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As robots take our jobs, we need something else


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Last edited by Spikosauropod, 2/14/2018, 5:59 am


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Spikosaur, of the Uncircumcised Umbrella, Prophet to The Collectors, OA, RMC

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2/14/2018, 3:37 am Link to this post PM Spikosauropod
 
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Re: Does capitalism work? Why or why not?


I think capitalism is a bit like Christianity, in the sense of there not being one version but rather many variations. The question of whether ‘it’ works or not depends on what variation you are talking about.

 If you boil ‘capitalism’ down to ‘a competition to gain more wealth by whatever method you can get away with’, you can see that there are many ways to approach such a ‘game’.

Some ways can be seen as beneficial overall. One can imagine a form of capitalism in which participants compete to sell increasingly superior products and services to an increasingly informed consumer. It’s not too difficult to imagine how that version of capitalism would achieve greater overall prosperity.

On the other hand, one can also imagine a form of capitalism that involves the creation of ever-more sophisticated scams, with participants competing to better exploit human weaknesses, and scammers falling prey to superior scammers. Probably the best fraudsters would gain greater wealth (so this does fit my definition of capitalism) but I doubt this form of capitalism would bring long term, increasing prosperity to all.

In the real world we have something of a mix between these two extremes of good and bad capitalism. Capitalism can only continue to work so long as the positive version (the one where participants compete to appeal to the best in us) outnumbers the fraudsters seeking to catch us out and get away with it.

On the subject of robots, I think we are mistaken in believing capitalism is dependent on people continuing to have jobs. Capitalism is actually dependent on the creation and consumption of ‘goods’ and ‘services’ (which can include bogus goods and services, though only if those selling such things get away with their scam). If robots take over most or all of the ‘creation’ side of the circle, there is no reason why capitalism can’t continue with humans consuming what the robots are creating. For this to work we would have to break the link between jobs and wages so that people continue to have purchasing power, but that doesn’t seem like an impossible task to me.
2/14/2018, 4:31 am Link to this post PM Extropia DaSilva Blog
 
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Re: Does capitalism work? Why or why not?


I actually agree with most of what you have said. However, I wonder if the problem is the one you suggest. I work and buy things. I lose very little capital to scammers who work through the system.

However, I get constant emails and calls from genuine criminals who want me to send money to Syria or go to a link to "verify" my bank account information.

I pay a LOT of money in taxes, and I do not like most of the things my tax money is used for.

I pay union dues, and the union constantly sends me materials assuring me that they are using my money to support things that I am opposed to.

One of the worst legal scams I have been exposed to is when my bank started charging me $5/month for my checking account. I went in to talk to them with the idea in the back of my head that I would change banks, but they told me that I could avoid the fee if I had $25/month deposited into my savings account. I agreed to that, and I have never regretted it. I very often need a little extra cash, and the money in my savings account tends to get overlooked until I really need it. I can transfer it back and still do not need to pay the penalty.

The worst scams I have ever been exposed to were the several times that the schools I work for (essentially government organizations) literally tried to cheat me out of pay. There was no confusion. They tried to cheat me in a way that left a significant paper trail, I caught them, and they had to give me the money. It came to thousands of dollars. That made me really sad, because the people who tried to cheat me all professed to be liberals who support all the things you support.

My life is not perfect, but you would be hard-pressed to convince me that capitalism plays a significant part in the problem.

Last edited by Spikosauropod, 2/14/2018, 5:07 am


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Spikosaur, of the Uncircumcised Umbrella, Prophet to The Collectors, OA, RMC

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2/14/2018, 5:02 am Link to this post PM Spikosauropod
 
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Re: Does capitalism work? Why or why not?


More on robots and technological unemployment....

I think a case can be made that in the past it was relatively easy to find a job and relatively difficult to create and distribute wealth. I base this assumption on various observations. For example, if you look at old photographs of factory workers, it’s remarkable just how many people used to be employed in industry. Those old photos show literally hundreds of people pouring out of the gates come closing time.

