• unenlightened
    5k
    As autonomous, self-improving and self-replicating machines and machine workforce evolve and acquire more advanced performance capabilities, the traditional model of work is at risk.

    Since work is the foundation of human society, it is important that we understand and evaluate the ramifications of this. For instance, what role will the emerging manufacturing/production shifts have in redistributing power, wealth, competition and opportunity around the globe? It seems that the potential impact of emerging explosive manufacturing/production forces will massively reduce or eliminate the hours of the working week and number of working hours -- fundamentally choking the nature of the economic system globally -- leading to many complex questions for the survival of the economic system itself. So, when more and more work is automated and a different way of producing and manufacturing emerges, there will likely be a subsequent collapse of earnings of wages. That brings us to an important question: How will nations deal with the likely collapse of the economic system in the coming years? Are they prepared?
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2019/02/17/the-end-of-work-the-consequences-of-an-economic-singularity/

    The end of work has been predicted before, and it hasn't happened yet. But what might be starting to happen is the devaluation of work, which means the devaluation of the human being.

    The value of a human being is the product of his labour; such has been the orthodoxy of economics, and it follows that an increase of productivity results in an increase in the value of labour, but the production singularity, whereby not only automation is automated but progress itself is mechanised, mean that already, manufacturing is taking second place to services. Unskilled labour is already valueless; the human body costs more in resources than it can produce.

    Economic logic therefore dictates the scrapping of this uneconomic unit. Your country no longer needs you. Fuck off and die. To object is to make an extinction rebellion.
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    Pretty much man. But, I'm glad we'll be done with the era of men or the ever subjunctive female in terms of worth defined by output.
  • NOS4A2
    3.6k


    Human labor has been replaced by machine-labor for quite some time now, at least since the industrial revolution. As old work perishes new work is born.
  • ssu
    3k
    The value of a human being is the product of his labour; such has been the orthodoxy of economics,unenlightened
    I don't recall this from studying economics in the university. I thought the one they put on the pedestal was the consumer that optimizes his or her well being.

    Or you just read only Marx or what?
  • Maw
    2k
    This type of eschatological talk around automation is mostly a boogeyman; a two hundred year old cudgel used to threaten labor to put it in it's place when it get too rowdy against capital. The biggest threat for labor within developed and developing economies continues to be free trade, not automation. Further, note how the author of the article writes as if automation is inevitable, as if implementing new innovations that replace the workforce just happen, as oppose to being a concerted choice by the owners of a company. Automation is a decision. Not fate.

    Besides which, an economy powered by automation is an ideal for socialists; where productive forces replace human labor enabling humanity to decrease the need to work allowing us to pursue whatever ends we choose. This is only made possible, however, if value created by automation is reinvested back into society by collective ownership, contra private hands. Others, like Andrew Yang, lacking political imagination because they've drank the nihilistic kool-aid of neoliberalism, instead argue not for collective ownership but UBI (general at the expense of a welfare state and social services), further formalizing economic power in fewer hands, producing greater wealth inequality, and placing people in greater economic precarity.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.4k
    The value of a human being is the product of his labour; such has been the orthodoxy of economics, and it follows that an increase of productivity results in an increase in the value of labour, but the production singularity, whereby not only automation is automated but progress itself is mechanised, mean that already, manufacturing is taking second place to services. Unskilled labour is already valueless; the human body costs more in resources than it can produce.unenlightened

    I cant disagree with you more here if you agree with this "orthodoxy". If value is based on labor, it implies that people are simply looked at as utility units. Why should the end of work constitute a crisis? Are people anything but utility to you?
  • tim wood
    4.9k
    This type of eschatological talk around automation is mostly a boogeyman; a two hundred year old cudgel used to threaten labor to put it in it's place when it get too rowdy against capital.Maw
    No doubt true, but still worth thinking about. Most of us think about machines as replacing manual labor, but lots of white-collar work is gone too. One or two people with Quickbooks replaces a whole floor of accountants and clerks. Digital filing and retrieval small warehouses. And so on. And it used to be that the old man could finish his term with his work and his son use new technologies, but the cycles are down to even a few years in some areas of work. If by "eschatological" you mean either-or, then I don't think it quite applies. More an endlessly slippery slope, with more and more people falling off it.
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    Here's my two bit(coin)s:

    This type of eschatological talk around automation is mostly a boogeyman; a two hundred year old cudgel used to threaten labor to put it in it's place when it get too rowdy against capital.Maw

    Yeah, the hype is misplaced - only for suckers. (So "don't be a sucker!" :roll: )

    The biggest threat for labor within developed and developing economies continues to be free trade, not automation.

