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View Diary: What's a Human Being "Worth"? The Moral and Economic Crisis of the 21st Century (192 comments)

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  •  The food still has to get to them. They won't (4+ / 0-)

    be out in the fields harvesting it themselves. It would be a short game.  The wealthy holding out, keeping it all for only the wealthy only lasts as long as the masses allow themselves to be starved.

    The "Arab Spring" was caused to a great extent by increasing food prices. Those in power did not remain in power. And those were fairly mild price increases compared to widespread ecosystem collapses.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 12:37:12 PM PST

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    •  Won't robots be harvesting and transporting food? (0+ / 0-)

      Robotic crop pickers. Robotic, self-driving trucks. Robotic guards to prevent poor people from accessing the fields to steal the crops. And so forth. Why would a single human worker be necessary for the owner of a farm to eat well, in the age of intelligent robotics?

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:26:26 PM PST

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      •  Lots of land. Plus... hmmm.... where do the raw (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IowaBiologist

        materials come from to build and operate robots, fuel their operation, etc?

        Other robots, right? Somewhere in the chain, there's a weak link.  

        Honestly, if ever such a scenario does come to pass, I think there will probably be mass rebellion by the masses before the robotic regime is totally in place.  

        Or the rich will have to provide the masses with a lot of bread and circuses.  We've seen how that worked out before.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 02:09:20 PM PST

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        •  The most likely scenario (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chimene

          is probably the emergence of a somewhat more socialistic economic system, voted into power by the people who are losing their jobs or at risk of losing their jobs (i.e. eventually the majority of people), once they wake up to what's happening.

          I suppose some would say that's just a modern version of "bread and circuses." Maybe so. Maybe the new version will be "a free 5x10' room and board and a virtual reality helmet so that you can escape from the boredom of life without a functional role in the economy." Maybe this is what the rich will eventually give everyone else to keep them quiet and out of sight.

          I hope the future will be something better than this. Hard to know what will happen.

          The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

          by Eric Stetson on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 02:23:15 PM PST

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          •  Life without a "functional role in the economy" (3+ / 0-)

            isn't boring. Living off the land, relying on your skill and wits, is very exciting. The eight to five is what's boring. Take it from someone who has experienced both.

            •  Yeah, I suppose so. I've thought about (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ypochris

              trying to live off the land and so forth. It certainly has its appealing aspects.

              One thing, though, is that good arable land is getting more and more expensive, so most people wouldn't necessarily be able to afford it anymore. But those who can should definitely buy some while they still can, because eventually going back to the land might be the best option in economic hard times.

              The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

              by Eric Stetson on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 06:30:50 PM PST

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              •  Rereading your earlier comment, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Eric Stetson

                I realize you were imagining a hypothetical city person, displaced by automation, living with their basic food and shelter needs provided (presumably) by the government, and therefor having nothing "meaningful" to do.

                While I naturally think of my old life as the alternative, this vision would be more likely for many. Still, inquiring intellects will always find a way to keep themselves occupied, such as creating art and literature. Or just social interaction - perhaps the never ending party, since there is nothing else they have to do. Each will find what pleases them, what they consider a meaningful way to spend their time - but doubtless, yes, some will be bored, just as they are today.

        •  umm, panem et cirences? or however you spell it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan

          is already in operation!

          What are "circuses" but video games and reality TV?

          What is "bread" but the debased, chemicalized pap of "manufactured" foods that the masses have been trained to consider edible and healthful?

          "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

          by chimene on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 06:12:06 PM PST

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      •  As the robots grow more intelligent... (0+ / 0-)

        Will they continue to harvest food or would they see the humans as cattle?

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