The Future With Richer People and Optional Work

The historical trend is that people are busier and richer now than they were in the past. People have become busier in most everything except how much they farm, walk or have hard manual labor. The trends mean that the major things people own increase faster than the number of people. People or households reach a place where everyone owns a car or where people own more than one car. People can own multiple smartphones and watches. People take more trips.

Faster Growth in Things and Usage Than Others Expect

This can be seen with the growth in people compared the growth in cars. The world population of people has doubled since 1975 but the number of cars has increased 5 times. The number of miles driven is up seen times. This is with the cost per mile for vehicle ownership and operation staying flat after adjusting for inflation. This kind of growth would be underestimate the situation if the costs radically dropped. Ownership of computers rapidly exploded because the prices of computers dropped one thousand times from 1965 to 2000. The cost per mile for vehicles could be cut four times with self-driving electric cars. Full self-driving also means that people would not have to put effort and attention into driving while taking a trip. Taking a trip in self-driving vehicles becomes nearly frictionless. The usage would greatly increase beyond the trends of the past fifty years.

The number of car rides and the number of plane rides grows much faster than the number of cars and the number of planes. There were 200,000 airplanes used in World War 1 but almost all were single-seat fighter planes. The world now has 35,000 commercial passenger planes. The start of the 1930s had 1 million commercial passenger trips but today we have over 4 billion commercial passenger trips. The Aviation industry had projected that there would be 21 billion passenger flights by 2040 based on a business as usual economic and incremental technology forecast.

The world now has 7.85 billion people (2021) and will hit 8 billion in 2023 and 10 billion around 2050. The number of cars could hit 4 billion around 2050-2060.

About 900 million people live in countries with a per capita PPP GDP over $40000 and 600 million people live in countries with a per capita GDP between $20,000 and $40,000. There are 1.5 billion people living in countries with per capita GDP PPP between $18,000 and $20,000. The large number between $18,000 and $20,000 is because China and Mexico are on the brink of reaching $20,000 per capita GDP. World per capita GDP PPP is $18000.

The rest of Asia is catching up as well with 5-8% annual GDP growth in normal years. The population in Asia that could catch up in development by the 2040-2070 time frame will be over 5 billion. There could be 7 times the population living in countries with over $40,000 per capita GDP PPP by 2050.

Everyone Becoming Independently Wealthy and the End of Salary

Technology like self-driving cars could provide a massive global economic boost. The cost per trip could be four times lower. Demand for car rides and air trips should massively increase with greatly lowered costs. Halving the cost could increase the volume of usage by four times. Four times lower cost could increase the volume of usage by ten to twenty times. New technology could make things cheaper or usage of things cheaper and easier and make people much richer at the same time. This would further increase consumption.

If people get massively extended lifespans where they live 120-500 years then projections and everyone had at least american middle class wealth by 2100 then what would this mean? This means everyone should gain at least basic and possibly advanced understanding of budgeting, investing and wealth management. This means everyone should be able to accumulate wealth. This means that everyone should have sufficient wealth and be able to live off the returns of that wealth. Everyone would be like the current independently wealthy people who only join startups or businesses because they want to change the world. Having to work for a salary would be a thing of the past. Work would be optional.

UPDATE – Nextbigfuture has added a simplified article looking at retirement, early retirement and trends in financial management, savings, investments and other factors around mass early retirement.

This would not be a Technological Singularity forecast where everything becomes exponential. The world is already making people much richer and have been doing this for the past 200 years. The last one hundred years have seen a doubling of per capita GDP every 25 years or better. The Asian countries started the growth in income later but have a pretty good track record the last fifty years. There was a twenty-eight-year boom from 1946 to 1973 where growth was 50% faster versus doubling every 25 years.

An evenly distributed global doubling in GDP growth (2025-2050) could see 8 billion living in countries with per capita PPP GDP over $40,000 by 2050.

Energy, space access, ground and air transportation, satellites and automated systems will massively lower costs and increase usage over the next few decades. It is reasonable and a high percentage likelihood that a technology-driven boom will sustainably increase the GDP growth rate on a global basis. If most of the world’s population is at least at global middle-class levels of $15,000 per person and have a technological and education foundation, then everyone will be able to adopt the newest technologies and leapfrog in their development.

Written By Brian Wang,