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Author Topic: Are Jobs Obsolete?  (Read 3208 times)

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Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Are Jobs Obsolete?
« on: September 10, 2011, 01:58:58 PM »
The CNN opinion piece of the same title is here: http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/09/07/rushkoff.jobs.obsolete/index.html?iref=obnetwork

I enjoyed reading it, and I'd like to talk about it. So, bear with me, here. How many of you have asked yourself, or others, "This is the 21st century. Science fiction promised me flying cars and colonies on the moon. Where is my flying car and my frickin' moon base?!" Even facetiously. A show of hands will do.

What about other things science fiction promised us? A future without hunger? An economy without money? It's funny when we watch Captain Kirk stumbling his way through 80's America, trying to find himself a humpback whale (and some nuclear wessels, too) and explaining that money is an archaic concept that his culture gave up years ago. It's not so funny, however, when you read about women having to bury their starving children in Kenya. That article quotes a statistic of how much food we could give every man, woman, and child on the planet. 2,720 kilocalories per person per day*. That's more than enough food. That's enough food to make everyone in the world fat, for crying out loud! To give you a point of reference, when my doctor asked me to drop a few pounds in order to decrease my blood pressure, she told me that I should aim for between 1200 and 1300 calories a day on days that I don't work out, and 1500-1600 per day on days that I do work out. Men need something like 1800-2000 per day minimum, I believe. That's all.

So we produce a lot of extra.

And don't get me started on the fact that we had way more empty homes during the housing crisis than we had homeless, at least in the US. When I went to research the numbers, I found too many conflicting numbers to really feel confident posting any of them as definite. However, the National Coalition for the Homeless (which I was referred to by hud.gov, so I count them as reasonably trustworthy) puts the number between 800,000 and 1.6 million. Let's take the middle-ish number. A million people in shelters, using soup kitchens, making use of support systems available to them. That doesn't count the ones that sleep in a grate, or freeze to death. That doesn't count the ones that had to move back in with their parents, or stay with friends, and that doesn't count people living in their cars. RealtyTrac, a site that lists foreclosed properties, gives the statistic of just over 1.6 million foreclosed properties listed on their site. We have enough empty homes to house most, if not all, of our homeless.

We are the land of plenty with a disappearing middle class. How does that even work?

If you don't believe food and shelter are basic human rights, I challenge you, yes you, the Elliquiy member reading this post, to explain to me why. I'm not talking even about the healthcare debate, or whether we should be providing money to welfare queens or whatever your pet peeve is with socialized society (because everyone has one). I'm not talking about helping those 'in need', because it's ludicrous to talk about people 'in need' when it comes to food and shelter. We're all 'in need' when it comes to food and shelter. We cannot survive without it. I believe that food and shelter are human rights, and if you disagree with me, I would like you to explain why letting other human beings go hungry and homeless is an acceptable thing. If not, well, then you can ignore this paragraph.

If I sound angry, it's because I am. We are in a position that we shouldn't even be in. This is the future. Shouldn't we be past struggling with basic human rights and working on flying cars, at least?

* It should be noted that the 'calories' we see on nutrition labels and whatnot are nutritive calories, which are actually kilocalories. The scientific definition of a calorie as a unit of measurement is the amount of energy needed to raise a gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. Nutritive calories are 1000 times this amount, but still called calories. Modern science has moved to joules rather than calories, so when you hear someone talking about a 'calorie' or a 'kilocalorie', you can assume that they are both that thing that the FDA assumes you get about 2,000 of per day. Unless you're in a physics class, in which case you should raise your hand and ask the professor why they are not using SI units for their fucking energy.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2011, 03:34:05 PM »
We have flying vehicles. The trouble is, do you really want millions of people flying them? /tangent

There were nineteen million empty homes last year (this was in government statistics). I don't know what the total is now, but this was in excess of secondary homes - these were homes whose status was officially unoccupied. Rentiers who could not find occupants and foreclosures that could not find buyers. In many cases, the damage they do to neighboring properties by having them unoccupied exceeds the actual current value of the home.

But no, jobs, themselves, are not yet obsolete. It's believed that sustainable farming will require as much as 25% of labor to be invested in community farming of some sort. It will be a long time before that becomes easily automated enough for that to vanish and we can sustain a one-hour workmonth.

