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Automation and Employment

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Poll Question: Your choice for the unwanted labour
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    Posted: 24 Sep 2015 at 13:54
Some researchers have suggested that given current trends, as much as half of jobs presently done by human beings are very likely to be taken over by automation- the digital revolution. We have abundant evidence of this today, as even China, for example, that poster boy of surplus labour, is now investing more in industrial robots. Some of the largest groups of  employees today engaged in semi to low skilled labour- the transportation, retail, bookkeeping, and lower level management- to name but a few- are today at high risk of meeting an incoming silicon chip as they are hustled out of their former office, personal items in a cardboard box, and pink slip in hand. 

So the question is- what is society to now do with all these "surplus" people? The old solutions will not work. Full employment is a notion receding ever more into the past. Our former political ideas are also insufficient. What some might exclaim in horror as socialism, might mean a rather different thing today. What to do?



Edited by Captain Vancouver - 24 Sep 2015 at 13:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2015 at 14:20
I went with subsidizing those who do something pro-social. The wisdom of the market, in this case, is going to lead (some would argue that it already has) to plutocracy and a universal service based economy. And if people don't think it's "their problem," they shall soon learn otherwise.

The obvious question that the option I have selected begs is this: Who is to determine what is pro-social? I personally would not trust the overwhelming majority of the population to be capable of making that determination. Then again, we are speaking in the abstract, so I shall happily check my box. Tongue

This is a good topic, CV. I hope it gets some real attention here. It's one of the most pressing things we're going to be dealing with in the West for the next several decades or more.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2015 at 15:57
If you have a group of people that don't have enough skills to make the minimum wage, you could always change or drop the minimum wage.  Some people will work certain jobs for free (it is called volunteer work, although it can pay as far as personal rewards are concerned, or as far as experience is concerned).  Of course, automation may be displacing a lot of people, but a lot of people are already displaced by no skills and an entry level wage that is too high for employers.

Or we can do what we are doing now, wanting a higher wage, while at the same time forcing more people out of the market due to automation.  

I think subsidies will happen, and to some extent they are already there.  For some people, the American dream is to have a baby, and as a single-mother, go on welfare.  If welfare is a means to an end, then great, but if it is the end itself.....

I am all for supporting non-profit/semi-profit or anti-profit institutions, but I tend to think that the answer does not consist in making them a wing of the government like Planned Parenthood or Acorn.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2015 at 23:09
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

  Our former political ideas are also insufficient. What some might exclaim in horror as socialism, might mean a rather different thing today. What to do?


Let me be the first to exclaim in horror at what socialism has brought forth.  

I live in the "ghetto" so my views may be a bit jaundiced by reality.  

A five in the morning I was awakened by banging on my door.  When I went to see what was going on it was a young woman demanding to be let in to wash blood off her hands.  My first thought was that it was a home invasion ruse as that sort of thing has been going on here for a while.  I left the door locked and called the police.  Twenty minutes later they arrive and tell her she can keep walking or be taken to the hospital.  The politically correct thing to do would be to accuse the police of insensitivity I suspect but they are overwhelmed by their role as social workers just like every other stable person who lives in this kind of neighborhood.  I have taken these kind of woman and their children in before although perhaps not in as obviously a drug induced paranoia.  The result was threats of violence from their "men".  A person can only take so much of these events without becoming somewhat cynical.  There is literally nothing you can do for people until they want to do for themselves.  Happy well adjusted people don't bang on strangers doors at 5 in the morning.

The welfare state has not cured "spiritual" poverty it has only cured physical poverty to a large degree.  My neighbors do not work, sit on their porch all day drinking beer and grilling their food.  They live in nice apartments paid for by the state and apparently have more money than I do for beer and party food.  This is indeed a strange inversion of historical poverty.

We have created segregation areas called ghettos and reservations where poverty is more an expression of indifference and listlessness than hunger and cold.  Something for nothing is apparently a prescription for personality disorders of various kinds including addiction, child abuse, prostitution, spousal abuse and criminality.  These problems of course are nothing new and had their counterparts in the pre welfare slums everywhere.  The difference is that there is now no motivation for people to escape these conditions as everything is provided for them.  We have multiple generations who have never known anything but state support.  That state support has reduced them to a condition where they no longer know how to care for themselves in the simplest terms.

Morally state sponsorship revolks the consequences necessary for people to have moral agency.  Just as coercion precludes moral agency welfare and lack of consequence for self destructive behavior reduces people to impulse driven agents without morality.  The moral agency club to which most of us wish to belong is meaningless without punishment.  No amount of equal distribution of wealth is going to cure are "spiritual" decline. 



  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2015 at 01:46
I think that they're talking about another kind of problem, wolfie.  The Captain is not talking about welfare, although that may be included in subsidization.  They're talking about what to do with excess/extra workers.  If people are gainfully employed then they won't be camping out on the front porch all the time.  Question is, what is gainful employment in a world of increasing automation?  It should be respectful to be docent at an art museum, or a guide at a nature park, or an artist, or starting out your own business, even though all of those options make either no money or little money initially.
Maybe there should be something "subsidizing" such gainful activities.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2015 at 02:10
We've been through this problem before in history. When the industrial revolution began to inflict huge changes in working lives due to loss of profession, a few got rich, a few found alertanive careers, most just found themselves either in some other derived manual labour or resorted to the workhouse if nothing else worked. As it happens, the same problem is beginning to manifest itself now - not with machinery, which is still developing that change in society started around three hundred years ago, but because of economic migration, which is currently a big issue in the news.Society cannot find alertanive careers for everyone. Some will find or create paths for themselves - many will fail and fall by the wayside, beconing part of an underclass. Politicians talk a lot about preventing an underclass, and prophecies of the changes we're experiencing have been touted for almost as long as the changes began to take effct, but politicians only take radical action when it becomes necessary to save their own careers, and normally consider such advice on consideration.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2015 at 03:12
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

I think that they're talking about another kind of problem, wolfie.  The Captain is not talking about welfare, although that may be included in subsidization.  

I was aware of that but the only real experience we have with income subsidization is the welfare state.
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I see no benefit to a world without healthy competition.  I also see no shortage of work that only humans can do.  Put the two together and you have a world not much different from the one we live in.  The question isn't if people should have jobs it is how to provide them with job opportunities.  Fair compensation in a competitive reward for value added environment is still the most enriching lifestyle imaginable.  

If you want to find miserable people look in places with little work incentive.  House wives, welfare recipients, the idle rich, all have self inflicted boredom as the major cause of depression.      
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Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

If you have a group of people that don't have enough skills to make the minimum wage, you could always change or drop the minimum wage.  Some people will work certain jobs for free (it is called volunteer work, although it can pay as far as personal rewards are concerned, or as far as experience is concerned).  Of course, automation may be displacing a lot of people, but a lot of people are already displaced by no skills and an entry level wage that is too high for employers.

Or we can do what we are doing now, wanting a higher wage, while at the same time forcing more people out of the market due to automation.  

I think subsidies will happen, and to some extent they are already there.  For some people, the American dream is to have a baby, and as a single-mother, go on welfare.  If welfare is a means to an end, then great, but if it is the end itself.....

