People are becoming increasingly unnecessary. Japan, for example, has just opened a hotel run entirely by robots. As this trend moves forward, putting more and more people out of work, we will surely be forced to re-examine our cultural and financial values, including what we use for a medium of exchange and how it is obtained.
Kevin Kelly points out in “Wired,” that “Two hundred years ago, 70 percent of American workers lived on the farm. Today automation has eliminated all but 1 percent of their jobs, replacing them (and their work animals) with machines……It may be hard to believe, but before the end of this century, 70 percent of today’s occupations will likewise be replaced by automation. “
Leaving what? Leaving most of us flipping burgers, or will even that fall victim to an automaton with the only real cooks and chefs still working available only at the most expensive eateries frequented by the wealthy upper-classes because only they will be able to afford really good organic food as opposed to cheap burgers, fries and whatever the masses can scrounge from some new age GMO-only vending machine.
If eventually there is no shortage of stuff, just a shortage of money to buy it, because actual living, breathing humans haven’t the money to buy anything because their jobs have been taken by cost-effective automation and a handful of corporations that care only for profits and nothing for people, then where will we be? Won’t we have caused our own obsolescence?
Isn’t the financial bind Greece is currently in a case in point? Isn’t some new thinking required with regard to economic reality? A whole new way of looking at things? Wouldn’t it be better to simply supply Greece with what it needs (adequate paper euros) to help it move forward than to punish its people by not supplying them with enough paper to obtain what they need to live reasonably secure and happy lives without grinding them further into the ground through state-enforced “austerity?” Shouldn’t the ability to live full and happy lives be the objective, rather than punishing those who can’t compete with predatory capitalists and economic vultures?
Haven’t you been struck by just how unnecessary the financial crisis in Greece truly is, and how business forces are impacting fighting in the Ukraine and the Middle East and how those representing large economic forces, like the Republican Party in the U.S., seem to want the fighting not only to continue but to grow?
Will humans getting beyond being their own worst enemies be the next big leap in the evolutionary process and won’t the acceptance of the reality that pure unregulated Capitalism does not work be an essential part of this? Or are we doomed to a new age of Neo-feudalism, a new two-class society with a relatively thin belt of wealthy economic fascists at the top and everybody else scrambling for the crumbs that happen to fall from their tables? Isn’t Democracy and a mixed economy with Socialism working alongside Capitalism, preferable?
Surely it must be possible for us to take care of our sick, elderly and very young without destroying the capitalist markets providing the incentive for new products and economic progress? Wouldn’t it be shocking if we were able to if not end, then at least severely limit war in the process?
Isn’t it time to finally grow up? Or perhaps you’d prefer “a bow tie-wearing, dinosaur concierge” at your next hotel as opposed to a living, breathing human being, who has actually experienced some of the cultural venues in the city you’re visiting.