More on the transition to an automated, robotized future.
It's quite possible that, say, 50 years from now the production of nearly all goods and services will be automated. And this might usher in a golden age of solar-powered plenty that allows us all to reach new pinnacles of human potential. Let's just stipulate this for the sake of discussion.
But what happens while we're busy getting there? Answer: the owners of capital will automate more and more, putting more and more people out of work. Liberals will continue to think that perhaps this can be solved with better education. Conservatives will continue to insist that people without jobs are lazy bums who shouldn't be coddled. The lucky owners of capital won't care.
Their numbers will decline, but the ones who remain will get richer and richer. The rest of us will have no jobs, and even with all this lovely automation, our government-supplied welfare checks will be meager enough that our lives will be miserable.
This won't last forever. Eventually there will be a revolution, peaceful or otherwise, and the economic system will change. But until that happens, the next few decades are going to be mighty grim for an awful lot of people.Mother Jones
Our Bedpan and Canasta Future
(h/t Kevin Fathi via email)
There's also the paradox of productivity. Who is going to buy all the stuff if wages shrink and jobs disappear. What will happen to demand as supply explodes?
It could be that prices will fall to rock bottom, but how does that help if one doesn't have a job. Obviously the service sector will have to take up the slack. Back to being servants for the wealthy again?