Also, the anecdotes from older generations suggest it was easier to find a job in the past. I have heard stories of folks from our parents’ or grandparents’ generation having only a basic school education and having no problems gaining employment. I have heard stories of people walking away from a job after just an hour, pop down the job centre and be in employment again within the next hour. Quitting one’s job back then was no big deal, because you could be assured of getting another job right away. And nobody back then considered a university degree a basic requirement for gaining employment.

Given the relative ease with which any reasonably healthy person could find a job, and how important to the economy it was that everybody who could ‘work’ (always defined narrowly as ‘submit to employment’) did work, I don’t think we should be at all surprised that an ideology has grown up around jobbing, one that encourages society to point the finger of shame at those who do not conform.

But now that ‘easy/difficult’ side to the economy is shifting. It is now relatively easy to create wealth. Modern factories often employ scant numbers of people and instead rely on computer-controlled automated assembly that churns out way more and way better products than those old factories could produce. And consider those trading algorithms that now mostly run our stock markets. They can create a billion dollars of wealth in just ten microseconds. There is absolutely no excuse for poverty with such astonishing wealth-creation ability as this.

On the other hand, it should be obvious that it is more difficult to gain employment compared to the past. Increasingly, a basic school education is not enough. Being unemployed is now a big deal and a struggle to escape from. And the race to stay ahead of our technologies and remain economically viable as an employee has only just begun. If Kurzweil is right, by 2030 we should see more change in an hour than has occurred in the last thousand years. How do humans retrain when the world is changing faster than humans can adapt?

Given how easy it would be to create wealth by then and how hard it would be to find and hold down a job unless we all agree to upgrade to transhuman status or make up bull*** jobs for no reason other than to perpetuate familiar ways of living, it would be completely absurd to carry on with the jobs ideology. That would have changed from a help to a hindrance.



2/14/2018, 5:25 am Link to this post PM Extropia DaSilva Blog
 
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Re: Does capitalism work? Why or why not?


I seriously doubt that it is now harder to get a job. If it is harder (which I doubt) it is probably because of the risk an employer takes when he hires an employee. Anyone they hire could be someone who can never be fired without either them or some organization that represents them claiming that they are being discriminated against. Also there is a lot of paperwork to do. When I was in the construction business, we sometimes hired carpenters, and it was an incredible barrier to overcome.

In any case, if a person loses their job in the United States, they can easily collect unemployment insurance until they find one. My brother collected unemployment insurance for three years. He had trouble getting work because he had gone to jail for a hit-and-run DUI. Nevertheless, he is working all he wants to now. He cooks for a mission and substitutes for cooks at various restaurants.

Before I went to college, I changed jobs several times. I had very little difficulty finding all sorts of jobs. One job I discovered I could always get in a hurry was as a security guard. I worked my way through school as a security [sign in to see URL] I knew enough math to work as a tutor. From then on, I just did that.

There is a manager at a Safeway I shop at that has been trying to talk me into coming to work as a barista (I have experience). I have been tempted to take that job just for fun, but for a variety of reasons, I have to stay home as much as possible.

I have known a lot of people who lost jobs and had little or no difficulty getting one. My brother's daughter is in the habit of picking up and moving whenever she wants to and getting a job when she gets where she is going. She can work as a waitress or a horse trainer, but she has done other jobs.

I'm sorry Ex, but you just are not convincing me.

---
Spikosaur, of the Uncircumcised Umbrella, Prophet to The Collectors, OA, RMC

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2/14/2018, 5:58 am Link to this post PM Spikosauropod
 
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Re: Does capitalism work? Why or why not?


If you look closely you may notice that my definition of ‘capitalism’ included ‘getting away with it’ as part of the criteria for ‘success’. So scammers can only be successful capitalists if they ‘get away with it’.

In your case, it seems like they don’t. It’s also not too hard to imagine how a business opportunity might be found in providing fraud-detection services for others to use. Maybe the good guys can always keep ahead of the bad guys, at least enough to keep the system going? After all, you might be able to fool people into making the debt and waste pile up, but you can’t fool reality. I am convinced that a system where cheats win is not sustainable in the long term. Probably wealth producers are always the ultimate survivors in any economic system, with the parasites never really able to survive without them.

