Machine-Produced Wealth

Originally posted 03/15/2018… seems relevant to the current situation.

There are many great quotes attributed to the recently-departed Stephen Hawking. This one from a few years ago seems timely:
If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.” (from Reddit)

Back when i was a young wart-hog, futurists talked (endlessly, it seemed) about the bright promise of automation making manual labour totally unnecessary. We are more than half-way there, but the expected life of creativity and leisure for the former working class has not yet come to be. As an aside, predicting the future continues on-line.

Until we live in a society that removes capitalism from the pedestal on which it is placed and introduces a guaranteed basic income to bring those decades-old predictions into reality, I need to sell merchandise and services to cover living expenses. And so, I use Print On Demand companies to sell t-shirts with designs both snarky and life-affirming, offer prints of my photography and digital designs and offer Card Readings. All supplemented by various seasonal & part-time assignments.

For the past 5 years (since the original post) I’ve delivered restaurant orders for one of those apps. This is ‘the new gig economy’ that is supposed to be progress. Sadly, it is mostly regressive. About the only ‘gig-based industry’ that should serve as an example is the infamous ‘Entertainment Industry’ – aka Hollywood. I don’t know if it’s still true, but at one time being in ‘the biz’ meant working on changing assignments, with various companies and people, but with the underpinning of a strong union. Obviously crew members and support staff don’t get multi-million dollar deals, a percentage of proceeds, and other perks. But definitely more protection than we of the new version.

The fight for economic and social justice continues- and new generations continue to question whether justice can co-exist with capitalism and corporatocracy. Stay tuned.

Related Posts:
Trickle Down Economics;
Personal Responsibility;
Fight For Fifteen;
Corporate Fundamentalism.

Recommended Book
Healing The Heart Of Democracy (my review);

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