Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Automation and Utopia - The End of Jobs

What happened:
We have automated most of our work. We don't need to do much work anymore. At first we used technology to create more work for ourselves. During the past few decades, while most actual work was shipped overseas, most of the labor of the bourgeois was spent in speculation, trying to work the system to amass more resources. Information technology enabled/forced us all to become bankers/accountants/attorneys, etc. But eventually the "winners" won out. They amassed the most and there is not really any work to be done for hire. The result of automation was supposed to give us huge amounts of free time, resulting in a flowering of the arts, leisure, good deeds, etc. Mankind has been developing technology with the eventual goal of utopia. What other possible goal could/should there be? But, because of the cold war, any kind of macroeconomic cooperation or planning is branded as "socialism" and we are frozen in dogma. I just don't see jobs returning to our economy, and they shouldn't. We need to accept that the essentials of life need not be tied to work. Everyone has to work, but we need to come up with another model for how to incorporate work into life.

3 comments:

tempe turley said...

Hey, I know you don't know me, but I think you know my sister....

Anyway, I had to comment on this post because I disagree :-)...

I think there is plenty of work that really needs to be done in this new high-tech world we live in. But so much more of that work is harder mentally than it used to be, requiring more specialized training...

But I hear all the time how we need more money for say cancer research... Or how we don't have enough teachers or nurses...

I look in my neighborhood and wish we had more architects and skilled craftsman around..

Or I listen to our president talk about how we need new cleaner forms of energy with all of the potential infrastructure required to support that. Or much work our infrastructure needs.

But I agree with your implication that we probably need more help from our government.

This notion that the markets unmanaged can keep everyone doing useful work is wrong...

Instead we end up with a lot of people doing work that's no good for anyone - building an endless see of bland neighborhoods pushing city boundaries to their outermost limits, or a finance industry charging exhorbitent fees moving money from one account to another producing nothing but bubbles.

That has got to be fixed.

Christian said...

I think I agree. I guess I think what is needed is more creative work rather than competitive work.

Felipe said...

I have spent a few minutes reading your blog, and I am really interested in your thoughts. We could sit down and talk one day about this things.

I agree that we need more creative work than competitive. I think we are moving on that direction. I am a fan of technology and it is amazing how many things are being created every day.

The main human motivation is self interest. That is why capitalism, though not perfect, works so well in the realm of our human fallen natures. If you read Torqueville, you will see how amazed he was to see how self interest in America was creating a cooperative society. The baker, in his own self-interest of keeping the costumer's business, would make great bread and pastries and innovate with new recipes and ideas.

The wealthier you are, the more the economy grows. Wealth gives moral people a chance to help the down trodden. The rich people being poor doesn't make the poor rich. Remember the Great Depression? Liberals would like you to think that, and love to make rich people feel guilty because it is immoral. But how many charities and how many people are helped because of the immoral rich folks? A lot more than are helped by Government.

As far as jobs, they will come back if the Government gets out of the people's backs. The U.S. has not been a pure capitalist nation since the beginning of the last century. Government regulations at the manufacturing, technology and creative level are destructive. The role of Government is to ensure fair competition. That's it.