I am all for supporting non-profit/semi-profit or anti-profit institutions, but I tend to think that the answer does not consist in making them a wing of the government like Planned Parenthood or Acorn.



You touched on re-training, a noble goal in itself, but one that does not address the issue. Only a few will be able to re-train for high tech or professional jobs, and get them. There is simply no need for hundreds of millions of them in a country the size of the US. 

Non-profits still pay wages to  staff (not counting volunteer positions), and indeed here cost savings are sometimes more critical than with for profit companies, who can often extract more  from the economy for themselves, and so automation will slink into said doorways, like it or not.

You don't like wings of government, but who else will have any incentive to change the evolving paradigm? Business is becoming  hyper efficient, and hyper profitable, are they going to squawk? Unions have lost most of their power in recent years, and are just a shell of their former selves, with no voice. Who?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2015 at 07:40
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

  Our former political ideas are also insufficient. What some might exclaim in horror as socialism, might mean a rather different thing today. What to do?


Let me be the first to exclaim in horror at what socialism has brought forth.  

I live in the "ghetto" so my views may be a bit jaundiced by reality.  

A five in the morning I was awakened by banging on my door.  When I went to see what was going on it was a young woman demanding to be let in to wash blood off her hands.  My first thought was that it was a home invasion ruse as that sort of thing has been going on here for a while.  I left the door locked and called the police.  Twenty minutes later they arrive and tell her she can keep walking or be taken to the hospital.  The politically correct thing to do would be to accuse the police of insensitivity I suspect but they are overwhelmed by their role as social workers just like every other stable person who lives in this kind of neighborhood.  I have taken these kind of woman and their children in before although perhaps not in as obviously a drug induced paranoia.  The result was threats of violence from their "men".  A person can only take so much of these events without becoming somewhat cynical.  There is literally nothing you can do for people until they want to do for themselves.  Happy well adjusted people don't bang on strangers doors at 5 in the morning.

The welfare state has not cured "spiritual" poverty it has only cured physical poverty to a large degree.  My neighbors do not work, sit on their porch all day drinking beer and grilling their food.  They live in nice apartments paid for by the state and apparently have more money than I do for beer and party food.  This is indeed a strange inversion of historical poverty.

We have created segregation areas called ghettos and reservations where poverty is more an expression of indifference and listlessness than hunger and cold.  Something for nothing is apparently a prescription for personality disorders of various kinds including addiction, child abuse, prostitution, spousal abuse and criminality.  These problems of course are nothing new and had their counterparts in the pre welfare slums everywhere.  The difference is that there is now no motivation for people to escape these conditions as everything is provided for them.  We have multiple generations who have never known anything but state support.  That state support has reduced them to a condition where they no longer know how to care for themselves in the simplest terms.

Morally state sponsorship revolks the consequences necessary for people to have moral agency.  Just as coercion precludes moral agency welfare and lack of consequence for self destructive behavior reduces people to impulse driven agents without morality.  The moral agency club to which most of us wish to belong is meaningless without punishment.  No amount of equal distribution of wealth is going to cure are "spiritual" decline. 



  

You have presented the stereotypical view of the welfare bum. As with all such stereotypes, there is a grain of truth in it. But there are some problems with this response in relation to the discussion at hand:

I think most people find their adrenaline surging when the welfare topic comes up because, for one thing, it is very disagreeable to witness selfish, obtuse, unsavory individuals in proximity to us. For another, it twists the knife to think that some of our tax money is going to fund these minimal entries to the human race. 

It is simplistic and easy to assign these people to the lower ranks, welfare recipients and their fellow travelers, criminals, etc. A more energetic analysis however quickly shows us that these characteristics are not confined to such groups, or indeed to any group. The unsavory can be found sprinkled about quite randomly, in every corner. They are certainly among the rich and powerful, as their antics tend to find their way into the media. And I suspect that savoriness is evenly spread about, at least more so than most think. Just look at Donald Trump for one small example. In fact there are many reasons people end up on welfare, and being a self-entitled lazy bum is just one small segment of this population.

Those that live the rough and disreputable lifestyle are found many places other than welfare rolls, and those that are on them, like many others, would like more than the most base spartan existence. The status of some means their options are limited within the economy. There is often a combination of fault here, but it is mostly irrelevant in terms of this discussion. If Mr Middle Class is struggling to find work at the 7-11 in the future, there is not much point in insisting that brain addled heroin addict get his application in too, because he should compete, it's the American way.

There will always be some at the bottom end who do very poorly at managing their life. Society can throw them a few crumbs (and that is truly what it is, in relation to wealth today), and let them drink beer and cut themselves up, or it can shoot them down when they riot for bread. What do you think? And really, most of that money comes back anyway, often to those most vocal about welfare bums- the affluent who are slum landlords, or those owning supermarket chains, or breweries. 

Angst about welfare tends to be, IMO, more about emotion than economics.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2015 at 08:57
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 Angst about welfare tends to be, IMO, more about emotion than economics.


This is the same old argument of your just unhappy because someone else is getting a free ride.


There are so many unwarranted assumptions in that argument I won't even address them.
 
Absolutely it is about emotion, the emotionally destructive realization that welfare recipient feel when they realize they contribute nothing to society as a ward of the state.  The economics is a different discussion and secondary to addressing the issue of surplus labor.

Few people understand the loss of moral agency that results from living in a world where your irresponsible acts have no consequences.  Think of it as reducing adults to children who cannot be held responsible because they lack discernment.  Giving someone everything and expect nothing in return is very destructive to that persons spiritual health.  You have to live in the Ghetto to see that it is not physical poverty that destroys people.


Edited by wolfhnd - 25 Sep 2015 at 08:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2015 at 09:46
Surplus labor is a horrible concept that implies surplus people in a world with unlimited worthy jobs that need accomplished.

If every there was surplus people in this world it is best represented by the "hippy" generation.  Self indulgent hedonism and empty social activism represent a rejection of the best of western civilization.  The irony is that the luxury to reject long standing social values was a result of the labor of previous generations and the abundance of material wealth those labors produced.  We are now in the last phases of the industrial revolution and passing into the world of automation producing the opportunity to once again squander the potential luxury to address unsolved problems by once again resorting to unrestricted hedonism.  Now it is the state and not over indulgent parents that wants to be the enabling social institution for life without consequences.    

While I have no use for religion it is clear that the rejection of the "protestant" work ethic and respect for the "working man"  coincide with a loss of a sense of personal responsibility.  Reducing every disadvantaged individual to a victim of social injustice disempowers individuals and denies them the most basic of human needs to feel useful and agents of there own destiny.  Of all the social movements of the last 50 years only the civil rights movement was about the empowerment of equal opportunity.  The civil rights movement was steeped in those social values that represent the best of western society and it's leaders were often religious figures the most traditional and conservative of belief systems.  

