is much more individual projects and freelance work one might only dream about in 1980.
Then, there are jobs related to life support but done in a non-sustainable way, like the oil industry which is also mentioned in Fuller’s book, with a reference to an oil geologist who counted that it costs nature well over a million dollars to produce each gallon of petroleum.
«We find all the no-life-support-wealth-producing people going to their jobs in their cars or buses, spending trillions of dollar’s worth of petroleum daily to get to their no-wealth-producing jobs. It doesn’t take a computer to tell you that it will safe both Universe and humanity trillions of dollars a day to pay them handsomely to stay at home.»
Fuller supposes that it would be more effective from the planetary point of view to give people income adequate for high standard of living instead of forcing them «earning a living».
«What do I see that needs to be done that nobody else is attending to?», this is the question people would ask themselves more often in this case, Fuller says.
Of course, one of conditions for this is a special kind of education with focus on individual’s unique talents and their application for the needs of humanity. Here again, Fuller’s view is against the currently dominant system:
«The physical and social costs will be far less for individual, at-home-initiated, research-and-development-interned self-teaching than having individual students going to schools, being bused, and so on.»
Perhaps now, with e-learning, we are much closer to this vision than ever before. And, of course, if parents, too, weren’t so busy «earning a living», they would better help their children with their individual learning.
«I can conclude at the outset of 1980 that the world public has become disenchanted with both the political and financial leadership, which it no longer trusts to solve the problems of historical crisis. Furthermore, all the individuals of humanity are looking for the answer to what the little individual can do that can’t be done by great nations and great enterprises.»
But will people really ask themselves this question, «What needs to be done that nobody else is attending to?» if they wouldn’t have to earn a living anymore? Deepa Chopra in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success wrote about the same question he offered his children:
«I never, ever want you to worry about making a living. If you’re unable to make a living when you grow up, I’ll provide for you, so don’t worry about that. I don’t want you to focus on doing well in school. I don’t want you to focus on getting the best grades or going to the best colleges. What I really want you to focus on is asking yourself how you can serve humanity, and asking yourself what your unique talents are.»
They made it, Chopra says, and are financially independent.
Back to Fuller, he names himself a design science revolutionary, not a political revolutionary. Design science is exactly what gets lots of attention nowadays, when people starts shifting to green, sustainable life, with WorldChanging or Massive Change as some points of reference, to name a few. So, changes are really coming, and who knows — perhaps some Fuller’s prophecies are just about to materialize?