When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

due to advances in technology?

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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#21  Postby Beatsong » May 20, 2014 9:57 pm

Arnold Layne wrote:Anyway, do you think those girls should be paid a living wage for choosing a career like that? To be honest, they are first in the queue to be given a house, so they get more than most who work.


It's the wrong question, and a misleading one.

The government doesn't pay single unemployed mothers benefits because of the case for supporting them. It does it because of the case for making sure that their children are at least minimally housed and fed. Child benefit is not about supporting parents; it's about supporting children. That's why it's called child benefit and not parent benefit.

For better or worse, the way our society works is that we still largely believe in the idea of parents raising children in family units, and only take children away from their parents in extreme cases of abuse etc. So whatever bigoted sterotypes you want to indulge in regarding a child's mother, if society wants to look after the child we have to look after the mother in the process. To some minimal extent, anyway.

I don't know what the answer is to that, other than letting the babies starve and freeze on the streets. But then I don't see the current situation as such a big problem anyway.
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#22  Postby jamest » May 20, 2014 11:19 pm

The government should scrap child benefit/handouts in favour of child food/clothing/necessities vouchers. That way, we could at least ensure that the handouts were used for their intended purpose... instead of on cigs, drugs & alcohol.

I watched Channel 4's Benefits Street, recently, and was utterly dismayed by the number of benefit's recipients who were evidently spending their handouts on smoking and drinking and drugs. Not to mention LCD TVs & X-boxes. That's just taking the piss.
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#23  Postby Beatsong » May 20, 2014 11:45 pm

jamest wrote:The government should scrap child benefit/handouts in favour of child food/clothing/necessities vouchers.


That might be one way to do it. It probably wouldn't save any money though, as child benefit is only barely enough to feed and clothe a child as it is.

I watched Channel 4's Benefits Street, recently, and was utterly dismayed by the number of benefit's recipients who were evidently spending their handouts on smoking and drinking and drugs. Not to mention LCD TVs & X-boxes. That's just taking the piss.


Oh well if that's what it says on the telly...
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#24  Postby jamest » May 21, 2014 12:16 am

Beatsong wrote:
jamest wrote:The government should scrap child benefit/handouts in favour of child food/clothing/necessities vouchers.


That might be one way to do it. It probably wouldn't save any money though, as child benefit is only barely enough to feed and clothe a child as it is.

I wasn't talking about saving money (that's a different issue). I was talking about ensuring that present handouts were guaranteed to be used for the purpose that they were intended for. If you give someone £50 to spend on their kids, then they shouldn't have the option of using that money to buy cigs/alcohol/TVs/whatever instead. It's a no-brainer.

I watched Channel 4's Benefits Street, recently, and was utterly dismayed by the number of benefit's recipients who were evidently spending their handouts on smoking and drinking and drugs. Not to mention LCD TVs & X-boxes. That's just taking the piss.


Oh well if that's what it says on the telly...

I'm from inner-city Manchester. I've experienced the same things as Arnold all of my life: people abusing the Welfare State (WS). I now live on the south coast, and have experienced the same thing. I've even worked in the care industry - and am currently working [on a part-time basis] for a millionaire who is upset that he is no longer entitled to a disabled badge (parking) - even though he is capable of walking for several miles. I've witnessed countless abuses of the WS, though in Cito's estimate this amounts to naught but an anecdote. So, instead of an anecdote, I thought instead that I would provide a link to a documentary which summed-up precisely how (and how many) people are taking the piss out of the WS. From your responses here (not just to me), I can only surmise that you are from a middle-class background and have witnessed very-little of what I'm talking about.

It's very easy to hold values which have no bearing upon what's happening in 'reality'.
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#25  Postby Fallible » May 21, 2014 8:16 am

Arnold Layne wrote:
Fallible wrote:Maybe, I think your aspirations would have to be pretty low to see that as a career choice. Just thinking of some of the council estates I lived on as a kid, and my main aim was to get away from them as quickly as possible. I'm still not sure you'd get all that much money, unless you had like a house full of kids. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but I don't think I'd apply for that post if it was advertised.