The screaming masses of the counter culture and the self absorbed unlimited capitalist are two sides of the same coin.  The great society programs of welfare hand outs were cynical programs of redistribution that largely reflected and reinforced the assumptions of inequality of ability of previous generations.  The great society was then followed by the faith based ideology of unrestricted capitalism with the same unspoken but cynical belief that some groups of people were simply more capable and thus deserving than others.  Now the same unspoken belief in the inferiority of certain groups is reinforced by painting everyone as a victim not as a potential contributor.   Society has a moral obligation to demand contribution by all it's members not for the sake of the collective but for the spiritual health of the disadvantaged individual.
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I don't believe machine will replace man at work. It will replace the handwork and many areas of manufacturing, but while this happens the services area will grow. For instance, I don't think computers will replace a salesmen, and the final decision taking will always be at hand of humans.
In that scenario I see an humanity moving from today's standard a few employers exploiting a cheap mass of employees, to a society where most people will be their own employers and had their own companies, while most of the cheap work will be done by computers and robots.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2015 at 11:32
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

I think that they're talking about another kind of problem, wolfie.  The Captain is not talking about welfare, although that may be included in subsidization.  They're talking about what to do with excess/extra workers.  If people are gainfully employed then they won't be camping out on the front porch all the time.  Question is, what is gainful employment in a world of increasing automation?  It should be respectful to be docent at an art museum, or a guide at a nature park, or an artist, or starting out your own business, even though all of those options make either no money or little money initially.
Maybe there should be something "subsidizing" such gainful activities.

Yes, exactly. The future is going to require a major re-think of the value of work, and in fact what is of value to society in a broader context. Given some of the hard right political attitudes today, this may be a wrenching experience.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2015 at 12:14
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

I see no benefit to a world without healthy competition.  I also see no shortage of work that only humans can do.  Put the two together and you have a world not much different from the one we live in.  The question isn't if people should have jobs it is how to provide them with job opportunities.  Fair compensation in a competitive reward for value added environment is still the most enriching lifestyle imaginable.  

If you want to find miserable people look in places with little work incentive.  House wives, welfare recipients, the idle rich, all have self inflicted boredom as the major cause of depression.      

If in fact half of today's jobs are replaced by automation, then where do you see those replacements in some new economy? There is no doubt that new technologies are creating new products, for which there is a demand, and hence will require workers. But the key point here is the relative numbers. How many work at Microsoft? Facebook? Amazon? These companies are generating wealth, but the fact is they just don't need the massive amounts of workers we have seen in the past. Millions have been replaced by thousands. Service industries are already being overloaded with job seekers, trying anything, everything, to make some sort of marginal living- nail technician, personal coach, dog walker, the list is as long as it is disheartening. 

You talk about competition and reward, but we have seen this in spades in recent years. Workers compete with technology, and also impoverished and desperate third world aspirants. Reward for many means pennies, as that is literally all they are worth to an employers in our new digital age. Good for them, but not for those that want to live on pennies.

How is your competitive world going to find work- real work, paying a living wage- for the masses of dispossessed in the future?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2015 at 12:31
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 Angst about welfare tends to be, IMO, more about emotion than economics.


This is the same old argument of your just unhappy because someone else is getting a free ride.


There are so many unwarranted assumptions in that argument I won't even address them.
 
Absolutely it is about emotion, the emotionally destructive realization that welfare recipient feel when they realize they contribute nothing to society as a ward of the state.  The economics is a different discussion and secondary to addressing the issue of surplus labor.

Few people understand the loss of moral agency that results from living in a world where your irresponsible acts have no consequences.  Think of it as reducing adults to children who cannot be held responsible because they lack discernment.  Giving someone everything and expect nothing in return is very destructive to that persons spiritual health.  You have to live in the Ghetto to see that it is not physical poverty that destroys people.

There is no doubt that loss of personal control and sense of worth is destructive to individuals. On this, I completely agree. But as I see it, the main issue is not the idle self-indulgence of welfare cheats that is collapsing national finances, but the precise issue I have raised.

We have humanity. We have the economy that provides services and needs, and of course we need hardly mention, opportunities for profits for the crafty and quick. The problem is that labour is no longer a commodity that commands much money. Capital has found endless enjoyment, and affluence has never seen such a presence in national capitals, and in the pockets of decision makers. As the digital revolution continues, capital will have ever greater possibilities, as conventional labour has ever less. You seem to think this will resolve itself in some automatic way. I disagree.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2015 at 12:46
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

I don't believe machine will replace man at work. It will replace the handwork and many areas of manufacturing, but while this happens the services area will grow. For instance, I don't think computers will replace a salesmen, and the final decision taking will always be at hand of humans.
In that scenario I see an humanity moving from today's standard a few employers exploiting a cheap mass of employees, to a society where most people will be their own employers and had their own companies, while most of the cheap work will be done by computers and robots.

Your are again reiterating the standard reply for this issue: history has seen this before, and so history will repeat itself again, with few significant changes.

In fact, history does not always repeat itself in the same way, and in this case, the prospect is extremely unlikely. Your example of the salesman, for example, is already outdated. Cashier/sales positions are some of the most endangered positions today, and are already evaporating in some localities.

It would be fine for everybody to be a business owner,but the problem is, who are they going to sell to? If masses don't have money, they aren't going to buy. The question is, not who owns a business, but were do societies resources go? And that is a sticky question. Even for a sci-fi writer. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2015 at 14:10
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 Angst about welfare tends to be, IMO, more about emotion than economics.


This is the same old argument of your just unhappy because someone else is getting a free ride.


There are so many unwarranted assumptions in that argument I won't even address them.
 
Absolutely it is about emotion, the emotionally destructive realization that welfare recipient feel when they realize they contribute nothing to society as a ward of the state.  The economics is a different discussion and secondary to addressing the issue of surplus labor.

Few people understand the loss of moral agency that results from living in a world where your irresponsible acts have no consequences.  Think of it as reducing adults to children who cannot be held responsible because they lack discernment.  Giving someone everything and expect nothing in return is very destructive to that persons spiritual health.  You have to live in the Ghetto to see that it is not physical poverty that destroys people.

There is no doubt that loss of personal control and sense of worth is destructive to individuals. On this, I completely agree. But as I see it, the main issue is not the idle self-indulgence of welfare cheats that is collapsing national finances, but the precise issue I have raised.

We have humanity. We have the economy that provides services and needs, and of course we need hardly mention, opportunities for profits for the crafty and quick. The problem is that labour is no longer a commodity that commands much money. Capital has found endless enjoyment, and affluence has never seen such a presence in national capitals, and in the pockets of decision makers. As the digital revolution continues, capital will have ever greater possibilities, as conventional labour has ever less. You seem to think this will resolve itself in some automatic way. I disagree.

I often wonder if the people that talk about the need for redistribution of wealth actual appreciate the people they depend on for their existence.  Do you ever wake up in the morning and thank god for the garbage people, the farmer, the construction worker, the auto repair technician, the truck drivers, electricians, plumbers, oil workers, police, firemen, engineers, rail workers, water and gas service personnel, highway maintenance, customer service, grocery clerks, and the host of other people that keep you alive.  Do you even feel the slightest debt to this people?

We have become a society of selfish takers at all levels including the liberals that cry about social injustice.  What about justice for the average middle class worker?

In my mind their is little difference between the parasites at the top and those at the bottom.  Both the poor and the rich are indifferent about the people that provide their life giving substance.  

