[FoRK] "computers instead of hands"

Gary Stock gstock at nexcerpt.com
Sun Jul 22 06:30:29 PDT 2012

As a favor to those (like me) who don't WANT to go look stuff up:

On 7/21/12 11:51 PM, Joseph S. Barrera III wrote:
> google it

    So you tell me your company's being reviewed
    By the people that sit on the stand
    And you tell me your factory's been renewed
With computers instead of hands


> then google "player piano Vonnegut"

THAT review is worth reading; a pointed summary of the book's premises.

> then google "ted rall income"

Wherein several good quotes appear, such as this from Newt Gingrich:

"There's a company in The Wall Street Journal today that Bain [Capital, 
Romney's company] put $30 million into, took $180 million out of and the 
company went bankrupt," Gingrich said on Jan. 10. "And you have to ask 
yourself: Was a six-to-one return really necessary? What if they only 
take $120 million out? Will the company still be there? Will 1,700 
families still have a job?"

> and now tell me
> what do we do when everything is automated and no one needs human 
> labor any more?
> not even intellectual labor?
> do we all starve because we are worth-less?
"They" can't let it get to that point.  "They" can't construct 
sufficiently secure houses.  Luckily, the drone class will keep 
scrubbing floors forever -- if they can imagine that a magical escape is 
just around the corner.  And, what used to pass for the class who were 
"upward mobile" will limp along until they, too, are reduced to drones.

That effect is already real.  Over ninety percent of corporate profits 
is siphoned off to the richest among us, while employee wages remain 
essentially flat, or decline.  As income inequality continues to rise, 
the middle class seems to ~enjoy~ taking it in the ass, even supporting  
millionaires' desire NOT to pay taxes.

Since the mid-70's, my theory is that the median wage, globally, will 
shrink to about USD $3.00 per hour.  If everyone works, and we cluster 
up in family (or arbitrary) units, that allows survival -- and the 
occasional eating of cake.

The ubiquity of lotteries assures that the masses will have reason to 
grovel on at that rate.

"Worthy" people, of course, will grasp that a lottery payoff will never 
come their way.

Luckily, venture capital now works like a lottery for creative people:  
you don't need ~anything~ of "value."  You only need something of 
"worth" ~TO THE VC~.  You only need to create a NEW mechanism to siphon 
off a few pennies from each of a few million people, so the VC can 
pocket 80% of the take, and give you (us?) enough to have hope of paying 
off a mortgage before passing the debt onto our heirs.

The product/service/scam your company "creates" can be complete 
bullshit, but if it is "attractive" bullshit -- so that people will give 
up a slice of what they've scraped together to survive -- you can make a 
play, and possibly be set for life.

So, create some bullshit ;-)


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