Q10. Sebastian Dettmers; The great unemployment

For the first time, another author writes about the need to look to the future for all of us, with very concrete visions, approaches and practical examples. We need more books like this, and we need them urgently. The problems of today are clouding our visions of tomorrow. We need to move upwards quickly to escape the fog "in the valley of history".
(I give my comments on the quoted text in the square [] brackets).

Sebastian Dettmers; "The great unemployment"; FBV 2022

(p.12) "Alongside climate change, I consider workerlessness to be the greatest threat of our time: to our prosperity, to our social cohesion, to the functioning of democracy. We cannot imagine the impact that shrinking populations will have on our society and the global economy. Because we have never experienced it before, not on this scale."
"Because just like my grandparents and parents, I want my children to be better off and to live in peace and prosperity. That's why I wrote this book."
[I (P.J.) do not consider workerlessness, like climate change, to be a threat to our future, but rather the opposite, a motivation to reorganise our global community, to strive for more humanity instead of prosperity].

(p.18) "The growth of the past 250 years has been fuelled primarily by two factors: population growth and progress. Small businesses, large corporations and entire economies have been able to grow primarily because a growing population has provided more and more workers and more and more talent. What's more, driven by ever more ideas, ground-breaking inventions and, not least, widespread education, progress has been made that has made all these people ever more productive.
In a fraction of human history, we have invented the railway, the car and the aeroplane, radio, the telephone and the internet. It is above all this combination of population growth and progress that we have to thank for our current prosperity. It is the reason why economic crises have never lasted long."

(p.19) "Today I realise that it was naive to assume that population and progress would continue to develop linearly in the future."
"But what are two and a half centuries in the face of the 200,000-year history of modern man, who has lived in poverty almost continuously?" [That's not true! Our Homo sapiens family has lived for 337,000 years, and it has not lived in poverty throughout. It has produced great species. And they have produced great civilisations. Atlantis was the last of them, on all the continents of what was then the Earth. It was only destroyed in the great cosmic catastrophe between 10,000 and 6,000 years ago. However, its last members, the last members of the genus Homo sapiens Neanderthalensis, still managed to ensure the survival of our modern species and (so far the only) species Homo sapiens Sapiens. This happened (theoretically quite accurately) only 4,720 years before our modern era].

(p.21) "Growth is the basis of a functioning market economy. 'Without growth no investment, without growth no jobs, without growth no money for education, without growth no help for the weak.'"

(p.22)"'To say that we are renouncing the idea of growth', says the current Minister of Economic Affairs Robert Habeck, 'would mean that we are renouncing the idea of progress'." [I don't see this obsessive connection. A contented, even happy global community can certainly continue to drive progress without having to "cut back" on prosperity].

(p.26) "According to the story, (James) Hargreaves was watching his wife spin cotton yarn when he had the idea of automating the process. In 1764, he cranked his 'Spinning Jenny', the world's first industrial spinning machine, for the first time. ... The period around 1770 marks the beginning of industrialisation. Decisive milestones were the breakthrough of the steam engine in 1769 and the invention of the steam locomotive in 1804. ... Towards the end of the 19th century, industrialisation began to unfold its full force on a broad scale. It was the time of exponential economic growth."

(p.29) "Anyone who wants to understand the world today should recognise how unique the development of the past 250 years has been."

(p.30) "It seems as if the industrial revolution was a story of endless growth. It is hardly noticeable that the engine of growth is stuttering. The growth forces of the industrial revolution are dwindling. The progress that led us out of the poverty trap seems to have stalled. In the motherland of the industrial revolution as well as in the rest of Europe and the USA. A turning point is emerging. The population is beginning to shrink - in large parts of Europe, in China, in Japan, and soon all over the world. As a result, there is a threat of large-scale unemployment. And the reactions are very different."

(p.34) "Without immigrants, the USA would not play a role in the world today."

(p.35) " Hardly any other region is as closely associated with progress as Silicon Valley. If it were a country, it would be the most productive state in the world with a GDP per capita of around 180,000 dollars per year. Yet Silicon Valley is three times as productive as the rest of the USA."

(p.48) "Today, Chinese women have an average of only 1.3 children."

(p.48) "In this showdown, the European continent is struggling with two challenges at once. Here, too, productivity is stagnating. But there is also a second problem: unlike in the USA, population figures will soon begin to shrink rapidly. How will Europe react?"

(p.62) "From 1955 to 1973, Germany attracted 14 million labour migrants and their families. ... Since 1852, the country has continuously exported more goods than it has imported. Four industries dominate: the car industry, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and chemicals. ... Today, Germany is the third largest exporter of goods in the world after the USA and China. Its share of world trade is 7 per cent, although the proportion of Germans in the world population is only 1 per cent."