As for the digital revolution have I a long work history in engineering and I have experience increased efficiency first hand.  By time I retired there was hardly any need for the secretaries, draft persons, accountants and others who filled most of the positions when I started working as computers had replaced them all.  Guess what all those lost positions were replace by new jobs like, planners, computer specialist, traffic gurus, project managers, lawyers, and archivist to name a few.

When I started working it took six months to design the cross sections for a roadway, something I could do in a few hours on a computer.  Guess what I had less slack time when I retired than I did when calculations were done by hand.  All that "extra" time went into refining designs, planning, and amenities like more exact details.  We don't have to invent work there is a complete infrastructure collapsing around us because we are too busy worrying about the digital revolution and displaced workers to see what needs done.  Liberal politics has put more roadblocks in the way of essential services than any thing else I can think of accept the selfishness of special interest and living the good life by avoiding taxes.  

The failure of socialism in places like Russia and China leaves little doubt the answer to our problems is not more government jobs.  Sure income disparity needs to be address but so does the issue of self serving bureaucracies and parasitic private interests including welfare. 

Ultimately the first thing that needs address in the lack of moral fiber that pervades society.  We have become a society of empty rhetoric populated by people with no sense of personal responsibility.  We get mobilized to fight for our rights while we contribute nothing to society.  We have become a community of community organizers that have never worked a productive day in our lives.

We need reformed regulation but it isn't just at the top we also need to be self regulating at every level of society.  Social censure is a thing of the past while the gay rights activist were demanding government assistance for the aids epidemic where was the cry for the sexually irresponsible to step forward and admit the disgrace of sexual freedom and the havoc it induced?   Why is the Black Lives Matter activists so distorted in their view of reality that they feel perfectly at ease with focusing on the police when the priority should clearly be black on black violence.  Why do the Native Americans demand more and better housing, appliances, better food and living conditions when they also claim they want to live a traditional life style.  The politically correct crowd has turned society into an insane asylum.

There are social injustices that need to be addressed and certain levels of wealth redistribution is necessary but it has to balanced against the real sickness of spiritually decay brought about by the immature philosophies that produce nothing but victims.

The current political environment offers two choices.  You can join the white guilt, western society is evil, anarchists or the equally repugnate reactionary forces that call for the complete dismantling of government.  I don't see one side any more admirable than the other the only difference is Liberals get to feel good about their "humanity" while conservatives wallow in their sense of superiority.    
  


Edited by wolfhnd - 25 Sep 2015 at 20:11
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Eventually I will get to something relative to the original post Embarrassed

Edited by wolfhnd - 25 Sep 2015 at 17:29
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Excerpt from a online book I was reading


Technopoly

As robots continue to replace factory workers, powerful computer software will soon begin to replace office workers. All of the secretarial, financial, administrative, and managerial tasks of business and government will slowly become automated, and eventually most ‘thinking jobs’ will be done by inexpensive computers using artificially intelligent software. There will be fewer and fewer job opportunities over the course of the next century.

In democratic countries, the growing numbers of unemployed will have the political power to demand higher welfare payments, free health care, affordable housing, and other benefits. The wealthy may not like having to pay for the permanently unemployed, but unless the growing numbers of unemployed can afford to be consumers, then the drop in demand will lead to a fall in production and the loss of even more jobs, and the shrinking world economy will spiral downwards into a devastating depression.

Once machines are capable of designing and manufacturing improved versions of themselves without human intervention, then the rate of technological advancement will skyrocket. Those who own this technology will gain an unchallengeable monopoly in every market. The vast majority of people will become unemployed and the free market economy will begin to fail.

Freedom

The entire world is going to need to change its way of thinking and become much more mature and responsible if we are going to have any chance of surviving the challenges ahead. We still need to avoid nuclear war, develop cheap clean energy, end the dictatorships, educate the fundamentalists, industrialize the poor countries, save the global environment, and stabilize the world’s population.

But if we can overcome these difficulties, then the world economy will continue to become increasingly automated until production reaches maximum efficiency, and then everything will be free and nobody will have to work for a living any more, the machines will do all of the work.

When all of the social, political, and economic problems of the world have been solved, and peace and prosperity have prevailed, then nobody will ever be threatened again by hunger, disease, or war.

Eventually, the borders between nations will dissolve away, and the Africans, Americans, Arabs, Asians, Europeans, and Jews will all become citizens of a single worldwide democratic union, free to travel the world in safety and live wherever they want.

Material wealth will no longer be important to us when anything that anyone could ever want is free. Life will be like a permanent holiday, and every person in the world will be able to spend their days enjoying good times with their family and friends, and pursuing their dreams, interests, and desires.


http://www.evolutionary-metaphysics.net/peace_and_prosperity.html


The following is another quote from the book dealing with conservatism


Although many people dream of an ideal world based upon caring, sharing, and cooperation; such a dream world seems far from the practical world where people, companies, and nations must compete for limited resources. Claims about equality, fairness, human rights, or any other moral assertion can easily be rejected by greed-driven opportunists as ‘socialism’, which they condemn as nothing more than the selfish political expression of the jealousies and ambitions of the poor.


I have often said that team sports were ritualized warfare with religious overtones.  It would be easy to accept that view as a condemnation of sports as somehow barbaric.  I find that view to be overly simplistic.  We are dead and inanimate without a full emotional life.  To quote Albert Einstein

"We all know, from what we experience with and within ourselves, that our conscious acts spring from our desires and our fears. Intuition tells us that that is true also of our fellows and of the higher animals. We all try to escape pain and death, while we seek what is pleasant. We all are ruled in what we do by impulses; and these impulses are so organized that our actions in general serve for our self-preservation and and that of the race. Hunger, love, pain, fear are some of those inner forces which rule the individual's instinct for self-preservation. At the same time, as social beings, we are moved in the relations with our fellow beings by such feelings as sympathy, pride, hate, need for power, pity, and so on. All these primary impulses, not easily described in words, are the springs of man's actions. All such action would cease if those powerful elemental forces were to cease stirring within us."

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

Caring, sharing, and cooperation are all aspects of the game of life but they need not exclude competition.  Conversely caring sharing and cooperation often find their fullest emotional expression in competition.  It's the rules not the lack of competition that makes the economic and emotional life civilized.  Those rules are best enforced by social censure and consensus as those who will not cannot be governed.  




Edited by wolfhnd - 25 Sep 2015 at 20:10
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Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:


I often wonder if the people that talk about the need for redistribution of wealth actual appreciate the people they depend on for their existence.  Do you ever wake up in the morning and thank god for the garbage people, the farmer, the construction worker, the auto repair technician, the truck drivers, electricians, plumbers, oil workers, police, firemen, engineers, rail workers, water and gas service personnel, highway maintenance, customer service, grocery clerks, and the host of other people that keep you alive.  Do you even feel the slightest debt to this people?

I understand what you are getting at here, but in our rapidly evolving labour market, your sentiments have been shifted almost 180 degrees. As jobs- good jobs, that offer a modest career and a livable wage- become ever fewer in relation to the number of workers willing and available, then it is indeed the lucky ones that obtain them, and have an occupation and decent income. There are many who do not, or at least do not for a long time, and end up taking their master's degrees to Starbucks.

