Looking for work is probably not the first thing you’re going to do after waking up dead. You’ll have to suffer through all the stages of grief first and then you’ll have to learn how to use the AfterNet field so you can access the Internet. But after a while, you’ll probably give some thought to making a living, or whatever.
Because even though you’re dead, you’re going to want things. What!? That’s crazy, you say. What kind of stuff would a dead person want? After all, you no longer need to eat or sleep. You have no body so you can’t handle anything tangible.
But let’s say you’ve just died and your one consolation is that you now have time to read. Well how are you going to do that? You can’t take a book from a shelf or flip pages, so how are you going to read? The answer is obvious: e-books. But unless you’re willing to wait until that John Grisham courtroom thriller becomes available through your local library’s e-book rental, you’ll have to buy the e-book online and read it via the AfterNet.
Or maybe you like to travel and want to take a trip. Well you know it won’t be too long before the airlines decide they can’t just let the dead fly for free. They’ll either bar the dead from getting on a plane or charge extra for AfterNet access in flight.
So you’ll need money to buy those e-books or book that plane trip. Or you’ll need money to buy that anniversary present for your still living spouse. Or pay the lawyer who’s trying to nullify your will because you discovered after your death that your spouse was cheating on you.
I’m pretty sure the dead will acquire physical things as well. If you enjoyed collecting works of art when you were living, you may want to do continue doing so after you’re dead. But where do you put your black velvet Elvis paintings? Well you’ll need an apartment, of course. You won’t need a bathroom, kitchen or bedroom, of course, unless you plan on entertaining living guests.
Pretty soon, the dead will be buying real estate in competition with the living, which makes prices go up and makes it more necessary for the dead to accumulate wealth.
You see I don’t think being dead will make people better. Sure, a lot of the dead will become philosophic about the whole being disembodied thing, but I’m afraid many will still want what they wanted when alive: money and power.