Eschew Obfuscation - Espouse Elucidation

Freedom of Speech Doesn't Ensure Freedom After Speech
NOVEMBER 29, 2012 1:06PM

The Jobs Are Gone: They Won't be back...

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This blog was posted as my response to 
 
 
When the spectre of automation first reared its head, everyone had fears that soon all "the workers" would lose their jobs to factory robots. It didn't happen that way. The economy expanded and jobs remained available to those who educated themselves to be able to do them.

BUT..... automation has advanced. While it was doing so, off-shoring of labour intensive manufacturing took away millions of jobs. Those companies that are coming back to first world countries are NOT going to re-build a labour intensive economy; they're going to build automated manufacturing facilities. They'd be fools if they didn't - and they're certainly not that; greedy maybe, but not fools.

The "jobs" are gone. And, for the most part, they're not coming back. The transition from human labour to automation will not be denied. It may be slowed, here and there, but it won't now ever be stopped. 

Our problem is that we've built a socio-economic system based on a "human labour" economic model. It is time for that to be updated to match the current reality. The FIRST thing that must be updated is the connection between jobs and income. I grow weary of hearing over and over that "jobs" must be "created" so that people can have an income which they will spend so as to be "consumers" and thus fulfil their role in the production/consumption of goods and services. This simply IS NOT true. It is NOT jobs that people need - it is income. 

As it stands at present, only those who own the means of production stand to profit from the inevitable automation of everything that can possibly be automated. We have, until now, assumed that those not of that ownership class will find employment "elsewhere" when their jobs are automated. They won't. There is no elsewhere. 

So..... it's time to cut ALL the people of our society in on a share of the profits that are earned by the corporations that take huge profits from our society; that can only operate safely and securely in the society we have all contributed to. It's time for every citizen to have a "birthright" of shares in successful corporations. It's time everybody got what only the owners get now - a share of the wealth that everybody helps to create.

In the end, only a fair and just society will survive into the future. Do we really want to leave any other kind to our children? 

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I tried to comment on this but it said the content does not exist.
Star Trek is coming, but it's going to be a rough haul getting there. It makes sense, though. Take away the need to scramble for crumbs, let everyone be secure in their basic needs, and they will flourish. It will be an amazing time.
The tenor of your article is essential correct, as far as I'm concerned. This all relates to what is called Welfare Economics.

In Economics, there is a principle called absolute and comparative advantage. Under absolute comparative advantage , anyone could plainly see that it makes total dollars and cents to produce your products in the lowest cost location. This includes all cost such as labour, taxes ...

Each country should also produce the products they have a comparative advantage in producing. They need not be the lowest producer, but they should produce the product that they are relatively best at, given there land, labour and capital resources.
This is simply a matter of effective resource allocation.

If resource allocation is done by comparative advantage there will be a net gain for all, but this is only if their is some sharings of the total gain.

This leads to the matter of wealth distribution. Some say, this is the socialist part. The redistribution should never take away so much from the producer of jobs and economic activity that there is no incentive left to create jobs.

Another way to create jobs and thus consumer income and spending is to make the governments allocate tax dollars of the citizens to stimulate job creating ventures. Support for ventures and entrepreurial activities should always be of a short-term nature. Otherwise, they become on-going subsidies. Never support a losing cause.

The lobby groups and marketing boards and supply management groups are often very strong and wrong. They are selfish and they do not have the interests of the people in mind.

You are being 'managed.' The sheeple, you know.
I agree totally. Uniform Basic Income is a major part of the NZ Green Party's economic platform. Perhaps you already know they enacted this briefly in Manitoba in the 1970s? It was supposed to discourage people from working, but that didn't happen. Unfortunately a lot of marriages broke up, though, when women no longer had to stay married for their economic survival.

Ever since the Enclosure Acts of the 17th century the owners of capital have forced people to work by driving them off the land that provided their livelihood. And exploiting them mercilessly. The other term for "exploitation" is work stress. During the whole 32 years I practiced, the most common complaint I dealt with was anxiety and stress. It was almost always work-related stress, caused by the shitty way people were treated at work.

As far as I'm concerned, being exploited at work is unhealthy and totally alien to human nature. We can't end the link between jobs and income fast enough as far as I'm concerned.
Lyle,
I've copied your comment and re-pasted it here with my replies under each section of it......