I think there are a lot out there that share your view- all hands are needed in the machine shop, or on the farm, and if there are even a few slackers, they will bring us all down. That had some truth to it, going back a couple of generations, but the whole point of this thread is that this truth is changing, and fast. All hands are not needed, and those that do find the a spot in a good profession or trade are the fortunate ones, not the overworked altruists covering for the slackers, as I think you are vaguely suggesting here.


Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

We have become a society of selfish takers at all levels including the liberals that cry about social injustice.  What about justice for the average middle class worker?

In my mind their is little difference between the parasites at the top and those at the bottom.  Both the poor and the rich are indifferent about the people that provide their life giving substance.  

Yes, there are selfish people in society, and they are sprinkled around through all ranks. There is a difference though with the super rich, who extract a billion from the economy, and then have endless choices about what to do with such funds, and those that extract $600/ month, and pay for food and other expenses out of that. The upwards migration of wealth in recent years is one of the, if not the, most significant trends in the economy, and in society. The fraction of one percent that are welfare bums and cheats represent chump change in comparison.


Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

As for the digital revolution have I a long work history in engineering and I have experience increased efficiency first hand.  By time I retired there was hardly any need for the secretaries, draft persons, accountants and others who filled most of the positions when I started working as computers had replaced them all.  Guess what all those lost positions were replace by new jobs like, planners, computer specialist, traffic gurus, project managers, lawyers, and archivist to name a few.

When I started working it took six months to design the cross sections for a roadway, something I could do in a few hours on a computer.  Guess what I had less slack time when I retired than I did when calculations were done by hand.  All that "extra" time went into refining designs, planning, and amenities like more exact details.  We don't have to invent work there is a complete infrastructure collapsing around us because we are too busy worrying about the digital revolution and displaced workers to see what needs done.  Liberal politics has put more roadblocks in the way of essential services than any thing else I can think of accept the selfishness of special interest and living the good life by avoiding taxes.  

Again, no one is saying new positions won't be created by new technologies. The point is fewer workers are required in relation to past manufacturing industries. 


Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

The failure of socialism in places like Russia and China leaves little doubt the answer to our problems is not more government jobs.  Sure income disparity needs to be address but so does the issue of self serving bureaucracies and parasitic private interests including welfare.

The Soviet Union failed because it was hopelessly corrupt and cynical. China has a quasi-state directed economy, and that is what has generally proved the most successful in the world to date. There is a danger of runaway bureaucracy in the public sphere, but there is also a danger  of runaway greed, rent seeking, corruption and theft in the private sector. At least with the former you get a vote.

Welfare is actually a public issue, unless you favour the libertarian notions of circling the wagons, loading your guns, and pretending the world isn't there. Every society has a least a few problematic people, and your choices are some sort of punitive policies, like prison or execution, or some sort of welfare programs. The US already has nearly one percent of its population in prison, so you would add more? Or what would you do?


Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Ultimately the first thing that needs address in the lack of moral fiber that pervades society.  We have become a society of empty rhetoric populated by people with no sense of personal responsibility.  We get mobilized to fight for our rights while we contribute nothing to society.  We have become a community of community organizers that have never worked a productive day in our lives.

We need reformed regulation but it isn't just at the top we also need to be self regulating at every level of society.  Social censure is a thing of the past while the gay rights activist were demanding government assistance for the aids epidemic where was the cry for the sexually irresponsible to step forward and admit the disgrace of sexual freedom and the havoc it induced?   Why is the Black Lives Matter activists so distorted in their view of reality that they feel perfectly at ease with focusing on the police when the priority should clearly be black on black violence.  Why do the Native Americans demand more and better housing, appliances, better food and living conditions when they also claim they want to live a traditional life style.  The politically correct crowd has turned society into an insane asylum.

There are social injustices that need to be addressed and certain levels of wealth redistribution is necessary but it has to balanced against the real sickness of spiritually decay brought about by the immature philosophies that produce nothing but victims.

The current political environment offers two choices.  You can join the white guilt, western society is evil, anarchists or the equally repugnate reactionary forces that call for the complete dismantling of government.  I don't see one side any more admirable than the other the only difference is Liberals get to feel good about their "humanity" while conservatives wallow in their sense of superiority.    
  

Believe it or not, I'm not really advocating welfare for all who are displaced by modern technology. We seem to have skewed off track here a bit, as my original question here was what to do about the inevitable changes coming in the labour market. Welfare may be a part of the puzzle, but there may be far more to it.
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No wolfie, I don't feel any debt to the trashman, I feel good will because they are doing something that
benefits me, but they are also getting paid for it.  If there was something I could do to help them in their life, well then I would like to help if possible and not too inconvenient.  I think of the metaphor of the soldier and the sniper, the soldier is always shooting off and usually hits nothing.  The sniper takes his time, waits for the right moment.  Help should be like the later, not the former.
Like I said earlier, get rid of the minimum wage.  The important thing is to get people into the job market, and once they are there, they can work to get a better job, or better training, etc.  It is hardest to get one's first job, after a little time at that, though, one should be able to get onto the next rung of the ladder.  Of course, most of the people on the bottom rung of the ladder will be young people.  But those are also the ones who are able to live with family initially or are able to do two or three or five to an apartment.  When you are young, you can live off of Ramen noodles for a little bit, and until recently you probably could get away without paying for healthcare (but not anymore, we have to subsidize big insurance companies).  Yes, you are probably not going to be paid much, but nobody else your age is going to get that much either.  You will be relying on family and friends to some degree at first.
When liberals talk about people being below the poverty line, they are also talking about young people who are just getting started, and they are talking about old people who may not be getting much from a pension or social security, but have wealth in investments and things, including a house.  and they are talking about businessmen who pour back everything they make, reinvesting it in their business.  These kinds of situations are different from the long term poor who are usually going to be the hardest to work with.  obtw, most poverty in the United States is rural and white, but the inner cities are the one's the politicians always look at when poverty gets discussed.
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Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

No wolfie, I don't feel any debt to the trashman, I feel good will because they are doing something that
benefits me, but they are also getting paid for it.  If there was something I could do to help them in their life, well then I would like to help if possible and not too inconvenient.  I think of the metaphor of the soldier and the sniper, the soldier is always shooting off and usually hits nothing.  The sniper takes his time, waits for the right moment.  Help should be like the later, not the former.
Like I said earlier, get rid of the minimum wage.  The important thing is to get people into the job market, and once they are there, they can work to get a better job, or better training, etc.  It is hardest to get one's first job, after a little time at that, though, one should be able to get onto the next rung of the ladder.  Of course, most of the people on the bottom rung of the ladder will be young people.  But those are also the ones who are able to live with family initially or are able to do two or three or five to an apartment.  When you are young, you can live off of Ramen noodles for a little bit, and until recently you probably could get away without paying for healthcare (but not anymore, we have to subsidize big insurance companies).  Yes, you are probably not going to be paid much, but nobody else your age is going to get that much either.  You will be relying on family and friends to some degree at first.
When liberals talk about people being below the poverty line, they are also talking about young people who are just getting started, and they are talking about old people who may not be getting much from a pension or social security, but have wealth in investments and things, including a house.  and they are talking about businessmen who pour back everything they make, reinvesting it in their business.  These kinds of situations are different from the long term poor who are usually going to be the hardest to work with.  obtw, most poverty in the United States is rural and white, but the inner cities are the one's the politicians always look at when poverty gets discussed.

