Contact me for feedback or questions! I reply to everyone.

Capitalism will die - but will it take us with it?

- Introduction -
- Possible types of jobs lost -
- Automated restaurants -
- Comments on AI art -
- Will new jobs just replace the old ones? -
- Response to ZeroHedge -
- Is social media influencing the shiny post-robotics career? -
- Why no unemployment crisis yet? -
- Responses / solutions -
- Anti-UBI arguments suck -
- Summary -

Introduction

When a child is born - in the vast majority of cases - its ideal life path is already decided. It will go to school, get good grades, enter a good university, choose a profitable career path, then put in good work, climb the corporate ladder, "earn a living" and become financially secure (we will skip considering the extremely rare possibility of running your own business - which depends on hundreds of the game players who didn't manage that, anyway). If it fails at any of these steps, it incurs all the blame. Maybe it wasn't doing well enough in school, didn't enter a good enough university, chose the wrong career path, or didn't perform well enough as a worker. It seems our entire society is based on this little game of justifying your own existence by performing well in it. But what if I told you that this setup is inevitably going to collapse soon? That your son or daughter born today, will almost certainly not be playing the same "game" as you or your parents were - and might not be able to play any game at all?

What am I even talking about? Cutting to the chase, the increasing automation will decrease the amount of available jobs, meaning more pressure on the player to perform well in the game. But, you're still in charge - and if you do well enough, you will still succeed, right? Not necessarily; even if you fulfill all the steps well, it might not be enough if thousands of others did so as well - but the amount of relevant positions has decreased by half. More than that - some jobs will disappear completely or become very rare - and we don't necessarily know which ones, or when. What seems like a "secure job" could become an insecure one in a flash. Therefore, even good performance in the game doesn't guarantee a positive result. Anyway, what I'm going to do here is examine the likely types of job losses, and try to predict the consequences, as well as ways of getting us out of the mess a "post-game" world will bring about. I will also attack some criticisms of this idea; but first - let's start with step one, showing the jobs most likely to be replaced by automation:

Possible types of jobs lost

Delivery - Amazon has invented a drone that can carry a product with a weight of less than 2.6 KG directly to a customer: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/14/amazon-claims-first-successful-prime-air-drone-delivery (archive) (MozArchive). This has some problems for now, like needing a certain weather and obviously the limited weight, but it will get better.

Restaurant service - Pizza Hut debuts a robot waiter: https://insideretail.asia/2016/12/07/pizza-hut-china-debuts-robot-waiters/ (archive) (MozArchive).

Making burgers - A robot can make 400 burgers per hour: https://www.eater.com/2016/7/1/12077990/robot-burgers-san-francisco-momentum-machines (archive) (MozArchive).

Bartending - https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2017/01/30/robotic-barista-now-serving-really-fast/95888780/ (archive) (MozArchive) - The first robotic barista in the U.S., nicknamed "Gordon," started serving up to 120 coffee drinks an hour Jan. 30.

Factory work - http://www.wnd.com/2017/02/chinese-factory-replaces-90-of-human-workers-with-robots/ (archive) (MozArchive) - While the factory used to be run by 650 employees, only 60 of those people still work at the factory and their primary job is to make sure the machines are running properly.

Fruit picking - https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/9160576/brexit-fruit-picking-robots/ (archive) (MozArchive) - The robots are able to pluck more than 25,000 raspberries per day while human workers manage around 15,000 in an eight-hour shift.

Nursing - Robot nurse finds vein and takes blood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iKQweBsnDQ. 2024 version: Nvidia's new AI nurses treat patients for $9 an hour. Here's what they can do, from colonoscopy screenings to loneliness companionship (archive) (MozArchive); it is so good that According to Gizmodo, over 40 healthcare companies are already testing the technology.

Taxi driving - https://www.travelweekly-asia.com/Travel-News/Travel-Technology/World-first-as-Singapore-tests-self-driving-taxis (archive) (MozArchive) - World first as Singapore tests self-driving taxis.

Teaching - http://blog.firebrandtalent.com/2016/11/lost-job-robot/ (archive) (MozArchive):

Saya had been teaching for seven years. Her impressive but short CV included stints in a few rural areas, overseas and as a substitute teacher. Not bad for someone only seven years into the role. The difference is Saya is a remote controlled robot who taught her first class of 10-year olds in 2009.

