Interesting post on Slashdot that made me think. A short excerpt:

"At the turn of the last century people imagined a time when everyone would live in luxury and not have to work. Machines would be able to do the work, and the majority of people could just relax and have a good time. The idea is even more possible today - we can create machines to do most jobs these days, and we should all be living in a work-free time of abundancy. So why aren't we? The simple answer is that our economic system won't allow it - in our system, in order to be able to have stuff, you need money, and to get money you have to work. They crazyness of this situation is highlighted by the fact that periods of adundance now actually cause recession - things become "too cheap", defalation occurs, people can't make money, everybody looses when things are plentiful."