Anti-Work and Leftist Lutheran Theology: An Overview, by Luke St. Peter

Note from Doreen: My good friend Luke has kindly offered to post their thoughts on theology and the anti-work philosophy I’ve been writing about for years now. I’m happy to post their well-crafted ideas here, but this should not be taken as a full endorsement of their beliefs. For example, I am not a Lutheran, much less a theist. Yet, this site has had a big gap in its comments on the ties between theology and anti-work philosophy except to criticize the Puritan Work Ethic. My hope is that this great essay by Luke will help fill in that gap, if only just a little. Thanks for reading!
Source:, Ken Ellis and Robert Wuensche/Chronicle

Because of COVID-19, we have seen that workplaces are finally offering better wages and benefits to their employers so as to help open them back up as the Feds, States, localities, and businesses move forward. One benefit that hasn’t been considered is an anti-work job environment. To discuss the arguments for, and the benefits of, an anti-work outlook from a Leftist Lutheran perspective, we shall see what has hitherto been the case for the Protestant Work Ethic. Then, we shall then see Leftist Lutheran arguments in favor of the Leisure and Work Ethics and why this fits with the communal economics implicitly prescribed, and explicitly described, of the Christian Church in Scripture. Lastly, we shall see how exercising the Leisure and Work Ethics in the current climate will affect the climate moving forward.

First, let us first address the commonly called the Protestant Work Ethic, also popularly known as the Puritan Ethic. I would more appropriately name this the Calvinist Work Ethic, for it is popular among the various Christian Reformed (Calvinist) Churches. The basic idea proposed by Calvin is this: We are all predestined in this life and in the afterlife to be certain places and to do certain things. Since this is the case, we really have no control over the scheme of things, including whether or not we happen to be saved – the Lord has determined from the beginning of time who specifically wind up in either Heaven or Hell in the afterlife.  Therefore, no faith is truly our own, but rather a symbol from the Lord himself that we are saved. If a person loses their faith, their faith was never true from the beginning; this means they were determined from the beginning to go to Hell.[i]

Within the span of a few generations, many – not all, but many – Calvinist theologians proposed that faith + earthly blessings = heavenly blessings. This was never proposed by Calvin himself; even still, it was proposed by a large swath of Calvinist theologians and remains a part of many Calvinist churches to this day. This proposal caused Calvinist lay folks to work hard, because that seemed the only “earthly” conclusion to gain earthly blessings. Out of this we get the sayings “A penny saved is a penny earned” and “Idle hands are the Devil’s Playground.” To a Calvinist, if the Lord ordained me with faith, He also ordained me with a hard work ethic to gain earthly blessings to show the world through my hard work ethic and through my earthly blessings that I am saved. He also blessed me with a generous heart to share with others my blessings while still retaining my blessed status.[ii] This work ethic is harmful in the long run for one’s physical, mental, and spiritual health.[iii] This particular strain of Calvinist theology is the source of viewing the poor as inferior, and implicitly bound for Hell. We see this theology as the root of the Prosperity Gospel theology, which drives mainline evangelicals now, which is the most common type of American out there.

In comes Lutheranism, at the same time as Calvin, saying that salvation comes from faith alone, regardless of one’s earthly blessings or good works. Humans can passively accept faith from the Holy Spirit (G-d the Mother), or actively reject it. This determines our salvation. While good works are not necessary for salvation, if we have a true faith, then good works will blossom. We’ll still sin at times, just as a good tree may produce bad fruit at times; however, just as we determine a tree to be good because the majority of its fruit is good, we determine Christians to be Christians with true faith because the majority of their acts towards their neighbor is good. Martin Luther (1483-1547) is quoted to have said, G-d doesn’t need your good works, but you neighbor does.[iv]

An example of such a good work is an employer providing mercy to their workers through leisure. In the words of Luther, who wrote to Phillip Melancthon in order that the former would advise latter against too much work: G-d is also served through leisure and through nothing more than leisure. For this reason, it is His will that the Sabbath is kept above other days. Do not forget that! It is the Word of God that I am writing you.[v] While Luther specifically mentioned the Sabbath, he was by no means otherwise advocating for continuous hard work from dawn until dusk every day until the Sabbath. He saw a need for leisure every day, not just the Sabbath.

