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  • #91
    Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

    Originally posted by LazyBoy View Post
    At the current rates of work/person we've got too many people for
    the work needed, from burger flippers to environmental engineers.

    We've gotten good at growing food and making stuff. It doesn't really
    matter if it's automation or outsourcing or something else. Those
    things aren't going to stop.

    We can
    1) Force growth. Make us want more stuff.
    2) Reduce people. Have large wars. (Also provides short term employment.)
    3) Change the work/person ratio. Reduce the work week.
    4) Accept that some people are going to be long term unemployed.

    I'd prefer 3 or 4. I'm not sure which is more practical.
    There are a number of other options. The most obvious being to remove the safety traps (aka safety nets) which allow people to live fairly well while being long-term unemployed. Also, and more critically, we can collectively reduce or end the absolutely gigantic drain on wealth that political actors siphon off--essentially go full-bore, absolutely unfettered free-market to the maximum extent which is politically possible. Unlikely options, of course, and one of your options are already reality, but your options are poor choices and we are capable of better than that via multiple other avenues.

    Specifically, option 1 is ridiculous. Demand for "stuff" is effectively infinite if the price point is low enough--produce more very cheaply, and more will be consumed.
    Option 2 is absolutely ludicrous. If you enjoy things like a nice standard of living while not willing to execute the political power necessary to become your own dictator, you need a very large economy or access to one via trade. If you want things like more science, you need more scientists. If you want things like more stuff, you need more people making stuff (and buying stuff, which creates markets for a broader array of stuff).
    Option 3 is a zero-sum game and a pointless shift.

    Comment


    • #92
      Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

      Originally posted by Ghent12 View Post
      ...essentially go full-bore, absolutely unfettered free-market to the maximum extent which is politically possible.
      And then the alarm clock rings and we are overcome by the same depressing realization; just another Ayn Rand wet dream. But it seemed so real, this fevered vision of utopian feudalist capitalism. Oh hit the snooze; just five more minutes ... to dream ... again ... zzz ... zzzz ... zzzzz ...





      Comment


      • #93
        Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

        old argument is old...

        First Series, Chapter 20

        Human vs. Mechanical Labor and Domestic vs. Foreign Labor

        I.20.1

        Destroying machinery and interdicting the entry of foreign goods are alike in being both founded on the same doctrine.I.20.2

        Those who at the same time applaud the appearance of a great invention and nevertheless advocate protectionism are most inconsistent.I.20.3

        What is their objection to free trade? They charge it with encouraging foreigners who are more skillful than we are, or who live under more advantageous economic conditions than we do, to produce things that, in the absence of free trade, we should produce ourselves. In short, they accuse it of injuring domestic labor.I.20.4

        But then, should they not, for the same reason object to machinery of every kind, since, in enabling us to accomplish, by means of physical instruments, what, in their absence, we should have to do with our bare hands, it necessarily hurts human labor?I.20.5

        In effect, is not the foreign worker who lives under more advantageous economic conditions than the French worker a veritable economic machinethat crushes him by its competition? And, in like manner, is not a machine that performs a particular operation at lower cost than a certain number of workers a veritable foreign competitor that hamstrings them by its rivalry?I.20.6

        If, therefore, it is expedient to protect domestic labor from the competition of foreign labor, it is no less expedient to protect human laborfrom the competition of mechanical labor.I.20.7

        Therefore, whoever supports the protectionist system, should, in all consistency, not stop at interdicting the entry of foreign products; he should also outlaw the products of the shuttle and the plow.I.20.8

        And that is why I much prefer the logic of those who, in denouncing theinvasion of foreign goods, have at least the courage to denounce also theoverproduction due to the inventive power of the human mind.I.20.9

        Such a one is M. de Saint-Chamans. "One of the strongest arguments against free trade and the excessive use of machinery," he says, "is that many workingmen are deprived of employment, either by foreign competition, which depresses manufacturing, or by the machines that take the place of men in the workshops."78*I.20.10

        M. de Saint-Chamans has grasped perfectly the analogy—or, rather, the identity—that exists between imports and machines; that is why he outlaws both of them. It is indeed a pleasure to deal with those who are consistent in their reasoning, for even when they are in error, they boldly carry their argument to its logical conclusion.I.20.11