News writing - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3668837/Your-days-numbered-sports-writer-Associated-Press-using-AI-write-Minor-League-Baseball-articles.html (archive) (MozArchive) - This AI reporter is capable of analyzing data from the games, pulling out the most important highlights to formulate well-constructed and informative stories. UPDATE January 2023: now CNET is using AI to write its stories (MozArchive), even financial advice. You know all the big sites that drop 15 seemingly factory produced news pieces every day? Soon they will all be AI-generated, and we're not prepared. Hey, when's the time for AI fact checkers? Those look suspiciously robotic to me. Maybe they're already here :D.

Line judging - In tennis, an automatic line calling system has replaced the line judges (in one tournament so far - but will surely extend to others): https://www.tennis.com/news/articles/hawk-eye-set-to-replace-officials-at-next-gen-atp-finals-in-italy (archive) (MozArchive). And the players like it: https://www.reuters.com/article/tennis-nextgen-hawkeye-idINKBN1D72YA (archive) (MozArchive).

Football judging - Something similar is happening in football. The Premier League is using goal-line technology (which automatically detects if there was a goal or not) since 2013: http://www.goal.com/en/news/9/english-football/2013/08/17/4193970/goal-line-technology-makes-premier-league-debut (archive) (MozArchive). If football goes the tennis way, it will also use the automatic out detection, and referees will be just for fouls.

Military - Robotic mules are already being tested: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-12/us-army-tests-new-robotic-assistant-pack-mule-combat-zones (archive) (MozArchive) - These guys go through pretty rough terrain, all weather conditions. Fighter robots are also being developed - https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/weird-news/robot-wars-russia-unveil-humanoid-8061197 (archive) (MozArchive) - the droid is designed "to replace the person in the battle or in emergency areas where there is a risk of explosion, fire, high background radiation, or other conditions harmful to humans.

Automated restaurants

Did you know they already have fully automated restaurants in China and Singapore? Imagine the amount of possible jobs lost. There are 15 million (archive) (MozArchive) restaurants in the world, with 32 workers (archive) (MozArchive) per restaurant on average. So, the technology already exists to replace almost 500 million working people worldwide (real stats will be lower, since that site considered "cafes" as restaurants, as well). But hey, I even doubt that the cafe employees are somehow irreplacable, so might as well take the 500 million figure as it is.

Comments on AI art

Since AI can now draw (MozArchive) things (MozArchive) like (MozArchive) these (MozArchive), I guess it's appropriate to give it a section. I see this is hard to take for people, whom I've seen claim that only bad artists will be affected, or that artists can just use AI as yet another tool (a tool, that can do everything alone? Some tool...), or even that coming up with a prompt is some great skill (lol, what a ridiculous cope). People just can't give up their jungle mindset, where everyone simply must be divided into better or worse - which is exactly what will doom us before we realize it's too late to rise up against the machines. Realistically, AI art means yet another career down the drain, as I can't imagine commissions staying around for much longer - unless you're really unique; but again, that wouldn't be much help to the majority of artists that will be replaced. And if this is such a nothingburger, why are artists protesting so hard? Let's wake the fuck up, and divorce creativity from earning a living already. This won't fix the problem of meaning, but at least people won't starve...

Will new jobs just replace the old ones?

A common argument against the idea that robots will replace us is that machines were being invented for a long time, and they've always created more jobs than they took. The problem is - those machines were not intelligent; they still required a human to operate them. This is different; a robot can now clean, cook, serve, teach, work at a factory, drive, refer sporting events, write articles, draw without human assistance, pick fruit or play a support role in the military, etc. all by itself. And this list will only get longer.

What possible new jobs can these robots create? Repairing them? Programming them? Great, but that will surely be much less than all the factory and restaurant jobs they're going to take. And not everyone is qualified to do repair or programming. What about all the people that aren't? Even if they could all do repair and programming, we just don't need that many of those (certainly not 500 million and probably not even 50 million). Maybe watching the robots over will be the new, big job opportunity - yes, I suspect that could be a nice scam to keep the corpse of capitalism twitching for a little longer.

