With Less

by King Everything

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about

King Everything is participating in the 12in12x12 project. 12 brand new songs written and recorded in 12 hours. These are the songs from July 2014.

I've spent a bunch of years wondering why there always seems to be just enough work for us all to do--never way more than we can handle, and never nowhere near enough to keep around 90% of us employed. Wondering how this could possibly be? How has it been true, and how will it remain true? Will it remain true? To even ponder these questions would be depressing. There's no way there will be enough for us to do. Robots, machines, computers, world-wide labor, more and more efficient procedures. Anyhow, only within the past year or so have I found stuff to read on the topic. This album of songs is about these ideas.

credits

released July 30, 2014

DJ Turner's tuba appears on Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, and 12.

01 Stultified (a,b)
02 They’re Not Hiring at the Plant (a,b)
03 My Robot's Proud of Me (a,e)
04 If You Can't Keep Up (a,c,e)
05 Barbara Streisand (b,c,d)
06 Skip Past the Poem (e)
07 Or See Where It Leads? (b,c,e)
08 Kick Back and Smile (a)
09 Corners (a,b,c)
10 Everyone Enough (c)
11 Nothing Forever (b,e)
12 Literally Anything (a,b)

Resources:

(a) The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin

(b) John Maynard Keynes, “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren”
www.econ.yale.edu/smith/econ116a/keynes1.pdf

(c) From The Economist… The future of jobs… The onrushing wave… Previous technological innovation has always delivered more long-run employment, not less. But things can change… Jan 18th 2014
www.economist.com/news/briefing/21594264-previous-technological-innovation-has-always-delivered-more-long-run-employment-not-less

(d) The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman

(e) The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen

(f) From Films for Action... "Why Does Everyone Have to Work?" www.filmsforaction.org/watch/why-does-everyone-have-to-work/

Album cover: Kristine Potter teeniekmp.deviantart.com

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about

King Everything Lockport, New York

Loud & quiet; odd & ordinary; mysterious & straightforward; vague & clear; joyous & angry; fast & slow; messy & organized; simple & complicated; succinct & wordy; energetic & lackadaisical; continuous & disjointed; hopeless & rosy; new & familiar.

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Track Name: Stultified
My grandpa was a farmer when he was young, then he made stuff in a factory.

Grandpa sits us down every Sunday
He always smells so strong of the factory
Says sixty hours a week is nothing
He makes a decent life
For his kids and wife
But he feels stultified
He doesn’t use his mind
Farm stories of 80 hours working
He used his muscles but also his intelligence
Talks about how he really misses those horses
Now he makes a decent life
For his kids and wife
But he feels stultified
He doesn’t use his mind
Grandpa, tell us what’ll happen when you’re irrelevant
When robots make all the workers in the factories useless
Maybe then will you proudly talk of the tedious?
Look back fondly on the days when you felt so oppressed
Preferring exploitation to total nothingness
At least now you make a decent life
For your kids and wife
Sure you feel stultified
And you hardly use your mind
But you make a decent life
For your kids and wife
Sure you feel stultified
But you bring home a dime
Track Name: They’re Not Hiring at the Plant
My dad and mom did things for customers.

Dad sells widgets, mom works part-time
down, at the bank
It’s an okay living, we’re safe and healthy
and we know, we have God to thank
Cuz despite what grandpa assured us
How a good thing’s bound to last
Yeah, despite what everyone promised
They’re not hiring at the plant
They’re not hiring at the plant
No, they’re not hiring at the plant
Now I go online, to buy my widgets
and I drive, to the ATM
Lost to the robot, lost to the spreadsheet
It’s all good, well maybe not for them
Track Name: My Robot’s Proud of Me
I make robots that can do what my friends do for work.

I make, robots
that can do what my friends
do for work
I make, robots. Does that make, me a jerk?
I don’t care what you think
Cuz my robot’s proud of me
And that’s good, enough, for me.
We make more stuff
We do, much more, with less, than before.
I don’t care what you think
Cuz my robot’s proud of me
Create the universe, create life on earth:
Event 1, Event 2.
Event 3: Create you.
I only care what he thinks
My robot’s proud of me!
I only care what he thinks
My robot’s proud of me!
My robot’s proud of me!
Track Name: If You Can’t Keep Up
My brothers and sisters went to school, but only a few really good brains are needed.

If you can’t keep up, you’re not alone
Just try to learn this stuff, yeah I know
You probably won’t get it
But if by chance you do
It probably won’t matter
There’s too many of you
You can teach the farmers’ kids, yeah that’s fine
A factory with a school, built nearby
To teach the children all, they need to know
Or at least to teach them something, yeah I know
You probably won’t get it
But if by chance you do
It probably won’t matter
There’s too many of you
They said your talents meant, that you were blessed
And more options would come, to you not less
You probably won’t get it
But if by chance you do
It probably won’t matter
There’s too many of you
You probably won’t get it
But if by chance you do
It probably won’t matter
There’s too many of you
Track Name: Barbara Streisand
Who’s left?

