Four things create value:
- Gross manipulation of matter and energy.
- Fine manipulation of matter and energy.
- Interacting with humans.
- Thinking of new things to do, and thinking of better ways to do things.
And let me know that, as far back as we can tell, your status and standard of living depends on (a) the value you directly add and (b) what you are able to grab (and persuade others that you are right to grab) from our joint-product common store.
In the past we have lived in a world that was—in spite of all the fears of the Physiocrats and the Luddites—a labor theory of value world, in the most value was created by labor, and the advances of technology and the accumulation of capital made labor more productive and valuable, not less. Why? Because the human ear–eye–brain –voice– hand was indispensable for creating value through (3) and (4), and a uniquely effective control system for accomplishing anything through (1) and (2).
That has ended for (1)—gross manipulation. That is ending for (2)—fine manipulation. we will crowd into three, but there will be so many of us trying to do so and the robots will be waiting for us there too what we do of (3)—interacting with humans—will be of little value as well. Only those of us lucky enough to find a way to do highly-compensated parts of (3) or able to do (4)—thinking of new things to do and better ways of doing things—will be able to rest our self-esteem and status on our contribution to society.
And the rest of us will try to find some way to draw from our joint-product common store, and to justify so drawing to ourselves and to others.