Elizabeth Kolbert on John Maynard Keynes’ 1928 short essay “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren” which predicted life in 2028:
Several contributors to the volume attribute Keynes’s error to a misreading of human nature. Keynes assumed that people work in order to earn enough to buy what they need. And so, he reasoned, as incomes rose, those needs could be fulfilled in ever fewer hours. Workers would knock off earlier and earlier, until eventually they’d be going home by lunchtime.
But that isn’t what people are like. Instead of quitting early, they find new things to need. Many of the new things they’ve found weren’t even around when Keynes was writing—laptops, microwaves, Xboxes, smartphones, smart watches, smart refrigerators, Prada totes, True Religion jeans, battery-powered meat thermometers, those gizmos you stick in the freezer and then into your beer to keep it cold as you drink it.
Well all say we want to be less busy, but when faced with the possibility, we tend to find more things to do. This will never change.