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Robotics Revolution
Robots Could Block Path out of Poverty
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  • Jim__L

    The labor force participation rate is climbing in America again. WRM repeatedly (accurately!) posts about how Luddites have been wrong, time and again. So, why are we seeing a post about robots being a threat, when we could be seeing some actual research and commentary on **the actual means by which the Luddites have been demonstrated to be wrong**?

    Do I seriously have to do this myself? Honestly, I’d happiest if society solved the “labor surplus” problem by encouraging moms (especially young moms) to spend time with their kids — a societal and personal good that no robot will ever replace.

    If I do this myself, it will probably be with the help of Google, proving that TAI’s researchers can be effectively replaced by a computer. =I

  • Unelected Leader

    Not robots. Another problem that is the creation of government and the MNCs that own it. Bad economics means that the American tradable sector jobs and specifically manufacturing jobs have either been lost altogether, or have been replaced by fewer, more capital-intensive products. More expensive workers. That’s where automation makes the most sense to cut costs, and it’s where bad American economic policy has shifted what manufacturing labor the US has.

    The US falls off the chart. Germany pays on average 1/4 to 1/3 more than Americans get! So why are they so steady? Smart protectionism and I think most importantly, for Germany, its the currency misalignment that discriminates against Germany’s south European vassals, and benefits Germany disproportionately.

  • QET

    An uncharacteristic bit of technologico-economic skepticism from WRM, who was last seen reassuring us that, just as technology produced jobs to absorb the workers displaced from agriculture by the industrial revolution, so we may count on history to repeat itself ad infinitum:

    the information revolution is going to create more jobs and better jobs than the ones it destroys. What we are looking at is the humanization of the economy: a shift from interaction with nature to interaction with other people as the locus of human work. Fewer people will spend their lives wresting food and raw materials from the earth or transforming those raw materials into the necessities of life. More people will spend their lives enriching the lives of other people through social interactions. There will be fewer coal miners and more ballet teachers, fewer truck drivers and more blues guitarists, fewer farmers and more life coaches, fewer factory workers and more entrepreneurs. (

    WRM’s is a latter-day version of Marx’s prophesy that true socialized production will mean that I can hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon and criticize after supper. No one can explain how this sort of thing will happen, only that it will happen. But it is refreshing to see WRM finally acknowledge the all-important element that is the sheer number of human beings involved and the seeming impossibility of technological progress–which after all is intended to eliminate human labor as WRM acknowledges in the quoted text–to provide a sufficient quantity of occasions for the expenditure of human labor.

    • Jim__L

      I’m not convinced that “interaction with other people as the locus of human work” is a good thing if it all gets to be cash-mediated.

      Up with Motherhood!

  • FriendlyGoat

    Well, you won’t be needing me for manual work because a machine does it better. And you won’t be needing me for matters of judgment because AI will do that better too. “How’s about I just put my energies into crime, addictions, delusions, distractions and maybe a little hacking here and there? Will that be okay—-raised to the nth power?”

  • Andrew Allison

    Acemoglu is an ignoramus: Chinese robots are aiding in the rapid industrialization of the country,which will keep it competitive in the export market. Africa, more specifically, sub-Saharan Africa is another story.

  • ——————————

    We already have too much cheap stuff, we don’t need more and cheaper…that is what it all comes down to.

    Eliminate most robots, except for dangerous or micro/nano work….

    • D4x

      No robots in “The hamlet of Sevnica, population 5,000, sits right in the middle of the small, alpine nation of Slovenia, in a green valley along the Sava River, surrounded by pine-forested hills.

      “It’s really an amazing climate,” chirps Lidija Ogorevc, a cheerleader-peppy tour guide here. “You should try our wine, our salami.” …”
      Vanity Fair did go foodie in their adaptation, but NPR has photos of Sevnica.

      • ——————————

        Looks like my kind of place!…except too cold. I hate anything much below 50 degrees….

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    There is constant dislocation in the economy, and there has been for a very long time. Remember Newspapers and Magazines, Video Stores, Music Stores, Book Stores, Covered Wagons, Buggy Whips, Water Wheels? Me either.

    The fact is that as energy driven machines take over each mind numbing job, everything gets a little cheaper from the increased productivity. This is all dependent on the cost of energy, which Fracking has just made cheaper. This all means that America will benefit the most.

    As for the third world hell holes of abject poverty and squalor? Have you looked at the Cultures in these places? The only way these hell holes will ever improve, is if they assimilate Western Culture.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Not boredom. Desperation upon realizing that most of the paths are likely closed off.

  • markterribile

    Witness the destructive power of this fully operational Labor Protection Law …

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