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When The World Changed: The Day Work Disappeared – Part III

By Adrian Dore. Originally published at ValueWalk.

GSX Techedu Inc bankruptcy bubble dotcom and unicorn bubbles

Part III of “The day work disappeared.” A four part short story from the series “When the world changed.”

Table of Content

  • Introduction.
  • The day work disappeared. See Part I, Part II
  • A rising tide lifts all boats.
  • Measures dictate outcomes.
  • We’re all in it together.
  • Small is Big.
  • Toxic investment culture.
  • The invisible hand.
  • Benefit Insurance.
  • Manufacture or bust.
  • Public sponsored brainwashing.
  • System Reset.
  • The Empire of Lies.

Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The Day Work Disappeared – Part III

As an intern, John came face-to-face with the consequences of a shrinking labour market and its social consequences. On the A&E wards, the increased incidents of violence fuelled by an upsurge in broken families, aided and abetted by drug and alcohol abuse, had soared to new all-time highs. Self-harm, attempted suicides and suicides also reached new, astronomical heights. All around him, the signs of a broken society were evident. He read the daily news feeds on his phone. He knew of the adverse effects autonomous vehicles and blockchains were having on the labour market, economy and society. He did nothing. He’s only a medical doctor.

He was thankful when he received a posting to a rural surgery. Hopefully, he could close his eyes, and all these problems would disappear. Perhaps the authorities would sort them out – that’s their job. Of course, this was all wishful thinking. He knew nothing was being done, and the same problems would be felt everywhere. Rural Britain could not escape change of this magnitude. When the vast majority lose their jobs, the economy shrinks. This shrinking affects other businesses who either close or reduce staff. The downward cycle accelerates. Many small businesses go to the wall early on. This included farmers. Being self-employed during an economic downturn causes untold stress on its owners. As a result, new business start-ups had almost ceased. The vital supply of new business blood had dried up. John faced the same problems in his rural environment as that in the city. Hardship and misery abounded. It even affected him personally.

His brother-in-law ran a successful restaurant. He gave up his profession as an architect because of the encroachment of AI. The role of the architect was being replaced by software. He didn’t see much future for himself in his profession, and he wanted to pursue his dream of running his own restaurant. In the beginning, things went well, but then slowly, the market started shrinking. There were fewer and fewer employed people who could afford to eat out. It soon got to the point the business started losing money. He closed it down and tried to get back into architecture, but with no success. He’s been unemployed for some time now, with no prospects for the future. He has no money. John and his wife help him and his family when they can, but they don’t have a lot to spare either. John had got to the point of telling him he can no longer support him, as he has done in the past. The reason being his parents require additional support as their state pension has been severely cut and their savings eroded, as investments under-perform.

The economy has shrunk so significantly now that unemployment is sitting (officially) at 68%. Most believe it to be much higher. The problem with AI and automation is that computers and robots don’t buy groceries, eat out, buy clothes, travel, or go on holiday. Not as much money circulates in the economy anymore. John’s first priority has to be with his immediate family, so he was about to break the bad news to his brother-in-law. Hopefully, he would understand. But having said that, his brother-in-law used to joke, “at least you’ve got a job for life.” How wrong he was. Now the only breadwinner in the wider family is in the same boat as everybody else, except John, has a lot more debt. They will lose everything: their home, car, furniture. Possibly, the shirt on his back.

Here’s the problem I face. On the one hand, I have no hesitation in condemning John’s lack of action. On the other, I feel sorry for him and believe there must be something I’m missing. What stops an intelligent, caring individual from taking timely action? If he had the hindsight I now write with; I’m sure he would have been actively involved in introducing social and economic reform. I’m convinced he would have become involved during his early university days. He would not have left himself, and his family unprotected from this nightmare. But he didn’t. I must be missing something. John is an intelligent person. He is also a caring person. Despite being fully aware of the problems and possible solutions, he did nothing to bring about change. Why? He seemed to think it was somebody else who would have to fix the problems. This doesn’t make sense to me. As a result, I’m finding it difficult to feel any sympathy for him, despite the bleak future he faces. He knew, and he did nothing, so he’s equally responsible as those who mercilessly decimated the labour market, knowingly causing social and economic havoc. In legal terms, that’s referred to as “an accessory after the facts,” making him as guilty as those who committed the “crime” of decimating the labour market and economy.

It would appear that John believed he lived in a bubble. He must have thought that as long as his bubble remained secure, he and his family would be safe. All he need do was maintain the bubble, and his future was assured. If he knew that bubble would burst only sixteen years from him entering university, he would have fought tooth and nail for social and economic reform. Clearly, John thought his bubble would never burst, or only when he had retired. As soon as the U-BEscopic was introduced, he should have seen it meant the beginning of the end. Perhaps he did, but realised he had left his disagreement with the state of the economy too late. However, if that were true, then he would not have reacted in the way he did – surprised and horrified, when he learnt he had lost his job.

So why do intelligent people like John and you, live in a bubble? I include you as well because had you also taken action, in the early 20’s we would not be facing the crisis of losing our last secure job, with no social or economic support in place. If you did respond, you probably left it too late. Either way, nothing has happened and we’re in a real pickle now.

The “bubble syndrome” affects most, if not all the rich elite. They believe their wealth will protect them in their bubble. In the past, this may have been true. However, by changing our circumstances so radically, this has changed everything. People who made a fortune from AI and robotics are now in the process of losing it all. Without the purchasing power of the masses, we have set off a downward economic cycle which doesn’t seem to be stopping. Like John, their bubble has burst.

It’s easy to be tolerant or unconcerned about matters which are unlikely to affect you. You tolerate mass job losses or unfair labour practices because they won’t affect you, or perhaps even benefit you. You tolerate or even support lenient immigration policies because the consequences are unlikely to affect you. You pay little attention to the suffering of others caused through economic downturn and their concomitant social problems because they don’t affect you. It would be an entirely different story if they affected you directly and seriously. When something is patently wrong and adversely affecting the majority of your fellow citizens, I believe you are duty-bound to take action, even while you remain unaffected.


Copyright

Copyright © Adrian Mark Dore, 2022, Bristol, UK.

The moral rights of the author have been established.

This book and any part of it may be copied and disseminated provided the author is acknowledged as the author and that it conforms to the publication rights and guidelines of the publisher ValueWalk.

Disclaimer

This is a work of fiction. Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents in this book are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

While the author has attempted to be as accurate and as truthful as possible in describing economic conditions and their outcomes, he can provide no guarantees for those following his guidelines.

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