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View Diary: Why Don't You Go Out and Play In the Nice Economy? (128 comments)

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  •  The elephant in the room (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Stetson

    that nobody is talking about is automation.

    I fear we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 07:29:54 PM PDT

    •  but that elephant will kill them just as well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, melo

      Once they automate everyone out of a job, who exactly do they expect to sell things to for a profit?

      The economy doesn't run without us.  One way or another, they will learn that.

      •  The new economy is not based on selling products. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, melo, Sunspots

        It's based on financial trading, and most of that is increasingly done by computer programs.

        The economy has literally reached the stage where the easiest way to make money doesn't even involve hiring any human beings to make or build anything, except perhaps some software. And the majority of people aren't smart enough to be software engineers.

        We are in for some harrowing times in the next few decades. It's anyone's guess where things will end up. I'd say there's at least a 50/50 chance of total civilizational collapse within that timeframe, due to ever-increasing structural unemployment.

        The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

        by Eric Stetson on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 09:12:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  that may be true of individuals or companies, but (0+ / 0-)

          it cannot possibly be true of economies as a whole. Everyone, everywhere, needs food clothing and shelter, and those things are all produced by people and bought by other people. Indeed, at the root, that is the only place wealth can come from.  All that cash the traders trade and gamble with, came from people who produced it.

          •  Food, clothing and shelter are only a small part (0+ / 0-)

            of the 21st century American economy. The majority of the economy today is financial services, health care, and other services. Manufacturing is next, mostly military-related and high-tech products.

            All manufacturing can eventually be done by robots. Financial services too.

            Health care, education and other human services are probably the most likely jobs to escape automation. All of those are only a minority of the current economic output, however.

            The majority of wealth created by the 21st century American economy will require little or no human labor, once the fields of robotics and AI are fully developed. I wish it were otherwise, but I haven't seen any evidence to suggest otherwise.

            As for the origin of money that sloshes around in the financial sector, most of it is created out of thin air by the Federal Reserve through quantitative easing policies. The money is created as numbers on a computer screen which are transferred to the computers of major banks. No actual labor was required to "create" this "wealth" -- yet it exists, because that's how our society operates nowadays. Bizarre, but it is what it is.

            The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

            by Eric Stetson on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 03:14:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  nonsense (0+ / 0-)

              Robots can PRODUCE things, but robots can't BUY things.

              "Wealth" does not equal "money".  Anyone can indeed print money, but nobody can eat money, or wear it, or live inside it. Money is not wealth.

              •  You're assuming that the super-rich need people (0+ / 0-)

                to buy things. Once a person is rich enough, they actually don't need to sell anything to anyone, because they can live quite well off of economic rent. Rent-seeking requires nothing to be produced at all, and can sustain the lifestyle of the rich while the majority of the population is barely able to survive.

                In a feudalist system -- which is what America risks becoming if income equality continues to worsen unchecked -- the majority of people own nothing and can buy nothing except for bare subsistence. The rich, in feudalism, make all the money they need by forcing the poor to pay rent for everything: the land they live on, the house they live in, their means of transportation, etc.

                Yes, food and clothing and houses will still be produced. But that's really beside the point.

                The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

                by Eric Stetson on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 04:30:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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