Guilds and the future of employment

Since the Guilds of Stonemasons and Wheelwrights began, skilled and professional people have organised themselves to protect their skillset and control pricing.

This has led to a hierarchy in society that has worked very well, providing impetus to acquire skills and improve one’s lot in life. This aspiration has ensured that the investment in acquiring the skills, both financial and time spent on studying and keeping abreast of new ideas, was effort well spent.

With the introduction of the desktop computer, suddenly everybody was a graphic designer.

With the outsourcing to less developed economies, corporations have exported a minimal skillset of training to those desperate for work and who are willing to sacrifice their health for the sake of a few dollars a day.

The corporations think “Well done, we made even more profit”.

The displaced people with years of training and knowledge are now replaced with untrained workers who lack the depth of skill necessary to make things great. Everything is now made cheap, not well.

Auctioning off work to the lowest global bidder and demanding ‘Franchise fees’ for those left working onshore are only helping the rich get richer. Everyone else loses.

The skills to build anything of quality, be it a cathedral or a finely tailored suit, will disappear like the amazing skills of Buffard Freres (History). Skills lost forever with nobody able to conceive how to recreate the work. Do we, at this point, mention the Aztecs, the Mayans or so many other cultures now lost?

Easter Island’s Moai statues are another example of skills lost. We still ponder “How did they do it?” whilst eating a tv dinner in front of the ‘box’ wearing Chinese made clothes and sitting on kitset chairs.

This dumbing down for the sake of a few dollar extra profit is saddening in the extreme – a future looms of Homer Simpsons and the ‘Live, consume and die’ way of life.

My view is that the new age ‘Hippies’ who drop out, will form vibrant communities who treasure these skills above mere money. The renaissance will be reborn, free of corporate control.

The ‘Homers’ can keep their malls, tv and cheap trinkets from Walmart whilst the visionaries and artisans live on the outside.

I see the digital nomad way of life that many now embrace as but one way of realising this brave new world whilst the rest of the world slides into oblivion as the Mayans did.

I would love to think that ‘This time it will be different’. Perhaps the internet’s ability to share knowledge will save us from the fate of the Mayans.