    How can that be when trade has never, in the main, been "free" (of business-state collusion; public corruption; regulatory capture, regressive tax incentives (e.g. loopholes); neglect of labor & environmental protections; 'wars of opportunity' (e.g. Indochina 1946-1975, Congo 1996-2003/8, Persian Gulf 1991-2011, Af-Pak 2001-present) fueled by military-industrial arms dealing; strategic mal/under-development policies that facilitate ('laissez-faire' unregulated / gangster) resource extraction from export-driven economies; etc)?

    My candidate for 'the biggest threat to labor' is customary or state regulated denial of easy / universal access to (a) clean water; (b) safe, effective, family planning; & (c) quality education of females of all ages. Y'know, because - Ignorance breeds surplus. Sickness breeds surplus. Poverty breeds surplus. But 'surplus people' are only a symptom (pace Malthus), like 'automation' (pace Harari) which compounds it, and not the problem: malign neglect ... abetted by the scale & complexities of technocapital societies.

    Further, note how the author of the article writes as if automation is inevitable, as if implementing new innovations that replace the workforce just happen, as oppose to being a concerted choice by the owners of a company. Automation is a decision. Not fate.

    :clap: Displaced "workers of the world ..." (too late?! :yikes: )

    Besides which, an economy powered by automation is an ideal for socialists; where productive forces replace human labor enabling humanity to decrease the need to work allowing us to pursue whatever ends we choose. This is only made possible, however, if value created by automation is reinvested back into society by collective ownership, contra private hands — Maw

    There's the rub! Wouldn't even be a need for socialism if capitalist private wealth reinvested back into the commonwealth (Smith). Not even communists have practiced "reinvest back in society by collective ownership" like they've preached. Idealists essentialize by blaming "the problem is Human Nature ..." to wit (sigh): Homō hominī lupus est, and then promptly make their case, of course, by their own rapacious (e.g. Randroid neolib) examples.

    Ah, the plutonomy (or Red bureaucracy) ...

    But what if 'the problem', seemingly perennial & intractable, is genuinely materialist: (post-tribal, urbanized) societies tend to dehumanizing Scales & alienating Complexity that reproduce themselves (however inefficiently, or wastefully, and unjustly) via caste-like 'divisions of labor' and/or (conflicting) class stratifications - and therefore is inherently intractable because the means to exercise radical choices are outmatched by the sheer scale & complexity of the problem?

    Is reversing these structural accretions a viable option today? Has it really been viable since the advent of the convergence of the telegraph, railroad, steamboat & electrification (coincidentally, since Marx's death)?

    Perhap this is the existential gist of (Žižek's quip): "it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine an end to capitalism".

    :scream:

    Suppose we can only rage against the megamachine, and no longer "change it" (Marx)? Maybe the only way out of this burning building is either to jump (i.e. leap of faith - Žižek's "ideology') or somehow tough-out the wait till the structure collapses and maybe climb out of its smoking rubble in one piece with scars & a few singed scraps ...

    Others, like Andrew Yang, lacking political imagination because they've drank the nihilistic kool-aid of neoliberalism, instead argue not for collective ownership but UBI (general at the expense of a welfare state and social services), further formalizing economic power in fewer hands, producing greater wealth inequality, and placing people in greater economic precarity. — Maw

    No doubt. But Yang, after all, is a candidate for the presidency of the U.S. and not for the premiership of (e.g.) a Nordic social democracy ...
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    Others, like Andrew Yang, lacking political imagination because they've drank the nihilistic kool-aid of neoliberalism, instead argue not for collective ownership but UBI (general at the expense of a welfare state and social services), further formalizing economic power in fewer hands, producing greater wealth inequality, and placing people in greater economic precarity.Maw

