[FoRK] Making robotics a priority

Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo ken_ganshirt at yahoo.ca
Tue Jul 12 19:30:39 PDT 2011

Hey Joe,

Welcome aboard. A good post and I agree with you in many respects. But...

--- On Mon, 7/11/11, Joe Reneker <stout.yeoman at gmail.com> wrote:

> Robots can be viewed as just another form of capital investment. From the
> perspective of a factory owner, they are simply more productive machines.
> It's like switching from hand tools to electrically powered tools. By
> purchasing these better machines, the overall productivity of workers 
> in a factory increases.

That was sort of my point. I get the concept. Except it does not increase the overall productivity of workers, in a factory or anywhere else. It increases the productivity of the capital invested. It puts workers out of work.

That is a significant difference from the standpoint of benefit to the economy at large versus simply to the investor(s). And, no, I do not believe that's the same thing, either.

Using the term "increasing the productivity of workers" as a euphemism for "employing fewer people in order to increase the productivity of the investors' capital (or to increase profitability)" is offensive, in my view.  If reducing the workforce in order to increase the productivity of capital or profitability (not the same things at all) is such a Good Thing, why do we feel so compelled to use the euphemism almost exclusively, instead?


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