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(MIT Technology Review)   Problem: your company is under scrutiny for low-paying, inhumane working conditions. Solution: replace workers with robots that don't complain   (technologyreview.com) divider line 5
    More: Obvious, industrial robot, Apple products, Foxconn, pressure sensor, production lines, Shenzhen  
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2219 clicks; posted to Business » on 16 Jul 2012 at 12:32 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-16 08:48:04 PM  
2 votes:
I've been calling it the "Jetsons Economy." In the Jetsons, productivity was way, way up - George only worked eight hours a week, as a button puncher. On eight hours a week, he was able to afford two kids and a dog in a high-rise apartment, plus a live-in housekeeper and a wife who didn't need to work. He still fretted about money, but he was firmly middle-class.

What we didn't realize was that when this brave new economy came along, Spaceley wouldn't share the wealth. George should be making eight thousand dollars an hour in 2012 dollars. Instead, our wage has remained stagnant, and our hours have been cut. If the wages for my department had been tied to productivity over the past ten years, everyone in my office would be making about $90 per hour. We expected this would happen because the turn-of-the-century rise in worker power brought about a rise in middle-class leisure. Surely as automation continued to increase, so would that leisure. If I were paid $90 per hour, I'd be able to afford an earlier retirement and get out of the workforce so that someone else could have my spot.

But wages were never tied to productivity. So George would be making the same $20 or so per hour, doing the work of what must be hundreds of people, and taking home $160 per week. And there'd be no other work for him to do. Meanwhile, Spaceley Sprockets would be harvesting the advantages of all this diverted labor - a handful of people paid beans, running entire factories by themselves.

If job creators aren't going to pay based on productivity, the only way to run a Jetsons Economy is a massive tax-grab from employers to the government and a huge welfare-state capable of providing a barely-living wage to the hundreds of people automation has put out of work, so that consumer society could be supported from the bottom up...

Actually, remind me of the downside of that, again? I think I lost my train of thought.

/kidding
//maybe
2012-07-16 12:54:39 PM  
2 votes:

SpectroBoy: I often wonder about this.

When (not to long from now) robots can do the majority of manual labor, what will the majority of humans do for a living?

I mean, not everybody can be a scientist, engineer, doctors, or reality show star. With 50% of the population having below average intelligence what happens to them?!?


the answer to that is simple, when winter rolls around they simply freeze to death.
2012-07-17 08:37:48 AM  
1 votes:
Many found work at Foxconn, which employs nearly one million low-wage workers to hand-assemble electronic gadgets for Apple, Nintendo, Intel, Dell, Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung, and Sony.

Say it aint so, Nintendo.
2012-07-16 06:34:28 PM  
1 votes:
Remember the three D's of automation:
DULL
DIRTY
DANGEROUS

If a robot can do your job, you shouldn't be doing it
2012-07-16 12:50:13 PM  
1 votes:
I often wonder about this.

When (not to long from now) robots can do the majority of manual labor, what will the majority of humans do for a living?

I mean, not everybody can be a scientist, engineer, doctors, or reality show star. With 50% of the population having below average intelligence what happens to them?!?
 
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