Expert predictions (archive) (MozArchive) indicate a huge effect of the robot revolution soon - We estimate that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world. Even engineers aren't safe - 56% are expected to be replaced by automation (archive) (MozArchive). Even though - as the sports have shown - the displacement process could be slow, and the exact date pushed further - it is inevitable. Better prepare earlier than later.

Response to ZeroHedge

I was supposed to leave this article alone already, but recently, ZeroHedge published a piece (archive) (MozArchive) (which is actually a repost from some obscure blog) trying to dismiss the effects of robotics on job availability, which directly attacks my thesis. Funnily, it uses the same old and tired arguments that have already been covered here. But I know a lot of people will read it and be convinced by it, so let me give a direct reply. The first example they use as support is the fact that ATMs supposedly did not decrease the amount of banking jobs:

Graph showing the amount of banking jobs available over time and the amount of installed ATMs over time

I can't find the study this graph comes from, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't prove what they think it does. If you look at the year 1990, the amount of banking jobs is the same as in 2010, while the demand for them is more than four times as much - it is simply fulfilled by the machines. Also, I'd guess that if you went further in time, the human jobs would keep decreasing. Let's remember the situation in sports, where it took over a decade to just start automating things. And many things are kept around by simple inertia - we already have ways to automate restaurants, it's just that noone's picking them up. So this clearly isn't the example to prove that technological development somehow results in some job creation utopia. Their second is The Internet, which I would have never claimed would decrease jobs, so let's skip it. Their third is The Industrial Revolution - which again, is just things that still require human operation, so not relevant here. Let's just go straight to the interesting parts of their article. About automated writing, they say:

Copywriting and marketing: ChatGPT and other generative AI technologies such as JasperAI have swiftly changed the way content is created. For example, at the technology company I founded, our copywriter used to take several days to produce an article, which had to be edited before distribution. In total, the end-to-end process took about a week which meant the company was producing 4 articles per month. Since beginning to leverage JasperAI, the company now produces 3-4 articles per week. That translates into more leads, which translates into more customers, which turns into higher revenue growth, and more hiring. Is our copywriter’s job safe? You bet. Using AI technology doesn’t replace the need for her or her role, it supercharges it and helps the company scale faster, leading to more hiring, not less.

So you can whip out 4 times more shitty articles than before. Great. But how does this result in more jobs? Oh, it's because "your company grows", but it can't do so infinitely. Eventually it will stop, and then the fact that people have been automated away won't be possible to hide anymore. Also, if your "company grows", others have to shrink, meaning less jobs there - since there is limited space in the market for shitty articles. So the absolute amount of jobs does not increase just because your particular company has "grown". Let's also realize that - if the articles are being written by the AI and the human only serves as the proofreader - there's nowhere to go beyond that. No magical new jobs will be created in this field. The peak has been reached, and the human shoved aside. Again, ZeroHedge just shoots itself in the foot here, by admitting that the human is now playing only the second fiddle. But wait, the funniest example of theirs is yet to come. Brace yourselves for the cherry on top:

Autonomous delivery robots: Starship Technologies is a high-profile technology company that has successfully completed over 4 million deliveries using its autonomous fleet of robots. It’s true that these robots have put humans out of work by replacing the need for people to physically deliver items. It’s also true that this technology has created hundreds of new, specialized, higher-paying jobs for technicians, managers, operations, and logistics specialists that ensure these robots get from point A to point B as intended. Plus, it’s helping solve a very real problem for retailers that unlocks growth and margin: last mile delivery.

One part of this quote in particular sticks out:

It’s also true that this technology has created hundreds of new, specialized, higher-paying jobs for technicians, managers, operations, and logistics specialists that ensure these robots get from point A to point B as intended.
Franziska von Karma from the Ace Attorney games asking for proof

Bring me all those people that you allege this technology has created jobs for. Certainly none of them are mentioned on Starship's website. This is just so stupid on its face. Why even invent this stuff, if it doesn't actually result in less need for human work? Hey, I know this thing surely needs programmers and some builders, etc. But again, this is way way less than the amount of delivery people it's going to replace; otherwise it wouldn't exist! Another attempt by ZeroHedge to save jobism richochets against them, this time being a fatal headshot for their thesis. But the corpse still has something to say, so let's read further:

It’s important to note that the impact of AI on the labor market will not be uniform across all industries and skill levels. Some industries and job categories will likely see significant job losses. However, it will be important for businesses and policymakers to prepare for these changes by investing in reskilling and upskilling programs to help workers transition to new industries and job categories.