        But just see the difficulty that is waiting for them!I.20.12

        If it is true, a priori, that the domain of invention and that of laborcannot expand save at each other's expense, then it must be in the places where there are the most machines—in Lancashire, for example—that one should expect to find the fewest workers. And if, on the contrary, it is proved that in fact machinery and manual labor coexist to a greater degree among rich nations than among savages, the conclusion is inevitable that these two types of production are not mutually exclusive.I.20.13

        I cannot understand how any thinking being can enjoy a moment's rest in the face of the following dilemma:I.20.14

        Either man's inventions do not lessen his opportunities for employment, as the facts in general attest, since there are more of both among the English and the French than among the Hurons and the Cherokees; and, in that case, I am on the wrong track, though I know neither where nor when I lost my way. I should be committing the crime of treason to humanity if I were to introduce my mistake into the legislation of my country.I.20.15

        Or else, the discoveries of the human mind do limit the opportunities for the employment of manual labor, as certain facts would seem to indicate, since every day I see some machine replacing twenty or a hundred workers; and then I am obliged to acknowledge the existence of a flagrant, eternal, and irremediable antithesis between man's intellectual and his physical capacities—between his progress and his well-being—and I am forced to conclude that the Creator should have endowed man either with reason or with physical strength, either with force of character or with brute force, but that He mocked him by endowing him at the same time with faculties that are mutually destructive.I.20.16

        The problem is an urgent one. But do you know how we extricate ourselves from the dilemma? By means of this remarkable maxim:I.20.17

        In political economy, there are no absolute principles.I.20.18

        In plain and simple language, this means:I.20.19

        "I do not know which is true and which is false; I have no idea what constitutes general good or evil. I do not trouble myself about such questions. The immediate effect of each law on my personal well-being is the only principle that I consent to recognize."I.20.20

        There are no absolute principles! You might as well say there are no facts; for principles are only formulas that summarize a whole array of facts that have been fully established.I.20.21

        Machines and imports certainly do have some effects. These effects may be either good or bad. On this point there may well be differences of opinion. But, whichever position one adopts, it is expressed by one of these two principles: Machinery is a good; or, machinery is an evil. Imports are beneficial; or, imports are injurious. But to say that there are no principles, is certainly to exhibit the lowest depth to which the human mind can descend; and I confess that I blush for my country when I hear so monstrous a heresy expressed in the presence of the members of the French legislature, with their approval, that is, in the presence and with the approval of the elite of our fellow citizens; and this in order to justify their imposing laws upon us in utter ignorance of their consequences.I.20.22

        But, I may be reminded, all this does not constitute a refutation of thesophism. It still has to be proved that machines do not injure human labor,and that imports do not injure domestic labor.I.20.23

        In a work of this kind, such demonstrations cannot be really exhaustive. My purpose is rather to state difficulties than to resolve them, and to stimulate reflection rather than to satisfy the thirst for knowledge. The mind never fully accepts any convictions that it does not owe to its own efforts. I shall try, nevertheless, to put the reader on the right track.I.20.24

        The mistake made by the opponents of imports and machinery is in evaluating them according to their immediate and temporary effects instead of following them out to their general and ultimate consequences.I.20.25

        The immediate effect of an ingenious machine is to make a certain quantity of manual labor superfluous for the attainment of a given result. But its action does not stop there. Precisely because this result is obtained with less effort, its product is made available to the public at a lower price; and the total savings thus realized by all purchasers enables them to satisfy other wants, that is, to encourage manual labor in general to exactly the same extent that it was saved in the particular branch of industry that was recently mechanized. The result is that the level of employment does not fall, even though the quantity of consumers' goods has increased.I.20.26

        Let us give a concrete example of this whole chain of effects.I.20.27

        Suppose that the French people buy ten million hats at fifteen francs each; this gives the hatmaking industry an income of 150 million francs. Someone invents a machine that permits the sale of hats at ten francs. The income of this industry is reduced to 100 million francs, provided that the demand for hats does not increase. But the other fifty million francs are certainly not for that reason withdrawn from the support of human labor.Since this sum has been saved by the purchasers of hats, it will enable them to satisfy other wants and consequently to spend an equivalent amount for goods and services of every kind. With these five francs saved, John will buy a pair of shoes; James, a book; Jerome, a piece of furniture, etc. Human labor, taken as a whole, will thus continue to be supported to the extent of 150 million francs; but this sum will provide the same number of hats as before, and, in addition, satisfy other needs and wants to the extent of the fifty million francs that the machine will have saved. These additional goods are the net gain that France will have derived from the invention. It is a gratuitous gift, a tribute that man's genius will have exacted from Nature. We do not deny that in the course of the transformation a certain amount of labor will have been displaced; but we cannot agree that it will have been destroyed or even lessened.I.20.28

