The way I see it is that the world reached a comfortable level of technology in the early 1950s. Almost every "advance" since then has been a huge waste of human resources.
The constant advance of technology has "bought" the human race everything they could ever want, except for the one thing they truly need. That one thing that it is not bringing us is more time. If anything it is taking our time away. Time is not a renewable resource. You are born with an average of 433,620 waking hours to enjoy before you die of old age. Why aren't we using our technology for that instead of new improved bagel toasters?
Sure you could say the advances of medical science are slowly but surely extending the human lifespan all the time. I say that is crap. Thats like taking a man to a restaurant and telling him he can't have any of the good food, but there is some slightly spoiled cheese lying in the dirt out back that he can have. The medical prolonging of the human life would be completely unneeded if we simply concentrated more on the time before old age really sets in.
By now you are probably asking yourself what the hell I am talking about.
I am talking about free time. Those few hours each week where you are not a virtual slave. Most people today work about 40 hours a week. Most people 50 years ago worked about 40 hours a week. Most people in ancient Rome worked about 30 hours a week. So lets get this straight. In 2000 years of human technological advancement, we actually lengthened the work week by 10 hours (not to mention the fact that modern workers seem to be retiring older and older all the time). Am I the only one who sees a problem with that?
We have created a society of senseless busywork, needless "advances", and unneeded "services". We have pushed off most of the real work onto a tiny fraction of the population, while the vast majority of people are engaged in useless employment that serves no real purpose whatsoever. Eighty percent of the western world is employed in industries that have nothing to do with the basic survival and comfort of the human race. Do you grow food, make clothing, build homes, or manufacture tools? I didn't think so, and those are the only basic industries needed for a comfortable human existance. You may want to include the medical field in there as well, but you don't have to. Basic advances in hygiene and sanitation have prolonged the human life more than doctors ever have (we really haven't upped the average lifespan very much from the ancient romans, who had most of their medicine dead wrong).
At this point you may still wonder what I am babbling about.
We finally (and we have for over fifty years), have the technology to stop making things hard on ourselves and actually give people what they really need, and that is free time. We have the technology to impliment an eight hour workweek. To do so would require the sacrifice of many industries, that are really not even needed in the first place. Advertisement, commercial music, films, books, television shows, video games, restaurants, professional sports, and most automobiles would be the first things on the chopping block. You might say to yourself, "I don't want to live wthout all those things". I am telling you that you don't have to. The fact is that we already have enough music, books, film, television, and video games to last forever. All of those things can be reproduced at almost no cost, yet a good portion of the average human wage is spent on such items. Much more than you think actually. Advertisement in these media formats add a good bit to the purchase price of everything you buy. Cut out advertisement, and senseless creation of new media, when we have an almost limitless supply of old media, and we can chop six hours off the work week. The fact is simple, none of that advertisement has any real effect whatsoever, people will purchase needed goods and services, even if they are never advertised.
You might wonder why I was babbling about cars earlier. This is because you are not going to need one anymore. Not to go to work one day a week. You can ride a bicycle, for that matter you may very well work at home, or within walking distance. So the car is going to have to go. Most people spend about 15 percent of their income (or more), on an automobile. People with more extensive travel needs can always purchase an inexpensive motor scooter. That adds up to six hours a week. We can take that off right now.
Now we are going to look at your home. You probably spend about 25 percent (or more), on you house payment, or rent. That is absolute nonsense. People have built their own dwellings for thousands of years. It is quite easy, especially when you are only working an eight hour workweek. You will however need to spend a small amount of money on plumbing, and electrical supplies (you can chop down your own wood). So we are going to say this chops off 9 hours a week, instead of the ten it would deserve if you could make everything in a modern house from scratch. Oh, you wanted to know about the land before we moved on. Land is free, if you don't have a building on a piece of land, or you are not otherwise using it, then you don't truly own it. To think otherwise is crazy. (Sure you may have a deed that says you own a plot of land, but when you really think about, how can you "own" land?) The world is full of unused land. Find some, and use it.
Now we come to the big one. Government, and taxes. In most countries the government (one way or another), gets half of everything. We are going to scale government spending way back. Most of it is not needed. The removal of senseless extra layers of government and government spending can chop another 11 hours off the workweek. Taking that last 11 hours off gets us down to an 8 hour week, just like we should have had all along.
Now you may ask yourself what this "fantasy" world would be like.
I imagine it would be a lot like the world was 1000 years ago, but with the addition of modern technology. Most communities would be small and fully half the population would be employed in food production. With another twenty five percent of the population working in the areas of production of raw materials, and making goods with those materials. The rest of the people would be specialists in various fields that the community might need. The useless retail and service industries would just vanish. Social activities and creative endeavours would be the norm, and work would be the exception. This is how it was always supposed to be, we just messed it up somewhere along the way.
Quick response to mblase
I never advocated a stop on production of durable goods. I merely advocated a stop on useless "progress", and a major cutback in the almost useless (as far as mankind is concerned), service and retail industries.
If you don't like the abundance of pre-existing commercial entertainment that can be copied nearly free, then you could always enjoy one of the many thousands of amateur music acts that would emerge if people had the time to devote to them.