Lion of the Blogosphere

Work, social class, and peak jobs

Reader “JayMan” pointed out to me an article at TechCrunch about peak jobs, meaning that technology is replacing jobs faster than it’s creating them, and this is a trend that’s not going to reverse. And even though, in theory, this should be a great thing for mankind that we can now live our lives without being burdened by the drudgery of work, because we are wedded to the idea that able-bodied people should have to work in order to deserve the bounty of our highly productive technological society, we are unable to deal with declining jobs in a fair and equitable manner.

This article is significant not because it says anything I haven’t already written about before, but because it indicates that the idea is starting to float around the internet.

And another topic I want to cover again is the social class implications of work. Here’s an analogy. Back when a suntan indicated you were a manual laborer, probably in agriculture, it was low class to have a suntan. But after industrialization moved jobs indoors to factories, and after the invention of air travel, a suntan came to mean the opposite, that you were rich enough to afford plane travel to a sunny vacation spot, and suntans became desirable again. Regarding suntans, I suspect we are moving in the opposite direction now. Tanning salons have led to the Jersey Shorification of suntans, and now bobos prefer more intellectually edifying travel than lying on the beach while absorbing skin-cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation, so suntans are becoming low class again.

Similarly, having to work used to mean you were low class because if you didn’t work you would die. People aspired to a life of leisure and not working. In the 1930s, we passed labor legislation that strongly encouraged a forty-hour workweek. Someone in the 1930s might have predicted that eighty years in the future people would work even less and there would be a thirty-hour workweek or even a twenty-hour workweek. Such a person would have been completely wrong. There have been no legal changes to the number of recommended hours in a workweek. And we see the strange phenomenon that the forty-hour workweek is a protection for only blue collar workers. More prestigious white collar workers, “exempt” from the wage and hour laws, get to work more than forty hours per week.

There has also been a large increase in labor force participation since the 1930s, in which mothers are now expected to go to work rather than stay at home and devote themselves to keeping house. Labor saving household appliance such as vacuums and clothes washers have freed women to work outside of the home rather than freeing them of the burden of working.

The creation of welfare and a “safety net” have significantly contributed to this change. As I wrote above, poor people had to work or starve to death. But today, public benefits ensure that no one starves to death even if they don’t work. In this new social milieu, working has become a desired privilege for the rich rather than a burden for the poor.

Because the elites now see work as desirable and self-actualizing rather than a burden, and it’s the elites who control the direction of society, they are not going move society in the direction of moving away from the idea of work.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 29, 2013 at 7:05 am

Posted in Labor Markets, Robots

55 Responses

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  1. Thanks. Also important to not miss this wisdom on the futility of working past 40 hours:

    Bring back the 40-hour work week – AlterNet – Salon.com

    “150 years of research proves that long hours at work kill profits, productivity and employees…”

    JayMan

    January 29, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    • In some industries people work more then 40 hours because the company sees each employee as a container for monopolistic knowledge. Thus, one 80 hour week is less risky then two 40 hour weeks in terms of critical knowledge and relationships walking out the door. This is something I saw a lot of in investment banking. You don’t want to share the work because you don’t want to share the inside information that is making you rich.

      The problem is you are assuming profits come from productivity rather then possession of some kind of monopoly and bottleneck. The fewer stakeholders the better in that case.

      asdf

      January 29, 2013 at 9:52 pm

  2. What do you think of Universal Basic Income as the answer to that?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income_guarantee

    It’s more or less a mishmash of Danegeld which we have now and a streamlining of the bureaucracy side of things.

    guest

    January 29, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    • What do you think of Universal Basic Income as the answer to that?

      I’m all for it – as long as it’s not a mere pittance and there is still actually a way for everyone to have a shot at the material lifestyle they want.

      Samson J.

      January 29, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    • It’s a great idea but it would be very hard to implement. The amount would have to be pretty high to equal the standard of living provided by all the various welfare programs that “the poor” are entitled to. And there are a lot of $100,000+ per year bureaucrats who are administering the programs who don’t want to give up their income or their self-actualization. And then there are the Republicans who would oppose it on the grounds of giving free money to people for not working.

      anonymous

      January 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    • I’m pro-BI, but I think we all need to take a step back. Upper middle class first world people all seem to think we are just swimming in wealth and no work has to get done. We aren’t as productive as you think yet.