In any case, I plan on putting up a site-wide notice for everyone in Massachusetts or who knows someone in Massachusetts asking them to support Elizabeth Warren. If she pastes Scott Brown with an 80%-20% victory or so, maybe there is hope for this nation. Maybe if it's 90-10 it will make the collection of narcissists and sociopaths in Congress shit their pants enough to do something. She has a very clear, mathematical understanding of what is happening to the middle class in this country. There are things she puts as priority 1 that I'd put at 2, but I haven't run as much math as she has.

Offline Caela

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2011, 08:26:52 PM »
Maybe jobs should be obsolete. Maybe we should be living in some sort of Star Trek utopia but I don't honestly know that I believe that will ever happen. We are contrary creatures, to varying degrees, by nature. Even in this one question you're going to get people that vehemently disagree with you, people that totally agree with you and people that agree with part of what you said and not the rest. You can't even get people on the same block to agree on things, how would you go about getting people of totally different nationalities and cultures to agree to the sort of cooperation needed to get us to the point that we could feed and house everyone? You'd have to find a way to get people to give up the hatreds they hold so dearly to in many places, hatreds that, in many cases, can be traced back through centuries.

In the world we live in now housing and food are basic needs, but no, I don't think they're rights. What should be a right is the ability to get the education and training needed to be able to afford those things on your own, whether it's college, trade school, or OTJ training of some sort. I'd love to see less tax money shunted into social programs and more into expanding training program and making the cost of education cheaper, perhaps even free for those in lower socio-economic brackets if they maintain a 3.0GPA. I'd like to see opportunities instead of handouts, people getting off of social programs and becoming a vital part of the work force not a drag on it.

Just my own 0.02$ worth.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2011, 08:50:35 PM »
Class warfare.  Wealth redistribution.  And let us not forget the ever popular banner of Socialism.

No, the aristocracy does not like it when the peasants revolt.

Offline Will

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2011, 11:04:54 PM »
If education is the answer, then why does a college degree mean less and less every year?  Having more people trained and educated doesn't equal more/better jobs.  It just means that those jobs raise their standards, because they have a better pool of labor to pick from.

The basic problem remains; the price of living is too high.

Offline Falanor

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2011, 01:12:35 AM »
If education is the answer, then why does a college degree mean less and less every year?  Having more people trained and educated doesn't equal more/better jobs.  It just means that those jobs raise their standards, because they have a better pool of labor to pick from.

The basic problem remains; the price of living is too high.

That's not always true.  Maybe the company I work for is an oddity but a four year degree meant the difference between a $32k a year job and a $44k a year job doing the same thing.  Some corporations do take a degree seriously, even if it's not a degree that fits within their corporate paradigm, as the prevailing belief is that it represents a capacity to learn and perform.  A friend of mine disbelieved this idea, myself and his brother harped on him actually completing his CS degree (which he was at the top of his class) instead of dropping out and relying on connections to get him ahead in life.  He's in a dead end job working for Compaq/HP now.  If he'd had his degree he'd been able to get further in the company, and has been told this quite a few times when trying to get a promotion.  I fully agree that the cost of living is high, it's ridiculously high in some areas of the country, but education does matter in a corporate environment.

On the flip side, if housing and food aren't basic rights then education is meaningless as people starve and can't find a place to sleep.

Offline Caela

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2011, 05:33:42 AM »
If education is the answer, then why does a college degree mean less and less every year?  Having more people trained and educated doesn't equal more/better jobs.  It just means that those jobs raise their standards, because they have a better pool of labor to pick from.

The basic problem remains; the price of living is too high.

In truth, it becomes less valuable because we have a marketplace glutted with people with the same degrees or degrees that really mean nothing in a workforce. For instance, unless your going to teach, a degree in Ancient Literature, doesn't mean squat for finding meaningful employment. It also means less because a lot of these degrees don't actually train you to do anything real but write papers well and pass exams.

Education to me doesn't always mean college. We have a hyper-focus in this country that college is the end all and be all of ways to get a good job and it has put a huge stigma on a large chunk of the skilled labor force. Who do you want to come fix your house, a lawyer with a fancy college education...or a Master Carpenter? If your wiring is bad you don't want a Professor but a Master electrician, except a lot of kids never even think of trades, which can provide very comfortable livings, as an option because you don't go to college for them. Many people look down on them, consider them "lesser" because there's this view that they're "uneducated" in some way or couldn't handle college so they had no choice but to take up a trade...except you don't become a Maser lever anything by being an idiot and there's nothing that says they can't then get a degree, if they want, in something that interests them for no reason other than that they want to.

College is still necessary, don't get me wrong, but we need programs that actually teach our children to do something.

Offline Will

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2011, 11:35:05 AM »
There are definitely situations where degrees make a difference in pay rates and things like that, but I don't know of many circumstances where degrees equal jobs outright.  Even tech degrees don't always count for so much, because by the time you graduate, a lot of what you learned is out of date.  The idea of the degree being attractive in and of itself does make sense, though, as proof of an ability to learn.

I think that gets away from the point, though.  It's drifting into the "nanny state" debate, and the belief that people should have to earn food and shelter.  After all, we all earned it, right?  Why should we work hard while those other people have what they need handed to them?

But I think the point of the OP is that it shouldn't be necessary for anyone to earn those basic necessities.  The resources are there.  If there were a shortage of food and homes, then it would make sense to attach a price to them, but there isn't.  I don't really think jobs are obsolete; we haven't beaten scarcity to the point that we can all live the way we would like without working for it.  But we can certainly all have a place to sleep and food to eat.  I don't personally see a good reason to deny that to anyone.

Offline Ryven

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Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2011, 11:49:42 AM »
That's not always true.  Maybe the company I work for is an oddity but a four year degree meant the difference between a $32k a year job and a $44k a year job doing the same thing.  Some corporations do take a degree seriously, even if it's not a degree that fits within their corporate paradigm, as the prevailing belief is that it represents a capacity to learn and perform.  A friend of mine disbelieved this idea, myself and his brother harped on him actually completing his CS degree (which he was at the top of his class) instead of dropping out and relying on connections to get him ahead in life.  He's in a dead end job working for Compaq/HP now.  If he'd had his degree he'd been able to get further in the company, and has been told this quite a few times when trying to get a promotion.  I fully agree that the cost of living is high, it's ridiculously high in some areas of the country, but education does matter in a corporate environment.

On the flip side, if housing and food aren't basic rights then education is meaningless as people starve and can't find a place to sleep.

The problem is, your degree wont necessarily get you a job.  It looks good if you have an occupation that will pay you more if you have one, but if you have a job where a degree is meaningless, it's not worth much.  A degree, like many things, is only as valuable as the value people see in it.  My first degree has helped me little to none.  Hoping he one I'm working on now will do better.  After that, my only other alternative is to just keep working.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2011, 06:42:22 PM »
I don't really think jobs are obsolete; we haven't beaten scarcity to the point that we can all live the way we would like without working for it.  But we can certainly all have a place to sleep and food to eat.  I don't personally see a good reason to deny that to anyone.

It's because of that want you just mentioned. The vast majority of people seem to want without end, and don't care if its at the expense of their neighbors. This holds regardless of what level you look at society. Self/other selection predisposes people to wanting what is good for themselves over what is good for others they don't see themselves as affiliated with. When you couple that with our current situation of having no real telos to our wants as a society you get both the pursuit of wealth for wealth's sake and a variety of 'dog in the manger' behaviors. You can see this in children playing, in business, in international relations, and (for a particularly timely example) government spending.

The only way a situation like this can be overcome is to (a) attach an end to our wants; and (b) do away with divisive world views (up to and including the death of nationalism). Frankly, I see a dieback event as more probable.

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2011, 11:35:51 PM »
I don't think jobs will ever be obsolete. Imagine how bored people would be. Also it seems to be more satisfying when you earn something instead of it being given to you.

Offline Will

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2011, 11:41:33 PM »
I dunno... I'd be pretty satisfied if someone came along and gave me a house.

Offline Missy

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2011, 12:13:37 AM »
Just giving people things would be socialism.

We certainly should make efforts to provide those in difficult times with their basic necessities however.

Offline bimbocolette

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2011, 02:22:00 AM »
I was talking to an ethics professor the other day about how we're going to be rapidly approaching a point where we can produce infinite energy. With infinite energy, we can do literally anything. ANYTHING. Star Trek replicators will be possible because we'll be able to actually defy what we think of as the laws of physics and create or destroy matter and energy.

At that point, we'll be able to have automation to the point where jobs are obsolete and we can focus our attention on whatever we want to focus on. Great works of art and literature or really anything we can dream of. Soon, but not yet.