Thus, we see the difference between Calvinism and Lutheranism immediately: Lutheranism leaves more time for leisure than Calvinism. In Calvinism, we see that constant work produces more earthly blessings in the form of wealth, which is symbolic of more heavenly blessings. In Lutheranism, we see that work balanced out with leisure is best for one’s spiritual, physical, and mental health – even when one’s work, as was the case with Melancthon, is for the Lord! Since work measured out by appropriate leisure is supported by Best Practice science[vi], Luther gets it right and Calvinist theologians get it wrong.

Let us not forget to provide meaningful labor. To quote Luther, The maid who sweeps her kitchen is doing the will of G-d just as much as the monk who prays – not because she may sing a Christian hymn as she sweeps but [rather] because G-d loves clean floors.  The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because G-d is interested in good craftsmanship.[vii] In short, to quote Hugh Whelchel in How Then Should We Work: According to Luther, We respond to the call to love our neighbor by fulfilling the duties associated with our everyday work.[viii]

With that said, to define productive work strictly is impossible. Productive work looks different in each line of work. Productive work at the vehicular assembly plant looks different from productive work at a health insurance company, which looks different from productive work at a coffee shop. For what can be properly said of work, productive work can be best defined as labor to provide a quality product or service within reasonable time constraints for that specific individual and staff and with time allotted for appropriate, quality, and timely leisure for maximized production. For each circumstance, this looks different, but the basics are all the same. So, if leisure or work is maximized to such an extent that production is minimized, then the employees can find a balance that allows for all that. It must also be considered that Christ told his disciples: Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful[ix]. Since appropriate leisure is necessary at work to optimize functionality[x], and since overwork is unmerciful, the merciful act of scientific Best Practice in this case would be to provide appropriate leisure, which well then serve to optimize performance.

This Leisure and Work Ethics argued by Leftist Lutheranism is summarily consisted in the preceding two paragraphs, and can have this motto: Quality Work for the Love of Others, Quality Leisure for the Love of Self. Thus, all leisure and no willingness for production is immoral; as well, all work and no leisure is immoral. An allegorical example of this is the Creation Story.[xi] In this story, the Lord rests on the seventh day and thus establishes the Sabbath, a day dedicated to rest and holiness; as well, He also takes rests during each day of creation. We are not given the specifics of how He rests versus producing Creation, so there’s no set schedule for leisure and work; this lack of specifics accepts that the application of the Leisure and Work Ethics is different for each individual and in each setting, but is still a necessary ethic to have. In short, if the Lord regularly rested during Creation in said story, then that indicates we need rest, too, for similar reasoning is used in establishing the Sabbath[xii]. Thus, included in good works is allowing your employee to have proper leisure during a shift. The fact that this is also backed by Best Practice science[xiii] indicates that the Lord intended us to rest.

Because of how the Leisure and Work Ethics operates, while suited for secular societies[xiv], it is also well suited for Christian libertarian left societies. Acts 2:42-47[xv], paraphrased, reads that the Early Church was formed as a communal society, where their slogan could be from each individual according to their ability, capability, and capacity, and to each individual according to their needs for holistic well-being of the gestalt of said individual. With this slogan, we can see that while the Early Christians held true, generally, that those who are unwilling to work don’t eat[xvi], it also held true that working at ability, capability, and capacity recognizes that each individual is different when it comes to productive work. Also, because these verses base the standard on willingness, this addresses those who, out of any control over their own, cannot produce as much as they want – or none at all, though they want to do so. It does so by implying that lack of opportunity despite willingness is not immoral. It does so by also implying that productivity of one over the other makes one superior not. This implication is because no verse says “he who doesn’t work” or “he who doesn’t work enough,” but instead simply says “he who is unwilling to work”.

In other words, Scripture protects those who have no opportunity for work, but are willing to work, by having their needs met from the community. As well, productive work is different for each individual, but at no point does Scripture say to deny anyone their needs, but rather protects them. Production is not the standard in Scripture, but willingness. This is why Christ implores us to be loving and merciful[xvii], especially more so to orphans, widows, and the poor, who are willing but inopportune, reiterating what’s been found in the Old Testament, even to the destruction of Sodom.[xviii] This solves the free-rider problem while maintaining that an insufficient number of jobs in a specific community doesn’t mean the unemployed yet willing are unduly hurt.

The notion that left libertarianism is the best system here is reinforced by the verses presented from Acts, which let us know implicitly that the Early Christian communities were not only communal but also confederal. While there was no strong central authority, there was general agreement at the time on what constituted canon and what constituted proper theology. As early as the first century, we find evidence in Acts and elsewhere that these communities were, for the most part, coming to the same conclusions on what constituted heresy and who were ex-communicated. Even Peter, and Apostle and a disciple of Christ, was called out for his heresy, and he repented[xix]. To bring back Acts 2, we see how everything was held in common. It wasn’t until the centralization a couple centuries later when Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire that problems started to arise and communal economics went to the wayside.[xx] Had Christianity stayed the track of grassroots conversion that they had before that, we would’ve seen many communities operating with communal economics, not individual economics, and we’d be significantly closer to libertarian left politics than we are now.

Since we can’t have a libertarian left economy now, we shall discuss whether the implementation of the Leisure and Work Ethics in the current economic framework would work. While this may initially strain relations between employees and employers, it may be that once employers see the maximized efficiency that will inevitably happen, the strain may be loosened, and may make our capitalist economy somewhat better as a whole. This is especially true in a pandemic environment, when maximum efficiency is more of a necessity with a lighter labor load. At certain work places in the current environment, tensions may increase and stay at a certain level permanently, or increase even more beyond that. In these cases, if the Leisure and Work Ethics are widespread enough, employees will leave for better work environments or create co-ops where they can. This will either cause the employer to better their work conditions, or cease to exist for lack of employees. While we should fight for a Leisure and Work Ethics in the current environment, it should also be promoted as part of a local, provincial, national, and international libertarian left economic structure (and this would include specifically a Lutheran libertarian left economic structure in one or more specific municipalities for those municipalities wishing to have one).

[i]       Weber, Max (2003) [First published 1905]. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by Parsons, Talcott. New York: Dover. ISBN 9780486122373.

[ii]      Ibid







[ix]    Luke 6:36, EHV


[xi]    Genesis 1 & 2

The Lord is known for spreading parables and allegories throughout the Bible – known since the Church Fathers – but sometimes, the question exists whether something in Scripture constitutes empirical fact vs. parable or allegory. To answer that question in a basic way that really doesn’t allow for nuance or exceptions (which there are of both), if there’s a large gathering of scientific evidence rendering such fact impossible, then we can assume it’s an allegory. In such things where there’s little to no scientific evidence on the matter, we can assume it’s either an allegory or parable only, or both an allegory or parable and empirical fact.

[xii]   God blessed the seventh day and set it apart as holy, because on it he rested from all his work of creation that he had done. – Genesis 2:3, EHV

Remember the Sabbath day by setting it apart as holy. Six days you are to serve and do all your regular work, but the seventh day shall be a sabbath rest to the Lord your God. Do not do any regular work, neither you, nor your sons or daughters, nor your male or female servants, nor your cattle, nor the alien who is residing inside your gates, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. In this way the Lord blessed the seventh day and made it holy. – Exodus 20:8-11, EHV


[xiv]  Ibid 

[xv]   They continued to hold firmly to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of the bread, and to the prayers. Awe came over every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They were selling their possessions and property and were distributing the proceeds according to what anyone needed. Day after day, with one mind, they were devoted to meeting in the temple area, as they continued to break bread in their homes. They shared their food with glad and sincere hearts, as they continued praising God and being viewed favorably by all the people. Day after day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. – Acts 2:42-47, EHV

[xvi]  We instruct you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to avoid every brother who is walking idly and not in accordance with the teaching that you received from us. In fact, you yourselves know how necessary it is for you to imitate us, because we were not idle among you. We never ate anyone’s bread without paying for it. Instead, with labor and hardship we worked night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you. This was not because we lacked authority, but to provide an example for you to imitate. In fact, when we were with you, this was our command to you: If anyone does not want to work, he should not eat. Indeed, we hear that some among you are idle, not busy working, but being busybodies. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we command and urge these people to work quietly and eat their own bread. – 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12, EHV

[xvii] The Gospel of Luke is a perfect example of this, which is why it’s known as “the Gospel of Charity”.

