The Three Laws of Future Employment
Daniel Jelski, New Geography, 6 February 2012.
- People will get jobs doing things that computers can’t do.
- A global market place will result in lower pay and fewer opportunities for many careers. (But also in cheaper and better products and a higher standard of living for American consumers.)
- Professional people will more likely be freelancers and less likely to have a steady job.
[M]uch of the conventional wisdom [is] wrong. The job that electrical engineers did 25 years ago has almost nothing to do with the job they do today. Computers now do much of the work that people used to do - computers design circuits, do all the drafting, plan the manufacturing, etc. It used to be that an electrical engineer designed the electronics in your car. To some extent they still do, but today even the smallest components come with operating systems - in other words, your car is programmed rather than designed. Electrical engineering is a career that follows Law #1: much of it has been (and will continue to be) computerized out of existence
He goes on to note that computer science type work is even more so tradeable accross borders. You will be competing against people in Bangledesh who's annual expenses are in the hundreds of dollars. Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution, notes that to some degree his arguements are based too much on the demand side of the equation, and not the supply end. That is a very good point. U.S. trained textile engineers have been working within a shrinking field of work, but so few people go into textiles design/engineering that there is still a demand for them.
Of course this all presumes that we will continue the globalizing trend in communications and transport. Let us say we are going in the opposite direction. I have noted in the past that the rosey predictions of a pastural eden put forth by Kunstler and company are way too optomistic. By some measures the 19th century they were so found of, was almost as global as we are today. And of course they used lots of fossil fuels. IMO if you have a fall back scenario that does not turn into complete anarchy, you may be looking at going back just a little bit further.
So what types of work did people do before the world globalized. Well lets go back to a list Shawn Vincent as part of the Crystal Obelisk project -which I think he did for his roleplaying game - has compiled a list of medieval occupations that you may want to try out.
What did People do in the Middle Ages
Shawn Vincent, Crystal Obelisk project (hat tip: MR)
A few interesting ones beyond the obvious farmer, blacksmith, cooper, butch, baker, candlestick maker.
- catchpole - literally 'chicken catcher', one who finds and brings in debtors
- bailiff - the man who makes arrests and executions
- camp follower - people following an army, making money off of the soldiers
- perukier - a wig-maker (wigs were popular because removable hair prevented head lice)
- Knifeman - one skilled with a knife; specifically, a soldier trained to disembowel horses
- sapper - specialist in field fortifications
- beadle - church official -- ushers preserves order at sermons
- sexton - minor church officer - rings bells, digs graves
- boothaler - marauder, plunderer (the 1% after they run out of fuel?)
- hetheleder - one who sells heather as fuel
- hobbler - boat tower on a river or canal
- apiarist - another name for a bee keeper
- ackerman(acreman) - an oxherder
- hayward - a tender of hedges