So they admit significant job losses in some industries. But they think reskilling and upskilling will fix it. I've already talked about this. Again, not everyone can be a programmer or some other advanced job. Nor should everyone have to be. Technological development will kill teenage jobs almost entirely, for one. Which is clearly a negative. But in the end, the raw amount of jobs will heavily decrease, affecting everyone; and eventually, no amount of skill will save you if the required amount of workers decreases by half or whatever. ZeroHedge can keep living in the stone age, while we - people with eyes - actually observe what's going on. And what's going on is everyone's dumping their (skilled - Google even called them incredibly talented) workers. Amazon (archive) (MozArchive), Twitter (archive) (MozArchive), Google (archive) (MozArchive), Microsoft (archive) (MozArchive), Netflix (archive) (MozArchive) and surely others. Where do they go now, ZeroHedge? WHERE?

Now this is besides the point, but an article like this would usually make me call an outlet controlled opposition. Though there is some good material on ZH, whenever an important topic comes around, they just end up defending the current power structure somehow. Big guy stepping on the little guy. As they do here (and I have many other examples). Either way, I just want you to realize that even media that pretends to be alternative isn't always reliable. And - in my opinion - it is really important to follow me on this issue instead of ZeroHedge. It might determine whether we find ourselves cooked inside that boiling pot, or manage to jump out in time. Edit: hey, let's examine the guy who wrote this crap (archive) (MozArchive):

Michael Johnston is a Technology Advisor and Columnist at Evergreen Gavekal. Michael is also the Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer at TEAL, a high-growth, venture-backed Internet of Things (IoT) networking company headquartered in Seattle, WA. Michael is a member of the Forbes Technology Council and has held several Board and Advisory positions at early-stage technology companies and philanthropic foundations.

And the corpo he's writing for (archive) (MozArchive):

We serve high net-worth individuals, families and endowments, providing expert guidance and personalized solutions for building a secure financial future.
Our key areas of expertise are private wealth management, family office services, tax planning, alternative investments, and macroeconomic research.

A guy running a company, sitting on advisor positions in others, and also writing for another company that serves high net-worth individuals (AKA the rich). Quite the conflict of interest! Obviously this isn't just an innocent analytical article, but one designed to shill jobism at all costs. What this guy wants is to keep himself and his rich buddies in power. It is so obvious; I mean look at their Family office page (archive) (MozArchive) - to create a continuity bridge encompassing their legacy intentions with an overarching goal of growing and transferring wealth across generations. AKA the rich (and their kids) stay rich, while the poor stay poor. Hahaha. That's why he has to make you believe there's just no way out of jobism, ever. Because to attack jobism is to come closer to UBI or (gasp!) communism - meaning wealth transfer towards the poor and away from this guy and his rich buddies (who never did any real work, BTW; only abuse and trickery through "investing"). And ZeroHedge - by republishing this parasite - shows that they support the conspiracy of the rich to keep the poor down. Therefore, they are controlled opposition.

Is social media influencing the shiny post-robotics career?

That's what some people suggest, but it won't work. First of all, how many influencers actually end up succeeding? Even though theoretically, anyone can make a YouTube (or OnlyFans, etc), that doesn't translate (archive) (MozArchive) to sustaining themselves through it - The typical OnlyFans creator earns about $180 per month, or roughly $140 after taxes. In the globally connected age, everyone has access to the same celebrities, and most niches are already taken. If you want to be a fitness influencer, or maybe strip for lonely gamers, you'll be competing with Liver King and Amouranth (plus a few others) that have already grabbed your would-be audience years ago. But maybe you have something unique to offer, something no one else has thought of yet, and it goes viral and you "win". Well, now you have blocked this path for all the others, and are also forced to chum out content constantly, lest a copycat takes your place. And, there are just not that many unique things out there, and they will be quickly grabbed and "ruined". "Influencing" is just another dead end that doesn't fix the problem of job losses at all, and presenting it as a viable career choice is just setting up the vast majority of people for failure. It is also not something that I believe should be encouraged either way; Liver King took huge doses of steroids to get his build, while pretending that it was the result of his primal principles. While Amouranth had to fake being single, then finally reveal that she had a boyfriend that was actually running the entire operation (MozArchive), making her stream all day and night. So fraud, abuse and sacrificing your health is what makes you a successful influencer these days. Is this the world we want to show our kids? Why does no one want to question the base premise? That we need to make ourselves valuable so that our property owning overlords will graciously feed us? I guess the libertarian / right-wing macho brainwashing is too effective these days. Does no one really see the dehumanization inherent in having to satisfy arbitrary whims of the rich just so they can throw us some breadcrumbs? And when "real" jobs dry up, I fear we will be reduced more and more to just being circus animals for the elites in hopes of being one of the few% of people that don't get thrown into the sausage maker. That is why we absolutely need to take over the infrastructure soon, instead of pretending the current system is still viable.