    I've seen this kind of criticism of UBI from the left before, and I don't understand it unless it's just accelerationism. An UBI is not as good as truly distributed ownership, but it's certainly better than the status quo, explicitly decreasing wealth inequality (it's a wealth redistribution program after all), improving the efficiency of the welfare state (cash welfare is still welfare, and no means testing reduces barriers to getting that welfare), and providing people with greater economic stability. All compared to the status quo. So where does this objection come from, other than just "it's not good enough, no compromise, all or nothing!"?
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    An UBI is not as good as truly distributed ownership, but it's certainly better than the status quo ...Pfhorrest

    UBI's like treating a brain tumor with heroin. In other words, it's bullshit. The social & political pathologies caused and exacerbated by structurally concentrated wealth isn't even addressed by redistributive schemes like UBI that leave (the) structure(s) of concentrated ownership ... concentrated. "Truly distributed ownership", as you suggest, "is certainly better than the status quo" - and that's the place to start.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    Automation is a decision. Not fate.Maw

    Really? Is it not decided by the invisible hand? If the robot is cheaper, the robot takes the job. And if the the capitalist has scruples he goes out of business.

    malign neglect ... abetted by the scale & complexities of technocapital societies.180 Proof
    That is saying the same thing in different language. Economics has always been malign necessity. This is a critique of economics as a form of life.

    I thought the one they put on the pedestal was the consumerssu

    No. The accumulator gets the pedestal, aka the capitalist. Mass production requires mass consumption, and that means that labour must consume in proportion. But this is changing too. 3D printers, allow economical bespoke production, and the consumption value of the masses has been lost along with their production value.

    If value is based on labor, it implies that people are simply looked at as utility units. Why should the end of work constitute a crisis? Are people anything but utility to you?schopenhauer1

    It is a crisis of economics as the foundation of human social organisation. It's not a question of what people are to me, but a question of what they are to the system of organisation of social relations. If I like humans and can afford them, I might keep a few as pets, the point is they are valueless to the economy.

    Amazon will deliver to my remote fastness the materials and robots to build my palace by flying robot, and regular supplies of robot grown food until my own farming robots are fully functional. My trophy wife will be tended at the birth of my trophy children by the medibot who will also grow the spare body-parts I need...

    Manufacturing gives way to services - it has already happened to a great extent. And once the capitalist has unlimited manufactured servants, he won't need you anymore. Only land remains in limited supply.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    https://www.lbcnews.co.uk/uk-news/one-in-every-200-people-england-now-homeless/

    This is not an unfortunate mistake, nor is it a shortage of bricks.

    Medical science progresses in leaps and bounds, but UK life expectancy is falling.

    Replacing the NHS with American companies is not going to improve matters.
    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/nov/28/the-dirty-war-on-the-national-health-service-review-john-pilger-documentary

    Q. How does one get rid of the the proletariat when they are no longer an asset, and extermination camps are a bit notorious?
    A. Let climate change take the blame. Just close the borders and turn up the heat.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.4k
    If I like humans and can afford them, I might keep a few as pets, the point is they are valueless to the economy.unenlightened

    But who cares. The economy is an abstraction- not an entity that values or doesn't value. Anyways, if people are mainly valuable by the work they do, someone better find a better way to find meaning in existence because I don't think that was or should ever be how humans are considered "valuable". In fact, it can be argued that humans are used by economic mechanisms of society, not enhanced or given value from it. To believe that humans are bestowed value by their usefulness to the labor-force is to have drunken the Kool-Aid of institutional manipulation. People are needed to keep the whole thing going, and it is in the interests of many to see that happen by having more people do this. People are then nothing but useful tools to be manipulated to maintain this system.

    So how "bad" is this non-work scenario? It seems like people inclined to, will focus more on education and understanding rather than doing work for an owner or a state. People's lives aren't dictated by management and no one has to be at a particular place and time to "make the donuts". The end of work, sounds like a much better option. However, being that many tend to be masochistic, they'll just find more work for themselves anyways.

