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Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:07 PM

So, a society gets productive enough that not everyone is needed...

This is a feature in a lot of science fiction. The tasks of making society work become doable with fewer people. (For instance, sci-fi robot cultures usually have a human labor surplus.)

I would suggest that any society where a lot of the work does not pay a living wage has a labor surplus.

In science fiction, when productivity gains make a lot of labor redundant, people are doled off. SOmetimes at a luxury level, sometimes at a poverty level, but doled off just the same.

It is necessary. A labor-surplus society either features a lot of leisure or else it is industrial revolution London... Hell on Earth. In a completely unregulated market a labor surplus will compete itself to below subsistence.

Of the many ideas that America's state religion of Americanism cannot handle is that paying someone to not be in the labor market is the same as paying a farmer to not grow crops. It is a price support. (The food stamp program exists primarily as a farm price support, hence its history of support by red state politicians form Kansas, Iowa, etc..)

The dole is a price support for labor. A person doled off at a low minimum income is not taking the money of honest workers as charity. She is being paid to leave the labor market so those who chose to work can get high wages.

(IIRC, the British dole was an attempt to reintegrate millions of returning servicemen into a labor market that was already declining, with the end of war industry.)

We often hear someone say, "These bums need to get a job." We seldom hear, "These bums need to come to my workplace and offer their services for half of what I am paid."

I have always supported a minimum income that is low enough that most peple would chose the higher standard of living afforded by working, but enough that a person could get by.



In a related topic—work visas for skilled workers are like the strategic petroleum reserve. A strategic labor reserve. If any skilled field becomes well paid the government can regulate those wages by releasing a supply of new-to-the-market labor with those skills.

The big difference from the strategic petroleum reserve is that we do not use the oil reserve to regulate prices because that would be irresponsible. But regulating wages downward for skills that happen to become high-demand skills is considered normal.

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Reply So, a society gets productive enough that not everyone is needed... (Original post)
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 OP
Matariki Nov 2012 #1
SheilaT Nov 2012 #2
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 #4
pansypoo53219 Nov 2012 #3
Drale Nov 2012 #5

Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:14 PM

1. We were promised lives of leisure in the 60's à la The Jetsons, The World's Fair, etc

Robots to do our work for us. But no one ever addressed the issue of wealth distribution and 'means of production'.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:19 PM

2. Back in the 1950's there was a genuine fear out there

that automation would make a lot of workers obsolete. Instead, sending jobs off to third world countries has made a lot of workers obsolete.

There was also the express expectation that by the end of the 20th century the typical work week would be perhaps 20 or 30 hours. That never happened. And I'm not talking about involuntary part time, but that decent, you-can-support-a-family-on-these-wages work week would be 20 or 30 hours.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:22 PM

4. People assumed those things would happen because the

alternative was unthinkable... a nation where millions could work full time without being able to support themselves.

But many unthinkable things can be eased into step by step.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:19 PM

3. since i saw this. we need to create jobs. i propose govt provided maids + gardeners.

somebody can come in + do the dishes. AND LAUNDRY. + they get a living wage.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:47 PM

5. We should be working towards a culture were not one needs to do manual labor

and everyone does what they love not for money but for the love of doing it. I believe it can be done with the help of technology. For instance if I had my way I would spend my days traveling, learning about new places and then passing on that knowledge to others.

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