Meaning and The Fall To Zero

Zero cost of living

There’s this concept being discussed by futurists at the moment of “The Fall to Zero”.  Essentially, as man’s ability grows to produce more from less, as automation makes us ever more efficient, and as we get ever better at producing energy from renewable sources, the cost of providing the basics of life is dropping.  And eventually it will reach a point that is very close to zero.

And it’s going to happen a lot sooner than you think, the futurists are telling us.

Not science fiction

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking science fiction here, I’m talking about what serious scientists and economists are saying. People who have a reliable track-record of seeing what’s coming before it gets here.  For example, Ray Kurzweil, regarded as probably the leading futurist in the world today, is generally reckoned to be something like 86% in his projections up to 20-25 years forward.

So what does the Fall to Zero mean for you and your work? A lot of what we do ‘for a living’ is to give us the means to simply live.  What if we no longer need to work for money to exchange for our food, power, transportation, even our shelter?

Universal Basic Income

Futurists, economists and even governments are taking that possibility seriously.  As AI and automation make an increasing number of jobs unnecessary, experiments are already happening with what’s known as “Universal Basic Income” (UBI), whereby you get the small amount of money needed for your basic living expenses each month, without having to go to work for it. And the interesting thing is, despite not needing to work, people generally aren’t just sitting back and ‘living the life of riley’.


Instead they are doing things to either improve their minds, or to help others. What that tells us is that just existing is not enough for humans. Once our basic needs are met, we want to do more, to become more.  To Be more.

Abraham Maslow worked that out back in the 1950s with his ‘Hierarchy of Human Needs’ – with “self-actualisation” at the top of his pyramid. These experiments with UBI seem to suggest that once the threat of losing basic safety and security is removed, humans are actually pretty conscious beings!

Not about the money

And here’s the point of all this in the context of living your genius. If you are spending all your time working out how your genius can help you make money, in an age where money is becoming less and less essential, you’re missing the point.  If the meaning in your work comes from how much money it gets you, how will you get meaning when money no longer has meaning?

I’m not saying don’t seek to get paid.  I am saying don’t seek ONLY to get paid.  Seek instead to make somebody else’s life better, and be willing to receive their gratitude in the current form of exchange.

Right now that’s money; as we progress into the future that will become something else. We don’t really know what it might be.  Trust, perhaps, or social standing?

Maybe some sort of consciousness brownie points?

Improving lives

Because whatever it ends up being, you can be sure that making people’s lives better will be the best way to get more of it!


Core Process with helixWhat's YOUR meaningful work?

Take a look at Core Process as a great way to discover how YOU really make people's lives better through your work.

You might find it's not what you think it is!


About The Author

Andrew Horder

Founder of Joyful Genius Coaching, Andrew has been working with business owners for many years, helping them find and maintain their unique focus - those activities and opportunities that they love, and will produce their success, what Andrew calls your Joyful Genius! Andrew's first book, The A to Z of Loving Work is available from Amazon

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