    If we are just trying to fill up time by finding more work for ourselves, perhaps we should consider antinatalism. I am being serious. Why are we putting more people into the world to find work for to do in the first place? I'm sure you will say something like "the creative capacity for people to produce something is inherently valuable". Perhaps that is propaganda to get people to do more work though. Maybe people just get bored and would find anything more valuable than languishing in their own ennui. Rather, people are motivated by boredom which is actually instructive that humans lack initial fulfillment in general. Creative work, learning, and engagement with the world is only "inherent' because we are deprived of capacity to be happy merely existing. So it comes from a place of lacking. However, even so, creative work, learning, and engagement does not need to be in the confines of how economic or political system finds it useful. That is just propaganda to think it is so. It is group-think reinforcing itself. In fact, if the current system is defined by how "useful" people are to the economy, that is a strong case for antinatalism as any act that puts another person into the economy would be using them as simply units of labor.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    557
    But who cares.schopenhauer1

    People care, because if they are valueless in economic terms, the next step is that they will be no factor in political deliberation, or maybe I should say even less a factor.

    So it's not that they should care 'inherently' about the economy, that misses the point, it's because it will have negative consequence for them if they are valueless regardless of them caring about it or not.

    Edit: To give an example, one way of weighing on political decision-making for the not-so-rich, is going on a strike. That works some of the time because going on a strike causes economic damage. It gives you a form of economic leverage. Economic value translates into political power, so if you are economically valueless where does that leave you then?
  • schopenhauer1
    4.4k
    People care, because if they are valueless in economic terms, the next step is that they will be no factor in political deliberation, or maybe I should say even less a factor.

    So it's not that they should care 'inherently' about the economy, that misses the point, it's because it will have negative consequence for them if they are valueless regardless of them caring about it or not.

    Edit: To give an example, one way of weighing on political decision-making for the not-so-rich, is going on a strike. That works some of the time because going on a strike causes economic damage. It gives you a form of economic leverage. Economic value translates into political power, so if you are economic valueless where does that leave you then?
    ChatteringMonkey

    I see so this is about leverage of economic power. I actually thought that right as I sent my previous post, but still think the post stands on its own :).

    First off, the needs of economic an political value would change if there was no need for work and robots did everything, no? Thus, the "leverage" would not even be a part of the equation being everyone has the goods and services they need.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    557
    First off, the needs of economic an political value would change if there was no need for work and robots did everything, no?schopenhauer1

    Yes it would presumably change in favour of the owners of the robots, who now own everything without conditions.

    Thus, the "leverage" would not even be a part of the equation being everyone has the goods and services they need.schopenhauer1

    It will allways be a part of the equation, the leverage will just be 0 then for the valueless. Everybody does not automatically have all the goods and services they need... that would only be the case if the owners of the means of production decide it so.

    Economic power is a part of let's say "total aggregate power"... and ultimately (no matter how much rules you make) this will allways be the biggest factor in determining who get's to decide.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    But who caresschopenhauer1

    That is a great question. But it is not an economic question, because Economics is founded on enlightened self-interest. The idea is that nobody has to care because the invisible hand of economics, which is the social equivalent of natural selection, will manage things as if we cared.

    So how "bad" is this non-work scenario?schopenhauer1

    Another great question, but again not an economic question. By and large, for most people and according to standard economic models, a non-work scenario is a non-eat scenario. Personally, I think that's quite bad. I understand that you rather welcome the apocalypse as the end of suffering, but again that is not an economic matter.

    I am more addressing those who might wish to rebel against their imminent extinction. I wonder if I need to lay out why socialism is not a solution to all this?
  • schopenhauer1
    4.4k
    It will allways be a part of the equation, the leverage will just be 0 then. Everybody does not automatically have all the goods and services they need... that would only be the case if the owners of the means of production decide it so.

    Economic power is a part of let's say "total aggregate power"... and ultimately (no matter how much rules you make) this will allways be the biggest factor in determining who get's to decide.
    ChatteringMonkey

    So your solution to the possibility of not owning the robots is to give us the ability to work more? I'm just trying to understand your end game.


