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The Future of Money and Work in the Digital Era

BusinessThe Future of Money and Work in the Digital Era
By: Abdul Musawir Hakro 

Have you ever thought, even once in 2010, that an alien cryptocurrency named Bitcoin, whose worth then was less than 0.30 USD, would become the largest cryptocurrency, having a value of more than 69,000 USD today? Or that uploading a random brainless video on a social media platform will keep monetising for years on end? Or that a phenomenon of influencer marketing will gain traction, whose size is forecasted to be 139 billion USD by 2030? Or that a mere coloured digital art called non-fungible token(NFT) of Bored Ape Yacht Club #8817 will be worth around $3,408,000? All these happenings have shown striking results, the potential of digitization, and raised pondering questions concerning the future of money and the job market.

But before we talk about the future of money, I will say preliminary words about the past trends of money, and the downfall of the traditional job market.  First, you must know that the value of money depends upon the standards of living. The greater the standard of living, the greater the importance of money will be. However, the more money becomes important, the less one will be satisfied with the job. This is the general equation of money.

And in the old times, the standard of living for rich and poor men was quite the same. Suppose you were rich, you had only bought; cattle, horses, jewellery, silk curtains and clothing, gold, and land. And if poor, then less of these things. But, more or less of them did not make any difference as they did not change the standard of living. Even for a rich person, the means of travelling was a horse as that of a poor. As the standard of living was very similar between the classes, people were rather interested in other things such as power, land, prestige, and high qualifications than earning lots of money. Money was in the middle of the curve.

However, in modern times, with the arrival of digitalisation, the social fabric has witnessed a major shift. The world has become a global village, and daily life has become much easier through countless inventions that are performing various tasks. Nevertheless, the countless luxuries and inventions increased the standards of living as well as the importance of money. The difference between poor and rich emerged, and numerous layers of luxury standards have been created. For luxurious consumption, one needs plenty of money, which power, prestige, land, and traditional degrees are reluctant to fulfil. People are becoming more dissatisfied with the traditional salaried jobs every year. In contrast, digital products are designed to make life easier but their skyrocketing prices are making life much harder for a salaried person. The downfall of the traditional job market has begun.

Maybe, we should halt spinning the wheel of salaried jobs, and seek where the money is shifting. But what is the direction? We all have known money as a static valued paper note, that is earned through hard work and selling skills. None had any idea that money could be fluid before the arrival of the digital coin. By fluid it means, instead of the value of money being fixed, it increases or decreases depending on market trends. All it seeks is to have an eye and to keep shuffling the coin according to such trends. In this way, money from itself is capable of making millions of dollars within a short time. What fluid money can make within a blink, a salaried person cannot make for a lifetime. Besides, the opportunities and professions produced by the digital market are far better and more rewarding than the traditional job market.

Exceptions aside, even the most salaried profession is incapable of fulfilling modern needs in countries like Pakistan. Modern times demand a job to not solely make ends meet but rather to provide enough to meet modern life standards. Gone are the days when a job and university degree were a prestige, and when the role model was a political leader. Today, money is the prestige and successful businessmen have become role models. And rightly so, global power is greatly influenced by social media and the digital market, which is mostly owned by businessmen. Goods marketing, brand endorsing, and election campaigning — all become digital. Today, candidates for presidential elections in the United States mostly campaign via X (previously Twitter), which is owned by Elon Musk, the world’s richest man. The current popular leader of Pakistan, Imran Khan, became famous among youth through digital-first advertising strategies.

At this stage, It is fair to say that money has superseded power, prestige, and degrees, and became the sole requirement, shifting towards the digital world. Digitalization has not wiped out the traditional job market nor it ever will, but has signified that money has been substantially concentrated in the digital market and what we are scooping from the traditional job market are the leftovers. Robots and artificial intelligence are taking the place of humans same as the digital market is taking the place of the traditional job market. Once it does so, the same traditional jobs become less worthy and rewarding.

As money reaches the head of the curve, soon it will become so powerful that everything else will not matter, but money. Businessmen like Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, claim education is invaluable compared to real-world experience. And same goes for many entrepreneurs who are calling degrees trash. Meanwhile, those who belonged to the traditional job market called such people as mavericks and mentally ill. However, the reality of the growing digital market and the depreciating traditional job market cannot ignored and demands attention.

It is a crucial time to restructure our thoughts and leave the concepts that are of no help to meet the modern standards behind the door, be it a traditional salaried job or any prestigious degree. The foolish it is to talk about getting an education and not about earning money. The time is near when people will talk about money like the Greeks used to talk about their gods. Money is the new superpower and we should be chasing it, not the chores. But how? In future, the traditional job market is not going to disappear; it will become a means to an end, whose end will be the digital market and the fluid money. People will earn static money just to enter the fluid economy and will become part of the digital market. In this way, they will earn the required money to afford luxurious consumption and live with the modern standards of life. And those who will maintain their position of ignoring this reality will be licking their wounds.

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