Offline Bayushi

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2011, 04:19:07 AM »
I'm not going to get into the discussion, but I did feel the need to add this.
The basic problem remains; the price of living is too high.
The Rent Is Too Damn High Party's Jimmy McMillan at the NY Governor Debate

Offline Jude

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2011, 11:42:57 AM »
I was talking to an ethics professor the other day about how we're going to be rapidly approaching a point where we can produce infinite energy. With infinite energy, we can do literally anything. ANYTHING. Star Trek replicators will be possible because we'll be able to actually defy what we think of as the laws of physics and create or destroy matter and energy.

At that point, we'll be able to have automation to the point where jobs are obsolete and we can focus our attention on whatever we want to focus on. Great works of art and literature or really anything we can dream of. Soon, but not yet.
Your ethics professor needs to take more science classes.  I'd have to hear the details, but from the broad strokes picture you painted gives me the impression that almost nothing in that discussion was at all realistic, and a lot of it was completely impossible or utterly nonsensical.  Destruction of energy is... Well... I'm not even sure what that means.

We're actually approaching energy problems, not energy nirvana.  If we don't get something to replace oil, we're headed for an interesting paradigm shift in about 100 years.  And even if we find something to take gasoline's place, it's still pretty unlikely it'll be as cheap.
Quote
That article quotes a statistic of how much food we could give every man, woman, and child on the planet. 2,720 kilocalories per person per day*. That's more than enough food. That's enough food to make everyone in the world fat, for crying out loud! To give you a point of reference, when my doctor asked me to drop a few pounds in order to decrease my blood pressure, she told me that I should aim for between 1200 and 1300 calories a day on days that I don't work out, and 1500-1600 per day on days that I do work out. Men need something like 1800-2000 per day minimum, I believe. That's all.

So we produce a lot of extra.

And don't get me started on the fact that we had way more empty homes during the housing crisis than we had homeless, at least in the US. When I went to research the numbers, I found too many conflicting numbers to really feel confident posting any of them as definite. However, the National Coalition for the Homeless (which I was referred to by hud.gov, so I count them as reasonably trustworthy) puts the number between 800,000 and 1.6 million. Let's take the middle-ish number. A million people in shelters, using soup kitchens, making use of support systems available to them. That doesn't count the ones that sleep in a grate, or freeze to death. That doesn't count the ones that had to move back in with their parents, or stay with friends, and that doesn't count people living in their cars. RealtyTrac, a site that lists foreclosed properties, gives the statistic of just over 1.6 million foreclosed properties listed on their site. We have enough empty homes to house most, if not all, of our homeless.
Estimates on our ability to provide food and housing like this rely purely on theoretical distribution of actual stores without taking into account just how costly it would be to actually do so.  Sure, we may have the food supply to feed the world, but packaging, making sure it's safe, and transit cost a lot.  Arguably much more than the food in many instances.  The same can be said of the house:  yeah, we may be able to afford to give houses to everyone, but can our power grid take the increased load?  What about all of the housing repairs that will need to be done?  Can these people even afford to keep these houses up?

"We have a surplus, so we could afford to give these things away for free" forgets that this surplus was created by the current system and is probably a temporary measure, not a sustainable surplus.  The primary reason America is in trouble is our focus on the housing sector.  If we transition away from a for-profit model for food and housing, who is to say we'll be able to keep up the same inventory?  Government is good at doing a lot of things, but they never do them as efficiently as the private sector can (even if they often overcharge for the end result).
Quote
We are the land of plenty with a disappearing middle class. How does that even work?
It's true that real wages are down, but the apocalyptic picture that is often being painted just doesn't match up with the reality.  Our poor are the fattest poor in the world.  They have access to free cell phones -- our entire freaking adult populace practically has a cell phone.  You see people on the internet all the time who are essentially broke... yet they are on the internet.  It's not like I don't know people who haven't had to cut back during the recession (myself included), but we're still not even close to an untenable situation.  Americans still have it extremely easy and probably better than ever.  Wage stagnation is only one part of the picture, our quality of life isn't that bad for the average person.  You can pick out anecdotal examples of hardship or unfair duress, but in the end, that's why nothing changes in this country.  For the majority of us, there is no drive to change anything.  We don't have it that bad.
Quote
If you don't believe food and shelter are basic human rights, I challenge you, yes you, the Elliquiy member reading this post, to explain to me why.
I don't know how something can be a basic human right that was impossible to provide people in the past.  There have been times in the history of man where providing the weak, the sick, and the hungry with what they need just wasn't possible -- does that mean their government was responsible for human rights abuse?  And what of the days when there was no government?  This is just like when people say Healthcare should be a right when it didn't even exist in any comparable fashion 100 years ago.