Why no unemployment crisis yet?

Looking at all the occupations listed above, we see that millions of jobs are in danger. Why don't we have an unemployment crisis yet, then? Well, there are many steps to take from the invention of a technology to widespread adoption. You need to create the necessary amount of machines and have businesses buy and install them. They can cost quite a lot of money (archive) (MozArchive) (more than one human worker per year). The Hawk-Eye tennis ball tracking system has been invented in 2006, but it took until 2017 to use it in an official tournament (for line judging), then another 3 years until it was used in a Grand Slam. Hundreds of small tournaments all over the world still can't afford it. Perhaps social factors also come into play; most people are conformists and I suspect that bosses / company owners don't want to rock the boat in terms of robot inclusion until that idea is more socially accepted, or when they are confident they won't lose in profits, etc.

Responses / solutions

Politicians all over the world have been scrambling to "create jobs" (this is in fact a common talking point for elections (archive) (MozArchive)) - but there's only so much that they can do. The robot revolution cannot be denied, regardless of intentions. Many basic jobs are already being lost, but they will eventually come for the construction workers, doctors...maybe even politicians themselves, as well. Another mistake is to blame it all on the worker by telling him to get better education or skills - here's one such example (archive) (MozArchive). Since this post is so disgustingly telling, let's analyze it in depth:

It's a double edged sword. In CA they raised minimum wage for SOME workers to $20,00/hour. The employers just fired most of them and are going to automated services instead and it is far cheaper for them in the end.

I will assume this is all true as I can't really be bothered to check, but the fact that psycho employers decided to fire people instead of paying them properly isn't a proof that the minimum wage is bad, only that the employers are psychopaths. And, if the legal system worked properly, you could make this kind of thing illegal, too. Either way, if the jobs were really replaced by robots, then it proves my thesis - robots came in, amount of job spots lessened, and people got fired as a result. Supposing that the business would have graciously kept them if they agreed to work for sub-minimum wage doesn't do much to fix the situation, as they still wouldn't earn enough to live, and would die just the same.

Minimum wage has ALWAYS been low, very low. But minimum wage jobs were originally designed for high schoolers to earn a few bucks part time. Minimum wage was never really designed to support a person let alone a family. This is why it is so critical to get a good education, go on to college or a trade school and learn how to make more money in life. Minimum wage was never designed to be the only income an adult would have.

I will (again) assume this is all true. If the minimum wage was originally designed for high schoolers to earn a few bucks part time, then we can un-design it, or rather re-design so that it is able to support a person and a family (or even just have UBI, since again, we're talking about the robot revolution here, and many will soon not have "wages" at all - even minimum ones). Nothing locks us inside this system except...the cuckery of people like this poster, and of course the uber rich who love this mindset more than anything.

The problem today is that we have a slew of unskilled workers. They literally have no skills and they want to be paid well for no skills. That's just not how life works. I don't make the rules, I just acknowledge them.

And here we come to the core of this person's problem. It's those damn unskilled workers that dare to want to be paid well for no skills (AKA "they dare to live"). Those damn janitors on whom entire civilization depends on...should just die, according to this person. But, she doesn't make the rules, she "just acknowledges them". You sure about it? Where is this "rule" written? Maybe this "rule" is actually only rich people's propaganda that you thoughtlessly swallowed?

If people choose not to pursue a trade, they can't really blame anyone but themselves.