The tenor of your article is essential correct, as far as I'm concerned. This all relates to what is called Welfare Economics.

*By whom? It seems a derogatory term. Can you explain it further?

In Economics, there is a principle called absolute and comparative advantage. Under absolute comparative advantage, anyone could plainly see that it makes total dollars and cents to produce your products in the lowest cost location. This includes all cost such as labour, taxes ...

*Do you mean to say that economists are so stupid as to really think this makes “sense”? Are ‘economists’ so narrow-minded that they forget that an economy – ANY economy – has value only to the society if it serves the interests of that society? ALL of that society – not just an elite.
This means that placement of production facilities ought not have anything whatsoever to do with “lowest cost location” but should be located according to principles of “greatest good to society.”
Any other method of locating a production facility is only useful to those who would want to capture and keep the majority of the benefit derived from it, to, and for, themselves. Greed capitalism – ugh!
I have – as have you – left out any mention of resource and raw material availability.

Each country should also produce the products they have a comparative advantage in producing. They need not be the lowest producer. They just s produce the product that they are relatively best at, given there land, labour and capital resources. This is simply a matter of effective resource allocation.

*This is only true where the profit driven “net” is the first consideration rather than the social good.

If resource allocation is done by comparative advantage there will be a net gain for all, but this is only if there is some sharing of the total gain.

*Exactly right! But not “some” sharing of the total gain…… Complete sharing of the total gain. Not necessarily at the exact moment that gain is realized, but all that comes from a society must eventually return to the society – not wealth gained, and kept, by a few while the entire society is involved in that gain being possible as well as it being realized.

This leads to the matter of wealth distribution. Some say, this is the socialist part. The redistribution should never take away so much from the producer of jobs and economic activity that there is no incentive left to create jobs.

*Where the earnings are properly allocated, it does not become part of a producer’s responsibility to “create jobs.” This notion that producers create jobs is advocated by those who insist on treating workers like second class citizens whose only purpose is to work to make the elite wealthy - wage slaves.
In fact every member of the society in which production facilities exist, has a stake in those facilities. Being a freakin’ wage slave ought NOT be the be-all and end-all of human ambition. This is the position allocated to people – real live human beings – as mere ‘units’ in the machinery of a dominant predatory economic system, be it capitalist, socialist, or communist.

Another way to create jobs and thus consumer income and spending is to make the governments allocate tax dollars of the citizens to stimulate job creating ventures.

*Any society sufficiently advanced to have automation should have sense enough to begin to disconnect jobs from income. Income for everyone, AS IT IS FOR THE RICH, ought to be derived from share ownership in wealth producing industries, which represents a portion of the national wealth/income. It can be done in different ways, but I’d advocate that everybody own income producing shares in the companies that exist in that society – as do the rich elite right now. It works for them and it’ll work for us all.
Unless, of course, you still think that the workers must be “forced,” by poverty and need, to work on behalf of the wealthy.

Support for ventures and entrepreneurial activities should always be of a short-term nature. Otherwise, they become on-going subsidies. Never support a losing cause.

*Support for continuous growth is untenable in the long run. Sooner or later – and now is later – we need to value stability over constant growth – value co-operation over predatory greed competition. And make it clear to those managing the means of production that they and their companies are expected to be good citizens of the society, NOT leaches who suck off the wealth created by others for their own selfish benefit.

The lobby groups and marketing boards and supply management groups are often very strong and wrong. They are selfish and they do not have the interests of the people in mind.

*Groups of this sort have no place in a proper society where the economic system is understood to be a tool with which the society meets certain of its needs. Instead of a master before whom we all bow down.

You are being 'managed.' The sheeple, you know.
Dr. Bramhall,
Thanks for your great comment.

I have never understood why the concept of simple equitable sharing of the wealth is not an automatic corollary of citizenship. Citizens all contribute to any wealth created by anyone/any company in that society.

What is there about greed capitalism that has let it capture the hearts of so many people while being essentially unfair to many, disastrous to many, and only profitable to a few? Is mankind truly insane? Can we not even hold fairness as a core principle of how we live?
.
I had an argument with a friend back in the 90s about automation and the working man. My point was that, eventually, there wouldn't be any jobs left or places to go. It seems that we are beginning to near that point.