    I meant to answer your assertion here:

    I am more addressing those who might wish to rebel against their imminent extinction. I wonder if I need to lay out why socialism is not a solution to all this?unenlightened
    So your solution to the possibility of not owning the robots is to give us the ability to work more? I'm just trying to understand your end game.
  • fdrake
    4k


    It's a question of how it's implemented. A UBI replacing all other social safety nets would be at least as bad and enable, if not come directly along with, lots of encroachment on those social safety nets. In addition to all other social safety nets, it makes more sense, having some money for food which is not means (or capability, he writes as he remembers the times the UK job centre "fit for work" assessments have been raised as a human rights violation in the UN...) assessed would be nice.

    Its introduction is definitely (only) a palliative measure.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    The kind of UBI I've heard proposed, and favor (as a palliative measure, as you say, a step in the right direction but not a panacea), is one that gradually displaces many other social safety nets, without just eliminating them right away. A better world would be one where more people just had the kind of money that they didn't need to rely on those safety nets, so I support just giving people enough money that they can get off of relying on them. I would leave the other programs in place, but their costs would shrink as fewer and fewer people used them (and those saved costs could then further increase the amount of money we're able to give people, in a positive feedback loop).

    I also think that a high enough UBI is not just palliative but also partially curative for the underlying problem that necessitates that in the first place. If people have more money, they are more able to get out of debt, get out of rent, own the things they need to live instead of borrowing them from those who are wealthier than them; and if they have stable income regardless of work, they are also more free to try things other than take a job working for someone wealthier than them, like to start their own small business, or to band together to start a coop, and so on. An UBI can be a stepping stone toward helping people own more of the capital they need to live and work themselves, and so reduce capitalism. (There are still, of course, the underlying systemic factors that give rise to capitalism in the first place, but an UBI at least partially counteracts them).
  • Maw
    2k
    No doubt true, but still worth thinking about.tim wood

    Of course it's worth thinking about, as I said the solution should be collective ownership. My issue is it's exigency, which I think is clearly overblown.

    My candidate for 'the biggest threat to labor' is customary or state regulated denial of easy / universal access to (a) clean water; (b) safe, effective, family planning; & (c) quality education of females of all ages. Y'know, because - Ignorance breeds surplus. Sickness breeds surplus. Poverty breeds surplus. But 'surplus people' are only a symptom (pace Malthus), like 'automation' (pace Harari) which compounds it, and not the problem: malign neglect ... abetted by the scale & complexities of technocapital societies.180 Proof

    You are of course correct, I meant the biggest threat to labor specifically in terms of occupational displacement, rather than existential.

    An UBI is not as good as truly distributed ownership, but it's certainly better than the status quoPfhorrest

    Exactly, so as @180 Proof stated, let's make a truly collective ownership our goal, rather than cede to a limited technocratic political imagination via the restrictive TINA nihilism that Capital demands.

    Really? Is it not decided by the invisible hand? If the robot is cheaper, the robot takes the job. And if the the capitalist has scruples he goes out of business.unenlightened

    The Invisible Hand is a concept. It doesn't decide anything. It may be true that Capital tends towards greater production at cheaper cost, but this isn't, strictly speaking, a law by any means. Certainly a number of factors,social, technical, play into deciding whether or not to replace workers with some form of automation, often a huge undertaking made with great risk. Ultimately, automation shouldn't be considered fatalistic lest we forgo our agency and our ability to demand and determine what kind of society we want.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    Exactly, so as 180 Proof stated, let's make a truly collective ownership our goal, rather than cede to a limited technocratic political imagination via the restrictive TINA nihilism that Capital demands.Maw

    I just don't understand this making-perfect-the-enemy-of-good attitude. It's like, I'm not exactly excited about either a Democrat or a Republican winning an election, but I definitely have a preference about which is worse, and given the odds of anyone better winning, I'm not going to complain if the less-bad of the plausible options wins. Likewise, an UBI isn't a perfect solution, but it's a much much better proposal than anything that's been seriously considered in mainstream politics for a while, so while I wouldn't just rest happy with an UBI, it's definitely at least a step in the right direction, and I don't get why people further in that direction would oppose it compared to the status quo. It makes about as much sense as opposing any other kind of welfare program on the grounds that those just prolong the inevitable collapse of capitalism. Maybe, but they're accomplishing that by alleviating some of the harm of capitalism, and alleviating harm is what really matters, and a little alleviation is better than none.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    The Invisible Hand is a concept. It doesn't decide anything. It may be true that Capital tends towards greater production at cheaper cost, but this isn't, strictly speaking, a law by any means.Maw

    Gravity is a concept and doesn't decide anything. But things fall down.