This is- unfortunately- a still commonly held view. It states that things haven't changed all that much since the affluent times of the '50s and '60s, and all a hard working young lad need do is buckle down, go easy on the beer, get a good education,and then start climbing the corporate ladder. Unemployment and poverty are the outcomes for slackers.

In fact today we are seeing no less than a revolution in the work place, brought on by technology, globalization, and not least by a surge in lobbying and consequent political sentiment in a certain segment of society. In contrast to your view, there is considerable evidence today that it is indeed the middle class that is most affected by change, and not in a good way. Wages have stagnated in recent years, and many former semi-skilled jobs have disappeared, many of these being exactly the ones that provided mass employment. In the 1960s, one wage earner could provide a home and middle class existence, and those sort of career jobs were easy to come by. Today it takes two wage earners to come close to this sort of lifestyle, and competition for jobs is brutal. The status of the very poor hasn't changed that much, as there are still (for the time being) a number of jobs at the very bottom end of the scale, and also social programs available to them, as the wolf has colorfully pointed out. And again in contrast to the past, the old are not doing all that badly. Many are the baby boomers who benefited from the long run of good economic times after WW2, and are today invested and comfortable. It is those who are today in, or just entering, their most productive years, and who have education and at least some good skills that are the most at risk. This is not a good thing for the stability of society.

And so no, eating cheap noodles, and living in one's parent's basement isn't going to cut it. The point of this thread is that what happened in the past isn't going to repeat itself in exactly the same way again, for some clear reasons. Ignoring those reasons and telling young people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps is not a rational strategy. 
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Your captain's prescription for the future automated economy:

1) Pay students- a modest amount, no beer ration here- to attend university (including liberal arts courses), or trades training. If 20 somethings are going to scramble for years to find work, or waste their PhDs at Starbucks, then we may as well have them doing something that will add to the quality of future society. A well rounded education means a better society, in may ways. And this would keep a number of 18-30 year olds out of the workforce.

2) Mandate job sharing, where practical, by way of labour laws and/or tax incentives. Clearly, this will spread work around, and quite likely boost productivity. If a worker spends, say, 25 hours a week at work, rather than 50, he or she is probably going to be more engaged and energetic while on the job.

3) Remove old age tax benefits for those that work past 65. This would dissuade older people tempted to hang on a bit longer in their job, and hence make it available for younger people. The amounts here would be significant for lower wage occupations, but not so for professionals or highly skilled consultants who might well want to work later, and indeed would have beneficial skills to provide to the economy.

4) Institute a new agency, under the UN, that would have the mandate and power to investigate and illuminate the movements of capital in the world, particularly that seeking tax havens. Those that want to suck money out of the economy, and then hide it, would be found. Those that benefit from the advances in technology, due to wealth, or leveraged wealth, or good fortune, or politicians in their pocket, would be required to pay their fair share to the constituencies that provided the framework for their ascension. 

5) Open a wide ranging public discussion on the nature of value in society. Some today make a great deal of money, but provide zero value to society, indeed in some cases their actions are a negative. Some make no money, or extremely little, but it can be argued, certainly in our hyper-efficient, wealth western world, that a contribution that enriches society may suggest a financial result. 

Lobbyists and spin doctors will be foaming at the mouth, and flagellating with all limbs at this, but it would be, IMO, a worthwhile exercise.

Don't have the money for all this pie in the sky stuff? Well, we do. GDP per capita, and industrial efficiency have moved relentlessly upwards in recent years. We have never been so fortunate. The problem is, some powers that be want to insist on relying on past assumptions about inviolable market laws of efficiency, which is often code for: we have 99%, and we'll damned well keep it! Send out the militia!

I think we can transition to a new society, but it will take some courage, honesty, commitment to learning, and also fearless opposition to entrenched interests. 
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There are political reasons for the focus on the poor in ghettos or reservations because the chaos is self evident.  While rural white poverty may be measurably higher my objective in focusing on institutional welfare in ghettos and reservations was to illustrate that physical poverty is not the cause of spiritual poverty.  The old arguments that poverty causes most social issues does not carry the same weight it once did.  One need only look at the trend to measure poverty in relative instead of absolute terms to realize that in developed nations the war on poverty has been largely won or is self inflicted.  I'm admittedly rather aged but I can say with some certainty that with the exclusion of a small minority the poor to day are better off materially than my grandparents.  Spiritual poverty is now more the cause of drug abuse, child abuse, and crime than physical poverty.   

Spiritual poverty of course is not limited to the underprivileged but pervades society.  The "rich" have not been as indifferent to the plight of workers since before the age of the "robber barons".  Even the "robber barons" felt more social obligations than than the most of the top 1 percent do today.   Pullman perhaps started the idea of company towns but there are literally hundreds of examples of what could be called capitalist welfare towns in the U.S. alone.  Those capitalist welfare towns represent a level of commitment to social progress notably missing from modern capitalism.  There is some irony in the fact that government welfare aided in the demise of these social experiments during the Roosevelt new deal administration.  When the cure just substitutes one set of problems for another we should think carefully about assumed causation.

Despite the argument that we should focus on income disparity due to it's correlation with social unrest and economic instability it is pointless to address it by attacking the "rich".  Nothing good will come of wealth redistribution unless the spiritual poverty of the middle and lower classes is addressed first.  In a republic with democratically elected legislatures a disciplined population capable of delayed gratification is essential to good government.

I was disappointed to hear that franciscosan felt no debt to the sanitation workers. For me this represents the kind of spiritual poverty we must over come.  If you are not asking yourself who you depend on for you life sustaining needs what does that say about how you see your debt to society?  His argument that he should feel no debt to people that are being paid to sustain his existence reflex the disconnect from reality that hinders social progress.  Societies are primarily cooperative endeavors even in their most capitalistic expression and require individuals to feel obligated.  Society would simply evaporate in the absence of any sense of obligation.  Those obligations are reinforced by peer pressure competition at the lowest levels and social censure in the broader arena.  The failure of socialism is that it places social censure in the hands of bureaucrats where it becomes diluted and malformed.

The bureaucratic system fosters an atmosphere in which responsibility is collective.  When responsibility and a sense of obligation is not part of the emotional life of the individual an atmosphere of hopelessness is invasive and counter productive to fostering a spiritually healthy society.  If you are addressing anything other than moral responsibility you are attacking the symptoms and not the disease.

Nothing better illustrates this point than holding the rich responsible for all the worlds miseries.  We are long past the time when ignorance was an excuse for the 99 percent to not take responsibility.  The 99 percent's need for immediate gratification is more representative of our troubled societies than the abuse of power by the rich.