[xviii]        As I live, says the Lord God, your sister Sodom along with her daughters has not done what you have done along with your daughters. Look, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: Pride, overindulgence in food, and complacent ease were the way for her and her daughters, and she failed to strengthen the hands of the poor and needy. They were haughty, and they committed abominations in my presence, and so I removed them when I saw it. – Ezekial 16:48-50, EHV

[xix]    Found in Acts 15:6-21

[xx]   Gibbon, E. (1790). The history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire: By Edward Gibbon, Esq. London: Printed for A Strahan.

Barro Is Wrong: You Should Not Bring Any Part of Yourself to Google


A few years ago James Damore was fired from Google for harboring sexist attitudes and declaring in a memo harmful statements concerning the supposed biological differences between men and women. Damore also spoke on the limits of his speech under Google and that the company was responsible for “reverse discrimination” in an effort to curb discrimination itself. Needless to say this brought controversy to Google and a huge social media firestorm started because of Damore’s memo and Google’s response. Was Google in their right to fire Damore? Was Damore making any solid points even though he was clearly a sexist asshole? (Yes and no, respectively)

There are many other possible questions to the possibility of “echo chambers” a phrase that right-wing folks like to use concerning the left a lot. But of course, when leftists oust others because of serious ideological disputes or particular actions then the left is “cannibalizing itself” so ya know, you can’t win either way. But anyways, Damore isn’t the focus of this article, just the backdrop.

Specifically for this article by Josh Barro on Business Insider which sounds promising from the get-go: Google is wrong: You should not ‘bring your whole self to work’. Unfortunately, this is an article I judged by its title alone. Note to self: At least give something (especially an article from Business Insider) at least a cursory glance before adding it to my Abolish Work to-do list.

Then again, having wholly negative articles on this site isn’t such a bad thing. I can’t be positive all the time and sometimes it’s good to rip into an article as I’ve done in the past.

Here is one such article.

When I first read the title I was like, “Ooh! Someone finally understands that work shouldn’t be all there is to your life! And from Business Insider? Wow! Plus hating on Google is pretty cool.”

But then reading the article, well…

But in Damore’s defense, his employer did tell him to bring his whole self to work – and as The Wall Street Journal reported this week, he was hardly the only Googler bringing his politics to work.

Don’t these people have work to do? Maybe they’d be able to better focus on their jobs if they left more of themselves at home.

As a side note: Business Insider makes me have to type these words since it limits how much I can copy or paste per passage. It also forbids me from accessing its site without Ad Blocker (though I got around this via an alternative link) so basically: Heck you and your business model/site.

More to the point though this is not the angle I thought this article was going to take. I thought that Barro was going to tackle how all-encompassing Google asks their employees to behave when under their contracts. I figured this article would attack the notion of work-life balance that Google sees as an impediment to its employees productivity. And I reasoned that although no hardcore anti-work sentiments would arise from this article it’d at least be nice to see.


Instead, this article is clamoring for people to leave their politics (you know, those pesky principles of theirs) back at home. Union concerns got you down? Leave it at home! Worried about  discrimination? Back at your house! Thinking about how your boss has been behaving around you lately? Keep it where you live! Basically, ignore issues of power, of disparities in influence, of organizational mechanics within the gigantic corporation you work for. You know, one of the biggest corporations globally and one that literally invented an alternative verb for “search”.

How are you supposed to leave their ideologies at the door when corporations are defined by people with certain worldviews? The people who build corporations are the rich executives making a killing off an economic system that, itself, makes a killing. These people are not agnostic rational individuals who are merely acting for their own self-interest or for the benefit of their employees. They also have very particular principles and ways of implementing them within the larger economy. And these principles and actions affect people materially; doesn’t that matter?

But, that has to be pushed aside because politics is too “bitter, distracting and ever-present” according to Barro. Well, yes, I do actually feel a bit bitter and distracted when (for example) the ever-present threat of transphobia is all around me and makes me nervous to present how I would like to in the workplace or go into a particular bathroom or just be myself. Of course politics are ever-present because they have always been ever-present.

What is so different about now?

The answer is, of course, social media. Politics are just more obvious but that doesn’t mean they weren’t always there before. We had newspapers, political TV shows, magazines that were political, unions in much earlier decades of America, etc. It’s just much harder to ignore that politics is involved with almost every aspect of our lives and that it shouldn’t be ignored. Especially if you are working for a gigantic corporation that is notoriously anti-union!