Maybe not you, but you'd have to have seen it with your own eyes.


I grew up on various council estates.

I'm talking over 10 years ago now as I left the UK, but aspirations for young girls in Wythenshawe are not high, and are often set by their single Mum who also lives the same way. Really, you only had to drive through Wythy during the day and you'd see loads of young girls pushing prams. Amazing to behold.


I'm not sure why it's amazing - there are a lot of people with low aspirations for various reasons, it was ever thus. I get the impression you think it's fun and games to be able to spend all day in your council house with a screaming kid or three. My point is that what you get for this dubious 24 hour privilege is not worth it to me, whereas for someone with very low aspirations it looks, initially anyway, like a good deal. That's sad, because it shows exactly what a number of young women think of themselves and what they are worth that they would choose such an option as it exists in its present form.

Anyway, do you think those girls should be paid a living wage for choosing a career like that? To be honest, they are first in the queue to be given a house, so they get more than most who work.


Ask the person who suggests that child raising ought to be paid like a profession. If we assume this to be something we should do, then obviously the job should be paid as any other would be. If you get a sub-standard house in a crappy area as one of the "percs", so be it. It's not as though other jobs don't come with reduced-rent accommodation as a part of the package, in fact I lived for some years in various government subsidised flats because my mother worked at the other end of the spectrum, looking after the elderly in sheltered housing schemes. You probably wouldn't criticise a sales assistant or bin man for having a place to live, but you see a single mother somewhat differently. This must come from you not regarding raising kids as a proper job, even though the hours alone would be considered inhumane if you tried to make anyone else do them.
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#26  Postby Arnold Layne » May 21, 2014 8:55 am

It is correct that I don't consider raising kids as a proper job. It's a life choice to me. It is given special privileges, because it's seen as a "natural" thing to do. And because it is seen as a benefit to society as a whole. The old mantra of the young in work will pay for the old in retirement.

beatsong mentioned the word bigotry. Didn't take long for that to come out. But the fact is that there is a system in place which makes it worthwhile for some people to choose to become single parents at 16 or 17. It's a fact. The family life that was spoken of has been broken, such that it's now more financially beneficial to be separated, thus single parents are more common and need looking after by the state.

I don't blame these girls for choosing their way of life, as the benefits are there for them. But I really can't see that they have had the child for anything but their own benefit, though how they look after the child after that, I guess, will vary considerably, from those that will love and cherish the child properly, to those that use children as their own way to money.

Not only that, instead of the young looking after the old, these youngsters never contribute. They don't even try to contribute. It's a drain on society.

Was it Cito who said the problem was too many people, not not enough work? That's what I believe too. Many of the problems of society are because of their being too many people. So actually encouraging people to have more kids is doubly counter-productive, in my view.

By the way, I'm not trying to say all single mothers are doing this. It's not such a generalisation to be accused of bigotry. I'm talking specifically about certain types that really do do this, just as jamest has witnessed too.
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#27  Postby Beatsong » May 21, 2014 7:45 pm

Arnold Layne wrote:Beatsong mentioned the word bigotry. Didn't take long for that to come out.


Indeed. It didn't take long for the bigotry to come out at all.

By the way, I'm not trying to say all single mothers are doing this. It's not such a generalisation to be accused of bigotry. I'm talking specifically about certain types that really do do this, just as jamest has witnessed too.


So do we have some evidence of how many are doing this as a deliberate "lifestyle choice", and how much they are costing us? As opposed to those who just happen to end up single parents through no fault of their own. 'Cos I'm having difficulty getting outraged by it until we do.

