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Wed Apr 26, 2017, 09:07 AM

What will we do when there are no more jobs?

I exaggerate (a little). There will always be jobs. But maybe not a lot of them, and certainly not with the same ratio of people to jobs as there has been.

Technology is a rachet, moving towards fewer and fewer jobs. Everything that can be done by a machine instead of a human is (usually) a cost savings, so there is enormous pressure that way.

How will we deal with this? With the "protestant work ethic" that the workers of this country take to heart (thanks to it being enforced by their capital bearing masters), we deal with this situation now by mocking people who don't have jobs, or don't have adequate jobs, and our government seems to be run by people who want to make the situation of the un- or under-employed even worse.

"there but for the grace of god go I" we say under our breath, as we continue to labor away at one of the ever shrinking pool of jobs.

At some point, the only answers are 1) minimum income - a living income no matter what you are doing, which maintains your life and health and makes your healthcare completely untethered to employment OR 2) a feudalistic/fundamentalist/fascist hellscape, with the 1% living better than royalty, and the rest of the population slaving for their comforts while being worked to death and given nothing (or very little) in return

1) is completely politically unthinkable in our current state
2) is completely shitty and horrible, but seems to be what we are hurtling fastest towards.


Could the country take the implications of 1) without having a complete mental breakdown? Cause, it's got to happen. It's the only alternative (in a world with few jobs) to complete dystopia.

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Reply What will we do when there are no more jobs? (Original post)
ProfessorPlum Apr 2017 OP
CincyDem Apr 2017 #1
ProfessorPlum Apr 2017 #3
CincyDem Apr 2017 #5
ProfessorPlum Apr 2017 #6
world wide wally Apr 2017 #2
ProfessorPlum Apr 2017 #4
ronatchig Apr 2017 #7
Orsino Apr 2017 #8
Goodheart Apr 2017 #9
HughBeaumont Apr 2017 #10
ProfessorPlum Apr 2017 #11
moondust Apr 2017 #12

Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed Apr 26, 2017, 09:39 AM

1. Three Numbers...7,5,3

7 Billion people in the world.
5 Billion people of working age.
3 Billion jobs.

That's today's reality. Global structural "unemployment" is 40%...we're just fighting about where it's going to be.

I reduce your two outcomes to a simpler pair: We'll care for each other or we'll kill each other. Ultimately it comes down to the Freudian choices of create or destroy. Personally, I think we'll end up in a single, social commune with about 1/3 the global population we have today. Yeah - 1/3rd. I think it's going to take 2/3rds of the population saying "bye bye" in your dystopian scenario before the remaining 1/3rd say "WTF - we gotta do something different". Then we'll be ready for the living income solution - assuming money still exists.

We'll see. The fun about predicting the future is that we all get to be right...until we're not.

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Response to CincyDem (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 26, 2017, 09:41 AM

3. that's an important frame

We're already way over the the people:jobs ratio.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 26, 2017, 09:52 AM

5. We're already over pretty much every ratio...


The one that comes to mind after Earth day...as a global population, we are consuming the planet at a rate that requires 1.6 Earths to sustain. IIRC, that goes up dramatically when you focus on the developed world. IF (and I know it's a big if) under/undeveloped areas grow to match the developed world, that number goes up to 7. We'll need 7 Earths to keep up. Not sure about you, but I don't have an extra earth hanging out under the bed.

Another one, probably a subset of the earth count, is deforestation and sustainable replacement. We're cutting down something like 4 years of forest growth every year. Yeah - great that we're replanting but nowhere near the replacement rate since clear cutting methods are diminishing the degree to which land can support forest growth as topsoil erosion take off when the forest is gone.



Anyway - rant off. I'm not sure why you're post struck such an energetic chord for me. Sustainability isn't usually my hot button but I too have been thinking about what the world looks like with no jobs. While I knew it was happening, the phrase used in the recent elections "You didn't lose your job to a Mexican, you lost it to a microchip" really captured it for me. The Terminator movies are great Sci-fi about what happens when robots and AI go bad. The movie that needs to be made is about what happens when robots and AI simply do exactly what they're designed to do. When all the jobs disappear, it's going to make Terminator look like a walk in the park.

