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Presentation: Will our children be poorer than us?

No, because technological progress will produce a cornucopia of goods and services.

Posted 15 November 2017. Talk delivered 13 November 2017

This question has often been asked since the global financial crisis which began in 2007 and reached its culmination in 2008, to be followed by the euro crisis.

I have always regarded the thinking behind this question as very misguided, which is why I wrote my 2014 piece "Richer than Pharaoh?"

I was recently asked by Ibstock Place School to address their sixth form. As I was able to pick my own topic, I decided to address this question, while turning it around to ask it from the perspective of the pupils.

I explained that they face a life with abundant goods and services, where most people may never need to work. However the challenge becomes how to make your life meaningful, since people have always defined themselves by their jobs.

I recorded the talk, and you can watch it below.

Will you be poorer than your parents?

I began by giving my personal background to ensure that the pupils could put my views into context. I then looked at the history of UK incomes, and have reproduced my slide below with some annotations to make it easier to follow the video below.

The presentation can be watched below.

"The Naked Sun" by Isaac Asimov

In the presentation, I make the point that once robots can make other robots, the future that awaits is one of material abundance. In particular, I refer to the society on the planet Solaria that Isaac Asimov envisaged in his science fiction detective novel "The Naked Sun."

As well as helping us to think about possible futures, the novel is an excellent read, and I have never forgotten it since I first read it as a teenage.


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