Jobs for the Future

If all the jobs that needed to be done were being done

there would be a labor shortage.

We just have not worked out how to pay for them.

The irony is that there are so many Mickey -Mouse, Goofy, Pegleg-Pete and Vulture jobs that are wasteful of lives, money and natural resources. But because they are cash-profitable, people are paid to do them. We even try to invent more. But we should look at the jobs problem from the point of view of what jobs need to be done in the world. And then how to pay for them.

The jobs of the future

  • The real jobs of the future are to ensure that everyone can live reasonably without wrecking the planet. They are not just in information technology (which could even conceivably collapse if the environment deteriorates so that survival must come first) or tourism (which requires rich people serviced by poorer people). Australia should be at the forefront in developing and producing technology and productsthat are maximally environmentally friendly, and use non-polluting renewable power resources such as sun and wind. For example, we should be at the forefront in land conservation and reclamation, in a complete change of our sewage disposal to make the utmost use of fertiliser, grey water and drinkable water, in a national public transport and freight system that is operated by an efficient, honest and well-rewarded workforce.
  • The best recreation and work is helping to re-create your community. The western suburbs of Melbourne be made as pleasant and beautiful to live in as, say the best of Camberwell, and the least pleasant parts of Camberwell be made as delightful as the best, even if the homes are smaller? Alienated vandals could discover that by improving their own lot they are getting the best 'revenge on society' Here is challenge, adventure, character-building, a goal in life, and permanent satisfaction. Everyone can find personal fulfilment and develop their own talents. The frustrations are tremendous - climbing one Everest after another, and requiring practise of a sense of humour. But everyone becomes more employable, does not rust, and makes great friends as they work together.
  • Building for the future, not just destroying what exists to build more that is going to be soon destroyed. All buildings and renovations now should be designed to be adaptable for hard times, when natural resources may be short, climate harsher, and better use must be made of sun, rain, orientation, salvage, re-use and human exercise.
  • Using waste and preventing waste. e.g.Salvage from building sites and renovations, instead of everything going in a skip to the tip. Each shopping centre could have a Redistribution Centre (like Ma Dalley's used to be?) where furniture and other household goods could be donated for others to repair or remake and sell, or Opshops could have facilities for Tuesday Repairers and Renovators. One small business could make handcarts for enterprising salvage collectors.
  • 'Durability' goods. Manufacture and sale of goods manufactured for durability and repairability rather than for cheapness, so shoppers would know where to go. These shops could link with repairers, know-how agencies and email Users' groups ('Users' not 'Consumers')
  • Care for people. Children, the old, the sick, the handicapped, teenagers, adults (have I included everyone) should not be harried and hurried because there are not enough people to do the caring jobs properly. Time is money- OK. but Time is LIFE. Sitting in the park while children play around; letting small children go at their own pace - more or less - to their play-centre; medical treatment that does not have to be rushed; visits that are thoughtful and enjoyable rather than dutiful.
  • Sustainable households. Running households well for quality living that makes minimum demands on the environment and foreign debt. This is more constructive than making things that a wasteful society soon throws out, and can be done in conjunction with high-status enjoying child-rearing, or one member of the household taking a turn as home-keeper while the others work outside. The home-keeper for a household of four or more should be paid as a civil servant.
  • 'Australia Shops' given low rent, that sell, display and publicise goods made locally, and by Australian-owned companies, and invented by Australians.
  • Grow. Contact with the real world of growing things. The world easily seems meaningless and without hope if you are indoors most of the day or on the streets most of the night. Like babies, most people too, feel and think better when they can get out where things grow. e.g. Getting up at dawn to planting and growing things in a garden. Getting out in the countryside, cleaning up pests and weeds under guidance Doing your own research and counts on wild creatures in your locality, for the Nature Conservancy people. Beachcombing occasionally - and clearing out dangerous rubbish. CityPersons who are not Nature Freaks still need to have a Nature Binge at least once a year.
  • Learning practical skills, e.g. Tuesday apprenticeships - halfday helping - halfday learning.
  • Inventors' centres in schools/ communities encourage young and old in constructive innovations. Inventors in Residence, as a special form of Artists in Residence.
  • Voluntary work. Labour-intensive jobs/ recreation are needed in pest eradication; environment cleanup; making life happier for the sick, isolated, helpless; helping with cash-strapped voluntary organizations ; salvage and recycling; finding opportunities to develop permanent jobs. Running Mutual Help Tuesday Clubs could be the day's work for retired and unemployed people, linked with existing organizations such as Lions, Apex, Rotary, churches, ethnic organizations, etc. so they have an ethos as well as others knowing where they can help with jobs or training. Club Members train themselves with help in practical skills, public speaking, health maintenance, domestic economy (literally), community service - including to the needy, sick and elderly known to the club - developing their own vocational expertise, extending their education, and using their leisure constructively. Retired people with skills can help others to learn skills in their workshops etc.
  • Action research can be carried out by anyone with the ability (e.g. postgraduates) - for example, working out Sustainability Quotients for products to assess them for 'Conservation-Conscious' Green Spots or similar markings in shops. Inventing solutions to problems.
  • Investigative Journalism. Often, in watching TV news or reading newspapers, it is clear that there is a lot more that ought to be known than is printed. Find it out.

The money to pay for the jobs

There are also socially innovative solutions to finding the finance to pay for them, which will be appearing on Ideas for OZ. Most of the jobs would prove profitable to the community in any case, and many would prove commercially profitable, but there could also be finance through Regional Currency, Benevolence Taxes, Tuesday Work for the Dole, and Self-terminating public loans. If we had a national scheme of Everybody Without Exception expected to work usefully for their living one day a week (e.g. Tuesday) according to their capacity - even sick people and children trying to cheer up their carers. Dole for the unemployed would represent pay for their one day's useful work a week. And this would lead on to opportunities for fulltime useful jobs.