Is “Lying Flat” The Future Of Work?

There are some clear social trends globally emergent over the past year that appear almost complete in their germination; ready to break out of the soil and into a greater blossom.

As such, let’s assess the field and see if we can sight some budding implications.

Photo by Andraz Lazic on Unsplash

1) Lying Flat

Recently, a novel protest tactic flamed alive in China: the “Tangping” or “Lying-Flat” movement.

Exhausted by declining prospects and unreasonable expectations of economic productivity, Chinese youth instead began consciously choosing to live non-cooperatively —

The message?

Inspired by a viral blog post, youth began choosing frugality as an act of non-cooperation, to only participate minimally in the economy, prioritizing simple survival rather than the imposed aims of the “rat race” — unwinnable in their view.

This simple discontented call to be content with less soon gained significant traction, enough to catch the attention of the CCP and its media apparatus.

“Lying Flat” was quickly erased from the Chinese net.

2) The Great Resignation

Concurrently in the West, “The Great Resignation” emerges.

Millions of people across multivariate class and ethnic demographics have begun resigning from traditional labour; empowered by recent government stimulus support in addition to growing attitudinal shifts regarding labour, wealth, and sovereignty.

Lifestyle movements such as F.I.R.E (Financial Independence, Retire Early), as well as growing demands for the preservation of remote work, which was widely initiated during the pandemic, are especially gaining ground, particularly with young workers new to the labour market.

Many such disaffections have become the impetus for the “Great Resignation”; with millions of former employees choosing to go elsewhere rather than be subjected to rigid, sub-standard working conditions in a time of rapidly re-contextualizing priorities.

How many more may follow their example in the coming year alone?

3) Activism: General Strike

In the activist world there arise particular responses that further affirm and exemplify this zeitgeist.

For example, a General Strike planned by U.S. activists for the fall —

4) Activism: Eradication Protest

Occupy Wall Street co-creator Micah White, PhD’s recent mobilization briefing continues this pattern, calling for a global “simultaneous, six week eradication protest” to end the pandemic.


Could these aforementioned trends be a signal for something greater?

Might there be an emergent transformation preparing to reveal its true cultural impact in the form of a spontaneous mobilization, or overt institutional response?

Is total non-cooperation the future; not only of work, but beyond, into other areas, as issues of the environment, legislation, economy, and technology increasingly coalesce?

ERGO: Imagine if the Lying Flat tactic were transposed to a new context as a protest that mobilizes around ending the pandemic and economically transforming the world with a 6-week GLOBAL PANDEMIC STRIKE; one that demands a Universal Basic Dividend and direct legislative power.

What might an economically frugal, techno-monastic global youth culture founded on explicit non-cooperation look like?

Some, like Vinay Gupta point to Hipsterism — which coolified the aesthetic of the disenfranchised Cognitariate; from thrift, to minimalism, to artisanship.

Now imagine that on steroids. What might it accomplish?

Could it, rather than some accelerated shift toward automation, be the end to all “bullshit jobs” (as explicated by David Graeber)?

What might they choose to prioritize instead? Perhaps, planting a Trillion Trees to ameliorate climate-change would simply attract more attention than any offers of labour in traditional markets.

Could a mobilization such as a #GLOBALPANDEMICSTRIKE be a waiting breakthrough?

What might it blossom?

Explore our series on Universal Sovereignty and achieving true Democracy, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store