(p.63) "The growth forces of the past 70 years are dwindling. ... The population is beginning to shrink. ... Worklessness casts its shadow ahead."

(p.68) "Having fewer children is a direct consequence of progress and prosperity."
[Jain! I am convinced that in large, multi-generational families, two to three children per woman would become the norm rather than one or none].

(p.73) "If there is one thing that should frighten us people in Europe, it is the effects of population decline!" [No! This decline should rather give us hope that we will be able to innovate democracy in the sense of a family-participatory democracy].

(p.88) "Progress ensures that industrial enterprises and service companies are created. They drive urbanisation, because only agriculture requires a dispersed life in the countryside." [However, this trend towards urbanisation must be reversed. Healthy (large) families will only thrive in a rural environment, on their own hectares of land. Human coexistence must be completely redesigned and made possible].

(p.91) "A third forecast was recently published. It comes from a Bill and Melinda Gates-funded research group at Washington State University in Seatle led by Professor Christopher Murray. Over 5000 researchers from 152 countries contributed to it. According to this forecast, the world's population will reach its peak of 9.7 billion people by 2064. From then on, it will shrink to 8.8 billion by the end of the century."

(p.96) "Population decline is therefore not an issue for futurists, but a fact. ... And nobody yet knows how, under the current conditions, an ever smaller number of working people will finance an ever larger number of pensioners." [Yes, I suppose I do know! As the population stagnates, the number of pensioners will also fall and stagnate. But more importantly, we can and must reduce consumption to such a level that prosperity remains sufficient but stable. Family-participatory democracy will make this possible. This will also benefit the environment].

(p.113) "We have halted the process of creative destruction that is so essential to the functioning of our economic system. ... A new combination of production factors - and thus also of labour - displaces old structures and ultimately destroys them. ... In the end, competition must decide which companies can prosper in the long term under the changed framework conditions and which are better off leaving the market. The more room we give to the new and innovative, the greater our chances of living in a country with increasing productivity in the future." [In my opinion, it is not (only afterwards) the competition that decides, but (already in advance) the chosen vision of our future].

(p.115) "Perhaps the greatest potential lies beyond our national borders: in immigration."
[I don't believe that. In the long run, that can't be right. In the long run, when all societies are shrinking, we must work within our demographic units (from basic families, through extended families, clans, to metropolises, nations, and continents) towards a natural stabilisation of the number of workers].

(p.140) "Shaping the future instead of managing the past". [100% correct!]

(p.150) "Fusion reactors promise to meet large parts of the world's future energy needs with virtually zero emissions. ... What a vision! ... A real moonshot for some: Boris Johnson's government has already announced the first commercial fusion reactor for 2040." [Unfortunately just a joke. Physically no more realisable than a perpetual motion machine. These research funds would be much better spent on capturing and storing the energy of lightning storms or flowing volcanoes, like in Hawaii."]

(p.153) "Progress arises when existing knowledge is translated into visionary goals." [This is precisely why I try to translate my existing knowledge into a vision of the global community in 50, 60 years' time].

(p.164) "One third of Germans feel that their own work is pointless." [These are millions of potential workers in industries that are already affected by unemployment].

(p.169) "Numerous studies show that long-term economic growth is largely determined by the quality of the education system." [Not only economic growth, but also the personal satisfaction of all people].

(p.170) "Our education system

is one reason why productivity in this country is sluggish. Too many young people leave school without sufficient qualifications and then struggle more or less through their working lives."

(p.171) "In order to utilise the opportunities of the digital revolution, Germany therefore needs a new education revolution." [Not just Germany, but Poland too, for example].

(p.175) "In Canada, children who fail to reach the minimum level in English and maths are assigned a tutor." [My proposal goes even further: not only the five weakest, but also the five best children in the class should have an appropriately qualified tutor (additional teacher), with the total number of children in each class around twenty, no more. The main teacher should be increasingly supported by their personal "AI avatar". The teachers' salaries should be at least doubled].

(p.219) "There are far too few educators. We will not be able to close this gap without upgrading this professional profile, including better pay." [But this is only half the solution. There is even more potential in multi-generational families, where their members who no longer work could possibly enjoy looking after their own and their neighbours' young children in a meaningful way].

(p.229) "Let us therefore develop a dream of a better future, a 'German Dream', without a 'business as usual', without clinging to old recipes, but with the courage to reshape the future. The future of Germany, Europe and perhaps even the whole world. That is what this book is about. It provides impulses and examples of how people and countries are already confronting unemployment today and breaking new ground. They are intended to trigger debates and provide food for thought for new concepts and strategies." [That's exactly what I hope.]

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