The problem is that there are all kinds of people who are a "drain on society" - depending on what you see as the desired outcome of society and how you judge people's just deserts. 1% of the population of Britain owns 70% of its land - largely due to reasons of history and inheritance - and plenty of those are pumping out perfectly entitled offspring who will live happily off their trust funds and never do a productive day's work in their life. All helped along by a vast range of legal factors of property ownership, farm subsidies etc. designed to ensure that the privileged remain privileged. There are industrialists, entrepreneurs and business owners a little further down the food chain who make perfectly good livings from creating and selling things that are either innocuous or actively harmful - again depending on your outlook - oftentimes at considerable cost to the environment. And then of course there are children, old people and the disabled, all of whom are a "drain on society" because they don't work at all to support themselves.

I'm curious to know what the outcome would be if we did a productivity audit of every man woman and child in the country, to try and either justify their evening meal or take it away from them. I'm curious as to what kind of consistent criteria we would use to measure it. I'm curious about where people dealing with the intense, full-one 14/7 challenge of raising children would sit in the resulting bell curve. And I'm curious whether there is indeed anything other than bigotry involved in singling those people out for such an audit while watching the social and legal structures that enshrine all kinds of other non-productivity as unchallengeable just bumble merrily along.

Society is not perfect. We need to look after children and see that they're housed and fed. As a result, a few people might get away with a grotty council house and £80 a month in child benefit that they don't strictly "deserve". Or put otherwise, a few members of the terminally underprivileged underclass might find a sneaky way to get a tiny bit of what other people take for granted. Colour me underwhelmed.
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#28  Postby Clive Durdle » May 21, 2014 7:57 pm

I think it is in Mexico, one of the societies - Mayan?, actually knocked down a hill and moved it to the other side of a road for no discernable strategic or similar reason, but just to make work!
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#29  Postby Clive Durdle » May 21, 2014 7:59 pm

And there are quite a few urban myths in this thread about council houses and single parents!
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#30  Postby minininja » May 22, 2014 2:18 pm

Indeed. The perception of benefits recipients is so heavily warped across the media, from programmes like Benefits Street which is more of a "reality TV" show than a documentary, to the constant attacks in the Daily Mail. It becomes all too easy for people to believe it.

Need to hear the other side of the story occasionally:

[Disclaimer - if this is comes across like I think I know what I'm talking about, I want to make it clear that I don't. I'm just trying to get my thoughts down]
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#31  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 26, 2014 1:17 am

A lot of people here are blindly making declarations and misleading assertions, obviously not aware that they are basing all of their conclusions on RETAINING the existing value structure, and the existing capital value calculation model. ANY idea that starts from the idea that the Government will step in and tax some, and pay others, to make up for "imbalances," requires that we leave in place, the people and concepts which are causing the problems.

That's a problem. The main reason it CAN'T work, is both because it starts from a continuation of letting value be determined by the people paying for things, and not by actual costs, and worse, it still includes the idea that people who enrich themselves at the expense of others, and or taking advantage of their desperation or lack of political power, are entirely JUSTIFIED in doing so.

No model that is based on waiting until wealth is out of balance, and THEN stepping in to try to clumsily and crudely make amends, is going to succeed, due primarily to the basic elements of human nature called Resentment, and Self-Righteousness.

It's like trying to fix a machine that suffers from improperly installed bearings, by dumping oil over it over and over again. It just creates an alternate mess, in place of the original problem, which remains unsolved, and will return again as soon as the next shift comes in and decides they don't like the mess on the floor.
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#32  Postby mindhack » May 26, 2014 11:12 am

Keep It Real wrote:...isn't it time to just give all citizens a guaranteed income, free from stigma?

They experimented with this very concept in Canada, some fourty years ago. Here´s an article about it.
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#33  Postby lpetrich » Aug 10, 2014 4:55 am

David Graeber : “Spotlight on the financial sector did make apparent just how bizarrely skewed our economy is in terms of who gets rewarded” - Salon.com
noting
On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs - STRIKE!
Ever had the feeling that your job might be made up? That the world would keep on turning if you weren’t doing that thing you do 9-5? David Graeber explored the phenomenon of bullshit jobs for our recent summer issue – everyone who’s employed should read carefully…

In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century’s end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

DG proposes that much of the growth has been in administrative sorts of jobs, and related ones like financial services, telemarketing, corporate law, human resources, and public relations. He proposes calling them "bullshit jobs", empty jobs that don't really produce much of value, something like digging a hole and then filling it up again.

