A Comment Here And There

Sometimes it strikes us as better to post our thoughts elsewhere, where another discussion provides context and, occasionally, valuable feedback.  The context here is that near future developments in robotics will render the great majority of people economically useless:

Just musing here, but I think the fundamental premise – that human labor (broadly defined) is governed entirely by economics with no morality component – is dubious.

Consider this formulation: there’s no such thing as “cheap labor” in the long run (apologies to Lord Keynes). People can exploit other people. The cost is still very dear, even if that is not immediately apparent.

The world has yet to adjust to the job/wage/labor impact of containerization, which is now pushing 60 years old, other than by “enjoying” its most immediate benefit: the ability to exploit the poor in other countries to fuel a “consumer economy” in the west. That, in particular, will not continue forever. Opportunity abounds, really. It always does. It’s our commitment to be fair and just and decent to one another that is – or may be, let’s not be fatalistic – failing.

It is basic, and quite independent of IQ considerations, that people want to contribute to the society they live in, and people of all sorts of IQ levels can and do, and will continue to do so. The issue is not whether they are or will be contributing, the issue is how they can or will be compensated. That issue cannot be resolved solely by economic considerations, or by political considerations either. It is a moral issue, addressed by individuals in this or that circumstance as it occurs.

Or not addressed, which is pretty much the situation now.

All of this has little to do with taxes, the minimum wage, or free trade v. tariffs. It has something more to do with the monetary system, but only because the monetary system affects things deeply on the individual level. The monetary system is both profoundly macro and profoundly micro, and the one we have is pernicious. It teaches and fosters exploitation on the individual level as if that was a positive good. It makes people morally obtuse, and eventually crazy and destructive, no matter what their IQ.

 

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