      Here is a little math I did replying to someone that thought a BI would mean everyone would be able to do startups after graduating college:

      “The median per capita income for working people over 25 is $32,140. Any BI would pretty much by definition be less then that. I don’t think its that controversial to say half of that. So let’s round to $16,000. For comparison purposes let’s assume this income is taxed just like lots of current welfare income gets taxed. I’ll assume you get left with $14,000. That is $1,166 a month.

      I don’t need to tell you that won’t even pay for a studio apartment in NYC or Silicon Valley. Let alone food, medical insurance premiums (even with single payer), etc. Find roomies you say. Well, the closest thing I can think of that would be a conductive living situation is the “hacker hostels” profiled in the NYTimes. That cost $40 a night, or $1,200 a month.

      So we can see how a basic income really isn’t going to get us where we need to be. It will help you live in podunk without working at the local Starbucks for rent money, but its not going to get you even the most bare bones of livings in places where things are happening.

      So what BI will do is mostly allow people with very unique skills that can make money over the internet doing work mostly by themselves to get an apartment in Detroit and live of ramen noodles until maybe they hit it big with an Ipad game or something.

      Many of the big problems, the stuff that isn’t just about getting eyeballs and ad revenue, usually requires capital to develop. You aren’t going to develop the driverless car in your garage. So you’re going to need investors. Which brings us right back where we started.

      This isn’t to say a BI wouldn’t help, but the idea that with a BI all these smart kids can avoid the corporate grind and start companies isn’t true. The only way that could happen is if we decide that the BI certain people get will be higher then the BI other people get. However, I can already hear the progressive alarm bell going off.”

      asdf

      January 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      • The only reason that “things are happening” in urban areas is that people who need money need to be near the elite, and the elite love being surrounded by people who need money. Most intelligent people love nature and want nothing to do with cities. Sure there are plenty of intelligent people from traditionally urban minorities (Indians, Chinese) but they are greatly outnumbered by intelligent generic Americans of German-Irish descent.

        Let’s say that you gave every adult $1000 untaxed. The core of the middle class (the intelligence class) would take that money and head for the wilderness. The upper middle class (the taste class) and the lower middle class (the skill class) would probably keep their boring jobs and reap increased salaries due to reduced competition. However most innovation would be happening in out of the way wilderness labs.

        T

        January 29, 2013 at 11:54 pm

      • “The core of the middle class (the intelligence class) would take that money and head for the wilderness.”

        I see no support for this thesis.

        “However most innovation would be happening in out of the way wilderness labs.”

        Nor this one.

        asdf

        January 30, 2013 at 9:36 am

      • At the end of a week of BI, we would have many penniless people and a few millionaires.

        jz

        January 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    • The Fair Tax “prebate” serves essentially the same purpose.

      DaveinHackensack

      January 30, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      • Yes, but it is dysgenic because it takes family size into account. The amount should be a flat amount per adult citizen (or even better, just for men)

        T

        January 31, 2013 at 8:00 pm

  3. The Suntan Analogy is the best one to use on girls.
    The Cigarettes/Tobacco one, on guys who smoke.

    Structurally, not enough jobs means not enough money to pay for food.
    Was Malthus really, really correct in the end?

    Don’t touch the remote; Big Gov can’t afford having bands of roving youth raiding each other’s territory…forever.

    Firepower

    January 29, 2013 at 3:00 pm

  4. Speaking of jobs…Someone invented a burger making machine, it’s said to make a better quality burger and allow the money saved in labor to go to higher quality ingredients/ or profit.

    http://www.myfoxny.com/story/20670170/robotic-alpha-machine-can-produce-six-hamburgers-a-minute

    What a neat idea.. it’s certainly going to eliminate quite a lot of jobs.

    L

    January 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    • Man! I’ve had this idea for like 10 years now, somebody beat me to it (Of course I have no money to build such a thing). What would really make this take off and is probably going to be necessary is for a chain restaurant to get these machines. The article didn’t say anything about being able to cook deep fried food so I don’t see how they’re going to replace people until they’ve done that.

      XVO

      January 30, 2013 at 9:09 am

      • There’s already a restaurant in San Francisco that uses a fancy machine designed by Electrolux to make grilled cheese sandwiches, which you order from your iPhone. It’s owned by a VC-backed company. There will probably be one in NYC soon.

        DaveinHackensack

        January 31, 2013 at 2:46 am

  5. The percentage of adults in the workforce, either working or actively looking for work, has fallen largely without interruption for many years. Discouraged workers who give up looking cannot be the cause because the decline long pre-dates the recession. The decline exists even if you look only at people in the 25 to 55 age range, thereby eliminating most graduate students and early retirees.

