Alan Watts on guilt, money, automatization… and a society with less jobs

In this beautiful lecture, Alan Watts goes through the relationship between protestantism (Weber revisited), money, jobs, and automatization. It is incredible that he delivered this lecture decades ago when it sounds so fresh. I would rescue for the purpose of this blog these ideas: that machines are to save man from labor, and that money should be given by the State to the people so that they can buy the products of the factory (a basic income).

I wish Watts went on further to explain how a society where people had no jobs would look like, what would be of those people, how they would form their identities, what would substitute the life goal of making money, goal for the majority of people. As Voltaire, or Vonnegut, put it taking about religion, one cannot take God from the unillustrated man without creating an unbearable vacuum on him. The question is not only how people will feed themselves, but most importantly perhaps is to ask what will substitute money when no more jobs are available and people cannot live for the money race anymore. How will be a society without “God”.

Based on the lecture I do not think he contemplated the possibility of a society with no jobs, but rather he imagined certain proportion of the manufacture industry workers been unemployed. Anyways, Watts at his best, a wise man.


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