Monday, April 16, 2018

Colin Drury — Mark Carney warns robots taking jobs could lead to rise of Marxism

Mass unemployment, wage stagnation and growth of communism could come from technological advances
 Karl agrees:
The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.
In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic – in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society.
Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation....
Karl Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
The Independent
Mark Carney warns robots taking jobs could lead to rise of Marxism
Colin Drury

15 comments:

Matt Franko said...

“determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic ”

The former people (those who work deterministically in natural sciences) are competent while the latter groups are not competent so they are seen fighting it out.. look at all the shitholes and you see with the shittieness there is also a lot of conflict present in those areas... US inner cities, Latin America, MENA, etc... ie all the usual suspect shitholes.....

It is a result of how the academe operates where those trained to do determinist work in the material systems have to also be trained in the other disciplines while those trained in the non material disciplines don’t have to train in the sciences....

The imbalance in the training creates an inequality in outcomes in the people.... which is then reflected economically... you end up with a bunch of morons as a result of this which is fine as long as those people aren’t put in important positions in material systems administration...

Ralph Musgrave said...

Can't see the problem. If fewer person hours are needed to produce a reasonable standard of living for everyone, we just make it easier to live on Basic Income Guarantee, or some form of social security. More people lead a life of leisure.

Matt Franko said...

The morons who have usurped the top administrative position in material systems administration are too stupid to figure out how to do something like that Ralph... they exhibit a big imbalance in the training..

Never had the proper training.... Larry Kudlow over here is a History major at Princeton and probably couldn’t check the oil in his car and he is the head economic counsel to the president of the US... far from ideal... Alan Greenspan clarinet player... etc..

Neil Wilson said...

"Can't see the problem."

What happens when the specialists you rely on to maintain the utopia decide they're going to down tools?

We rely on the farmer working a full week to produce the food for everybody. If you try to share out the farms you get Zimbabwe.

Why should the farmer work a full week if nobody else is?

Income guarantees rely upon duping specialists into giving up their time to produce a massive surplus - rather than just using up less of their time to produce for those doing the producing.

Matt Franko said...

Well the artists do other things...

The farmer can work all week and then go see a Luke Bryan concert on the weekends...

Aren’t you a Dire Straits fan over there in the U.K.?

See their song “Money for Nothing” from the 80s...

Tom Hickey said...

Can't see the problem.

The problem is that capitalism is based on wage labor to extract profit. That means that owners need to pay workers enough in aggregate to purchase output.

Liberal economics as the basis of capitalism arose after the period in which slavery and serfdom were common. Workers were moved to factories, often "under duress" — work or starve after being evicted from land — and wage labor became the new standard.

If wage labor is replaced by automation and robotics, then wages go away and so does capitalism as presently configured.

If government takes over supporting people to purchase product, wages would be replaced by welfare transfers and that's a form of socialism.

Presumably technology (capital) would be taxed to "pay for it" — although that is not the case under the currency form of money creation by government. MMT explains what would actually happen under different scenarios under existing arrangements.

Matt Franko said...

that was old gold standard stuff Tom just like your Cold War stuff you keep bringing up... those days are over...

I think what is interesting is that Marx saw this dichotomy in the population here:

"distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic – in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out."

He is going all conspiracy theory like the MMT people do today without looking at what the people are doing... you have material competent people and then the others who are not competent in material systems .... the others 'fight it out' for the material crumbs that fall from the material competent person's table...

MMT people today say "neoliberal conspiracy!" where Marx would say "capitalist conspiracy!" instead of just figuring out what is going on...

Like Marx says here: "which can be determined with the precision of natural science" that doesnt just "happen!".. PEOPLE DO IT... competent people who have been properly rigorously trained... It doesnt "evolve from the apes!"...

Matt Franko said...

Marx is going all "invisible hand!" here... there is no 'invisible hand!"... people do these things...

Noah Way said...

If fewer person hours are needed to produce a reasonable standard of living for everyone, we just make it easier to live on Basic Income Guarantee, or some form of social security. More people lead a life of leisure.

Doing what - buying more robotically made shit? Idle hands do the devil's work. People should be actively employed creating their own sustainable living and communities.

Matt Franko said...

People operate the robots... the big gain in automation isnt the econo-morons "productivity!" its better quality... automation/robotics requires big financial investments... but you get better quality which differentiates you from your competitors... you get a bigger market share as a result...

Tom Hickey said...

What would happen, and is happening, is that the ownership class and of that the top hundred or thousandth, end up owning just abour all assets, real and financial. Then people dependent on government would have to go into debt paying rents, which would transfer the transfer payments to the top.

People are going to sit around and watch that and not care enough to do something about it at the voting booth inrepresentative democracies?

Is this what Carney is concerned about?

Ralph Musgrave said...

I don't agree with Noah Way's claim that "idle hands do the devil's work". There's a few people in my neighborhood who have spent decades going to great lengths to persuade the social security system they are medically unfit for work. They lead very pleasant lives: gardening, taking their dog for a walk, socializing, etc.

Tom Hickey said...

People operate the robots

The purpose of technology is to increase productivity by have tech do what machines used to do.

One of the purposes from the firms' POV is to reduce the wage bill.

Where does the income come from in aggregate from to buy the aggregate product and also meet non-discretionary needs involving rent, like housing?

Either people get other jobs that cannot profitably be automated (yet), or the state supports them with welfare or state employment, which begins the transition to socialism.

The key to capitalism is the relation of profit and wages. I think that Marx likely got that right although his analysis may be lacking. I am not qualified to comment on this, since I am not at expert in this area. But I follow some of the controversy and there are interesting argument on all sides of the debate. That debate is now increasing, and Carney is suggesting that it will continue to increase.

Joe said...

"Can't see the problem."

A life of leisure is not fulfilling for a lot of people, maybe most.
It's a huge part of opioid epidemic. People lost their job, they lose their self-esteem, develop chronic pain problems etc. It makes people feel good to earn their keep.

Noah Way said...

Human society is tribal, based on individuals in cooperative groups performing various functions related to survival (among other things). The individuals are member-stakeholders and have direct interest in the well-being and success of their group (tribe, community), and their productive behavior is rewarded by both materially and socially.

Removing such constructive purpose from human activity also removes the benefits of it.

Related for reference: Tribe, by Sebastian Junger

@Ralph, the welfare queen argument is empty when the the real welfare queens are massively wealthy individuals and corporations that dodge taxes and don't contribute to society. In my experience those less well-off are far more generous and socially conscious than those with vast resources, who tend to think of themselves as superior and entitled.