By the end of the century, we may all be investors.
According to Balaji S. Srinivasan, an angel investor, former CTO of Coinbase, and former GP at Andreessen Horowitz, the 21st century could see a transition from wage labor to investing. In a recent tweet storm, Srinivasan discussed how farm labor gave way to manufacturing jobs by the mid-20th century for much of the American working class.
“Farming was the 1800s. Manufacturing was the 1900s. Counterintuitively, could investing become the most common "job" of the 2000s?” Srinivasan said in a tweet.
That would mean that everything from manufacturing to retail jobs would be replaced by investing jobs, making everyone a potential investor. Though it sounds outlandish, Srinivasan outlined several reasons to back up the claim.
“Reason: crypto and fintech are turning everyone into an investor, just like the internet turned everyone into publishers. How far does that go?” he added.
Apps like Robinhood and E*TRADE have begun to democratize investing and led to a disappearance of commission fees across some other trading platforms. In the coming decades, having an account on one of these apps could be as essential as a Facebook account. But what about current jobs that need doing? Srinivasan has an answer for that, too.
“But the share of farming jobs crashed even as the population rose, because we got really efficient,” he added. “Perhaps robotics similarly reduces manufacturing share. And then perhaps investing becomes the main post-manufacturing thing.”
The robotics industry has exploded in the last decade. According to a report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the robotics industry was valued at $48 billion in 2017, and is only set to expand.
Other investors see the future of the industry in a similar light, though not to such a universal degree. According to Riley Adams, a senior financial analyst at Google, investing will become more common for non-experts, but in automated form.
“Investing will change as time and technology progress,” Adams told Disruptor Daily. “We see it now with new applications automating how people invest their money. Many simply set a fixed amount of money to deposit directly into their investing accounts with services like Betterment, Wealthfront, Acorns, and many others.”
While investing could become more accessible for the average person, it may not become the de facto means of employment for everyone — at least for the time being.