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Response to CincyDem (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 26, 2017, 10:17 AM

6. true, unless we can decide to care for each other

It may require a bit of strict birth control, maybe

but it could be possible. I don't know. I don't hold out much hope, considering how we make decisions at present.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed Apr 26, 2017, 09:41 AM

2. I think most people don't talk about this because nobody has an answer for what to do about it.

Then, wham! It hits us in n the face and we only take reactionary measures once it is too late.

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Response to world wide wally (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 26, 2017, 09:43 AM

4. I remember in the 70s

there was a lot of talk about what we were going to do as a nation about the rising productivity we had.

Four day/three day work weeks were suggested.

But then the rich woke up and took over the Supreme Court and made money "speech" and they took all of the wealth and care Americans were generating and put it squarely in their own pockets.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed Apr 26, 2017, 10:19 AM

7. I'll be

having some of that rainbow stew and washing it down with some of that free bubble-up.

But seriously, there are 2 options either remake human society so that wealth is considered a great evil in the world, as much as want .

Or,2nd: get ready for the the inevitable die off that awaits mankind . I don't want to sound too dark about our future but it is difficult

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed Apr 26, 2017, 10:22 AM

8. For a while, we'll create new jobs.

But eventually, the myth that everyone must work for an income will fall apart, try as the billionaires might to sustain it.

When there are demonstrably NOT enough jobs to go around--we're there already--the billionaires have to work harder to justify their labor-free wealth. That they also try to fake a right-to-life orientation will only undercut what amounts to a Right To Be Poor.

We'll decide when we've had enough of that.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed Apr 26, 2017, 10:23 AM

9. I think it's society's biggest question, actually.

I also thought about this a few nights ago in reference to drugs.

It seems to me that a large part of the opposition to freedom of drugs is some perceived detriment to personal productivity and achievement. But what if human labor productivity becomes largely a relic of an unautomated past? Will we no longer care? Will government, itself, become the main dispenser of sedatives and hallucinogens, like soma in "Brave New World"?

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed Apr 26, 2017, 10:29 AM

10. Yeah, I'm going with 2) . . .

. . . mostly because wealthy folks aren't the brightest tools in the shed and think Capitalism As Is will solve the problems it creates.

. . . mostly because the narrative of the United States has moved so far to the right, moving to the left will put you at "Joe Lieberman".

. . . mostly because there ARE solutions, but the Reaganite Upper Middle Class and above would never agree to such measures.

. . . mostly because the military are "Theirs". That pelt-beret'd son of a bitch could start a full-scale nuclear war and not ONE of those he-men would stop him from destroying humanity. They'd PROTECT him, because "it's meant to be" and "he's the ultimate authority".

. . . mostly because the police are "Theirs" also. Just look at how much riot gear they wear at progressive demonstrations vs. their overall presence at Tea Party rallies.

. . . mostly because wealthy folks are so oblivious that they think they won't be gibbetted.

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Response to HughBeaumont (Reply #10)

Wed Apr 26, 2017, 12:59 PM

11. sad to say

I can't argue with any of this

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed Apr 26, 2017, 02:11 PM

12. At some point

I suppose answer 2 would lead to the great masses finally waking up to the fact that there are far more of them than there are of the royalty and prompt some sort of revolution to "dislodge" them. Something like that happened a century ago in Russia and in France before that. Of course the royalty's defense systems now are much more powerful than were the forces on horseback fighting off the Bolsheviks and the mobs storming the Bastille. Assad is using barrel bombs and chemicals to suppress a revolution in Syria. I'm curious how historians would compare Putin's current oligarchy (and those in the West for that matter) to the old czarist oligarchy that gave rise to the revolution a century ago.

In the end I fear that human greed and bigotry will prevail despite attempts by many at something more egalitarian--as seems to be the story in Russia and perhaps even in France with the rise of neoliberals. Civilizational collapse and dystopia.

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