        The same is true of imports. Let us revert to our hypothesis.I.20.29

        Let us say that France has been making ten million hats whose sales price was fifteen francs. Foreigners invade our market by supplying us with hats at ten francs. I maintain that opportunities for domestic labor will in no way be thereby lessened.I.20.30

        For it will have to produce only to the extent of 100 million francs in order to pay for ten million hats at ten francs apiece.I.20.31

        And then, each buyer will have available the five francs saved per hat, or, in all, fifty millions, which will pay for other commodities, that is to say, other kinds of labor.I.20.32

        Therefore, the total of employment will remain what it was, and the additional commodities produced by the fifty millions saved on the hats will comprise the net profit from imports under a system of free trade.I.20.33

        And people should not try to frighten us with a picture of the sufferings that, on this hypothesis, the displacement of labor would involve.I.20.34

        For, if the restrictive measures had never been imposed, labor on its own initiative would have allocated itself in accordance with the law of supply and demand so as to achieve the highest ratio of result to effort, and no displacement would have occurred.I.20.35

        If, on the contrary, restrictive measures have led to an artificial and unproductive allocation of labor, then they, and not free trade, are responsible for the inevitable displacement during the transition from a poor to a good allocation.I.20.36

        At least let no one argue that, because an abuse cannot be suppressed without injuring those who profit from it, the fact that it has existed for a time gives it the right to last forever.

        Economic Sophisms
        First Series, Chapter 20
        Human vs. Mechanical Labor and Domestic vs. Foreign Labor
        Bastiat, Frédéric
        (1801-1850)

        Comment


        • #94
          Re: Robots vs secretaries

          DC, this kind of question is too vague. They need to talk about what kind of jobs are in more or less demand. There might be lots of demand for "robot polishers" and machine vision engineers, and none for switch board operators, assembly line workers, etc.

          At my 10 year high school reunion (1989) not a single person worked on an assembly line. (That is about 200 people from a lower middle class town and not a single one working on an assembly line)

          Comment


          • #95
            Greenspan the Un-Rand

            Unfortunately, Greenspan's policy decisions had precious little to do with Rand's ideas.

            If they had, there would be no buying of
            T bonds by printing money, no bank bailouts, peso bailouts, LTCM bailouts , manipulating interest rates, funding deficit budgets, etc.

            Comment


            • #96
              Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

              Originally posted by Shakespear View Post
              The Bright New Future

              http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/robots-will...rclass-1460177
              You say there will be jobs maintaining the robots? Sure 100 robots taken care by 1 maintenance robot.
              Programing? Sure
              Building parts and circuits? Suuurrrreeee.

              Well we can still flip hamburgers, can't we ? Nope, it appears to be doable by robots as we speak,
              http://singularityhub.com/2013/01/22...gers-per-hour/

              I agree with the point someone made that currently off-shoring is having a bigger impact than automation on employment. But, I'm wondering what the employment picture would look like now if we had all of the "extra" people we lost in WWI and WWII? There were 77 million deaths in those two wars that happened at the tail end of the move from farms to cities. The WWII die off was 2.5 % of the world population.

              Comment


              • #97
                Re: Greenspan the Un-Rand

                Originally posted by Polish_Silver View Post
                Unfortunately, Greenspan's policy decisions had precious little to do with Rand's ideas.

                If they had, there would be no buying of
                T bonds by printing money, no bank bailouts, peso bailouts, LTCM bailouts , manipulating interest rates, funding deficit budgets, etc.
                Ah, I see. No true Scotsman.

                Comment


                • #98
                  Re: Greenspan the Un-Rand

                  Originally posted by Woodsman View Post
                  Ah, I see. No true Scotsman.
                  Do you actually believe Alan Greenspan was implementing Rand's ideas through those policies and that saying otherwise is some kind of logical fallacy? Or are you just saying that because you think it scores you some kind of points on the internet?