    Economics is how we conduct social relations. We do it with money. Money is a representation of property. Ownership is a relation we have made sacred. I would like folks as philosophers to look at this without providing instant fixes in the first place. If you look first, you will I think see that fixes based on shared ownership or UBI simply do not answer.

    Labour is value; labour is virtue. This is the origin of economics; that a farmer works to improve the land and plant a crop. He invests his labour in the land and has to protect it until the harvest. Hence property.
    And hence barter, trade, money. The tool-maker likewise invests his labour to produce the means of production, and hence capital. So the end of labour is the end of the foundation of the economy. But you think you can keep the functions of property and money when the foundation has gone. The Emperor has no clothes; money and property has no meaning or function any more. The working class is already dead.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.4k
    Labour is value; labour is virtue. This is the origin of economics; that a farmer works to improve the land and plant a crop. He invests his labour in the land and has to protect it until the harvest. Hence property.
    And hence barter, trade, money. The tool-maker likewise invests his labour to produce the means of production, and hence capital. So the end of labour is the end of the foundation of the economy. But you think you can keep the functions of property and money when the foundation has gone. The Emperor has no clothes; money and property has no meaning or function any more. The working class is already dead.
    unenlightened

    So with labor gone, social relations would change. Think Star Trek or some other sci-fi scenario or historical one. Hunting-gatherers don't have the same concept of labor, property, and land. It is possible to form human relations without these "foundational" concepts. Economics is not a hard science. The assumptions of economics are not hard facts. I liken economic thinking and theory to willful delusion. If we all believe in "the law of this or that" (place economic "law" here), and enough other people take it to be so, then it must be true. But it isn't. The laws of economics, the "foundational" theories are NOT like gravity, as much as economists want their profession to be taken as hard fact like physics.

    Certainly, if robots truly took over every aspect of life, there would be foundational changes to the current model. This doesn't mean that this disruption of the normal life, wouldn't give way. The Middle Ages was much different than currently. One can say "capitalism" the way we know it was really 18th-19th century models that have changed since "progressivism" of early 20th century. In the 16th-17th century, you can argue it wasn't even capitalism but mercantilism. Medieval economies were based mainly on feudal relations of peasant to lords with a small but growing merchant class that combined with the central government to form mercantalism eventually. It was agrarian-based.

    So true, labor has been the common thread in all these forms, but the forms have changed. Without labor, the economy would be based on other factors that are less about work and more about fairness, justice, human rights, and the like. It's the same thing we debate now but take away the need to work.
  • iolo
    227
    Everything, surely, depends on who owns the robots? Will it be those who currently do the work or those who profit by it. I think we know the answer to that one.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    It is possible to form human relations without these "foundational" concepts.schopenhauer1

    Yes. What I am saying is that as long as we maintain a society based on money and property, the logic of our own conceptions will lead to our annihilation.

    Eventually, either we will all be dead, or another way of forming social relations will come into being.

    And here the philosophy begins. What might be the nature of those relations, and how might they be conceived? Hierarchy without property for example? is it possible?

    Everything, surely, depends on who owns the robots?iolo

    In the short term, as long as we maintain the economic conception of ourselves, that is the crucial question. But eventually, I propose, it must inevitably become a meaningless question, for the reasons noted above.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    560


    So with labor gone, social relations would change. Think Star Trek or some other sci-fi scenario or historical one.

    I think we can all agree that AI/robots/automotion will take jobs, but I think most of us also agree that new jobs will be created in other sectors. In the actual unlikely event that there is apparently "no more labor" for us humans to do we have a much bigger problem than this marxism vs. capitalism debate... we as humans are probably done. If we have robots governing, robots developing better robots, robots commanding militaries, robot judges, etc. all while humans are sidelined... you get where I'm going.

