Dems 2019: Dem Hard With A Vengeance


#1847

Good luck with that. You’re shitting on the only politician who agrees with you that it’s a problem. Like that’s a way to encourage solving it or something…


#1848

Uh, you need to look a bit closer at the GND before shooting your mouth off about her not having a plan.


#1849

Too bad this guy Buttigieg is a) gay, b) has a funny name, and c) is just a mayor, the latter two of which would be enough to sink him as a presidential nominee even if he was straight. Oh well, maybe party chairman or something like that? Sad thing is if his name was Smith and he was straight, I could see him sweeping the midwest.


#1850

Andrew Yang is proposing a low UBI to address automation. I gave him $10 to help him make it into the debates. He claimed he needed 100k donations.


#1851

The thing that puzzles me about mass unemployment because of automation is… if we automate away the jobs, people won’t have money, and they can’t buy the shit we’re producing though automation.

If people can’t buy things, what are the robots producing? Maybe they’ll turn to finance. At that point does capitalism just become a giant circle-jerk of imaginary numbers backed by nothing?


#1852

Last Week Tonight did a segment last week on Automation.

The perspective there if you told a farmer a hundred years ago that there will be a lot less farmers and people would instead be working on software programming and such, he’d have no idea what you’re talking about. Similarly a hundred years from now, people will be working in areas that we can’t picture yet, because those jobs don’t exist yet. However, we can have programs to help people switch jobs, so when we transition to driverless trucks, we need programs to help switch the truck drivers to something else that they can do in the here and now, not some future job.

Although I don’t have a crystal ball on what people will be working on in the future, I’d say we’ll be switching more and more to an economy where there’s more people working on entertaining other people. More arts, literature, culture, as a result of automation doing more of the routine jobs. More people writing stories, telling stories through games, writing songs, making youtube videos, etc.


#1853

Yeah I think this will mostly be true, but we do need to work on the people who are caught in the transition. For example, if you are a trucker over, say 50-55 years old when driverless trucks start becoming real, the chances that you are going to become some new thing for the last 10 years of your working life are pretty low.

I think these are the folks we should be initially aiming for when we talk UBI. Maybe that’s more like a Federal Jobs Guarantee. Find something they can do for 10-15 years before retirement.


#1854

I like the idea of the government ensuring work for people who lose their jobs due to automation, but I do not like the idea of having them go do busywork for the federal government. It would be great if we could get those people involved with local community service initiatives though.


#1855

Which is as good a way as any to highlight that the current notion of our economy has a finite shelf life. Whether you think it will happen in a decade or a century, most jobs will be automated away, and ‘work for the means of subsistence’ as the basis of a society is doomed.

The vast, overwhelming majority of people working in those jobs now make virtually nothing for it. That’s why they wait tables to survive. I agree that lots of people will do those things in the future — heck, I’m writing a book now — but almost none of them will be able to subsist if they have to depend on their income for doing it.


#1856

I kinda feel like this already the case in large swaths of the economy. How many different kinds of pet food or car washes or McMansion or different colors of shirt are really adding value, and how much of it is just money moving for the sake of moving? The policies that I’d like to see promoted in the progressive space give people what they need for life, either directly or through something like UBI. Then if people want to prop up the unnecessary economy for quality-of-life reasons, they’re welcome to find work to pay for it.


#1857

The TSA says hi.


#1858

“Become” lol


#1859

I know what you are saying, in the past there was always that new technology that required labor, but when automation truly takes hold of the day to day jobs, then the problem of unemployment isn’t just the good jobs going away, it is the starter jobs, the safety net jobs going away. Saying we will be okay because we always have been okay sounds like an argument against climate change.


#1860

We could all become gardeners!
Actually, I could see a shift to Teachers, Nurses, police, fire fighters, Park Rangers and other interesting jobs.


#1861


#1862

Yeah, I hear you. I feel similarly uneasy about that argument.

One guy was recently (maybe in the last 3 months or so) on an NPR show, I forget which one, it was something like Radio Lab or Freakonomics or something else. He said people shouldn’t be blindly optimistic, which serves no purpose, they should be, I forgot the term he used, but optimistic in a way that offers a solution. Sort of a “here’s what we should do in order to be optimistic”.

So it’s not enough to say “we’ve been okay in the past, we’ll be okay again in the future”. He gave an example of the time when the industrial revolution was first revving up, and America ran on mostly an agricultural economy, people didn’t just say “well, we’ll be okay”. Instead, congress and the leadership of the country did something about it. They put together a public education system so that everyone in the country could get a free high school education and would be equipped to handle the huge changes coming our way. That’s that type of optimism he was talking about, they were optimistic, but they were that way because they put in systematic change to do something about the coming changes. The public education system transformed the country and made it so that Americans were ready for changes.

Similarly for automation and the big changes coming, we need to actually put systems in place to deal with it, and then we can be optimistic about the coming future as a result.


#1863

So all jobs paid for by tax money. And most requiring an education. Dream on.


#1864

And 15 billion teachers…


#1865

Hey, we can reach that goal of fewer pupils per teacher.


#1866

Who watches the watchmen?

Well…kind everybody, because 73% of the US population is a policeman.