[pp.int.general] My thoughts at present

James O'Keefe jokeefe at jamesokeefe.org
Tue Nov 1 14:19:47 CET 2016

On Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 11:29 AM, Paul Tidwell <pmtidwell at gmail.com> wrote:

> For clarification do you think robots are going to  fundamentally change
> the market order?
> Like it will take people's jobs and it won't create new ones because
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU?

I see robots as just another form of capital, and the question becomes what
happens if a larger and larger portion of production only requires capital
and raw materials and not labor? You really cannot divorce this process
from the 40 year march of neoliberalism and the increase in power of
capital over labor.

This development has encouraged monopolistic rent seeking behavior among
corporations and those who own them.  It becomes a vicious circle where
more money goes to the top who cannot spend it all, and so plough it back
into the finance sector which uses it to bid up the current set of
financial assets or bring more things/potential income streams under their
control.  The rest of us have less to increase actual consumer/producer
demand and so the economy suffers and austerity reigns which feeds on
itself further.

Whether we will get new jobs depends on whether we break the cycle of
austerity and the upward shift in income.  Some suggest a basic income and
I think that has a part to play. At least in the US income support programs
geared at the poor are poor and serve to eliminate people's privacy so
making them universal would improve many people's privacy.  However, basic
income solutions only go so far and if it were extensive enough to provide
a decent income, it is possible working people would resent it.

Personally, I find the belief that people should get a lump sum to care for
all of their needs (including health care and education) and leave them to
the failings of the market for key areas like health care is a step
backward.  I would rather quality universal single payer health care before
a basic income, but then I live in the US.

In looking for solutions, it is worthwhile to also explore a job
guarantee.  There are lots of work that needs doing (environmental
remediation/cleanup/restoration for example) that the market won't provide.

Just my two cents.


James O'Keefe
Captain, Massachusetts Pirate Party / masspirates.org
Vice Chair, United States Pirate Party / uspirates.org
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