One [of the two incompatible impulses in society today] is an increased sense that political views are central to personal morality – if you have the wrong ideas like Damore, then you’re a bad person, or at least a person one should not have to interact with.

The second impulse is because politics are so important, it must be discussed everywhere. And because everything is at least somewhat political in some way, we must interrogate the politics of everything so we can fix the structural injustices that exist in society everywhere.


The idea that men are women are so biologically different that women should be treated a certain way as opposed to men is literally sexism and that is a bad thing?

Treating women differently than men for arbitrary reasons that have nothing to do with their own behaviors is harmful because it dissuades women from taking part or being more active in their lives. It makes them blame themselves for the sexist actions of men (like Damore) and harms their self-esteem. Of course, some women won’t be harmed by it because they’re numb to this kind of sexism (this isn’t good either by the way) or because they themselves have internalized misogyny, but that doesn’t stop it from harming some which is, you know, bad.

And yes, sometimes that means you have to cut off dialogue with folks who are actively harmful to you, unreasonable or you know it won’t go anywhere positive or productive. I thought America was all about freedom of association? Isn’t knowing when to cut and run a good thing for conversations? Wouldn’t you rather political conversation be made up of folks who know their worth, their boundaries and how to best enforce them when it comes to conversations? I know that’s the kind of world I want and hopefully it’s the world we’re steadily getting closer to.

Lastly, interrogating the politics of everything so we can solve the structural injustices within society sounds awesome. Sign me up! In what universe does that strike someone as bad?

Combine the two impulses and it becomes impossible … [to] do business together

If someone is making you uncomfortable you have no obligation to stick around them. If they are making many people uncomfortable those people don’t have to let that person stick around in their community if they’d rather them go elsewhere. Exclusion is actually just as important as inclusion in certain cases where the discomfort isn’t just discomfort but stems from a real sense of injustice and harm that is being done to the community (intentionally or not).

When you find out your co-worker keeps talking badly about Muslims in your office and about how bad immigration hurts “Our Great Country” and it bothers you, you should speak up about that! You shouldn’t just let racists be racists, you should actively curate your space so its safer for people from all backgrounds. And to be clear, I’m not saying “of all backgrounds” in a neutral way. Being “racist” for your background isn’t a neutral position, it’s an actively negative one.

At work, agreeing to disagree should be especially easy, because we can just agree to not talk about a lot of the not-especially-work-related matters that divide us.

But no, this isn’t easy at all. There are some jobs where this is impossible for example if you are involved in a political campaign. But even your typical manufacturing job, factory job or retail and food service jobs, you have issues of power and politics abound. Issues of who gets paid what and why, issues of how you relate to your co-workers and your boss. There are issues of where your building is located (e.g. is it disability accessible? accessible to the poor? does it cater to underprivileged communities?) and how you best serve your customers and make them feel safe.

And that sense of safety for both customers and co-workers (ideally there shouldn’t be bosses, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic) means tackling our different visions of the world. It means confronting issues of pay, of benefits (especially health insurance) and the disparities between workers and bosses. It means having those tough conversations, not burying our heads in the sand. The fact of the matter is that we can’t ignore politics in our day to day lives and in trying to do so, we only assert that apolitical attitudes are the best political method for progress.

Much as they wish otherwise, liberals are not going to be able to reeducate the entire working force into having the right, woke ideas, and banish those who resist.

I’m not even a liberal and I think this is a terrible take. Sometimes you do need to remove people from your community to make it safer and to help allow others to get better work done. That doesn’t mean you ex-communicate anyone. I agree things like “cancel culture” can always find the wrong targets but there are also plenty of good targets that haven’t nearly been affected enough by this “banishment” (Chris Brown is a great example).

There are better ways forward than just “cancelling” people but when they’ve been given multiple chances (as I know from experience) and show little to no growth, sometimes the best thing to do is build your community without them involved in it. It’s not a decision that should be taken lightly and I think transformative and restorative justice are often superior, but it should be an option.

And, well, here’s the kicker:

It starts with talking less and smiling more.

Okay, Kilgrave.

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John Oliver from Last Week Tonight on Automation


John Oliver has been a (somewhat) compelling individual when it comes to the news for a while now. He’s lost much of his charm for me throughout the years as I find his jokes do more to hurt his message than help and I also find the Daily Show style presentation outdated. Nevertheless there’s no denying he can be (at least at times) funny and insightful. Sometimes he even uses his platform on a given topic to give money tthat does good work or otherwise brings attention to folks who he thinks could use the attention (for better or worse).