                  When a priest molests a child and someone claims that they aren't following the teachings of Jesus Christ, do you scoff and say "Ah, I see. No true Scotsman"?

                  Anyone who knows Rand's ideas and Greenspan's policies can see they are clearly at odds.

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                    Originally posted by sutro View Post
                    I agree with the point someone made that currently off-shoring is having a bigger impact than automation on employment. But, I'm wondering what the employment picture would look like now if we had all of the "extra" people we lost in WWI and WWII? There were 77 million deaths in those two wars that happened at the tail end of the move from farms to cities. The WWII die off was 2.5 % of the world population.
                    A war or epidemic does little to change the picture. More people would mean more workers and more consumption. What changes the picture is the number of people needed to serve the consumption, or the distribution of types of work relative
                    to the numbers of people available to do them. Both automation and trade affect these things.

                    Comment


                    • Re: Greenspan the Un-Rand

                      Originally posted by DSpencer View Post
                      Do you actually believe Alan Greenspan was implementing Rand's ideas through those policies and that saying otherwise is some kind of logical fallacy? Or are you just saying that because you think it scores you some kind of points on the internet?

                      When a priest molests a child and someone claims that they aren't following the teachings of Jesus Christ, do you scoff and say "Ah, I see. No true Scotsman"?

                      Anyone who knows Rand's ideas and Greenspan's policies can see they are clearly at odds.
                      Interesting analogy, priesthood/Rand/molestation. Anyway, it was curiously reminiscent of talk I used to hear from the fellow travelers back in school. It went something like this:


                      [clouds of smoke and sounds of bubbling water]

                      FT: Dude..cough, cough. That's reactionary bullsh!t.

                      W: What do you mean?

                      FT: Cough, cough. [exhales cloud of smoke] Cough...Man, there's never really been a true socialist country; not like Marx envisioned. The Russians got it all wrong, man...cough.

                      W: Ah yes, no true Scotsman
                      As for Internet Points, is that like Green Stamps or airlines miles I can exchange for stuff? Where do I sign up?

                      Greenspan Admits Errors to Hostile House Panel

                      Returning to Capitol Hill amid a financial crisis rooted in mortgage lending, Mr. Greenspan said he had been wrong to think banks' ability to assess risk and their self-interest would protect them from excesses. But the former Fed chairman, who kept short-term interest rates at 1% for a year earlier this decade, said no one could have predicted the collapse of the housing boom and the financial disaster that followed....

                      Lawmakers read back quotations from recent years in which Mr. Greenspan said there's "no evidence" home prices would collapse and "the worst may well be over."

                      "The 82-year-old Mr. Greenspan said he made "a mistake" in his hands-off regulatory philosophy, which many now blame in part for sparking the global economic troubles. He quoted something he had written in March: "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder's equity (myself especially) are in a state of shocked disbelief.

                      He conceded that he has "found a flaw" in his ideology and said he was "distressed by that." Yet Mr. Greenspan maintained that no regulator was smart enough to foresee the "once-in-a-century credit tsunami."

                      Comment


                      • Re: Robots vs secretaries

                        Originally posted by Polish_Silver View Post
                        DC, this kind of question is too vague. They need to talk about what kind of jobs are in more or less demand. There might be lots of demand for "robot polishers" and machine vision engineers, and none for switch board operators, assembly line workers, etc.

                        At my 10 year high school reunion (1989) not a single person worked on an assembly line. (That is about 200 people from a lower middle class town and not a single one working on an assembly line)
                        No doubt, PS. But the way it looks to me, that's because you had the reunion in the wrong country, not because technology made them obsolete...

                        Check the tags on the stuff around your house. It's no mystery where the assembly line jobs went. And they didn't disappear to rural Chinese village enterprises because they had the best robots...

                        Comment


                        • Re: Greenspan the Un-Rand

                          [clouds of smoke and sounds of bubbling water]

                          FT: Dude..cough, cough. That's reactionary bullsh!t.

                          W: What do you mean?

                          FT: Cough, cough. [exhales cloud of smoke] Cough...Man, there's never really been a true socialist country; not like Marx envisioned. The Russians got it all wrong, man...cough.