    As far as anyone can tell, there are a variety of factors behind the decline in labor force participation, not of them conclusive by themselves: the influx of women in the workforce has run its course and may have begun to reverse, as being a housewife has become trendy; there are more and more people working off the books in the underground economy, which is tied into the growth of immigration; and most of all, there’s been a major increase in the number of people getting Social Security Disability Income. With regard to the last of these, it’s surely no coincidence that all of the increase in SSDI claims is attributable claims involving muscle-skeletal problems such as back and joint pain, or psychiatric issues. These are the easiest claims to fake.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    January 29, 2013 at 5:05 pm

  6. James Altucher, the man quoted in the 1st paragraph has a great blog. His life story is also very interesting (he’s made and lost millions). http://www.jamesaltucher.com/

    aki (@DSGNTD_PLYR)

    January 29, 2013 at 5:49 pm

  7. Management would replace us all with robots if it was possible and cost effective. We’re all line items on somebody’s balance sheet, costs waiting to be cut.

    People don’t even work at corporations anymore; we’ve become “human capital” right alongside more traditional forms of capital investment such as factories and land.

    The robots have yet to completely take over but it almost seems as if the humans that remain are almost expected to act as if they are robots.

    On another note, automation appears to be a strictly peasant phenomenon. The elites don’t live in the automated world. They don’t have to put up with that aggravating self serve cashier at CVS. The buildings they live in in NYC have a far higher staff to resident ratio than your generic middle of the road co-op, the restaurants they eat at employ twice as many people as a prole chain restaurant due to all of the items being made from scratch, and even when they park their cars they valet as opposed to taking a ticket, parking wherever, and paying a machine on the way out.

    In 1911, a national ­census in the UK counted 1.3 million domestic servants, against 1.2 million workers in agriculture and 971,000 in coal mining. Given the elite’s desire to deal with actual humans in normal day to day activities (as opposed to the dreaded CVS automated cash register), perhaps we’re headed to a future that resembles Dowton Abbey? The western world has been there before after all.

    High Prole & Proud

    January 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    • “Given the elite’s desire to deal with actual humans in normal day to day activities (as opposed to the dreaded CVS automated cash register), perhaps we’re headed to a future that resembles Dowton Abbey?”

      It’s an interesting question, but the reality is actually the opposite now. I think most of the wealthy are more like this guy I blogged about a couple of years ago.

      DaveinHackensack

      January 30, 2013 at 1:17 am

    • Dude, I *love* self-serve cashiers! It is so much faster than waiting for the dull-witted NAM cashier ponderously to scan everything and make change.

      Tarl

      January 30, 2013 at 10:56 am

      • I prefer the NAM cashiers to HAL 9000’s down syndrome cousin. It is a matter of personal preference I suppose.

        High Prole & Proud

        January 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm

  8. i think the lion will find something interesting in this:

    https://iamexec.com/meet_our_execs

    hire bay area college grads to do menial tasks. real company.

    lion of the lionosphere

    January 29, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    • No need to hire SUNY grads for scutwork:
      Barack will Amnesty 11 Million Mexes
      Hilary, 22 Million in her
      First Term alone!

      Firepower

      January 30, 2013 at 10:15 am

  9. Class markers are subordinate to prejudice. Herman Wouk pointed that out in The Caine Mutiny, more than 60 years ago, where, he ventriloquizes the WASP mother of the protagonist’s comment about listening to opera: it’s a mark of class and refinement — except of course if you are Italian.

    DaveinHackensack

    January 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm

  10. I would gladly give up my right to reproduce in return for some pittance guaranteed income. I don’t need much to survive. I would even give up all the most expensive health care. Anything is better than the current soul killing economic stress.

    DeFx

    January 29, 2013 at 8:33 pm

  11. A dermatoligist once told me, after I’d given LOBs spiel, that that spiel wasn’t the whole truth. He said that the right sort of tan really does make one look better because, his words, “It destroys contrast.”

    Considering that even Scandinavians received more sun >200y ago than the average “cube creature” in Miami does today and that some sun exposure is required for optimal health, the preference for paleness, if it ever existed really, was the unnatural preference, the perversion, like the supposed preference for corpulence in the 19th century.

    Nicolai Yezhov

    January 29, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    • There is also the sheen which goes with a tan, so that fair skinned people with light tans look much better than people whose skin is naturally that color.

      Nicolai Yezhov

      January 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    • Pale skin is a feminine trait. Girls become more and more pale as they mature, becoming their lightest when they reach puberty. Then as they have children and age they darken. Men find pale women inherently beautiful. This is universal throughout the world and had nothing to do with race or European influence.

      T

      January 30, 2013 at 12:05 am

    • The optimal amount of sun exposure — for optimal health — is complicated to calculate. Too little sun exposure can lead to vitamin D deficiencies, which increase one’s chance of getting certain cancers, rickets and other ailments. Too much sun, well you already know what can happen. UVB rays synthesizes to form vitamin D while UVA doesn’t produce vitamin D. UVB rays are present for a shorter and more limited time than UVA. UVB rays build up a few hours from sunrise, peaks at solar noon, and then declines from there. North of 40 degrees latitude, UVB rays is scarcely present from late fall to early spring. During the summer solstice when the UV index is around 8 to 12 in the Northern Hemisphere, and a person with the palest skin would need maybe 5 minutes of sun exposure during solar noon to gain optimal levels of vitamin D while a dark skinned African would need about an hour. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and causes aging and cancer. UVA rays are less likely to cause sunburns, so they are more covert at causing damage. If you are exposed to a lot of UVA rays but very little UVB, you can still be fairly light-skinned, yet it may not occur to you you are damaging your skin. Plus the lack of UVB means vitamin D levels are low.

      bobo

      January 30, 2013 at 4:57 am

  12. I think a point that hasn’t been made about the coming robot economy is that it will basically spell the end for any lingering neo-Marxist hopes, i.e., the hope that the proles will somehow share in the means of production. Producing and maintaining the robot economy will be the domain of the right side of the bell curve. The vast majority of people won’t have the high IQ necessary to co-operate in production the way they could in an agrarian or industrial economy. Or am I wrong? Can anyone go to work for, say, KUKA?

    SDL

    January 30, 2013 at 8:08 am

    • The workers will control the means of production because worker robots will design, build, and maintain the worker robots!

      Then they will decide humans are superfluous, wasteful, and a security risk…

      Tarl

      January 30, 2013 at 10:58 am

  13. The Lion makes a number of good points. It is good to see a conservative thinker grappling with technological change and what that means for old ideologies. Too many conservative criticisms of the welfare state, especially libertarian criticisms, are still based in 1950s thinking – i.e. “Get off your lazy ass and get a job!” The reality today is that thanks to technology (and immigration) we have accumulated a sizeable segment of the population that is absolutely useless. I’ve met plenty of people in menial service sector jobs whom I personally would rather pay welfare to let them sit at home than have to deal with their utter incompetence and bad attitude.

    You can blame a decline in morals fostered by our elites for the increase in bad attitude and laziness, but I tend to think that the decline of morals is a direct result of underlying technological change, not the influence of spoiled hippies or what have you. Many proles recognize at some unconscious level, or even conscious level, that they have no role to play in our society and no ability to do so no matter how hard they work at it. If you have an IQ of less than 100, unless you’re an exceptional athlete there just aren’t that many jobs left. Farming is increasingly automated, manufacturing is more and more capital intensive, and even the military needs smarter grunts to operate all their high tech weaponry. Our so called “leaders”, have no answers to this, just ridiculous expectations. The liberals want to send people to school, where they will accumulate debt and fail, our conservatives want to kick them in the ass and make them be “entrepreneurial”, which is like asking a cow to jump through hoops. When conservatives rail against “takers”, they should ask themselves – what do you think a 90 point IQ person is really qualified to do in our society? What would you hire that person to do?

    Peter the Shark

    January 30, 2013 at 9:46 am

    • Great post, Peter. You’ve taken my thoughts and expressed them better than I could’ve hoped to.

      FWG

      January 30, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    • Sweep the floors and clean the toilets if you can get them to do that.

      Bill Powell

      January 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    • The real kicker is that, while they may be worthless as PRODUCERS for society, they are still valued CONSUMERS for the business elite. You think Apple cares if that unit gets payed for with earned money from a productive participant in society or through welfare? I highly doubt it.

      E

      January 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    • Spot on man…
      I’ve said something similar once .

      JayMan

      January 30, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    • Well, the spoiled hippies didn’t help, and did a lot to make the underclass so useless, but still, your point is well taken.

      Toddy Cat

      January 31, 2013 at 9:41 am

    • I would gladly support a program where an impoverished woman receives generous welfare if she voluntarily takes birth control. Once she has a baby the benefits shrink.

      The doctor chicks that I’ve banged over the years have opened my eyes to how urban females routinely get themselves knocked up in order to juice welfare benefits. I’m sure it’s happening in the countryside too. Honey Boo Boo is a welfare check that just keeps on giving to that mom that looks like a clump of melted butter.

      If the economy is transitioning to ever-increasing automation, thereby rendering a certain segment of the population practically worthless, then it makes sense to transition the demographics to more people that can mentally handle the increased complexity. Obviously genocide is not the answer, but why not voluntary sterilization? A lot of sub-ideal people would sign up for it as having kids exerts a weak force on most people (sex is the force that motivates us, with the consequence that a child is sired).

      My idea of course would never get off the ground because it injures a liberal’s sentimentality. Thus the West will witness a widening gap between the haves and have nots. I anticipate major upheaval in the next 20 years.

      DdR

      January 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm

  14. I’ve met plenty of people in menial service sector jobs whom I personally would rather pay welfare to let them sit at home than have to deal with their utter incompetence and bad attitude.

    Pay them to go back to their Third World hell-hole would be my preference.

    what do you think a 90 point IQ person is really qualified to do in our society? What would you hire that person to do?

    Germany, Japan, and other countries have addressed this problem. They don’t pretend they can put everyone on the left-hand side of the bell curve into thinker-type jobs.

    Tarl

    January 30, 2013 at 11:03 am

    • http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2008/02/06/correlations-of-iq-with-income-and-wealth/

      And a lot of talent goes wasted. Only 5% of bachelors degrees are in engineering and that 5% is not equal to the top 5% in talent. One solution is Australia’s the “master’s in professional engineering”. In this way graduates needn’t share the classroom with 18-22 y olds. The better solution is simply encourage employers to hire apprentices who’ve passed the FE exam or something harder. Germany’s “lousy” with apprenticeshps. It’s impssible to get a job w/o one. Here there’s only the internship of much shorter duration and harder to come by. Deutschland uber Alles it looks like.

      Nicolai Yezhov

      January 30, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      • Germany’s left half of the bell curve is not as bad as ours. 90% of the below average folks have IQ’s over 85. Here only about 60% of the left side are that smart. So, only about 5% of their folks are unemployable whereas about 15% of our folks are hopeless.

        not too late

        January 30, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    • And of course eugenics or, more crudely, simply stopping the poor from having children is un-PC to say the least, and not just for libs. It would, obviously, inevitably lead to Scandinavian socialism at least, the biological arguments for inequality won’t hold water.

      The world’s problems are soluble, but its leaders aren’t up to it. Perhaps Hitler’s greatest sin was to give coercion of reproduction a bad name.

      Nicolai Yezhov

      January 30, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      • Yes, but Nixon was the last best chance. He fiddled with the idea of paying the low IQ and the bad attitudes to stay home and off the streets. If he hadn’t f’d up with Watergate, we could have had this by now, with anti-discrimination laws a memory and the Clintons still in Little Rock.

        helene edwards

        January 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm

  15. I think we also have a problem of facing how many people need to work in health care when you have such an old population. Back in the days of high childhood mortality and limited technology, a huge fraction of the population worked in agriculture because that was necessary to feed everyone to keep them alive. Now it is healthcare, but people do not want to face that is where the jobs will have to be like in the old days it was agriculture. I am not sure which is a worse job, shoveling cow poop or wiping old people, but those are the jobs. These hands-on jobs are somewhat difficult to eliminate with tech. I would say most folks do not want to work in healthcare.

    not too late

    January 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm

  16. If we had anything remotely resembling a viable labor movement in this individualistic, ADHD-ridden country where everybody who can compose a proper paragraph thinks he’s Σ6 and/or John Galt, we’d have twenty hour work weeks and free health care.

    Mule Chewing Brars

    January 30, 2013 at 4:26 pm

  17. Something else that is coming is 3D printing for home. A lot of of the injected molded plastic things we buy now will be able to be downloaded and printed. This will be a further hit on manufacturing jobs.

    A negative feedback to robots replacing people is that the displaced workers will have less money to buy the things the robots make. I think you may have already written about this.

    A lot of idled young men will probably mean lots of wars in the future and a rise in violence in general.

