In Defense of the Post-Work Future: Withdrawal and the Ludic Life

In Michael Cholbi & Michael Weber (eds.), The Future of Work, Technology, and Basic Income. New York: Routledge. pp. 99-116 (forthcoming)
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A basic income might be able to correct for the income related losses of unemployment, but what about the meaning/purpose related losses? For better or worse, many people derive meaning and fulfillment from the jobs they do; if their jobs are taken away, they lose this source of meaning. If we are about the enter an era of rampant job loss as a result of advances in technology, is there a danger that it will also be an era of rampant meaninglessness? In this chapter, I offer counsel against any such despair. I argue that we should encourage the withdrawal from the world of work into a more personal world of games.We should do this because (a) work is structurally bad and getting worse as a result of technology; and (b) a more ludic, game-like life would help us to attain a valuable form of human flourishing. I offer three arguments in support of this view, and respond to critics who argue that withdrawing from the demands of work would result in a more selfish and impoverished form of existence.
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