Originally Posted by someone123
I don't know how much will be passed down on average (I suspect that lenders will be able to swindle a LOT of money out of baby boomers before they pass it on to their kids), but as you say there will definitely be winners and losers. I know lots of 20-somethings who had their parents buy them a condo. The ones who don't have extra help are pretty much out of luck, at least in a market like Vancouver's. It seems like in some ways we are moving backward to the time when one's standard of living had more to do with who they were related to than what they accomplished on their own. That is a very unfair and inefficient way of doing things.
Completely agreed. A return to an inherited aristocracy is one of my bigger fears with society's recent trends. It's also why I argue for an inheritance tax, but I get crucified because people think it's their god-given right to spoil their middle-aged children. It's also, incidentally, why housing prices keep rising out of proportion to incomes - when Mom and Dad cover off a large chunk of your downpayment, you can afford to spend much more for the same property.
I think there are even more fundamental problems that will continue to get worse. Demand for human labour will fall, but we still have an economy and society based on the idea of people working to earn money to pay for basic necessities. To some degree we have gotten around this change by shuffling people off into service industries, but eventually people are relegated to work of lesser and lesser importance.
I think Canada needs to move toward a system where there is still an incentive to work and get a good education, but where nobody must work to have a good living standard. The corollary that will freak people out is that some people will get big government cheques for sitting around all day. I don't actually think that will be a problem when their consumer goods are all coming from factories full of robots.
This is not quite the situation today but it's coming very soon. In another 10-15 years we won't really need human drivers, for example. There will probably be lots of backlash and instead of embracing the new technology that could make everybody wealthier we will have a turf war between labour, which will be irrelevant, and companies that could potentially run off with the lion's share of social benefit from a new technology they did not create. I can imagine absurd compromises where we pay bus drivers to do pointless work because we just cannot break out of the employment model.
Yup, yup, yup, yup, yup. I work, rather proudly, in an industry dedicated to automation (IT). Which at its core is about putting people out of work. Robotics is just the physical/manufacturing side of what I do. Primarily, I put accountants and secretaries out of work. The problem is that a lot of people see this as a threat, because we still tie work with survival. I used to scoff at it, but I suspect in my lifetime we will see a guaranteed living wage for every person in Canada. And anything else, as you say, will be incentivized.
Honestly, right now there's a need for maybe 20% of what the average white-collar worker does. The rest of their "work" is spent in pointless meetings, filling out paperwork that goes nowhere, and other make-work projects designed to make us feel "important" and "useful". A company would make the same amount of profit if its employees did far less than they do today, but focussed on actual productive work. However this threatens too many people's ideals, so instead we invent things to do. We'll soon see another wave of this in manufacturing, and eventually society will have to realize that not everyone can work in the service industry. We will have to accept that our basic needs can be met with extremely little work by most people. And those that choose to work will do it out of choice, not to avoid starvation.
A utopian ideal, sure. But one that I see large glimpses of every day. I know extremely few white collar workers who are "productive" 40 hours a week. Of course, this is also why the "1%" will continue to accrue wealth, while the gap between the rest of us widens - there simply isn't the NEED for all of us to work like we used to, in order to live like we used to. What's happening more and more is that the excess wealth being generated by pointless work is being funneled to the 1%.