Economics/Class Relations

Remote work is the best thing to happen to families in decades

Yet commentators and politicians keep missing it

Art for The Intrinsic Perspective is by Alexander Naughton

One of my more strident “controversial” opinions, and one you might not expect, is that I think the rise of remote work is an unalloyed good. In a world of Covid, rampant social media mobs, rising ideologies, increasing risk of nuclear war, AI threatening some sort of hockey-stick growth curve, and so on, the rise of working from home is a rare bright spot. In fact, in my ideal fantasy world, everyone would use video calls and high-tech virtual reality to work, and then, like, live on farms or beside lakes. We’d all commute only via horses and, ah, electric bikes. Etc. I may, self-admittedly, be an extreme case in that my preferred aesthetic could be described as “high-tech pastoral,” but I’m definitely not alone in thinking that remote work is good.

The numbers are interesting. First, support for remote work, at least during Covid, leans democratic (68% “strongly approve” vs 41% of republicans). And the “disapprove” numbers are even more stark (11% of republicans disapprove of working from home, and only 5% of democrats do). This may not seem like a big deal in terms of a difference, but it shows up in policies outside of Covid, e.g., like how the GOP has been, at times, openly hostile to remote work. In fact, this year House Republicans will likely introduce a bill that tries to curb remote work at the federal level as much as possible. I understand why they’re doing it—GOP leaders think the federal government is pretty wasteful and want to curb that, and, like many of remote work’s opponents, seem to believe remote work is less efficient.


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