In the short-term, though, perhaps a case can be made that fraudsters who do ‘get away with it’ are actually more successful capitalists than actual wealth producers?Capitalism is not just about gaining wealth, it is about maximum possible returns for minimum possible investment. If your gift is in engineering and you want make electric cars, you need a considerable investment in materials and equipment to achieve your aim.

On the other hand, if you have the gift of the gab and the ability to exploit people’s weaknesses, you need invest in hardly anything in order to get people to part with their money. After all, you don’t really have anything to offer, other than false promises.

So who is the better capitalist: Elon Musk who seems to be losing money churning out those Teslas? Or those financial cowboys throughout history who have gotten away with pulling off some of the biggest scams in the history of capitalism?

2/14/2018, 6:32 am Link to this post PM Extropia DaSilva Blog
 
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Re: As robots take our jobs, we need something else


quote:

So who is the better capitalist: Elon Musk who seems to be losing money churning out those Teslas? Or those financial cowboys throughout history who have gotten away with pulling off some of the biggest scams in the history of capitalism?



Elon Musk is losing money? How did he get so rich by losing money? I constantly hear that he is losing money on this and that, but I keep seeing him launching bigger and fancier rockets!

There are certainly people who make a lot of money just by playing the game. George Soros and Warren Buffet come to mind. Are George Soros and Warren Buffet fraudsters? We have had this discussion before, and I seem to recall that when we started listing actual rich successful people they did not seem to fit the "fraudster" bill. Nearly all of them are philanthropists of one form or another.

Last edited by Spikosauropod, 2/14/2018, 6:52 am


---
Spikosaur, of the Uncircumcised Umbrella, Prophet to The Collectors, OA, RMC

Hail Apostle Paul
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2/14/2018, 6:42 am Link to this post PM Spikosauropod
 
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Re: As robots take our jobs, we need something else


%27s_Billionaires]The World's Billionaires

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Spikosaur, of the Uncircumcised Umbrella, Prophet to The Collectors, OA, RMC

Hail Apostle Paul
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2/14/2018, 6:46 am Link to this post PM Spikosauropod
 
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Re: Does capitalism work? Why or why not?


Interesting.

It could be that those who complain about there being ‘no work’ are either not trying hard enough to get a job (indeed, some of those fag-smoking, booze-swilling youths who hang around street corners don’t seem to be trying at all) or are being too narrow in their search for employment (‘darn it I went to uni to become X and won’t consider anything else!’).

Maybe ‘it’s too hard to find a job’ is nothing but a sorry excuse? I don’t have proof that this is not the case.

But what about this idea-crucial to Kurzweil’s LAR- that technological progress is exponential? Doesn’t that suggest that gaining employment would become increasingly difficult in the future? After all, in the past great change occurred over multi-generational time, which meant life did not seem to change much at all from one generation to the next.

We are now at the cusp of the knee of the curve on the old exponential growth, and change is occurring within a generation. No Internet when our parents were kids, omnipresent apps for us. But still, change is still slow enough that we can establish the education and training required to face the adult world.

But what about when we reach the vertical point of that line, the point where general AI reaches and surpasses human capabilities and great changes happen not in decades but years, months, maybe even days? I don’t believe it will be ‘easy’ to hold down a job when machines are learning to master new skills a million or a billion times faster. The faith that new jobs will be created in such circumstances seems as naive as continuing to believe that ‘what comes up will come down’ even after we have the ability to accelerate stuff to escape velocity.
2/14/2018, 6:46 am Link to this post PM Extropia DaSilva Blog
 
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The answer to the Bill Soros question is that you don’t become a multi-billionaire simply by being a cheat and you don’t become a billionnaire simply by being a totally honest businessman. I am pretty sure that you can take any member of the ‘richest business people in the world’ list and find something commendable to say about them along with things that give cause to think ‘huh, that looks kinda suspect to me’.
2/14/2018, 6:50 am Link to this post PM Extropia DaSilva Blog
 


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