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View Diary: The Bush Boom continues: 229K Private Payroll jobs in Feb (118 comments)

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  •  Automation is coming - on a massive scale (none)
    I see a number of technologies in the pipeline that will eliminate millions of jobs in the next few decades..

    Machine vision, haptics, autonomous navigation (driving) agricultural and industrial robotics, kiosks, voiceXML, decision support systems, other forms of AI, etc.

    This threatens to destroy the social contract. I don't see any way around the change, so we need some major thinking about how we are going to handle it.

    People wont be able to work another 20 years.. They won't be needed. Even if they work for free.

    •  DI-A-RY!!! DI-A-RY!!! (none)
      Sorry, but you just volunteered!  

      Write this up, bring us links, tell us what you know.  

      I had to look up haptics, so you may not appreciate how much you know that many of us don't.  

      If you're not feeding red meat to our base, you're nothing but a mole.

      by Grand Moff Texan on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:13:56 AM PST

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    •  ownership society (none)
      I suggest looking at the ideas of Louis Kelso, author of The Capitalist Manifesto (1958.) He foresaw that very problem during the peak of the industrial age while trying to figure out how the Great Depression happened. The problem is that technology continually undercuts the value of labor relative to productive capital. His solution is basically an ownership society where everyone owns a share of the productive capital that creates wealth. His mechanisms are a plethora of legal devices that favor a downward flow of capital to the masses as opposed to the current system that favors an upward flow into the hands of ever more concentrated wealth.

      "The basic moral problem that faces man as he moves into the age of automation, the age of accelerating conquest of nature, is whether he is really fit to live in an industrial society; whether his institutions will adjust rapidly enough; whether he will rivet himself with an absurd institution like full employment in the economic order when it is not only unnecessary but unadministratable in anything but a slave society; whether freed from the necessity to devote his brain and brawn to the production of goods and services, he can address himself to the work of civilization itself."
      (Louis O. Kelso, 1964)

      •  And Marx (none)
        This was the same problem that Marx saw: Increasing automation would lead to a fall in wages, so eventually the only hope for those of us who aren't wealthy enough to live off stock dividends will be revolution. I think he was basically right, but overoptimistic about what would happen after the revolution.

        Traditionally, rich capitalist societies have avoided this through social programs that give everyone a share of the country's wealth. (Not an equal share, but enough so that the majority of people have a decent standard of living.) But with Bush's plan to dismantle the New Deal, that seems to be ending.

        The result will be a kind of revolution, but that's deliberate. What Marx got very wrong was the result of revolution, which is usually fascism, not utopia. And that's Rove's strategy: Make people suffer economically, then use control of the media to channel their anger against a scapegoated group (currently gays, Arabs and "liberal elites", but could be anyone).

        •  handouts vs. ownership (none)
          Traditionally, rich capitalist societies have avoided this through social programs that give everyone a share of the country's wealth.

          This is one way of addressing the problem, but it is qualitatively different than Kelso's. He acknowledges the necessity of these social programs given the inequality of the present system, but views them as detrimental to market efficiencies that increase the overall level of wealth. Let me attempt an example:

          Current system - A guy works at McDonalds. His wage is artificially inflated due to minimum wage laws. He gets an earned income tax credit from the government. He gets food stamps to help buy food for his family. When he retires he will get a monthly SS check.

          Kelsonian system - A guy works at McDonalds. As an employee, he is a co-owner of the McDonald's corporation. No minimum wage is necessary because any increased profits due to reduced labor costs (lower wages) are shared by all the worker/co-owners. He makes enough money from some combination of wages and profits so that he doesn't need food stamps, etc. When he retires, he will own his house and his kids will be grown and he can stop working and live from the continuing profits from his partial ownership of McDonald's.

          Before you scoff, Kelso has devised numerous very detailed and specific legal and tax code mechanisms that encourage capital to flow downward from the ultra-rich to the average Joe. Kelso would argue that his model is real true capitalism based on a real free market and economic democracy.

          One interesting predicted side effect of his proposals is that the market value of certain unpleasant menial labor will increase dramatically. If most people are making plenty of money from their co-ownership of productive assets, nobody is going to want to clean other people's toilet bowls, so such crappy jobs will command much higher wages in a truly free market.

    •  Vonnegut (none)
      I suggest reading Player Piano for some nice thoughts on this. Whenever I think I have a great new idea it always seems that Vonnegut wrote a book about it...
    •  Buckminster Fuller presaged this... (none)
      ...in "Critical Path."
      http://bfi.easystorecreator.com/Browse_Item_Details.asp/Item_ID/5/categ_id/1/parent_ids/0,1/Name/Cri tical_Path_by_R_Buckminster_Fuller_Kiyoshi_Kuromiya_Adjuvant

      However, looking at your your DKos nic, it would appear you might already know that ;)

      But for those who don't, Fuller basically points out how automation will take over all work that isn't "cognitive" and that work will no longer be a tool to control society. We will have to change fundamentally or fail miserably. Of course, Republicans quite literally don't get it. They'll stand around until they are finally up to their necks in BS, then look at us and ask, "Do you smell that?"

      Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

      by Alumbrados on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 11:17:26 AM PST

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    •  Please diary this and explain the terms! (none)
      Sounds like it would be a popular piece
    •  Include links in the diary, if you can (none)

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