Only Micheal Jordan can do, the things he did on the court
Only Bill Gates can push, software into our pores
I can’t sing, I’ll never say I can
We can’t all be Barbara Streisand
Only my barber can, cut my hair
Only that local chef, can make my favorite fare
Maybe if you get really good, you can sell your art
Or sit with troubled couples, and reconnect their hearts
I can’t sing, I’ll never say I can
We can’t all be Barbara Streisand
When I have a leaky pipe, I know just whom to call
Vanilla ice cream’s not enough,
mix in some bugs and hang it from the wall
I can’t sing, I’ll never say I can
We can’t all be Barbara Streisand
We can’t all be Barbara Streisand
Track Name: Skip Past the Poem
Everything’s easier. Everything’s better.

Fortunately, the fortune teller was right
The noons of our past are darker than our new nights
History’s best anyone now can make
Yesterday’s fast is slower than we can take
Easy for me, easy for you
Print your product, and I print my tool
My driverless car, takes me to see
The hologram rock star, playing just for me
When I forget
I don’t forget for long
Skip past the poem
And sing us the song…
Until today, they were living the life
Of their grandparents, trapped in the night
They’d never even held a book or a phone
Now in their pocket is all that man knows
Style our hair, then vacuum the mess
It’s doing more, so we can do less
I can change the world using only my thoughts
Will it be long before those are lost?
When I forget
I don’t forget for long
Skip past the poem
And sing us the song
Skip past the poem
And sing us the song…
Track Name: Or See Where It Leads?
Should we hold onto the past?

Are you here to help or take my place?
The smile slowly left the Luddite’s face
His sabotage, a short-sighted mistake
The same moon also saw the dinosaurs’ fate
A good-enough book and good-enough news
leave my old Adam feeling blue
A flea market smartphone is more than I need
Hold onto the past, or see where it leads?
Track Name: Kick Back and Smile
What should we do about the decreased need for workers?

An endless supply of everything
Making a want feel like a need
That’s not a critique, we’re reaching goals
Is this the end,
how will we know if it’s time to just kick back for a while
how will we know if it’s time to just kick back and smile
A never-ending supply
Frees us up, returns our time
The shorter the leash, the less far we go
If we’ve reached the end,
How would we know, if it’s time to just kick back for a while
How would we know, if it’s time to just kick back and smile
How will we know, when it’s time to just kick back for a while
How will we know, when it’s time to just kick back and smile
Track Name: Corners
Can’t we all work less?

Lucky yesterday I saved
When you absorb my work
No pay
But if you’d cut our hours
That’d be ok
I feel like this might just be the point
I feel like this might just be the point
When we find a way to cut a corner
Shouldn’t we all have our corners trimmed
and not just lop off the guy on the corner
I feel like this might just be the point
I feel like this might just be the point
Track Name: Everyone Enough
A Basic Income?

What if we gave something to everyone
What if we gave everyone enough
I’m really not sure we could
I’m really not sure we should
What if we gave something to everyone
What if we gave everyone enough
would it bring prosperity or drought
It’s something to think about
Track Name: Nothing Forever
We can have leisure time. Time to volunteer. Time to explore, create. Time to help our families, our friends, our neighborhoods, the world.

Meet me in the sunroom Sunday morning
Same place I sit each and every day
Best place I know for my deep think
Nothing to get in the way
I finally have more time, more time to spend
With my family and friends
Don’t mourn for me
Don’t weep for me never
Cuz I’m gonna do nothing forever
How best to rest from nothing
Without guilt or shame
Explore the shores, or simply volunteer
More time to just create
The last man to press that last button
Such a successful experiment
We can all move on to bigger and better things
Time more well spent
We finally have more time, more time to spend
With our family and friends
Don’t mourn for me
Don’t weep for me never
Cuz I’m gonna do nothing forever
Track Name: Literally Anything
How will I feel about myself?

We finally solved the problem that we were built to solve
Now around what will we revolve?
I don’t need your money, and you don’t need my time
Now every single minute is mine
When you grow up, what do you want to be?
You can literally do anything
You might produce a product, or you might not produce a thing
And either way you can feel like a king
I don’t need your headache, and you sure don’t need mine
I’m sure we’ll finally cross the line
When you grow up, what do you want to be?
You can literally do anything
We finally solved the problem that we were built to solve
Now around what will we revolve?
When you grow up, what do you want to be?
You can literally do anything
You can literally do anything