Whim Delivery: A Thriving Industry Along the Great Resignation
System I: May you live in interesting time. Oh God do we
System II: Mmm. You know what you said is an ancient Chinese curse, right?
System I: But, today, I can order whims and have them delivered in no time! What a time of plenty! What interesting times!
System II: Patience, young grasshopper. Let me explain.
In the past 15 years, we have lived in two of the three most extreme economic crises, and one of the two major pandemics since steam engines changed history.
Today, we live along the Great Resignation. A time where many of us are redefining the way we want to live our lives. A time of redefinition is common after a pandemic. Indeed, the black death was one of the major sources of improvement for laborers in history. That is for the ones who survived.
We live it now as well. Three years ago, few of us would think of "needing to go to the office" as a reason to quit. If we were to ask this question today, as we wait for our Amazon packages to arrive and we sit in our sweat pants and leggings, we would see many a colleague nodding their heads in Zoom, Going to work become a reason to quit.
Our society is changing, and if history is to provide guidance, good things might come ahead. There is a lot of ground to cover though. In 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that "in a 100 year's time" the one person working outside the household, would be working a total of 15 hours a week. It is comical how off he was, considering that everything else he wrote in his essay was mostly true (decrease of labor intensive jobs, emergence of leisure, etc.).
Caste is a good explanatory factor to explain why Keynes dream of "economic possibilities for [his] grandchildren" failed. Today, people in the upper caste can decide whether they like their jobs, resign if needed and find a cushy better job at the end of the rainbow tunnel. Lower caste members get fired and nail their way out precarity. The number of jobs is conserved, Keynes dream is kept two generations away, our society becomes more unequal. Oh progress you inhumane yet cozy wretch.
As an example, let's take the rise of a new labor intensive industry along the Great Resignation. During the past year, our needs for having goods delivered has increased. It is a blessing of our society that systems exist to maintain our world running as we flew from our offices to our couches.
Yet, in the past months, we have seen the rise of a new form of delivery. That is the form of delivery that started this essay: whim delivery in no time. This form of delivery employs the prowess of our computers and the precarity of lower caste people to make our whims come true. It also covers up the hoard of unemployed and unskilled workers we have in our society.
Instead of giving this people social support in the form of employment, education, and so on, we ask them to bike to our place and we pay them by the minute they pedal to deliver to our clients. Nothing in their lives improved, other than fact that hunger is staved off. That said, whims were delivered in no time. Wuhu!
The inequality of a person getting their whims delivered on the shoulders of lower caste members of society is a tragic development. We do live in the Great Resignation, but can we truly imagine that the people who deliver our whims ever had the chance to be resign and found self actualization by delivering whims?
System II (cont.): No. Ergo wrong, but hey, sweat shops are an emprically validated signal of a society on the advent of economic prosperity. I would love to be wrong and see some light in the finsternis of this new developments. But I won't hope to strongly.