“Self-Generated” Livelihoods Are Back as Ways of Living Meaningful Lives
By Francisco Sagasti, FORO Nacional Internacional
The nature of opportunities to earn livelihoods, i.e. the way in which an individual gets access to the portion of what society produces that they need to realize their potential, will profoundly change due to the convergence of trends in technology, demography, environmental change and biological evolution. The historically recent trend of permanent “jobs”, or being “employed” by a private or public institution earning a steady salary, will fade away. In parallel, partly as choice and partly as necessity, so-called “self-generated” livelihoods will become both more possible with the advent of the “zero marginal cost” economy, and often a difficult imperative with the decline in the regenerative capacity of life-supporting ecosystems. Innovation in social institutions is needed to redirect their purpose towards creating a secure base and an equal opportunity framework for supporting everyone to live a meaningful life.
Technological, demographic and environmental shifts are leading to fewer opportunities to earn a steady salary, increasing the need to “self-generate” livelihoods and threatening to greatly increase inequality. We need innovation in our social institutions to ensure that everyone has a secure base and equal opportunity to live a meaningful life.
A livelihood is more than just a job. It is how an individual gets access to that portion of everything produced by society that they need to survive and realize their potential. Changes in the concept of livelihoods are emerging from a convergence of upheavals in technology, demography, environment and evolution.