What I worry about most, though, are androids. See, if you had androids you wouldn't have to build complicated manufacturing machines, the androids could just replace the human workers already using the machines. And, sadly, I've seen a lot of people whose job it was to move a part from one big machine to another. Once that kind of jobs are gone, and all the things like it (fruit picking, for example)... it won't be pretty.
Sky,

It is a fascinating issue -- whether robots will in fact make work obsolete -- and one you know I addressed awhile back after going to a casino and seeing all the jobs that had been replaced by mechanization.

Progress is a two-step process. It begins with invention and innovation - the creative side of what Joseph Schumpeter has called the "creative destruction" of laissez faire, free market capitalism. If progress is to be sustainable, though, the next step must be a process of society-wide adaptation in which workers, businesses and government adjust themselves to these new way of making a living.

But what if there are no jobs? What if the structural changes in the economy that conservatives are so eager to talk about are such that technology has not only rendered some jobs obsolete, but most work itself?

The free market may destroy people's livelihoods and communities. Yet to conservatives the system owes them nothing in return -- except perhaps lip service about putting their lives back in order through education and job training programs that conservatives invariably underfund, or de-fund, whenever they get the chance.

It is not inconceivable as technology progresses that the world might find itself in more than just a post-agricultural world, or post-manufacturing one, but a post-economic world as well.

This would be a world in which millions of displaced workers can be gainfully employed creating value and leading productive and meaningful lives - just not marketable ones, or ones where the fruits of their labors are valued by anyone other than themselves and so not profitable in an "economic" sense.

John Adams was certainly no stranger to hard work. But Adams may have anticipated just such a future when he said of himself and his fellow Founding Fathers: "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain."

What if our economy developed in such a way that it allowed most of us to give up the 9 to 5 grind in order to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain, just as John Adams prophesized? What becomes of the fabled "American Work Ethic" then, and to the political, legal and value assumptions built up around such a "work" ethic when the definition of work itself is now antique?
Ted,

I have, in my own - non-economist - way, been working on that very question for over 40 years.

The primary need, of course, is to disconnect labour from income. Of all the ways of doing this, none that I've seen (or heard of) seems to understand that the social system is a completely different animal from the economic system.

Socialists advocate an extensive blending of the two. Communists, a total blending of the two. Oddly enough, perhaps, so do some capitalists. The difference being that they want the economic part to wholly dominate the social part by setting the social goals and standards of the society.

I, on the other hand, think that, of the two systems, the social system should be seen as both distinct and dominant. I see the economic system as ONLY a tool to be used by the social system for the good of the social system.

If laissez faire capitalism would serve the social system better than any other, I'd have no quarrel with it. If communism would serve the society better, I'd also have no quarrel with it. Neither do, however.

I think that, properly regulated and managed, capitalism is the Rolls Royce of economic systems. The 'catch', of course, is in the phrase, "properly regulated and managed."

Capitalism of a fair and equitable kind, allows for the natural human ambition to have expression. Regulation ought to keep that ambition from becoming a national obsession. Then an international one.

Putting limits and boundaries on capitalism is so difficult that only a social system is of the necessary strength to do so. Capitalism, like fire, must be strictly and carefully contained lest it consume that which we only wished it to heat. It is an enormously useful tool. It is also a very dangerous one. Like fire, when wealth is allowed to accumulate in a few places, hot spots are created which can be too hot for containment.

This is pretty much the situation now. Predatory capitalism is our of control. It is destroying the very society that gave it rise and gives it a home. But it is an economic system. It is not equipped to concern itself with social results. It simply does not care that it is in the process of damaging its society to the point of destruction, just as fire does not "care" that it is burning down the house that it was supposed to heat. Neither fire nor an economic system are able to "care" about anything except expansion and growth. Its mantra is more, more, more. The effects of that unchecked growth are not in its provence.

But societies of men ARE equipped to "care" about the effects of unchecked capitalism / fire. We are the ones who can either gain the benefits of proper use of them or be damaged or destroyed by such. This makes it imperative that our society be organized to use these tools in a skillful and controlled manner.

We have not done so, and we are seeing the results in our present situation. We have let our economic system take control of our society. The 'needs' of the economic system have first priority. If the economic system would benefit by us going out and invading other nations then that is what we are sent to do. If the needs of the economic system require that jobs be off-shored to cheap labour sources, then that is what is done. That doing these things is socially undesirable and damaging to the society of men, is of no concern to to the economic system. This is why an economic system is not capable of being the dominant system among all the systems mankind employs for his benefit.

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