Some thoughts on the future of work

A discussion on this topic from HCN:

Person A-when Chinese vendors refuse to go lower, that means there is only one direction for finished goods prices and wages to go (eventually) and that is up

Person B-That is simply an illusion. Wages don’t have to go up at all. Automation and robotics can reduce wages much further still and IMO will as a result of competition. We are just now starting to “benefit” from the DOT-COM innovations.

Person A-If this is the case, and I’m not necessarily disagreeing, then the way the fruits of this increased productivity are allocated have to change. Otherwise we end up with a “plantation” society like the South pre 1865 where the owners of capital control all the resources through their mechanized systems, and the rest of us scrabble out an existence in the hills.

Person B-That has been my point for many years. I’ve posted the Wolff chart many, many times here and it displays the purest evidence of your point.

Add the developments in the GINI coefficient and the story becomes more than obvious.

However, with free reign of corporate money in politics any chance of this changing is rather remote. I made the point many times here that technology has and will make human skill obsolete. The question will eventually become what we do with the growing number of those who cannot contribute productively anymore to the economy.

I expect that we will see movements towards “only tax payers can vote” in within the next two decades at the latest.

Person C-I think that while the economists might be simplistic the solution is holistic. It isn’t just the economy. There is a huge shift in culture…perhaps in Western civilization.  The next step, actually stride, in the change of the definition of work, and what constitutes a life lived. The elimination of the need for labor. The role of gender. Everything is in flux.


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