WALL-E Was Wrong

At least according to Daniel Altman, who isn’t worried that the increased automation of our economy might lead to a future of pure leisure:

The problem with these predictions is that providing for basic needs is not the only thing that compels us to work. We also like to follow through on our ideas by achieving goals that make us proud, creating new products to improve our lives, and feeling the thrill of power and control. In short, opportunity to do all these things can be as important as material compensation. … Even when the day comes that we can count on a comfortable lifestyle regardless of our income, we will still work to fulfill our personal goals and, of course, to keep up with the Joneses.