Not as much looking for opinions as much as I am presenting a springboard concept for story ideas. Do we have a category for that?

In a post-scarcity economy, a great deal of learned social behaviors would need to go away. Food and services are readily available, so there's no need to work to survive, especially not the minimum-wage kind of stuff that causes the most stress.

People would need to get over the idea that they NEED to work for a living, and that just accepting a check (metaphorically speaking) is somehow shameful. That drive to "provide" will slowly be replaced by a drive to better oneself, or perhaps for many people, just finding ways to fill all this new leisure time.

Of all the social constructs that center around work and supporting a family, what habits do you think would be the hardest to get over, and perhaps more importantly, which ones could make for the most interesting story?

For example, hoarding. I've heard of endless stories about refugee children being adopted and still taking extra food from the dinner table and hiding it for later. Taken to the social extreme, I expect there'd be a fair number of people who have lived through too many rainy days to really believe things will never go south. So they begin taking as much food, materials, etc as they can, and squirreling it away. Children finding the hoards would be stuck with the question of what to do with it, but perhaps wondering (having been raised by these people) if perhaps Dad might have been on to something.

Trying to hold onto the "work is good" idea, we might see a rise in "Do it yourself" projects on a grand scale. Even though housing is readily available, there will be people who will see virtue in building a house from scratch. Some will buy kits for the manufacture, and some will attempt to make as much of the materials and tools themselves. The fact that this can be done because of a system that allows them the time to do it as a luxury, and not a necessity, is an irony most choose to ignore.

Any other ideas?


closed as too broad by Mołot, Secespitus, RonJohn, Chris M., Flummox May 7 '18 at 14:45

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    $\begingroup$ Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is an excellent exploration of this exact subject. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor May 7 '18 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ Question about hardest to change thing might be good, at least if you would describe what changes would actually be wanted. But "Any other ideas?" is quite broad invitation to brainstorming, something SE format is not good for. $\endgroup$ – Mołot May 7 '18 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ Plenty of people are already shameless about just accepting a check and not even trying to work. They don't spend their time trying to better themselves. I find it more plausible that the overwhelming majority of people will sit eating their bucket of lard while watching the next episode of "Ow, my balls!". Drive and ambition are rare traits (which is why there will always be inequality) - hardly a universal human characteristic that will be revealed if we just eliminate any purpose to making such an effort. $\endgroup$ – pluckedkiwi May 7 '18 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ Work is more that a way to provide food and shelter. Work provides status ("I'm a Senator!") and self-worth ("I'm proud of what I do"). Those are still valuations, worth pursuing, and worth money, even if the cost of food and shelter are much less. $\endgroup$ – user535733 May 7 '18 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ Remember that generally speaking post-scarcity societies aren't there are, almost, always some scarce resources, either material or temporal. $\endgroup$ – Ash May 7 '18 at 16:11

It depends on what you call 'post-scarcity'.

If some people still work to sustain others who don't

This is in a way what is happening now, where the gap between rich and poor is ever widening, but where the rich already have significant advantage - to the point where they don't actually physically or mentally need to do much in contrast to their poorer neighbours.

Throughout history there are many examples of an affluent leisurely 'aristocracy' or upper class that inherit wealth, rather than earn it, who spend their time jostling for status, acquiring more wealth or influence, supporting various political agendas for gain. This occurred most obviously in France before the French Revolution, Russia before the October Revolution, China before the Cultural Revolution. (You may see a pattern here)

The hardest habit in this case to discard is that of protecting your status against a future Revolution. Affluence consolidates and isolates - you will find they would group together into 'enclaves' as has historically occurred, they would want to live close to each other and further from lower class areas. Property is not the only isolationism, this will apply to the arts, music, education and political systems too.

Jostling for status then is the preoccupation of those in these situations - it is easy to be knocked off the perch if you don't have much status or wealth.

If all people don't work

Many have envisaged a future where technology replaces our need to work or do mundane tasks.

Specifically: although a dishwasher was thought to save us hours of washing dishes, so that we can spend this on leisure time, the reverse occurred. We actually found plenty to do in this 'saved time' and began to work more instead. Now, working hours are more than they ever have been.

This is because societal structures still exist - we still want to be more affluent than we are, so our leisure time is sacrificed to achieve this. We might be completely pampered, with every 'need' met, but like the aristocracy above, we will find ourselves jostling for status and position.

It's really because we are mammals

There is a lake in Japan, a hot spring. There is room for all monkeys in the lake, however for some reason a heirarchy was established - only those monkeys that were friends and mates of the upper class of males are in the lake, all others are out in the -30 degree cold. What can I say - we are mammals.


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