Spiritual poverty is also symptomatic in today's progressives who are no longer so much visionaries as puppets of their own need for emotional gratification.  Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street are two good examples of groups more interested in shallow slogans than meaningful change.  I believe that the way in which the environmental movement has been captured for political purposes is another example of shallow intellects.   Not only do their programs not address fundamental issues in a rational way with sound engineering they often do as much harm as good.  At best most of today's progressives movement are pie in the sky dream worlds that if not anachronistic in design lead to chaos and irresponsibility and are reminiscent of prohibition.  No social movement since civil rights has had any real sense of equality of responsibility based on equal opportunity.

So much of this discussion has focused on needs and equity while ignoring the fundamental binding of society.  Work is not just about physical wealth.  To understand the meaning of employment one need only look at the voluntary labor that built the pyramids in Egypt.  Work and the required shared commitment spiritually binds a society together.  It's not the machinery or mechanics of the industrial and now the post industrial society that has caused spiritual poverty it is the lack of a sense of obligation to fulfill a higher purpose.  There is no lack of meaningful work in the foreseeable future just a lack of meaning in the lives of individuals.  The unprecedented wealth of the current generation is proof that money can't buy happiness.  There is no reason to believe that "equitable" redistribution will address the fundamental social failures. 

 
  


     
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Sep 2015 at 19:43
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Your captain's prescription for the future automated economy:

Quote 1) Pay students- a modest amount, no beer ration here- to attend university (including liberal arts courses), or trades training. If 20 somethings are going to scramble for years to find work, or waste their PhDs at Starbucks, then we may as well have them doing something that will add to the quality of future society. A well rounded education means a better society, in may ways. And this would keep a number of 18-30 year olds out of the workforce.

Why should education not be based on merit and competition?  Warehousing people leads to moral corruption as it is dehumanizing.  There is nothing wrong with scrambling for years if you have the personal integrity to find work meaningful.

Quote 2) Mandate job sharing, where practical, by way of labour laws and/or tax incentives. Clearly, this will spread work around, and quite likely boost productivity. If a worker spends, say, 25 hours a week at work, rather than 50, he or she is probably going to be more engaged and energetic while on the job.
 

Free time is only as valuable as the values the individual holds in the broader perspective.


Quote 3) Remove old age tax benefits for those that work past 65. This would dissuade older people tempted to hang on a bit longer in their job, and hence make it available for younger people. The amounts here would be significant for lower wage occupations, but not so for professionals or highly skilled consultants who might well want to work later, and indeed would have beneficial skills to provide to the economy.

Why should the elderly be deprived of the joy of work that they are competent at?

Quote 4) Institute a new agency, under the UN, that would have the mandate and power to investigate and illuminate the movements of capital in the world, particularly that seeking tax havens. Those that want to suck money out of the economy, and then hide it, would be found. Those that benefit from the advances in technology, due to wealth, or leveraged wealth, or good fortune, or politicians in their pocket, would be required to pay their fair share to the constituencies that provided the framework for their ascension.
 

The UN is not free from the same corrupting forces that pollute individual governments. 

Quote 5) Open a wide ranging public discussion on the nature of value in society. Some today make a great deal of money, but provide zero value to society, indeed in some cases their actions are a negative. Some make no money, or extremely little, but it can be argued, certainly in our hyper-efficient, wealth western world, that a contribution that enriches society may suggest a financial result.

Value is assigned by demand making entertainers and sport celebrities wealthy.  Democracy of the dollar is no guarantee of wisdom.  While there are now free trade organizations trying to address the absurdity of what is voted to be of value by consumers they have little real overall effect on the economy.  People have already voted to have more things the case seems settled the remaining question seems to be who gets what.  Yes of course people are confused but I would be careful assuming that they can be educated out of their bad habits of thought until they have been spiritually healed.

You should ask yourself if pyramids are valuable and in what sense to fully understand that no amount of rational consideration will replace the need for spiritual fulfillment "meaningless" work may represent.  The question of value cannot be addressed without first having a shared understanding of the goals and ambitions of the population.  Wealth is and will always be arbitrarily assigned by what is meaningful in the minds of people independent of practical objectives.  Automated production has little effect on the equation.  

The only thing that has fundamentally changed in our species history is survival rates.  Surely if we are going to address values then no better example of conflicting interest exists than population growth.  The question is do we value quantity or quality.  The failure of progressive to address this issue in a meaningful way suggest a lack of clarity concerning human rights in conflict.  I also believe it is evidence of endemic intellectual dishonesty.  Certainly in terms of environmental issues only demand makes industrialization a serious threat and that would include global warming if it is real.  

Agriculture represent the greatest threat to ecological diversity and is independent of industry being driven only by population growth.  You would have to be extremely dull to not see how even primitive societies degrade the environment due to population pressure.  

Like the drug problem demand produces supply and progressives only address the supply side.      
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Oct 2015 at 05:09
I am sorry that I disappoint wolfie, but if I felt indebted, I would pay my debt and thus not be indebted anymore.  As it is, I am thankful for what they do and think well of them, but I don't know anything particular that I could do for them.  A friend used to put out a six pack around Christmas, but it would probably be stolen by kids, and I don't like to encourage drinking anyways

Just realize that when you say the spiritually poor, and the Bible says, "blessed are the poor in spirit," you are talking about two different things (I assume), and I would say that is your choice in phrase, (since the Bible was there first), which may be confusing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Oct 2015 at 12:28
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Your captain's prescription for the future automated economy:

Quote 1) Pay students- a modest amount, no beer ration here- to attend university (including liberal arts courses), or trades training. If 20 somethings are going to scramble for years to find work, or waste their PhDs at Starbucks, then we may as well have them doing something that will add to the quality of future society. A well rounded education means a better society, in may ways. And this would keep a number of 18-30 year olds out of the workforce.

Why should education not be based on merit and competition?  Warehousing people leads to moral corruption as it is dehumanizing.  There is nothing wrong with scrambling for years if you have the personal integrity to find work meaningful.

A lot of it isn't based on merit today. Those that come from more affluent backgrounds, with parents with higher levels of education themselves, or ones that are better organized in child-raising, or just have better  connections, tend to do much better. 

And anyway, I'm not suggesting that all who have a passing whim to be a neurosurgeon should be funded appropriately. The fact is many 20 somethings today are milling about and wasting their time, so why not recognize the reality, and have a double positive? Get those people doing something socially redeeming, that will add to future society, and also have them  out of the workforce for longer, thereby relieving the effects of the future trends we have been discussing? Some might go on to higher levels of education, if capable, others- and society- could benefit from simply a more well rounded education in the population (hey, how many in the US are supporting Trump?), and for others, trades training may be more to the point. This is hardly morally corrupt warehousing. 

And just a ps. about scrambling: the majority of folks I hear saying this are the ones that have never had to scramble themselves, and likely don't even know what that means. Living a rough life sounds great, if one has never had to endure that themselves.



Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Quote 2) Mandate job sharing, where practical, by way of labour laws and/or tax incentives. Clearly, this will spread work around, and quite likely boost productivity. If a worker spends, say, 25 hours a week at work, rather than 50, he or she is probably going to be more engaged and energetic while on the job.
 

Free time is only as valuable as the values the individual holds in the broader perspective.




There is no doubt truth in this, but my point here is to adjust the future workforce in a way that is fair, and provides a reasonable distribution of both meaningful work and income. What workers do with the rest of their lives is a more tangential question.



Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Quote 3) Remove old age tax benefits for those that work past 65. This would dissuade older people tempted to hang on a bit longer in their job, and hence make it available for younger people. The amounts here would be significant for lower wage occupations, but not so for professionals or highly skilled consultants who might well want to work later, and indeed would have beneficial skills to provide to the economy.

Why should the elderly be deprived of the joy of work that they are competent at?


For many, work is no joy at all, but just something that needs to be done, something to trade one's time for money. For others, there is some joy, but it becomes quite muted after many decades, due to physiological, or psychological stresses and strains, if not both.These are also the very occupations that are often at the lower end of the pay scale, ones that would be most effected by the tax change. They are also the ones most would bail from if at all possible.

For those at the upper end, the doctors, engineers, lawyers, university profs, etc, the consulting pay they might conceivably get would over ride these minimal tax disincentives by a large margin.

So no one is going to be deprived of work. If a mailman wants to joyously pound his beat at age 75, he could do it. He would merely have a small tax nudge telling him it's time for the younger folks to step up to bat.



Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Quote 4) Institute a new agency, under the UN, that would have the mandate and power to investigate and illuminate the movements of capital in the world, particularly that seeking tax havens. Those that want to suck money out of the economy, and then hide it, would be found. Those that benefit from the advances in technology, due to wealth, or leveraged wealth, or good fortune, or politicians in their pocket, would be required to pay their fair share to the constituencies that provided the framework for their ascension.
 

The UN is not free from the same corrupting forces that pollute individual governments. 

True, but who else is going to do it? All national agencies carry their own baggage, in one way or another. Are Latin American regimes going to open  up their books to the CIA? The police of former colonial masters in Africa? At least the UN has some modest traction in the world. Saying laws cannot be enforced because there is a danger policing agencies might be corrupt is rather defeatist, I'd say.



Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Quote 5) Open a wide ranging public discussion on the nature of value in society. Some today make a great deal of money, but provide zero value to society, indeed in some cases their actions are a negative. Some make no money, or extremely little, but it can be argued, certainly in our hyper-efficient, wealth western world, that a contribution that enriches society may suggest a financial result.

Value is assigned by demand making entertainers and sport celebrities wealthy.  Democracy of the dollar is no guarantee of wisdom.  While there are now free trade organizations trying to address the absurdity of what is voted to be of value by consumers they have little real overall effect on the economy.  People have already voted to have more things the case seems settled the remaining question seems to be who gets what.  Yes of course people are confused but I would be careful assuming that they can be educated out of their bad habits of thought until they have been spiritually healed.

You should ask yourself if pyramids are valuable and in what sense to fully understand that no amount of rational consideration will replace the need for spiritual fulfillment "meaningless" work may represent.  The question of value cannot be addressed without first having a shared understanding of the goals and ambitions of the population.  Wealth is and will always be arbitrarily assigned by what is meaningful in the minds of people independent of practical objectives.  Automated production has little effect on the equation.  

I am not saying value should be assessed by the consumer society- just the opposite. We have had too much of consumerism and corporatism. It's time to delve into more honest questions, although I agree this is difficult with a populace mesmerized by bobbles and right wing spin. There are spiritual questions out there, most certainly in our ever materialized society. Letting the market decide things though will not resolve them, we need more than that.

Automated production, I suspect, will have everything to do with the equation, in that it will bring to a head the ongoing trends of our time- the rise of capital and the financial sector, the devaluation of labour, and the ever widening inequality of wealth in the developed world. That's why these things need to be tossed into the open political realm, and not left to spin doctors and lobbyists.



Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

The only thing that has fundamentally changed in our species history is survival rates.  Surely if we are going to address values then no better example of conflicting interest exists than population growth.  The question is do we value quantity or quality.  The failure of progressive to address this issue in a meaningful way suggest a lack of clarity concerning human rights in conflict.  I also believe it is evidence of endemic intellectual dishonesty.  Certainly in terms of environmental issues only demand makes industrialization a serious threat and that would include global warming if it is real.  

Agriculture represent the greatest threat to ecological diversity and is independent of industry being driven only by population growth.  You would have to be extremely dull to not see how even primitive societies degrade the environment due to population pressure.  

Like the drug problem demand produces supply and progressives only address the supply side.      

You see population as the major issue, and it is a huge issue, but the fact is population growth is slowing down in large parts of the world. When a certain amount of education, equality, and income is available, the evidence is that fertility rates drop in the region. Today it is only Africa, and some select locations in the Mid-East, and one or two others, that are at issue in population increase. In some cases, population is dropping to problematic levels, such as Japan, Europe, and others.

How much the world can support is hard to say. Green Peace says we are already going down the scuppers. The Pope says 30 billion. I do agree with you in that we must all claim less from the environment, meaning scrap those SUVs, 5000 sq ft homes, and many other wasteful policies.

Addressing population is important, but it still does not address the challenges of future employment.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Oct 2015 at 16:17
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

I am sorry that I disappoint wolfie, but if I felt indebted, I would pay my debt and thus not be indebted anymore.  As it is, I am thankful for what they do and think well of them, but I don't know anything particular that I could do for them.  A friend used to put out a six pack around Christmas, but it would probably be stolen by kids, and I don't like to encourage drinking anyways

Just realize that when you say the spiritually poor, and the Bible says, "blessed are the poor in spirit," you are talking about two different things (I assume), and I would say that is your choice in phrase, (since the Bible was there first), which may be confusing.

Spiritual poverty and poor in spirit have nothing to do with each other.  From the Greek "poor" is translated from ptochos, which literally means "to crouch or cower as one helpless."  I really don't think anyone is going to be confused about the intended meaning.

You pay you debt to the people who sustain your life, the farmer, sanitation workers, truckers, warehouse employees by recognizing your dependence.  You also may ask yourself what you contribute to society. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Oct 2015 at 16:42
I see no positive message from progressives.  All they talk about is giving things up like SUVs and 5000 sq ft homes.  I see no reason why people should not have luxury vehicles or large homes if they want them.  Hobby farms and other waste of real estate is a different issue.  We should be asking ourselves not what we have to give up but how people can have the things they want without negatively impacting the environment.  For example in my profession most progressives are infatuated with mass transit.  Mass transit is only really desirable as a last resort in heavily populated areas with definite destinations.  We should have a better dream than being packed on outdated transportation like sardines and look to a future where individual transportation is more like that seen in I Robot which is serves both environmentally friendly efficient transportation needs and individual freedom.  The same is true of energy use if the radical environmentalist had not stood in the way of nuclear power we could already be operating thorium reactors and on our way to clean energy abundance. 

I see this same negativity when discussing automation.  Automation should not mean fewer jobs just different jobs.  Anyone who believes that there is a lack of meaningful jobs to be done simply lacks imagination.

I really detest the term income inequality,  why should incomes be equal?  Income disparity is a much better term which implies that rewards for labor are out of wack.  Automation does threaten to place people out of work or increase the disparity in incomes leaving the "capitalist" totally in control of production.  Perhaps we need another French revolution to clean out the top parasites.  
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