Sunday, July 12, 2015

if the man has nothing profitable for you to do, you believe he'll make up some reason for you to be?


WaPo |  With the unemployment rate falling to 5.3 percent, the lowest in seven years, policy makers are heaving a sigh of relief. Indeed, with the technology boom in progress, there is a lot to be optimistic about. Manufacturing will be returning to U.S. shores with robots doing the job of Chinese workers; American carmakers will be mass-producing self-driving electric vehicles; technology companies will develop medical devices that greatly improve health and longevity; we will have unlimited clean energy and 3D-print our daily needs. The cost of all of these things will plummet and make it possible to provide for the basic needs of every human being.

I am talking about technology advances that are happening now, which will bear fruit in the 2020s.
But policy makers will have a big new problem to deal with: the disappearance of human jobs. Not only will there be fewer jobs for people doing manual work, the jobs of knowledge workers will also be replaced by computers. Almost every industry and profession will be impacted and this will create a new set of social problems — because most people can’t adapt to such dramatic change.

If we can develop the economic structures necessary to distribute the prosperity we are creating, most people will no longer have to work to sustain themselves. They will be free to pursue other creative endeavors. The problem, however, is that without jobs, they will not have the dignity, social engagement, and sense of fulfillment that comes from work. The life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that the constitution entitles us to won’t be through labor, it will have to be through other means.

It is imperative that we understand the changes that are happening and find ways to cushion the impacts.

The technology elite who are leading this revolution will reassure you that there is nothing to worry about because we will create new jobs just as we did in previous centuries when the economy transitioned from agrarian to industrial to knowledge-based. Tech mogul Marc Andreessen has called the notion of a jobless future a “Luddite fallacy,” referring to past fears that machines would take human jobs away. Those fears turned out to be unfounded because we created newer and better jobs and were much better off.

3 comments:

BigDonOne said...

All *DRUGS* will be legalized and "the dignity, social engagement, and sense of fulfillment that comes from work" will be replaced with being perpetually stoned...

CNu said...

Drugs will be legalized because the fiction undergirding their prohibition in the first place has collapsed. Not to mention the unsustainable and uncivilized make-work for useless eating overseers required to enforce the absurd prohibition. That said, as middle-class "work" accelerates away from paper pushing and internal meetings (cosseting deciders) and toward engineering-level KSAO - what will become of the majority of empty suits and frumpled business casuals who lack the cognitive chops to make things or heal people? There can only be but just so many baristas and budtenders...,

woodensplinter said...

With the unemployment rate falling to 5.3 percent, the lowest in seven years, policy makers are heaving a sigh of relief.

Such mendacious twaddle. At a 62.6% able-bodied job participation rate, you are at lowest job participation rate since 1977. 125 million able-bodied Americans not included in the employment count is ridiculous on the face of it. What will you do with all that excess population?

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