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Is labour-saving technology inherently statist?

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Written by   35
5 months ago
Topics: Reality, Thoughts

All the things I love and hate...

I have an admission to make. I hate two things, and getting rid of one of them makes it impossible to get rid of the other. Or, more precisely, I have affinity towards two inherently contradicting ideologies that each respectively involve getting rid of one of those two things I hate. The things I hate are Statism and work, and the things I love are Anarcho-Capitalism and Universal Basic Income. We obviously can't have both.

Under Anarcho-Capitalism, even the air you breathe and the ground you walk on costs money - but at least there is no governmental red tape to prevent you from earning that money.

Since UBI is literally government handouts for everyone (including those who don't need it, since it's Universal), it makes people depend on the government, and the more you depend on the government, the stronger it becomes, which exponentially increases the risk of it one day going full 1984 - if you depend on the government for survival, you cannot offer any resistance to government tyranny.

We can't really have both, because if we abolish the state, who will give the free money to the people? Maybe if the government is Minarchist, and is basically a Night Watchman State with the added job of giving citizens UBI, but that's another rabbit hole this article won't getting into.

The current system we have is a shitty in-between cursed middle-ground, where you have to have a job and work to make a living (even though most people's jobs are useless and aren't really producing anything essential or even remotely useful to society), while at the same time, government regulations, taxes and red tape make it difficult for people to start their own businesses and compete honestly - making wageslavery the only viable option for most people.

Huh, that was quite a long segue.... Where was I going with this?

On the inevitability of UBI

When I talk about how Universal Basic Income is basically inevitable, and how robots taking all our jobs is inevitable - and that maybe it should be actually celebrated, rather than opposed - I always run into naysayers.

These naysayers either get stuck up on little technical details - such as the questions of "Who will finance it and how?" -; or start moralizing about how everyone is ought to be a productive member of society, no matter what; or, they'll just be in straight-up denial about the progress of automation and the inevitable effects of technology.

So, I am just going to lay our cards on the table.

If your IQ is below 80, you are pretty much only fit for slow, simple and supervised work, at least according to this picture. If your IQ is above 80, but below 90, you are fit for very explicit hands-on work. You need to have an IQ above 100 to do hands-off work based on written materials.

What's the problem here? The problem is that these are the jobs that are getting automated. Explicit hands-on and simple supervised jobs are the ones at the highest risk of getting automated away, but even higher-class jobs aren't completely safe.

The point I am making here, is that labour-saving technology kinda increases the minimum required IQ to enter the workforce, it raises the bar.... while at the same time, global IQ levels are declining, not increasing.

Naysayers often say, that while it is true that every technological breakthrough initially creates mass unemployment, employment always comes back as new jobs are created. However, that is not exactly true.

When the internal combustion engine was invented, did horses get more jobs? No, they were gradually displaced, and are now mostly luxury pets for modern-day aristocrats. Humans have an easy time accepting the reality that trains and cars replaced horses, but somehow get confused when we apply the same logic to robots and humans.

Robots don't eat, don't sleep, never need to take a break, they only require electricity and occasional maintenance. On the long run, they are cheaper than human workers, and their abilities are growing by the day. One day, they will even replace software developers like me.

It doesn't matter if that day is going to come in a couple of years or a couple of centuries. It's coming, we can't stop it, and to be honest.... do we even want to?

When we arrive to the point, where robots can easily produce enough food, clothing, and even housing for just about every human being, and also do pretty much all jobs better than humans... Do we want all the displaced workers to starve to death, or will we re-think how our economy works, and make work optional, by implementing UBI?

No matter how we look at it, the writing is on the wall - labour-saving technology makes the current work-or-die system unsustainable. More and more people will become unemployable, and will either starve to death or become welfare rats. The ones remaining in the workforce - mostly doing non-essential jobs, heavily divorced from the fruits of their labour - will have to pay more and more taxes to sustain the growing number of unemployable, while increasingly sophisticated automatons will produce more and more goods for people who can't afford to buy them.

In the Paleolithic, everyone was involved in food production. During the Neolithic, we went from everyone being involved in food production, to just the majority being involved in food production, with the rest of the population specializing in craftsmanship and artisanship. During the Industrial Revolution, farmers became the minority, and factory workers became the majority. During the 1960s, the developed world experienced unprecedented levels of automation, driving much of the workforce into the service sector. And now, both manufacturing and service are "in danger" of getting even more heavily automated than ever.

Methinks, that if current trends continue, we'll arrive into a future, where only a minority of people will need to work to maintain society. But we'll have to culturally adapt to that, and do away with the old scarcity mentality. And all the naysayers are making it obvious, that they are not ready for it yet.

Okay, we just implemented Fully-Automated Post-Scarcity Luxury Gay Space Communism, now what?

With Universal Basic Income implemented, no one has to worry about losing their jobs to robots anymore.... or more precisely, no one has to worry about starving or losing their home if they lose their job, because UBI ensures that they never fall below a certain level. And so, we'll keep approaching the point where literally every job is automated, but until then...

... the fancy suit-wearing baboons in the government will realize, that everyone has come to depend on government handouts. That means that the government can basically do whatever it wants, and people have no right to complain, because complaining and revolting would be biting the hand that feeds. That means that there is a clear road towards going full 1984.

If your livelihood depends on the government, the government can easily just take away your income for "thoughtcrimes". The government can easily go full Orwell on you, and no one will step in for your defence, because that means they will lose their income too. At worst, it's going to be 1984. At best, it'll be like Demolition Man - and if you haven't seen that movie, go watch it now, it's really good... and also a really eerie prediction of our dystopian future.

And so, that means, that I just answered my own question: labour-saving technology is inherently statist, because it reduces ordinary people's ability to be self-sufficient.

So, what we do we do then?

Pick your poison:

  • A) Anarcho-Capitalism: Everything comes with a price tag attached, meaning that you have to purchase everything - even the air you breathe - with the sweat of your labour. Fine if you're a masochist who actually loves to work, a shit deal if you're as lazy as I am, or for some reason genuinely cannot work (disability, etc.).

  • B) Universal Basic Income, or Fully-Automated Post-Scarcity Luxury Gay Space Communism: Work is optional, and you can have a comfortable life without having to work, but if you step out of line, Big Brother will punish you for your thoughtcrimes. Fine if you're an NPC, a shit deal if you're as independent-minded as I am.

  • C) The current system, the cursed middle-ground, which really is the worst of both worlds. Most things come with a price tag (including food, water and electricity), but employment opportunities are scarce, the government taxes the **** out of everything and regulates the hell out of businesses. You're punished for not having ambition (have to have a job to survive), but you're also punished for having ambition (business regulations, income tax, etc.)

Or, pick the fourth option: return to monke.

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Written by   35
5 months ago
Topics: Reality, Thoughts
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bad assessment, but nice article.

Sent you 2 dollars, but it didn't get recognized. I hope you received it.

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5 months ago

I do not support the idea of UBI, but you are raising an important discussion with many interesting points.

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5 months ago