I think you misunderstand when you say "vegetate" through life. I can see a whole culture forming around living in minimalist style. I know I would sign up for it. I can see the surfer, skier, mountain biker, camper, etc... cultures exploding. If I knew that no matter what, I could put food on the table and a roof over my head, and knowing I already have decent nest-egg, I'd likely quit the day after my first check. Or quit before, if that's what it takes to get it started. The question is whether we hit the tipping point where those still working can sustain those not working.