                          W: Ah yes, no true Scotsman
                          It's taken centuries for the purest expression of capitalism - the inevitable monopoly stage - to arrive in force. Placed in that time frame socialism as the dominate political economy has hardly begun. Stillborn it may remain. I have more faith in ongoing change, not any future 'perfect, final' system, certainly not an End to History. Of course time being what it is, it may seem like the final stage to all of us. Further concentration, endless stagnation.

                          Comment


                          • Re: Greenspan the Un-Rand

                            Originally posted by DSpencer View Post
                            Do you actually believe Alan Greenspan was implementing Rand's ideas through those policies and that saying otherwise is some kind of logical fallacy? Or are you just saying that because you think it scores you some kind of points on the internet?

                            When a priest molests a child and someone claims that they aren't following the teachings of Jesus Christ, do you scoff and say "Ah, I see. No true Scotsman"?

                            Anyone who knows Rand's ideas and Greenspan's policies can see they are clearly at odds.
                            I always figured it was just a long con to discredit the Fed so they think about destroying it.

                            Greenspan did live with Rand at her cult HQ for years. They co-authored a book together. I don't think he's the equivalent a Priest in your analogy. If Ayn Rand's the god you worship, Greenspan has got to be at least an apostle, or maybe a pope or a cardinal at the furthest stretch.

                            I'd say if you think Ayn Rand's god, Greenspan's probably her St. Peter, sent to Rome, wouldn't you?

                            After all, this god didn't come 2,000 years ago. She came down to earth to give us her wisdom only a few decades ago. And we have plenty of pictures of her and her apostles.

                            Your new god.



                            Our old God.


                            Comment


                            • Re: Greenspan the Un-Rand

                              Originally posted by Woodsman View Post
                              Interesting analogy, priesthood/Rand/molestation.
                              Aye. Easy enough to do. Take everything Jesus ever said in the New Testament, and write down the opposite. There. You've got Ayn Rand in a nutshell.

                              Let's do a quick comparison:

                              Originally posted by Jesus of Nazareth
                              Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

                              If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

                              Amen, I say to you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

                              And again I say to you: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

                              And many that are first, shall be last: and the last shall be first.

                              One thing is wanting unto thee. Go, sell whatsoever thou hast and give to the poor: and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.

                              Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God?

                              For the poor you have always with you: and whensoever you will, you may do them good: but me you have not always.

                              Blessed are ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
                              Originally posted by Ayn Rand

                              Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves - or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.

                              And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: 'I.'

                              This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before...The fortune of my spirit is not to be blown into coins of brass and flung to the winds as alms for the poor.

                              Do you believe in God, Andrei? No. Neither do I. But that's a favorite question of mine. An upside-down question, you know. What do you mean? Well, if I asked people whether they believed in life, they'd never understand what I meant. It's a bad question. It can mean so much that it really means nothing. So I ask them if they believe in God. And if they say they do—then, I know they don't believe in life. Why? Because, you see, God—whatever anyone chooses to call God—is one's highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It's a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream of it, but to demand it.

                              There is no such thing as duty. If you know that a thing is right, you want to do it. If you don't want to do it—it isn't right. If it's right and you don't want to do it—you don't know what right is and you're not a man.

                              The highest thing in a man is not his god. It's that in him which knows the reverence due a god. I am my highest reverence.

                              There are only two means by which men can deal with one another: guns or logic.

                              The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

                              Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter.

                              The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments.

                              The alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind.
                              You just kind of take whatever the opposite would be, write it down, and there you have it.

                              Anti-Christiandom.

                              Mammon's own daughter come-to-earth.
                              Last edited by dcarrigg; 08-22-14, 01:01 PM.

                              Comment


                              • Re: Robots vs secretaries

                                Yea I can see that problem. A qualified pilot will only be needed for for the 10 minutes or so it takes to drop the bomb. The rest of the time, someone just needs to watch the screen for alerts and call a qualified person if there's an alert.

                                Originally posted by Shakespear View Post
                                This is where I see a BIG PROBLEM.

                                Combat drones used by the Air Force and CIA are controlled remotely by a human pilot, often sitting thousands of miles away. The Navy drone is designed to carry out a combat mission controlled almost entirely by a computer.

                                http://www.latimes.com/nation/nation...818-story.html

                                This type of information just flows like a river today. So not to be aware that trouble is coming is to be blind. But then we are in trouble already.

                                Comment

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