Jeremy Abroad

The Arms Race to the Bottom

March 19, 2017

The biggest tragedy of our times is that most of us have to spend the majority of our lives doing things we don’t want to do, with questionable benefit to society.

It starts in school, where students are forced to do homework and learn things they might not be interested in (of course it’s optional, but bad grades -> no job -> unable to provide for oneself / destitution).

Students must compete against each other for a limited number of slots at prestigious universities.

Once at university, students must compete against each other for a limited number of slots at good companies.

Once in the workforce, employees must compete against each other for promotion and advancement.


Job automation is real and already happening. This means the competition is only getting fiercer and fiercer, while wealth is increasingly being hoarded by the top 1%.

The problem is that we’re in a suboptimal Nash Equilibrium. Like the prisoner’s dilemma, most of us would be better off if we changed the system, but individually our only incentive is to look out for ourselves and make money.

It’s an arms race to the bottom.


Jeremy Bernier

Written by Jeremy Bernier who left the NYC rat race to travel the world, work remotely, and find the meaning of life.