Jobs for every American is doomed to failure because of modern automation and production. We ought to recognize it and create an income-maintenance system so every single American has the dignity and the wherewithal for shelter, basic food, and medical care. I'm talking about welfare for all. Without it, you're going to have warfare for all.
CGP Grey, in perhaps his most ambitious video to date, has tackled the subject of automation — in short, robots coming for all the jobs. Whether you work in transportation, white collar trades, or even the arts, there's probably a programmer working on putting you in the poor house as soon as possible. Or worse, a programmer teaching a robot to teach itself so it can put anyone out of work.
A little unsettling, huh? The best piece I've ever seen trying to game out the long-term effects of automation is "Four Futures," by Peter Frase in Jacobin magazine. By imagining two axes of possible development — scarcity versus abundance, and hierarchy versus egalitarianism — he outlines four possible futures of the human race. They range from a work-free utopia (as outlined by Iain M. Banks in his Culture series), to a terrifying war of extermination by the rich against the masses of useless poor. Frase's piece is an excellent complement to the above video, which is rather vague about the political implications of the subject. Definitely give it a read.
Four out of 10 American households were straining financially five years after the Great Recession -- many struggling with tight credit, education debt and retirement issues, according to a new Federal Reserve survey of consumers.
This is the issue that Andrew Biggs implicitly raises in his Wall Street Journal column highlighting the jump in the size of the projections of the Social Security shortfall since 2008. Biggs complains that progressives have responded to the economic collapse by proposing an increase in
Editor's note: Originally published on July 2, 2014Written by Peter B. MeyerSome regular readers requested for more information on the effects of hyperinflation. For complete insight, first a few essays on inflation and defla
For those here new to the idea, brought around by the prospect of technological unemployment through the rise of bot labor over human labor, I recommend listening to this talk by Alan Watts. He was way ahead of his time in recognizing the good sense of a basic income.
Here's the relevant excerpt in text form:
Now what happens then when you introduce technology into production? You produce enormous quantities of goods by technological methods but at the same time you put people out of work. You can say, "Oh but it always creates more jobs. There will always be more jobs." Yes, but lots of them will be futile jobs. They will be jobs making every kind of frippery and unnecessary contraption, and one will also at the same time have to beguile the public into feeling that they need and want these completely unnecessary things that aren't even beautiful. And therefore an enormous amount of nonsense employment and busy work, bureaucratic and otherwise, has to be created in order to keep people working, because we believe as good Protestants that the devil finds work for idle hands to do. But the basic principle of the whole thing has been completely overlooked, that the purpose of the machine is to make drudgery unnecessary. And if we don't allow it to achieve its purpose we live in a constant state of self-frustration.
So then if a given manufacturer automates his plant and dismisses his labor force and they have to operate on a very much diminished income, (say some sort of dole), the manufacturer suddenly finds that the public does not have the wherewithal to buy his products. And therefore he has invested in this expensive automative machinery to no purpose. And therefore obviously the public has to be provided with the means of purchasing what the machines produce.
People say, "That's not fair. Where's the money going to come from? Who's gonna pay for it?" The answer is the machine. The machine pays for it, because the machine works for the manufacturer and for the community. This is not saying you see that a...this is not the statist or communist idea that you expropriate the manufacture and say you can't own and run this factory anymore, it is owned by the government. It is only saying that the government or the people have to be responsible for issuing to themselves sufficient credit to circulate the goods they are producing and have to balance the measuring standard of money with the gross national product. That means that taxation is obsolete - completely obsolete. It ought to go the other way.
Theobald points out that every individual should be assured of a minimum income. Now you see that absolutely horrifies most people. “Say all these wastrels, these people who are out of a job because they're really lazy see... ah giving them money?” Yeah, because otherwise the machines can't work. They come to a blockage. This was the situation of the Great Depression when here we were still, in a material sense, a very rich country, with plenty of fields and farms and mines and factories...everything going. But suddenly because of a psychological hang-up, because of a mysterious mumbo-jumbo about the economy, about the banking, we were all miserable and poor - starving in the midst of plenty. Just because of a psychological hang-up. And that hang-up is that money is real, and that people ought to suffer in order to get it. But the whole point of the machine is to relieve you of that suffering. It is ingenuity. You see we are psychologically back in the 17th century and technically in the 20th. And here comes the problem.
So what we have to find out how to do is to change the psychological attitude to money and to wealth and further more to pleasure and further more to the nature of work. And this is a formidable problem.
To read this whole talk in its entirety, here it is in Pastebin and Scribd forms for easy sharing.
The U.S. economy earlier this year recovered all the jobs lost during the recession, but those new jobs pay an average of 23% less than the ones lost in the downturn, according to an analysis released Monday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors .