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Technological Unemployment

The current economic system is falling apart at an accelerating rate, with the prospect of worldwide unemployment occurring on the largest scale ever seen. Regardless of your opinion, the fact is, the pattern of constant technological improvement coupled with automated machinery can theoretically create an economic environment where the abundance of materials and production mediums are so high and efficient, most humans will have little need to ‘purchase’ anything, let alone ‘work for a living’, in the traditional sense. More specifically, even if machines slowly displaced only a large minority of people, expanding unemployment, the ramifications would be systemic, and the entire economic system would grow more and more unstable and inoperable.

Technological unemployment is the reason why this system will fail. Through the last century the buying power of currency has reduced astronomically. technology was supposed to free us but we become more enslaved. Why did they just put the retiring age up, and why are people working 60 hours and being paid 40 hours? I could go on ad nauseam, you get the picture. My speculation on this is that in order for a corporation to deal with the implications of putting people out of work because they are mechanizing, they need to give them far less work but pay them the same. They have an ideological stance against this, and instead of paying the workers they pay the share holders. This then displaces the majority (the workers) for a minority (a few people with money). The Harvesters Judgment in Australia said that people need to be paid enough for the basics of life. Companies ignore this and are only concerned with the bottom line of profit. So now we have technological unemployment.

Their findings found that a 1% rise in unemployment resulted in:

a 6.7% increase in Homicides = 1459 additional Homicides;

a 3.4 % increase in violent crimes = 62,607 additional violent crimes;

a 2.4 % increase in property crime = 223,500 additional property crimes

I am a musician and am the perfect example of this. I cannot play in a public place where there is music from a public address system. The need for people to hear music then is hindering the need for a musician to play music. There are complex social implications of this to do with well-being, self esteem, and self-achievement and fulfillment, the problems resulting are complex human conditions, with coping mechanisms that cause other social problems.

1) Technological unemployment (as defined by Keynes, see the orientation video) is happening, accelerating (in terms of breadth, efficiency, effectiveness, etc. – by whatever accurate metrics you wish to choose to measure those) and will continue.

2) All parts of the labour market can be automated (this is something people tend to have intuitive problems with, if they don’t accept the naturalistic position that humans are essentially advanced machines). Such automated parts can interact with other automated parts in complex ways to form a complete labour force, with the quality of communication between the parts as good or better than that of their human progenitors.

(An example of this communication is a fully automated agricultural system, loosely described by Jacque Fresco elsewhere: the satellites and terrestrial sensors determine the real-world (mostly weather) conditions, transmitting the results to the industrial units which prepare the soil, plant the seeds, harvest the produce, eliminate weeds and so on. These industrial units can transmit information about the obtained resources to the distribution and processing centres, which have data regarding the necessities of the human population, so that they could transfer information about these necessities back to the satellites and sensors. These could then compare the necessities to the environmentally sustainable possibilities, and react accordingly, issuing warnings to the public if the needs greatly exceed the regional or global carrying capacity, in regards to some specific resource.)

3) There will be no new job sector for humans to go to that is large enough to accompany the majority (more than 50%) of humans.

(This I think shouldn’t be too hard to defend, since there really is ‘no new service sector.’ Kurzweil stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that there’ll be an emerging job market in virtual reality worlds where the jobless can go to once we have strong AI, but that ideal is surely hard to arrive at without severe problems before that, resulting from masses and masses of unemployed workers.)

So it is obvious that the monitory system is redundant and our social values and system will have to change. The emancipation of the human species then means that their first priority will be to make sure it works. This should be easier when the person can be observant rather than involved. Those thoroughly involved in the production sometimes cannot see the big picture because of limited ability, and thus are prone to exploitation. People will have a thirst for knowledge and its application which will always mean that the system will be emergent, hopefully improving.

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