David Graeber observes:
It used to be that Americans mostly subscribed to a rough-and-ready version of the labor theory of value. Everything we see around us that we consider beautiful, useful, or important was made that way by people who sank their physical and mental efforts into creating and maintaining it. Work is valuable insofar as it creates these things that people like and need. Since the beginning of the 20th century, there has been an enormous effort on the part of the people running this country to turn that around: to convince everyone that value really comes from the minds and visions of entrepreneurs, and that ordinary working people are just mindless robots who bring those visions to reality.
Not only does it make perfect sense, therefore, to replace all those working stiffs, all those glorified ditch-diggers who traffic in the stuff of the world, with actual mindless robots, but in doing so you’re doing the workers a great, if as yet unappreciated, favor. You’re liberating them to become . . . visionaries! “Unemployment” is just a coarse term we use to describe the pre-visionary state. And so Andreessen: “All human time, labor, energy, ambition, and goals reorient to the intangibles: the big questions, the deep needs.” Intangibility is the last refuge of the materialist.
Image of starchild from 2001.