I often argue that the increasing ability of human beings to efficiently create material wealth – cars, clothes, calories – as well as our development from a “growth economy” to a “sustainable economy,” means that in the future we will not be as engaged in labor as we have been in the past.

This sounds good – and it is good, in that the less time we spend doing the things we don’t want to do (for money), the more time we spend doing the things we do want to do for fun, as well as for growth, creativity and self-expression.

But what’s not so good is that, as is so often the case with growth and development, we progress in ways that are in part quite painful.

Here are a couple recent columns by Ross Douthat, the young conservative columnist at the New York Times, that illuminate the journey we’re on regarding employment.  He presents some interesting new thinking that helps us see the emerging shorter-term realities of the longer-term trends.

The columns: