Jobs Are Not the Answer
Job losses will only get worse as the 21st century progresses. Global capital will continue to move jobs to places on the planet that have the lowest labor costs. Technology will continue to improve, eliminating countless jobs.
Indeed, automation could be one of the biggest threats to our economic and social survival. Without people performing some kind of task, we’re generally disinclined to give or receive compensation for work that was not actually done. The result is massive amounts of squalor, poverty and death for a vast majority of people while the few who own the means of production presently will receive massive amounts of extra profits from the reduced labor costs. There can only be so many technician jobs to maintain the machines that will be doing our work.
Even “higher” level jobs are under threat from automation. In the realm of policy making, at the very least, computers can be used to design and do some of the execution of policy programs and regimens more effectively and cheaply than their human counterparts. Company executive positions and board decisions could be done by machines as well. The universe, I think, is a much more finite and technical thing than we’ve previously appreciated. Even the chaos of biology in the wild has algorithmic properties with regards to what works and what doesn’t work. Why should any level of our human world not be as such as well?
Therefore, we’ve got to come up with a solution to a) prevent massive amounts of squalor in our societies that could boil over into unrest that overthrows social orders, and b) that maintains the need for significant human contribution to the production of goods and services in the economy. A Basic Guaranteed Income is not a great solution to the problem, because it denies how many humans feel a need to work and contribute to the well being of their social order. Therefore, contrary to Mr. Piketty, I would argue for across the board global wage requirements. However, like Mr. Piketty’s global tax on wealth, it will not be feasible to execute in actual practice.
Therefore, a dialogue has to be had amongst the business leaders, shareholders, the actual workers, the government officials as mediators and the people who are currently researching and developing work place automation and human-machine synthesis. We’re heading towards a period of massive social, political, economic and environmental change, like it or not. We’ve got to have a plan ready for when the transition happens as technology develops, the demand for the technology fails to cease and we all are left with massive numbers of unemployable people who will not be participating in the economy anymore, thus limiting the potential for growth and well being that we could be enjoying as a result of a positively executed human-machine synthesis.
Big concepts. Not enough time to do it in. And I don’t know about how good my few network connections are at spreading the word to the appropriate people. I don’t need credit for this work, other than satisfactory and reasonable compensation for my own well being. But at the same time, there’s no point in being optimistic unless there’s an actual reason to be. I doubt this will be done terribly well, if it’s on the radar of anyone who currently holds actual influence, power and control in our social or national/international world.
Think about it.
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