The social economic problem of the future

Science fiction authors have explored the idea that one day robots will replace human labor. The general picture is that the employment rate will be low as only a few jobs remain that cannot be filled by robots.

In such society there might be two groups of people: the few who own robots and the unemployed mass. The former group will be able to live in luxury as they collect the revenues generated by their robots, while latter group is condemned to poverty as they are unable to earn a living.

Currently this problem is not salient and mainstream economists tend to deny that such problem would ever arise. The general argument that automation not only destroys jobs but also creates new ones. I would contend that it is naive to assume that this will always be the case and hence it would be necessary to contemplate such economy and to devise solutions.

Martin Ford has proposed that a basic income would be a necessity in future fully automated society. Further he proposes to create “virtual jobs” for people to earn additional money. Both basic income and virtual jobs are interesting idea and deserve further discussion.

Nevertheless, I would propose a different kind of solution. My idea would to make sure that every person could own robots in order to make a living. The government could pursue several policies to enable mass ownership of productive robot, from giving robots for free to providing cheap loans for people to buy robots.

Rather than dogmatically focusing on “full employment”, we should strife to a robot-owning society.

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15 thoughts on “The social economic problem of the future”

  1. It is a source of enormous concern. Amazon/Google experimenting with drone delivery services will, for example, potentially put millions of day-drivers out of work, forever. These people are generally unskilled and stand little hope of getting any other form of employment. As more people contend for fewer and fewer low-skill jobs the wages for these jobs will plummet. It’s not a pretty scenario, and still we breed, adding tens of millions every year.

    1. It’s not pretty.
      A few years back tea farms here decided to automate and thus making thousands of people jobless. It’s like some people are so blind to what effects their actions have as long as they rake in profits

      1. That’s precisely it. The short-term thrill overrides the long term benefit. Of course, consumers are ultimately to blame. If they buy goods solely based on their price, their cheapness, then it is they who are making the grand market decisions.

        1. The case could be made about all who buy designer clothes knowing they are made from slave labour. They could all make a stand and just maybe the guys in Indonesia might just be treated as people

          1. The way to make this a reality is to figure out how to make consumer watch organisations turn a profit. If we can make it lucrative for groups to expose injustices then those groups will flourish.

            Any ideas?

            1. Don’t you think if consumer groups turned profit, there would be manipulations by the big companies and there could be bias or malice in their reporting?
              My utopian solution would be to find a Way of making luxury useless. So no one would give a damn whose label appeared on their clothes

              1. That’s certainly a way, but despite the risks, I think monetarising watchdog groups is the quickest and easiest route. How to do that, though, is the mystery

  2. I propose that we must endeavour to ensure each person has a means to livelihood regardless of whether they own robots or not. An equitable society must be our only salvation from ourselves

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