As DG points out, in capitalism, that is not supposed to happen. If anything, it is like the Soviet Union, which got full employment by creating lots of makework jobs, like 3 people to handle a customer's order.

This seems to me like part of Peter Turchin's long-term cycle of history: elite overproduction. After a period of relatively egalitarian growth, a society's elites start to grow much faster, and they eventually make the society top-heavy. The elites then fight each other over the top spots.
The answer clearly isn’t economic: it’s moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the ‘60s). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.

He then mention someone who was an unsuccessful rock musician who became a corporate lawyer to pay the bills.
... what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call “the market” reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.)

That seems plausible: corporate elites thinking that only corporate-elite sorts of jobs are worth paying for, and nobody else's jobs.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, there has been an enormous effort on the part of the people running this country to turn that around: to convince everyone that value really comes from the minds and visions of entrepreneurs, and that ordinary working people are just mindless robots who bring those visions to reality.

The ultimate in this position is Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, where the people who go on strike are mostly business leaders.
But at the same time, they’ve had to validate work on some level, so they’ve simultaneously been telling us: work is a value in itself. It creates discipline, maturity, or some such, and anyone who doesn’t work most of the time at something they don’t enjoy is a bad person, lazy, dangerous, parasitical. So work is valuable whether or not it produces anything of value.

This leads to the position that one ought to dig holes and fill them up again, because it is so virtuous to do so.

Then this oddity:
Actually I saw something telling written by a right-wing activist on some blog—he said, well the funny thing is, when we first started our school reform campaigns, we tried to focus on the administrators. But it didn’t take. Then we shifted to the teachers and suddenly the whole thing exploded.


What can be done? Mass defection? A spiritual awakening? DG notes that it was done in the Sixties and it provoked a backlash that made the problem even worse. He proposes that we need a labor movement that "manages to finally ditch all traces of the ideology that says that work is a value in itself, but rather redefines labor as caring for other people."
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#34  Postby lpetrich » Aug 10, 2014 5:11 am

The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation? The authors note that some tasks continue to be difficult to automate, notably:
  • Perception and manipulation tasks: "Robots are still unable to match the depth and breadth of human perception. ... The main challenges to robotic computerisation, perception and manipulation, thus largely remain and are unlikely to be fully resolved in the next decade or two."
    • Finger Dexterity
    • Manual Dexterity
    • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions
  • Creative intelligence tasks: "The psychological processes underlying human creativity are difficult to specify. ... In the absence of engineering solutions to overcome this problem, it seems unlikely that occupations requiring a high degree of creative intelligence will be automated in the next decades."
    • Originality
    • Fine Arts
  • Social intelligence tasks: "Human social intelligence is important in a wide range of work tasks, such as those involving negotiation, persuasion and care. ... While algorithms and robots can now reproduce some aspects of human social interaction, the real-time recognition of natural human emotion remains a challenging problem, and the ability to respond intelligently to such inputs is even more difficult."
    • Social Perceptiveness
    • Negotiation
    • Persuasion
    • Assisting and Caring for Others
The subtasks are from some databases of job features maintained by the US Deparatment of Labor.

They then tried to work out how easy it was to automate 702 kinds of jobs. They started with 70 of them, those that they felt confident in assessing. They then created a "Gaussian classifier" that could estimate how easily computerized a job could be from the skills needed to do it.
  • Perception and manipulation: somewhat vulnerable
  • Creative intelligence: almost invulnerable -- engineering, science
  • Social intelligence: almost invulnerable -- management, business, finance, education, healthcare, arts, media

The authors found that harder-to-automate jobs tend to require more education and to earn more. This means that many low-wage jobs are vulnerable to being automated out of existence.
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#35  Postby lpetrich » Aug 10, 2014 5:22 am

What is to be done?

