Estimates differ, but most experts predict that automation and robots will have eliminated all but a handful of jobs in the United States by 2075. Somewhere between 50 and 300 paid positions will remain, most of them involving either alligator wrestling or ultimate fighting.
Not to worry.
You think it’s a coincidence that the recreational marijuana movement is gaining strength every month? There are now 10 states that have legalized recreational weed, and within a decade or two there won’t be a grocery store, nail salon, dry cleaners, bank branch, place of worship, DMV, or day care center in the country that doesn’t sell pot over the counter or in a vending machine. Public elementary and high schools, currently engaged in a Darwinian fight-to-the-death with private charter schools, will be enticing students with reduced-price lunches featuring Hemp Twizzlers. Struggling symphony orchestras, opera companies, and community-supported theater groups will offer season-renewal packages that include a gift certificate to Billy Bong’s Head Shop, a chain with more stores nationwide than Subway and McDonald’s combined.
The government knows that the day is not far off when the labor of the vast majority of us will no longer be needed to pedal the Big Wheel tricycle of our economy. They also know that increased alcohol consumption for the masses is not a good long-term solution to the problem of how to keep the hoi-polloi quiescent. Too many people become belligerent, mean, and violent when they get drunk. They yell, scream, slur, spit, beat their significant others, stop caring where they pee, and try to have sex with squirrels and chipmunks. In other words, they act like it’s Winter Carnival Weekend at a Dartmouth fraternity house. OK, maybe it’s just the men who do this. But still……
Of course, the pharmaceutical industry has tried to help out by providing opioids to the underclass, but the pesky side effect of death has not been good for public relations, at least in the short run.
On the other, hand, if everybody over the age of 5 is smoking marijuana, no one is going to care that paid employment is virtually nonexistent. You won’t have drunks bellowing “Why can’t I get a goddamn f**king job,” waving guns at people, and demanding a border wall. Instead, folks will simply inhale deeply, grin broadly, and whisper gently, “Whatever – it’s all good!” In most cases they won’t even see the need for an exclamation point.
So, bring on the robots.
Everything is going to be fine.
Really, it will.
Just pass me the Doritos, please.