    This would be much larger than just an economic issue.

    In any case I'm not losing any sleep over it. Sure, we'll lose truck drivers and we've lost cash register but we've had such an enormous boom in tech job offerings with really some very exciting implications for other fields as well.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    Is it too much shock, or am I not making it clear? You philosophers and techies will be fine - for a while.

    Already in mature democracies people are dying on the streets because they cannot afford housing, medicine, or decent food. The value of unskilled and semi-skilled labour is falling. Labour is hugely expensive and robots are getting cheaper and cheaper.

    new jobs will be created in other sectors.BitconnectCarlos

    As manufacturing jobs shrink, service jobs are expanding. However, every servant needs a master, every service needs to be paid for. So for the poor, the hairdresser gets replaced with a DIY trimmer. So the hairdresser becomes poor. Manufacturing is the source, and services are ancillary. A society that is all services and no manufacturing collapses. The economy game stops. See rustbelt in the US, or anywhere North of Manchester in the UK. I'm not the top line economist, but I think this is fairly basic stuff. One can see already that the end of manufacturing is the end of society on a small scale, so it should not take an extraordinary feat of imagination to see the implications as the process continues.

    I'm deliberately staying clear of international affairs so as to keep things simple, and obviously some communities and some countries are at a very different stage. But the first principle of economics is 'produce or die.' People are starting to die.
  • Janus
    9.2k
    Yes, if there is to be continuing production then there must be continuing consumption to keep the machine going. If all the production is mechanized, as well as all the services, then no one but the owners of production and the owners of the robots providing the services would have any capital or at least liquidity. But then no one could afford to buy anything, not even food, so the entire system would collapse. A UBI is a posited fix for that, but that will not be enough of course, because that's just the economic side of the equation.

    The other side of the equation is really far more potentially devastating and out of human control: it is the relentless decline of energy and resources, and the human effect on the environment and other species. All this ongoing production will not be sustainable, whether human or machine-implemented, due to declining energy and resources, and destruction of soils, pollution and depletion of water. It's not merely a political problem at all; to think that it is is just another manifestation of anthropocentric thinking and the monumental hubris that goes with that.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.4k
    As manufacturing jobs shrink, service jobs are expanding. However, every servant needs a master, every service needs to be paid for. So for the poor, the hairdresser gets replaced with a DIY trimmer. So the hairdresser becomes poor. Manufacturing is the source, and services are ancillary. A society that is all services and no manufacturing collapses. The economy game stops. See rustbelt in the US, or anywhere North of Manchester in the UK. I'm not the top line economist, but I think this is fairly basic stuff. One can see already that the end of manufacturing is the end of society on a small scale, so it should not take an extraordinary feat of imagination to see the implications as the process continues.

    I'm deliberately staying clear of international affairs so as to keep things simple, and obviously some communities and some countries are at a very different stage. But the first principle of economics is 'produce or die.' People are starting to die.
    unenlightened

    Unenlightened, anything social/societal is a form of ideology. What do you WANT society to threaten (de facto or by force) people to do? Right now, the ideology is one of internationally traded goods/services procured by monetary systems backed by governments. When bearing a child into the world THAT is what the parent wants (whether they explicitly say it or not) for/from the child. Do you think this is what people should be participating in? Is it naturally "edifying" to be a part of the labor force? Again, it is ideology- what outcome people want to see.

    So I pose to you, what is it that YOU ideally want to see? People throw around a vapid word called "flourishing". I hope you will be more descriptive than that. If you say, "I want people to make friends, create things, maintain a physically healthy lifestyle, and find a moderate amount of pleasure in various pursuits of entertainment", than I have to question this. The reason is that this is ALREADY the mode by which the current normative socio-economic sphere operates. So, are you just buying into the current mode but WITH full employment and WITHOUT environmental degradation? Is that it? Is that the end goal?

    Mass starvation due to robots and having full employment to stave this outcome, implies you are looking for some stability of SOMETHING. But that something is just the current ideology sans certain fringe outcomes from overproduction. What is the good life then supposed to be? I say there never was one and never will be one. If it is about maintaining ideology without these fringe scenarios, we indeed have no reason to live in the first place.
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