Robots, Shadow Work, and the Negative Income Tax

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by jnpy!$4g3cwk, May 17, 2015.

  1. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    (Discussion of another book, about unpaid shadow work, omitted for the moment.)

    It really is time for the political process to start dealing with this. There is a shortage of jobs for unskilled manual laborers in just about every country in the world except North Korea. Its going to become a shortage of jobs for everyone. Are we doomed to become garrison states?

    And, about that "meaningful engagement" -- the negative income tax isn't likely to provide that.
  2. Eraserhead, May 18, 2015
    Last edited: May 18, 2015

    Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    The question to my mind is what new stuff requires more computing power. And whether that will continue to advance.

    The only recent computing power advance that excites me is SSDs.

    I reckon you could have a perfectly decent modern computing experience with a first edition Core2Duo, 4GB RAM and an SSD.

    And on the iPhone is the power of the 5 not really good enough for most usage?
  3. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    Our current wealth inequality is not sustainable. Why do we allow people to acquire wealth to the point they cannot spend it? The answer is that it gives them power to distort the political process, so it becomes a self-sustaining death spiral. Either we break this cycle (hopefully through democratic, peaceful processes), or it will all come crashing down.
  4. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    When compared to the human brain all of our technology is way underpowered. The job stealing tech is going to be replicating the way the brain functions to easily detect patterns and intuitively access situations like our brain does.
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    In the late 1970s, at University, we discussed endlessly whether there should be a guaranteed minimum income, at what level is should be set at, and whether it was actually affordable. We did finally solve all the problems, and the solution - in hindsight - was blindingly obvious. Unfortunately we had our epiphany in the pub and no one could recall what the solution was the next day. But it was bloody brilliant, let me tell you!

    This was in Canada, so the idea of a guaranteed income was probably not quite so weird as in the US.
  6. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    But...there isn't. At least here in the states.

    We have 1/3 of our manufacturing capacity (thats from unrefined resources to the equipment sitting idle in factories) being unused in this country, with millions unemployed, and an entire country's worth of 20th (in some cases 29th) century infrastructure that is falling apart around us. This equation is not hard, the problem is the policy shapers (the ruling class and/or politicians) don't have any interest in the USA being a modern country anymore.

    Take half of the Pentagon's slush fund and put people to work to build the trains, buses, bridges, fiber networks, etc. we desperately need to rebuild. Look at that, a meaningful jobs program that will more than pay for itself over the life of the infrastructure. That's called investment and it's about time we actually did it.

    The issue isn't a lack of meaningful work needed, we need laborers to rebuild, we just don't seem to give a crap about it.
  7. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2011
    Cutting defense will also cost jobs, so no thats not a way to cure unemployment.

    Also how much of the unused industrial capacity could actually to produce products that not only are in demand but also (somewhat) competetive ?

    So in result you would stop wasting money on useless jobs (defense) and direct it into somewhat usefull ones.
  8. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    What competition?

    Why does there need to be a profit motive in investing in our own infrastructure?

    I'm talking about reeling in the slush fund, you know, the billions of dollars we give to war lords to "be on our side". Hell, we LOST over $6 billion in Iraq alone...meaning its in a swiss bank account for someone right now.

    As for the underlined according to the Federal Reserve we have 22.8 percent unused capacity:

    "The capacity utilization rate for manufacturing in April decreased 0.1 percentage point to 77.2 percent, a rate 1.4 percentage points below its long-run average."

    Note the long-run comment. This isn't an issue of now, its been the long-run decisions of industry to not have full employment in this country. Corporate profits are at an all time high in history...yet they can't find the money to hire workers.

    This system is flawed by design, clearly.
  9. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    The question is whether the robot repair robots will merely require better software or whether they will also need better hardware.
  10. steve knight macrumors 68030

    steve knight

    Jan 28, 2009
    just take away tax incentives that we give to companies that don't need them. you think walmart needs 6.5 bil in tax exemptions?
  11. xmichaelp macrumors 68000


    Jul 10, 2012
    I was just reading an article about how in the past we envisioned a future with less work because of the advancement of technology. It argued that we basically create meaningless jobs just to get everyone working.

    The NIT is an interesting concept that I'm going to need to know more about before reaching any conclusions.
  12. jnpy!$4g3cwk thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    Work can be, literally, therapeutic. Many people benefit psychologically from doing some kind of work.

    I first heard NIT proposed by Milton Friedman, although Wikipedia says that it was originated by Juliet Rhys-Williams, a conservative British public figure.

    In any case, Richard Nixon actually pushed for it, and, the idea got pretty far before he resigned. I recall a lot of talk about NIT at the time.

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12 May 17, 2015