On 08/08/2011 9:28 PM, John F. Sowa wrote:
> Azamat, Rich, and Ron,
> All of your comments are well considered from various points of view,
> but there are forces at work that are likely to make all of them (and
> many others) obsolete. Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes,
> and Ayn Rand could not imagine the kind of world we live in today.
> About half a century ago, people noticed that automation was increasing
> productivity so rapidly that the 21st century would be totally different
> from the mid 20th c. There were glorious predictions that productivity
> would be so high that people would only have to work 2 hours per day to
> do all the work that had to be done. And the big question was what to
> do with all that leisure time that everybody would have.
> The pundits who made those predictions were partly right. Productivity
> has increased rapidly. If the same proportion of the population were
> still engaged in factory production, they really could produce many
> manufactured goods with only 2 hours of work per day. But the people
> who owned the factory had no desire to maintain the same number of
> workers. Instead, they fired most of them and made the remaining
> workers spend even more time working for the same wages.
> The first people to be fired were factory workers. But more and more
> office workers and their managers have been fired. There are very few
> secretaries and receptionists, since nearly everybody does their own
> typing and messaging. Telephone operators are long gone. Even people
> called stock brokers have vanished. Anybody who owns stocks does their
> own trading in a fraction of the time and cost of calling a broker.
> Our work on artificial intelligence, ontology, and related fields is
> accelerating the transition. More and more managerial jobs will become
> obsolete and unnecessary. An ever smaller and smaller workforce will
> be able to produce all the goods anybody needs.
> There will still be jobs to be done. Those are primarily service jobs.
> Unfortunately, very few people who need those services will be able
> to pay for them. The number of unemployed and unemployable people
> will escalate from 10 to 20%, later to 30, 40, 50, 60& or more.
> I don't know the exact dates when these stages will be met, but it
> will certainly be within this century. Perhaps within the next 40
> to 50 years. Rioting will get very bad when unemployment hits 30%,
> and that stage might not be very far away.
>> the elite also has its self-interest, which is fully domineering
>> over common individuals...
> What elites? There are many formerly highly-paid executives, who are
> unemployable. Many bankers are still getting high bonuses, but banking
> is the easiest thing to automate. They'll soon go the way of the former
> stock brokers. Of course, there will be fewer and fewer people at the
> top of each of those companies, who will rake in billions. But as we
> have seen, banks can fail, and the elites at those banks will have to
> scramble for fewer and fewer elite positions.
>> Government, as someone wise once said, is inherently evil (because
>> it uses force to have its laws and regulations obeyed), yet absolutely
>> essential (because we donít play well together without supervision).
> Churchill said that democracy is the worst possible form of government,
> except for all the others. And if you want to see what happens without
> government look at the various trouble spots around the world, such as
>> some sort of revolution when the majority of the people decide that
>> a radical redistribution of wealth by force is in their self interest.
> There will certainly be lots of rioting. Unfortunately, the people who
> riot won't have a clue about who or what to riot against.
The Russian and French revolution were supported by a lot of people who
were not any better off at the end but they were very enthusiastic about
beheading the rich in the process.
One can already see in the Tea Party movement, the same type of anger
being channelled into promotion of legislation and policies that are
counter to their member's long-term interests.
Once the middle class sees that the rich are not affected behind their
gated communities but they are and they revolt, the lower classes will
The poor and ignorant do not lead the revolution but they will support it.
> People say that entitlements are bad. But maybe our only hope is
> to develop some workable system of entitlements, but it will have
> to totally different from anything we have today. (01)
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