Doesn't help. There is a limited amount of trade jobs available, just like it is for all the other jobs. And remember, we're talking robot revolution here (as this same poster has admitted already happens in the first paragraph of her post). So, if millions of those horrible unskilled workers begin either getting kicked out by their employers who don't want to pay them a minimum wage and would rather "hire" a machine, or alternatively just decide to pursue a trade in preparation for it, they might soon find out it's not enough. If people were to start switching to trade jobs en masse, they would eventually be unable to do so as all the spots would be taken. Besides, not everyone wants to or is able to do a trade job. Should they just die? Anyway, I looked at this person's profile for a bit and she appears to have made some really good posts...on topics other than this one. This shows how this specific type of propaganda is especially penetrating. While we're at this, let's tackle another insane post (archive) (MozArchive) I just found that perfectly showcases the cuck mindset:

Don't ever give up. Look at people undeservingly fighting for $15/hr wage for flipping burgers. All of those people out there, protesting every damn day. I always wondered how they could put that much effort into trying to get something that they didn't deserve, yet couldn't go to school or something similar to better themselves.

You are more a part of the problem, than the solution. Don't ever tell people to give up.

Somehow, a thread about the "education system failing men" has turned into attacking burger flippers. And what's wrong with them anyway? Millions of people rely on them to make their food, every day. But, it's not an "advanced" enough job for this person, who thinks work is all there is to life, and who entirely swallowed the elites' jungle mindset. Don't worry, the robots will come (already have) for the "advanced" jobs too, but of course that won't be enough to convince this person to stop being a cuck. And then, all of this nonsense is wrapped into a fake positive plea to "never give up". Even though that's exactly what the burger flippers are doing - not giving up the fight for payments that would allow them to live. But of course, for him, the "never give up" battlecry doesn't apply to those damned burger flippers whom he thinks are fighting undeservingly (as in, they don't deserve to live). And yet this person doesn't see the contradiction. I don't want to attack him specifically though, he just conveniently appeared today. This mindset is extremely common on reddit, polish Wykop, youtube comments, and elsewhere. I've probably seen hundreds of these types of posts by now.

To everyone who thinks this way: you have no idea what kind of advanced technology people are going to invent, and just because you have a "skilled job" at the moment doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be saved. Why not just stop pretending, and get some compassion before this whole system kills us all? Sometimes I feel like we are all our own biggest enemies; the right-wingers / conservatives / libertarians / ancaps always find a way to blame the person below them, as long as they themselves have it a little better. But to the true elites, they are all as much plebeian. And they will be destroyed by the robot revolution just as easily, except maybe a few years later.

What can be done? Clearly, politicians (at least those that are in power) will keep supporting the current - unsustainable - system (otherwise, they would face the fucking problem instead of pretending all is fine - we will just create more jobs) - while people are losing their jobs and dying. Eventually, it will be necessary to face the fact that, to do everything society needs to function, not everyone needs to work. And it's better to admit it right now, and change the system so that not having a job isn't an immediate disaster. There's been an idea called "Universal Basic Income" which would give everyone a certain amount of money unconditionally, every month. I quite like it in a vacuum; it tips the scale of power significantly more towards the worker (especially the dreaded unskilled worker) and away from the employer. For one, it opens the possibility of simply leaving an abusive employer instead of putting up with the abuse under the threat of starvation and death. It allows one to rest, regroup and plan ahead after losing a job without the current extreme pressure, and prevents rash decisions that might sacrifice one's health, etc. The insane "fight for your life at all times" aspect of civilization disappears. UBI is not perfect (we will cover some flaws in the following section), but it fixes the problem of the robot revolution adequately.

Anti-UBI arguments suck

Let's look at them (archive) (MozArchive):
Equity: A society’s capacity to provide goods and services is constrained by its resources. Our nation’s ability to provide goods and services requires that we efficiently employ our available resources.

Are we "efficiently employing available resources" now? I see a lot of "resources" being wasted on wars, advertising, the worthless schooling system, production of things made to break or be thrown out after a season, etc. There would for sure be resources available many times over if the cause was actually important to the people in charge.

UBI would undermine or negate the need for individuals to contribute their labor in order to receive society’s goods and services. Do we want to enact laws which may enable more Americans to choose a life of pure leisure rather than professional purpose and self-development? We need public policies that help people work, not ones that discourage work.

