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Our Dystopian Future... Technology and the economy

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posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 10:30 PM
There was an article in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago that really started making me think. The gist of the article is that many economist and technologist are starting to rethink how technology benefits man. Essentially, most economist have always believed that advancements in technology generally benefit society as a whole through increased productivity and new job opportunities. The school of thought being that any job losses from technology displacing workers usually are replaced by more jobs for other workers, so typically a net gain. For example, buggy whip manufacturers of course lost their livelihood when the automobile came along, but automobile manufacturers employed way more people than the buggy whip manufacturers so between producing a product that not only served man well, many people were gainfully employed from this tech gain.

Some economist are starting to wonder if we are getting to a point with technology where the job losses will never be made up. In other words, when a great tech advance occurs that results in many losing their jobs, the new jobs created are only a fraction of those lost. For example, robots that can essentially replace line workers in a factory. Sure, the company will have to hire a few highly paid robot technicans to service the robots, but there won't be nearly as many technicians needed as workers displaced. You could conceivably fire 100 line works and only need one or two robot technicians in a plant.

To be clear, I'm a diehard, money grubbing, greedy azz capitalist. I'm all about free markets.

This situation seems like a Gordian knot to me. On the one hand, technology and free markets have always improved the lives of people. Nothing spurs innovation like greed. We all benefit from that innovation. However, if that innovation now winds up putting more people out of work than can be gainfully employed, we have a serious problem.

So where does this lead? Maybe we get to a point where technology makes it so hardly anyone has to work to survive? Everyone can kind be on a permanent vacation? Is that even realistic? What will keep entrepreneurs and innovators developing ground breaking business models and technology if there are no profits to be made?

How does society deal with those who aren't capable of competing in an economy that rewards high skill / education with limited job opportunities? We see this now where you have segment of the population that can't earn much more than minimum wage. As robots start even replacing those low skilled jobs, what are these people to do?

Let's discuss.

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 10:40 PM
a reply to: Edumakated

Here's a good table-setter:

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 11:33 PM
a reply to: Edumakated

sounds like you need to see the Chappie movie.

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 11:41 PM
I mean could it be that the supposed low skill no skill jobs where human interaction is needed making food,call centers customer relation/interaction where you actaully need to speak to a human will be in demand

and the supposed high skill jobs of an engineer, doctor or surgeon could be replace by robots/A.I. I mean precision cutting , pin point accuracy? Nanotech.

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 11:50 PM
Automation has already been increasing productivity while decreasing how many people are needed to match productivity. Look at profit ratios since the 1950's when they really started automating things more and more.

Theres a reason why most of our economy is service sector based and millennial are not buying houses and cars or moving out of their parents basements.

The idea that its getting better is crazy to me because when i look around the town I'm in i dont see any differences over the last few years. Actually what i see is warehouse jobs that used to pay 17-18 an hour with little experience now pay 9-13 on the higher end if your lucky. Meanwhile plants keep shutting down and moving overseas STILL. The only 2 or 3 decent factories left in town have a million people trying to get 5 jobs and you only get in if you have a reference from someone whos been there for years.

edit on 3/3/2015 by onequestion because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 4 2015 @ 02:43 AM
I don't have the answers to your questions, but I do believe I'm on the right track to one day solving it. As a society we have already seen our jobs go away. The market responded with the concept of planned obsolescence. Basically, we created an inefficiency in our goods so that demand would never disappear. This has kept companies in business. Sooner or later we are due for a correction.

Sooner or later working for a living is not going to be an option for most people. Just look at our current labor force participation rate, its already not an option for many of us. We can do things as a society to address this like lower the work week, but that involves harsh pushback from those with jobs: "You want to take 10 hours of work and pay from me to give it to someone else?"

Instead I believe it requires an entirely new economic system. I take inspiration from the capitalist idea that personal gain makes people work harder and produce more goods for society while also taking inspiration from the communist idea that we should collectively reap the benefits of society. So my proposal is a dual currency system. All goods are priced in both, and both are required to purchase an item. I don't believe this would be too complicated as people seem to innately grasp it when it is used in video games (a unit that costs minerals+gas in Starcraft for example).

So the question is, what are the currencies? The first would be the dollar, bitcoins, or anything else in use today and it functions just the same as now. The second would be a new currency. I've been reading up a lot on Battletech lately so lets call it a C-Bill. This currency would be distributed on a per capita basis and would be purely digital, it would not be applied to food or shelter. It could only exist in the hands of private individuals. When taken as payment by a business it would be destroyed. Every month the data would be computed (easy to do since it's all digital) and how many C-Bills that have left the system would be determined. We would then divide that number by the population, and add that amount to each persons account at the beginning of the month. Thus, on the first of every month there would always be the same amount of C-Bills in circulation. There would be no inflation or deflation. In order to make the amount more steady we could even change the calculation to every 2 weeks, 1 week, or even daily.

Now, what makes this system work would be an exchange between private individuals. Just as in currency trades today, we could create currency exchanges that link buyers and sellers together. A person who consumes little will have excess C-Bills but will probably be unemployed. Now that they no longer have labor to sell, they could sell these C-Bills to someone with money. Now the person with the well paying job can still purchase their luxury item, but those at the bottom also have a commodity to sell in order to cover food and shelter.

The end result of this is that simply by existing, and needing to consume necessities to live those at the bottom create value while those at the top who are lucky enough to have jobs in a society that needs few workers are able to reap some rewards for their work.
edit on 4-3-2015 by Aazadan because: (no reason given)

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