The alternative is suggesting that human rights may change over time, which I guess makes a bit more sense, but it takes away that absolutist grounding to human rights (which in my opinion makes a lot more sense).  I have some problems with the concept of human rights to begin with considering that they don't make much sense in a purely secular world (they've been grounded entirely by religious justification since the Enlightenment) unless you consider them to be part of a social contract (which I do).  Then the question becomes "should we consider food and shelter to be a basic human right" to which I have to say "maybe."  There is a difference, though, between providing people shelter and a home.  I don't agree with giving out houses -- I do agree with having government operated homeless shelters in every reasonably sized city that can't turn anyone away so long as it's readily apparent that they are in need.

And of course, I'm not against food stamps.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 12:25:07 PM by Jude »

Offline LustfulLord2011

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2011, 08:45:05 PM »
As the new guy, still unapproved, I feel it in my best interests to tread carefully here, but I would like to point out a couple of things that came to mind as I read the topic post and the responses following it.

First, I would disagree with the idea that food and shelter are inherent rights. This is more due to my own belief that human law has no sovereignty over natural law, and while I unfortunately have no proof to back up that premise, I would point to the examples found in the animal kingdom and say that it APPEARS, anyway, that the only time wild creatures get fed is when they graze, kill, or steal the food of others, and they are only allowed to keep their shelters (those species that USE shelters of any kind) for exactly as long as they can defend them from anything else that might want to make use of the space.

However, in regards to the original question, "Are jobs obsolete?", I would say, "They COULD be." We have the technology now to make all human labor... all of it... completely obsolete. However, the practical application of those technologies (advanced robotics, centralized coordinative networking, and universal data transmission) presents serious difficulties, and in addition, would be prohibitively expensive under our current global economic system. Also, there are radical sociological changes that would come from making such a shift... changes that, in the eyes of the wealthy and powerful, can not be condoned, because in time, without labor and money as stratifying points in society, the concept of status as we know it would begin to break down.

Also, regarding the energy issues discussed in the last topic, we HAVE many viable alternatives to oil. They were developed decades ago. Most of the patents applied for so the technologies could begin to be implemented were, however, denied... Mostly due to exorbitant bribes paid by the oil industry exactly because these technologies (such as the cheap, efficient, and safe hydroliq refinery conceived in the middle of the 20th century) would be utterly devastating to their profit margins. What's more, is that most of our modern farming methods are dependent upon oil, currently... meaning that WHEN the reserves empty (and they will... any resource that takes millions of years to make and moments to burn is decidedly finite), our global capacity for food production is going to contract severely, almost overnight.

Which, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, as far as I am concerned. The population explosion is a problem, and one for which there IS no readily available solution EXCEPT a reduction in food production. Since humans have no natural predators, and our advanced medical technology is making disease and infirmity less of a threat every year, the only real limiting factor on our population growth is food... and we keep overproducing. Currently accepted estimates project the doubling of our global population within no more than fifty years. I, for one, sincerely hope that I do not live to see such a time.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2011, 08:59:41 PM »
I'm guessing that destruction of energy would have to be creation of matter, or taking Einstein's equation backwards.  If E=mc2, then m=E/c2.  It would take a lot of energy to create any substantial amount of matter, though.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2011, 10:09:14 PM »
I'm guessing that destruction of energy would have to be creation of matter, or taking Einstein's equation backwards.  If E=mc2, then m=E/c2.  It would take a lot of energy to create any substantial amount of matter, though.

In nature, it takes the activitites in the core of a star over many years to produce heavy elements, including any metals. A fusion reactor here on earth, the way it's sized up with the models that *might* work technologically in perhaps thirty years, wouldn't do it. I don't see a "tame a star" technology anywhere close.

It would be possible, with the technology of today, to produce pitifully small quantities - clusters of single atoms - of stuff like lead, gold or oxygen, by taking some nearby element and firing at it in a particle cannon to change the atomic properties. That much they knew how to do already in the sixties - it would be hugely expensive though.