This is an entirely different argument, even though it pretends to be the same one (it's the same quote in the article, I've just split it myself to be able to reply to it separately). It's just the work fetish repeated, "work or starve" - even if the work is useless or harmful, you simply must justify your existence. With this mindset - again - increasing automation will just kill all those people that lose jobs. That people would choose a life of pure leisure is a scare tactic that has been scientifically disproven (archive) (MozArchive) - Unemployment for those in the UBI experiment remained at basically the same levels as for the control group. Moving along... to assume that Professional purpose can only exist with the threat of starvation is quite the stretch; what about those extremely rich sports people, actors, etc that still keep going? If anything, UBI would make more people take up occupations that require initial investments that they might not have (eg tennis). Discouraging work has - again - already been proven to not happen with UBI. Next argument:

Politics: There are millions of Americans who are diligently working and deferring immediate consumption for future financial security. When they see capable people receiving money—their hard-earned money, paid in taxes—they are riled. They are angry at those they perceive as “deadbeats,” but even angrier at politicians who have enacted policies to transfer money from taxpayers to UBI recipients without any expectation of work.

"I worked for my stuff, so you must too". "I suffered, so you must too". "How dare you avoid my generational trauma!". That is all I hear in this "argument". And hey, why are those people not worried about the deadbeats in business who earn money by employee abuse, psychological manipulation, withholding information about their products, privacy violations or environmental destruction? Do you not see how primitive this line of "reasoning" is? It's just "those below me don't deserve to live" wrapped in Christmas gift paper.

Hey, I thought I'd find some real anti-UBI arguments out there, but it seems they don't exist. So I'll come up with my own. UBI is still dependent on the existence of money, and that comes with a bunch of problems. Elites could still take away your UBI with the press of a button if you're "undesirable". And of course, it might just be used to pacify us so that we don't revolt upon the mass job losses from automation. Then, they might just pull the rug completely once the technological slavery system gets advanced enough (eg through murderbots (MozArchive)) so that resistance isn't anymore a danger (that's when the mass depopulation happens).

However - purely hypothetically - UBI is a great idea for me at the present moment (as in, before we get communism). The problem is that we might not be able to get it, as I don't really believe the elites want to give it to us, except as a last resort. Ideally they'd keep pretending that everyone absolutely needs a job until they are in a position to safely delete us. And yet, there is some support for it in the mainstream: Elon Musk (archive) (MozArchive), the Washington Post (archive) (MozArchive), and Andrew Yang - a popular politician - have spoken in favor of it. (archive) (MozArchive). So, if I believed in politics as a route for positive change, I'd try to push for UBI as the most pressing issue. Hey, if it's supposed to work anywhere, it might as well be here. After we get it, we can use the surely short period of time that follows to plan for a real revolution (or just skip the UBI step if that's what it comes down to; I really just wanted to prove it would be a good solution if you believed in the current political / economic system).

Yet, it might not even come to whether the elites will give UBI to us or not. Because - for some reason - regular people in places like Switzerland (archive) (MozArchive) and USA (archive) (MozArchive) often don't like it. If that remains so, then we'll of course never get it, and just meekly die. As said before, the jungle mindset of right-wingers will doom us in the end. I swear, if we're supposed to die, at least don't let it be for a retarded reason such as "that damn burger flipper should have gotten some skills"!

Summary

Jobs are disappearing due to technological advancement. They will not be coming back. They will not be replaced by new ones in the amounts necessary - not even close. Meaning, millions of people will soon starve to death if currently accepted societal assumptions are not questioned. The idea that you must "earn your living"; or that the unemployed are lazy, stupid, or useless (and deserve to die). The fight against your neighbor, someone as better or worse (and the worse deserves to die), sharing is bad, dog eat dog, businesses as Gods and workers as servants, and all the adjacent crap will result in a world where most will die. The only fix is to give up all those assumptions.

In a sane society, pushing for increased automation would be fine, to free people from a life centered on work faster. In reality, though, we will likely end up in a world where, over time, jobs are slowly replaced by machines - but the people who were doing them earlier are now starving and dying. Automation itself is not the problem, it is the idea that everyone must be constantly "earning a living". I just hope we can change culturally before the machines enforce the changes on us - and that we manage to do it without millions of corpses as collateral damage. Capitalism will die - but will it take us with it?

Back to the front page