One solution is the Solaria solution, after Isaac Asimov's novel The Naked Sun. The colonists of that planet each live in an estate taken care of by a lot of robots. A virtual version I've seen proposed is widespread stock ownership, much more widespread than now.

The alternative seems to be a large fraction of the population living off of the dole. That tends to make the upper classes moan and groan about how exploited they are.
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#36  Postby Clive Durdle » Aug 10, 2014 12:02 pm

To borrow from the title of one of the first sections of Always Coming Home, this book is an “archaeology of the future.” I purposely use the term book rather than novel, since the structure of Ursula K. Le Guin‘s 1985 work makes it more of a collage than a narrative, though it does tell a story, and it certainly has a theme. The story is that of an entire people—the Kesh, the People of the Valley, living in the far distant future somewhere in Northern California. A changed climate has created an inland sea east of the Valley, and the people who live there are still dealing with the legacy of the chemical wastes left behind by a long-gone civilization whom the Kesh think of as people “who lived outside the world” and whose poisonous lifestyle has led to their being remembered in legends and visions as people who (literally) had their heads on backwards.

The Kesh civilization may be the ultimate working out of Le Guin’s utopian ideals. Her best-known science fiction novels—The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed—both posit alien societies that encourage readers to consider alternative gender roles and economic systems. Her subtitle for The Dispossessed—”An Ambiguous Utopia”—could apply just as well to Always Coming Home. The inability of the Kesh to comprehend a society like ours is due to their commitment to a post-industrial environmentally sustainable way of life (though they would never use such terminology, thinking of themselves as merely “living in the world”). That way of life—reminiscent of a settled Native American culture—is centered on a compatibility with nature. Nothing is taken that is not needed. The wealthiest are those who give the most, not those who accumulate possessions. A low human population density is scrupulously maintained. Communities are organized around both families and occupations, with each individual encouraged to pursue the work most amenable to her. Everyone works, and labor is not resented. Authority is entirely decentralized, and sexism is nonexistent. The Kesh are aware of the possibility of more advanced technologies, but choose not to pursue them, failing to see the point, and unwilling to sacrifice their environment. Their society works, and the reader understand why they would see us as “backward-heads.” As in the other two novels mentioned above, Le Guin invites the reader to question our own society by asking us to consider the possibility of a workable alternative. One of the great attractions of science fiction is its ability to encourage us to consider how things could be different, and Le Guin does this masterfully in Always Coming Home, though not in a way that science fiction readers are used to.


http://blog.worldswithoutend.com/2012/1 ... k-le-guin/
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#37  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Aug 11, 2014 12:38 am

This is absolute nonsense. Of course there is plenty of work to do. The devil never sleeps, so there is an urgent need for Iphone and Andriod apps to keep the devil away! :lol: :lol: :lol:
What the real problem is that the ancient premises of economics do not account for technological advances. We have to revalue what we think of as the most important. Making the economic system reflect values such as the value and quality of human life, a safe, sustainable and pleasant environment, etc, etc. The value in money should reflect our human values, and not primitivism of the past like empires, religions and other primate dominance dynamics. The value of money should reflect humanism, creativity, art, science and literature. At present, capital is being accumulated by the sociopaths, both individual and corporate. If we don't change our economic and financial systems, all we will have will be wars over resources, religions, ideologies etc. In other words, business as usual. For the first time in history, we do not need a "slave class". We have robots. At least so long as they don't become self-aware. :dopey:
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Re: When will governments realise there isn't enough work to do

#38  Postby Clive Durdle » Aug 11, 2014 11:53 am

Are you talking about

http://sacred-economics.com

and

http://www.positivemoney.org

?

Is this stuff being ignored because it is wrong or because it is correct?
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