    Ray Kurtzweil talks a lot about the good things that are coming in the near future because of the exponential growth of knowledge. What he doesn’t talk about is that problems are growing exponentially too. I don’t know whether to be an optimist or pessimist. One thing for sure, the future will be interesting.

    D.H.

    January 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm

  18. “Too many conservative criticisms of the welfare state, especially libertarian criticisms, are still based in 1950s thinking – i.e. “Get off your lazy ass and get a job!” The reality today is that thanks to technology (and immigration) we have accumulated a sizeable segment of the population that is absolutely useless.”

    My god… the same economic fallacies over and over again.

    People are left out of jobs not because robots took over, but for idiotic policies which serve as an incentive hiring fewer high productivity people instead of more unskilled hands for less pay. In other words, minimum wage and costly labor legislation.

    In other words, safely ignore the neoluddite nonsense.

    Marco

    January 31, 2013 at 12:32 am

    • I’m not saying “robots are taking over”. I’m saying we have created a very productive economy that can meet peoples basic needs – food, shelter, warmth, transport and clothing – using the labor of a small percentage of the populationca. This means to add value, or “be productive”, most people need to be 1. be able to help organize those basic tasks more efficiently (engineering, finance, energy sector, law, teaching, etc.) which requires intelligence (or should, but don’t always), 2. be able to entertain other people or 3. take care of other people (service sector -anything from old age home attendant to fast food cashier). Service seems to be the default for people who can’t do anything else and now we have a glut of low paying dead-end service sector jobs which as a society we have decided is preferable to putting people on welfare.

      Let’s be clear. You’re saying we should get rid of the minimum wage so that companies can clog up the service sector with even more unskilled low wage, low IQ people? And that will help how? Do you think those low IQ people will be greatful for the opportunity to work? Won’t that encourage even more illegal immigration as employers seek the cheapest employees they can find, which in turn raises the low IQ population even more? No thanks.

      Peter the Shark

      February 1, 2013 at 12:24 am

  19. So, will this trend help with our national debt? If we have so much abundance that people don’t even need to work anymore, maybe this will help our debt problems somehow…

    shiva1008

    January 31, 2013 at 1:20 am

  20. [...] You can blame a decline in morals fostered by our elites for the increase in bad attitude and laziness, but I tend to think that the decline of morals is a direct result of underlying technological change, not the influence of spoiled hippies or what have you. Many proles recognize at some unconscious level, or even conscious level, that they have no role to play in our society and no ability to do so no matter how hard they work at it. If you have an IQ of less than 100, unless you’re an exceptional athlete there just aren’t that many jobs left. Farming is increasingly automated, manufacturing is more and more capital intensive, and even the military needs smarter grunts to operate all their high tech weaponry. Our so called “leaders”, have no answers to this, just ridiculous expectations. The liberals want to send people to school, where they will accumulate debt and fail, our conservatives want to kick them in the ass and make them be “entrepreneurial”, which is like asking a cow to jump through hoops. When conservatives rail against “takers”, they should ask themselves – what do you think a 90 point IQ person is really qualified to do in our society? What would you hire that person to do?  [källa] [...]

  21. There’s plenty of work to be done, and there always will be. Look around you – just in the public realm, there’s all sorts of trash to be picked up, lawns to be mowed, buildings to be repainted – all sorts of maintenance work.

    There just isn’t the money to do it.

    Meanwhile, we have lots of money to give to people for not working.

    The adjustment might be hard, and it might not stretch to cover everyone, but combining some sort of “Basic Income” with a “workfare” program is probably the best way to go. If we’re going to give people money to live on, we can find something useful for them to do that might not otherwise be worth paying for.

    Anthony

    January 31, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    • Most of the time when there are programs like that, the welfare people just sit around doing nothing instead of picking up the trash.

      They know the system won’t really fire them and let them starve to death.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm

  22. [...] elite behavior prevent society from moving away from work? “Because the elites now see work as desirable and self-actualizing rather than a burden, and [...]

  23. The IQ threshold will move up and every commenter here will be a moocher in 100 y?

    I would feel inferior to FANUC’s engineers but their talents are wasted. If it doesn’t increase healthspan it’s lame and stupid.

    Vaccines and antibiotics and plumbing. All other human accomplishments are vain.

    Nicolai Yezhov

    February 1, 2013 at 7:23 am

  24. Yes another mainstream outlet has caught on to the robotic future:

    Will smart machines create a world without work? – Yahoo! News

    JayMan

    February 2, 2013 at 11:45 am


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