Offline LustfulLord2011

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2011, 10:14:14 PM »
Quote
It would be possible, with the technology of today, to produce pitifully small quantities - clusters of single atoms - of stuff like lead, gold or oxygen, by taking some nearby element and firing at it in a particle cannon to change the atomic properties. That much they knew how to do already in the sixties - it would be hugely expensive though.

Expensive enough that it would be cheaper to just go out and find some of whatever you REALLY needed yourself. Even if you had to travel to another planet to do so. LOL

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2011, 10:46:47 PM »
Expensive enough that it would be cheaper to just go out and find some of whatever you REALLY needed yourself. Even if you had to travel to another planet to do so. LOL

Exactly, travelling to the moons of Jupiter to set up a mining operation would be less expensive than trying to produce "synthetic" lead or gold here on the ground. Not to mention mining in underwater mountain ranges like the Atlantic ridge; that would be a better prospect if the tech could be developed to (among other things) create underground space cooling and secure, closed passage shafts from the surface, or from a shelled-over station on the sea floor, down into mining levels deep under the actual ridge surface.

But let's not digress it all away. I think Trieste's point was that technology continues pushing up the amount of food, energy, vehicles and gadgets you can put on the shelves with a fixed amount of manpower, as long as the systems and the energy input flow are running, but there seems to be no clear sense in expecting the whole to provide jobs, to lead to everyone who's willing to work hard and perhaps study a bit finding a job within that market anymore. If a U.S. or French miner or teacher can, ideally, do twice as good a job - and generate three times as much revenue in the long run - as an Indian or Thai one, that still doesn't provide jobs to more than a limited number in America or France because the Indian/Thai labour will be much cheaper, or there will be less need for facilities around them.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 10:51:05 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline LustfulLord2011

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2011, 10:53:53 PM »
My point is that, from a practical standpoint, the only reason that humans still have to work THEMSELVES for anything is, without that dynamic, social stratification as we have always known it ceases to exist, and the world gets turned upside down. We have the capability... but we will likely never use it.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2011, 11:21:34 PM »
My point is that, from a practical standpoint, the only reason that humans still have to work THEMSELVES for anything is, without that dynamic, social stratification as we have always known it ceases to exist, and the world gets turned upside down. We have the capability... but we will likely never use it.

In some way, yes. On the other hand I think it's becoming plain obvious in many places - and not just in "the industrialized west" - that there's a hell of a lot of things that large numbers of people would want to see done, and which they might actually pay some for, but which are not likely at all to be provided within the model of a corporation selling goods or services through fixed outlets. Because the corporation isn't gonna provide it safely, sustainably (I'm thinking of a sustained, honest provider/customer relationship, not ecologically or climate sustainable) or in a way that really fits what those who demand something would want (they have to buy something bulkier or that's more difficult to manage than they would wish for, because the more fitting stuff just isn't on the market in a way that makes it viable). And in the current model that means it's hard to get it done, or it will only get done in a sort of "mutual help" or I.O.U. way - an off-market way, service for service.

People feel cash strapped if they are not getting to exchange their knowledge or experience into actual paid work, and today we pay lots more for stuff like housing, driving and (not least) electronic media and digital communication than our parents did thirty years ago, and real income hasn't grown, for many, so there's a shrinking space for all other costs. So if something that needs to get done has some "entrance costs", a bump in the road you as customer need to get over to get it started, that means it might not get done, or it will only get done in a substandard way because that's where most people will feel they can pay.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 11:32:37 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline LustfulLord2011

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2011, 08:10:53 AM »
All very good points. My question, though is "why do we still use human labor at all when we had the technological means to create complete industrial, agricultural, and informational automation by the time I was born back in the early eighties?" Easily answered: Because if nobody has to work for anything anymore, the current means of social stratification vanish, and the rich and powerful are no longer the rich and powerful, but average. Hence why jobs will NEVER become obsolete, even though they COULD have thirty years ago... because the aristocracy of our world can't permit it, lest they lose their special status.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Are Jobs Obsolete?
« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2011, 11:14:21 AM »
 I'd disagree with most of that premise.  Even we might have had to technology to do that, implementing it was and still is hard to do. Not to mention technology still have a way of going wrong. Equipment breaks down, connections break and computers break down or programs go haywire. None of what you're implying was easily done. It might be more easily done now, but it's still not a fail safe given how often computers do suffer problems.  I highly doubt it was not done because the 'aristocracy' in your opinion didn't want us plebs rising above our station.