As dumbass techbros perfect their murderbots, murderous self-driving cars, cookingbots, cleanbots, and postbots, the working class stands on the precipice of annihilation; the cult of productivity and automation is a single stroke from consigning humans to perpetual, meaningless existences.

"Productivity" has been a mantra among lifetweakers and business folk for two hundred years. But producing what? And for whose benefit? In the past seventies years, as automation and productivity increased, the benefit did not go to the workers - it went to the piles of cash hoarded by the capitalist caste.

The capitalist argues that workers today have more than ever: why, a worker can eat oranges grown in South Africa, wine from Australia, chilled in a refrigerator manufactured in China and Assembled in Utah. This, the capitalist says, is a fair and just outcome. The capitalist argues that their wealth is just because capital enabled the world to advance at a rapid rate.

The capitalist omits that other countries, too, have high standards of living, independent of capital. Cuba, for example, boasts the highest literacy rate in the world. Or that Canada, land of socialized health care, is where insulin was first synthesized. Or that in Uruguay, people enjoy a higher standard of living than capitalist America despite working fewer hours.

Productivity is flawed.

In Capitalist America, workers have seen their wages drop consistently against inflation; it is in the productive land of America where two adults have to carry two jobs each just for the continued existence of a household.

The average homemaker spends as much time on household chores today as they did in 1900, despite the invention of washing machines, dishwashers, vaccuums, and roombas. It isn't because the average household was messier back then; it's that these so-called innovations add as much meaningless work as they offset.

Today, the average worker spends an hour commuting to and from work despite high car ownership. Or maybe, because of it.

Commute times up to an average 42 minutes one-way in Toronto
Certain parts of the city have found the average time residents spent travelling to work have gone down, but more have seen it climb

As lifestyle magazines keep publishing "hacks" to "make your life more productive" we have to wonder: has the average life become more meaningful?

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash