Arreglárselas con más

BERKELEY – En los Estados Unidos solo se necesitan tres de cada diez trabajadores para producir y entregar los productos que consumimos. Todo lo que extraemos, cultivamos, diseñamos, construimos, fabricamos y transportamos – hasta preparar una taza de café en la cocina de un restaurante y llevarla a la mesa del cliente – es obra de aproximadamente el 30% de la fuerza laboral.

El resto de nosotros nos dedicamos a planear qué es lo que se va a hacer, a decidir dónde instalar las cosas que se han fabricado, a prestar servicios personales, a hablar entre nosotros y a dar seguimiento a lo que se está haciendo, de modo que podamos decidir qué se necesita hacer después. Sin embargo, a pesar de nuestra evidente capacidad de producir mucho más de lo que necesitamos, no parece que tengamos un exceso de riqueza. Una de las grandes paradojas de nuestro tiempo es que los trabajadores y los hogares de clase media siguen batallando en momentos de abundancia sin paralelo.

En los países desarrollados tenemos más que suficiente para satisfacer nuestras necesidades básicas. Tenemos bastantes enlaces orgánicos de carbono e hidrógeno que al romperse nos dan calorías; suficientes vitaminas y otros nutrientes para mantenernos sanos; viviendas adecuadas para mantenernos secos; suficiente ropa para conservarnos calientes; suficiente capital para mantenernos productivos, al menos potencialmente; y bastante entretenimiento para no aburrirnos. Y todo eso lo producimos en un promedio de menos de dos horas diarias de trabajo fuera de casa.

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