This video on automation recorded in the first half of 2019 is another video I’ve had on my Watch Later list for a while now. I was never making it a priority to get around to since I always had more compelling articles to analyze, movies to watch, chapters of books to review, etc. But now that I’ve finally watched it I can tell you that my time away from the video didn’t end up mattering much.

The best part of this video is also its worst: It’s a very 101 video on automation; what it is and why it both is and isn’t as scary as pundits try to make it. I already knew a lot of this information and in fact seeing David Autor I was reminded of John Danaher’s excellent articles addressing Autor on automation, all three of which you can find here.

That being said, given I’ve restarted the site and I don’t have any posts (technically) on automation, this may make a solid general introduction for folks reading this site!

Oliver starts the program making the point that kids are often asked about what kind of job they want when they grow up. This is part of our culture’s obsession with work and having it be crucial to our sense of identity. If you don’t know what you want to be adults might look at you disapprovingly or perhaps remind you that you’re still young (so why ask?) and you may figure it out later! If both of these responses seem unhelpful to you that’s probably because the whole conversation is unhelpful for all involved. You are asking a child what they want to do with their lives. By some estimates, that part of our brains aren’t fully developed till our mid-twenties!

This doesn’t mean we can’t ask kids tough questions or that kids cannot take responsibility for their actions, but that we need to give kids more autonomy to figure that out for themselves.

At any rate, Oliver notes that many folks believe that automation is a “huge part” of job loss in the US especially. But the reality is much more complicated than that with only some jobs actually being taken away from workers. Oliver uses an example that I believe Autor uses as well, the rise of the ATM and the feared decline of the bank teller. Back in the 80s when ATMs were becoming popular, many bank tellers feared the loss of their jobs. But instead of losing their jobs, their jobs simply changed to involve other operations within a bank.

In addition, even when it is true that jobs are being lost, Oliver smartly points out that this can at times be a good thing. Don’t we want less loggers falling out of trees and hurting themselves? Wouldn’t we want industries where workplace injuries are currently rampant to trend downwards so more people wouldn’t get hurt? It’s an intuitive reason to automate for sure.

But automation can also be done for more capitalistic reasons such as profits and the rate of production within a given company. There’s a trend amongst CEOs praising the rise of automation because it’ll allow them to fire more workers and increase the pay for those left over or, better yet, keep it the same and increase profits and production for the whole company.

As Oliver notes, who controls the rise of automation is also very important and right now we have some no-so-intelligent leadership in the White House. But even if we did we still live under capitalism, a point Oliver, of course, doesn’t mention given his liberal tendencies. This economic reality means that automation is ultimately being done to better serve capital, not labor!

There’s also a study that was thrown around a few years ago about 50% or more jobs being automated, but as usual it was a study taken out of context by news sources. What the study was actually documenting was whether jobs fell into the high risk category, which is different from an all-but-guaranteed-automation. And again, even when automation does happen there is the complimentary effect which Autor and Danaher have discussed in the links above, check it out.

On top of that there are jobs that may exist in 50 years or so that we could never imagine. Oliver uses the example of how agriculture has shrunk to a shadow of its former selves. America used to be dominated by independent and small-scale farmers but overtime due to mechanical automation and improvements, the huge size of agriculture became less and less necessary.

Many feared what would happen to the farmers and their equipment but many just found jobs in the city. And now we have many jobs that those people could never have imagined such as coders, Youtubers, Uber drivers and much more. That said, the transition is not always easy from one industry to another. Oliver points out that older truckers are not going to suddenly start coding, despite the threat of losing their jobs thanks to machine learning and self-driving cars.

So what do we do about them?

Oliver mentions tax increases, federal funding for retaining for those who lose their jobs and teaching the young a different strategy. Instead of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You can instead ask them, “What five things do you want to do when you grow up?” which seems much more reasonable given many people don’t have careers in 2020, just a series of jobs.

Whatever the end result of automation Oliver is surely right that it isn’t going to stop anytime soon and that we all need to be better prepared for it and educated about it. Maybe in the process of bettering our strategies surrounding automation, we can also challenge capitalism?

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