Overview Entrepreneurs in 2030
 
It must be acknowledged that unemployment will never be totally eradicated in our society, even if our economy now embarks upon the largest growth ever known in its history. Jobs will never simply emerge out of nothing. Robotization, informatics and globalisation have been their silent killers. We are faced with an economic breakdown and we have to be careful not to disadvantage ourselves in it. We (and our political leaders) must have the courage to disconnect from the fantasy that jobs can be created. There shouldn’t be more jobs. No. The ‘job’ as we know it is exactly the problem. We certainly don’t need more jobs. On the contrary, jobs should disappear. The definition of a job as a little boxed entity in which we can find a job description connected to a solid hourly work schedule and a variety of benefits guaranteed through governmental negotiation – such as pension rights, unemployment benefits and health insurance, plus taxes that are recouped both from employer and employee – is no longer useful. The whole job model should be abandoned, because it prevents us from looking forward at a time when there is no time to lose. There is plenty of work: we can divide it over smaller job packages, but the standard formula of benefits connected to it, should be abandoned.

Our economy is market-oriented. The market provides a lot of work, but no ‘jobs’: we have invented this concept. A market is a place where things are bought and sold. It’s a space for work without bounds, now providing fulltime and part-time jobs, then temporarily dwindling into unemployment. Sometimes the market place supplies work through freelance contracts or barter, sometimes via consultancy or micro-entrepreneurship. The trend of personalization fits this flexible work scheme, but standardization (standard wages, hours, job descriptions, pension rights, health insurance, unemployment benefits, work place ...) derives from an industrial work model that has long gone.

There is no doubt that kicking the habit of the job concept will be difficult. However, a world without jobs doesn’t necessarily mean a world without work. There is plenty of work, more even than there used to be, but the notion of a job, as it was conceived in the process of the industrial revolution, should be abandoned. We can start our own businesses. We can set up virtual companies (assembled from independent suppliers connected to one another through a joint product, a joint product strategy or a communication medium) or multiple companies at the same time; we can establish ourselves as an artist, we can work as ‘inplacement’ for an existing company; we can set-up our own transactions (real estate, project management ...) as a dealer; we can become consultant in our own area expertise; or we can work as a freelancer or as a part-time worker, all at the same time. We will no longer have ‘one job’ and we should not expect it to be so any longer. The word ‘job’ is only a hundred years old. Before that time, people had ‘work’ and this lasted for thousands of years, without difficulties worthy of mention. It should be possible to return to such a model.

There are, of course, disbelievers and sceptics who claim that jobs as we now know them will never cease to exist. Jobs bring bread on the table. They argue that a job equals friends, status, money, direction in life, productivity, future, security for old age. They say that an organisation does not function without a job (we must admit that they don’t function without it either). They mention that economy is a cyclic given and that jobs will return in time. Economy is indeed a cyclic concept and it provides more work, but not more jobs. To argue that jobs will return is as nonsensical as to claim that cotton nappies will return to replace diapers or that traditional postal services will replace e-mail services with a vengeance.

Such reactions are normal. They are triggered by denial, a typical phase in the psychological proces of dealing with loss. The phase will show in political and social reactions. Unions will ardently protest in a 19th century fashion and political fanatism will emerge. Xenophobia and isolationism will revive. We will be witness to unionists fighting over a place in the sun on the dekchairs of the Titanic, while the orchestra of politicians will continue to play from nine to five. Armies are said to always fight battles that have long gone, instead of the ones that lie in front of them.

But nothing can stop this evolution, because the conditions for the future have already been set out. The ‘job’ with its solid buildup of health insurance, pension rights, unemployment benefits, its standard scheme of hourly wages and workweek, is no longer realistic. The static connection to one employer for which the employee performs his whole life, drafted up in a contract with a defined job description, is dead. This idea is no longer viable in a market economy of knowledge societies.

The crisis we are facing is full of grand opportunities. The new work philosophy restores our nomadic freedom. We can go where we want, work or not work, schedule our own time, travel and see the world while we work. Soon we will have a number that’s unique and with which we can send and return information where, when and to who we want. We will finally find the time to see our kids grow up and to create an intimate bond with our family. We will be able to learn new concepts and to realize old dreams, and discover that it is not too late to learn when we are passionate about something. We will be filled with new energy to take important decisions, to work hard and to discover our selling skills. We will be strengthened by the certainty in ourselves and not by the certainty of a job position or a company that has given us a contract. Whatever the economy will bring, we will be able to pay our bills through the diverse activities we perform.

But first we will have to learn to live with the economic instability of freelancing work or company work. We will have to fight against our doubts and those of our friends and colleagues. We will have to learn to live with an existential solitude at first, as the network of colleagues will disappear and the MO (micro-entrepreneurs) movement has not yet been accepted and its infrastructure not yet standardized.

The world has always made the rich richer, the poor poorer, and it has provided those who needed it with luck and money. We may assume that the weak will be impacted the most under this large socio-economic change. However, this is the good news. There’s a bigger chance that this will not be the case. The loser of today may become the winner of tomorrow. Those who are wealthy now depend on the ‘job model’ that has given them gread advantages as opposed to others. They have built their life style on it. They have not known for a long time what it means to fight and work to get bread on the table. Minority groups do know that. Women, artists, immigrants, disabled people, young people: they recognise this very well. There is hope for them, because they are used to live in chaos as multiprocessing entities. They have learned to save up and bridge the financial gaps. They can sell and are able to patiently grow their own little ideals.