Please, Take My Job!

Just last week I wrote a closing thought about robots and the jobs that are lost because of their use…..you may check out the post here…..

I, Robot I recall many years ago when the news of the first robots being used by the auto industry was all the talk…..of course the pro side was that they would do hazardous work and thus wou…

Source: Closing Thought–14Feb17 – In Saner Thought

To be truthful it was a negative post on the loss of jobs…so when I read this article to the contrary I felt I needed to post it also……there is always 2 sides to every report, right?

Over the next 15 years, 2 to 3 million Americans who drive for a living – truckers, bus drivers and cabbies – will be replaced by self-driving vehicles, according to a December 2016 White House report on the ascent of artificial intelligence (AI). An estimate by the University of Oxford and Citi, a bank, predicts that 77 percent of Chinese jobs are at risk of automation over roughly the same period.

Millions of people around the world would lose their jobs under these scenarios, potentially sparking mass social unrest and upheaval.

Source: Robots are taking jobs, but also creating them: Research review – Journalist’s Resource Journalist’s Resource

While I was writing this update I found yet another  piece about robotics and jobs…..this time it is something that Bill Gates had to say……

Job-stealing robots should be taxed the same as humans, Bill Gates says. “If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level,” the Microsoft founder tells Quartz. He says governments should tax companies that replace workers with machines and use that money to fund jobs that can only be performed by humans, such as caring for children and the elderly. In what is perhaps a surprising declaration for a man who built his fortune through innovation, the billionaire philanthropist contends the pace of automation in job-killing industries ought to be slowed, and taxes can help do that. “It is really bad if people overall have more fear about what innovation is going to do than they have enthusiasm,” he says.

While the European Parliament last week nixed a robot tax for now, notes the Telegraph, such a levy is being pushed by the French socialist candidate for president. But the idea of taxing machines is picking up steam even in the unlikely climes of Silicon Valley, which seems to favor the customers, not the industry, footing the bill, per the Financial Times. But the world’s richest man doesn’t think manufacturers would mind paying up. “I don’t think the robot companies are going to be outraged that there might be a tax,” he says. “It’s OK.” Skeptics took to Twitter, blaming Microsoft’s own technology for lost human jobs. (Read the full interview here.)

This is a fascinating debate….I can see both sides of this issue….but then there are the workers….many promises are made and seldom followed through….how will this situation be resolved?

A good question for a rainy day.

Closing Thought–14Feb17

I, Robot

I recall many years ago when the news of the first robots being used by the auto industry was all the talk…..of course the pro side was that they would do hazardous work and thus would cut down on injuries and days lost…the co side pointed out that these machines were replacing good paying jobs for workers….

Since those early days the debate has continued to rage on and on….who benefits from all the automation?

We are at a crossroads that will determine our economic future. There is hope, but also the possibility of a turn into a state of oligarchical barbarism, Frase postulates. The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Four Futures.

Why, the reader might ask, is it even necessary to write another book about automation and the postwork future? The topic has become an entire subgenre in recent years; Brynjolfsson and McAfee are just one example. Others include Ford’s Rise of the Robots and articles from the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, Slate’s Farhad Manjoo, and Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum. Each insists that technology is rapidly making work obsolete, but they flail vainly at an answer to the problem of making sure that technology leads to shared prosperity rather than increasing inequality. At best, like Brynjolfsson and McAfee, they fall back on familiar liberal bromides: entrepreneurship and education will allow us all to thrive even if all of our current work is automated away.

Source: Will Automation Benefit Humanity and the Planet, or a Tiny Elite?

And the debate will continue……..

My day is done……I pass on to a more restful stage…..be well, be safe….I shall see everyone tomorrow.

The New, New Dictatorship of the Proletariat

This is a fun post for me….for too long those slobbering idiots on the Right have thrown around the terms Marxist….Communist….socialist…ad nauseum and I would wager that the way that any of them knew the term was from the use of the Google button or listen to another babbling buffoon.

So about here the reader is thinking that I will go off on some rant about this thing about the workers being in charge….oh wait!  Maybe I should explain the term “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”……

  1. In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, has control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the 19th century. The use of the term “dictatorship” does not refer to the Classical Roman concept of the dictatura, but instead to the Marxist concept of dictatorship. Following on from the theories of Marx and Engels, Marxists believe that such a socialist state is an inevitable step in the evolution of human society. They argue that it is a transitional phase that emerges out of the “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie”, or capitalist society, in which the private ownership of industry and resources leads to a monopoly of economic power by the capitalist class. With an economy under democratic control, Marxists expect political power to be held by the majority working class. Whether or not capitalists are disenfranchised would depend upon the particular circumstances of a nation. In a period immediately after the Russian Revolution, the mode in which democracy was organised automatically disenfranchised capitalists; however, Marxists such as Lenin argued that other forms of a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ in more developed countries would include capitalists among the electorate. However, as large-scale capitalism is phased out, future generations would not become capitalist owners, and class divisions would no longer exist within the electorate. As a result, the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ would wither away, resulting in an entirely classless, stateless form of society known as pure communism.

If that one is too much to handle then maybe a short more simplistic definition…..The temporary period following the fall of capitalism characterized by a struggle to achieve a classless, stateless and moneyless communist society.

Could there be a new way of looking at an old term?

2016 has shown us that the worker is looking for any option to make his/her life better….even to the point of looking to those in the ivory towers for answers………..

So, I’m watching CNN or MSNBC, one of those, and I see a guy being interviewed, identified as the head of the union that represents the workers at that factory down the road from Carrier. Carrier, you’ll recall, was the outfit that got over three-quarters of a billion in tax breaks in exchange for a temporary hold on sending an additional 800 American jobs to Mexico, instead of the larger number of jobs that Carrier had planned to ship south of the border, down Mexico way. In exchange for that big tax break, Donald Trump dominated another couple of news cycles and became, momentarily, the champion of the working man, the indefatigable foe of predatory capitalism, and the best damn friend the working man ever had, a veritable Joe Hill for our times.  Remember his famous last words: “Don’t mourn. Organize”? That Joe Hill.

Anyhoo, this guy on CNN or MSNBC, one of those, was being asked if he wasn’t a little peeved to find that Trump hadn’t saved a single job at his plant, hadn’t cared about the workers at Rexnord the way he did about those workers at Carrier. As it turned out, this union spokesman had voted for Trump, and though he was sorry Trump hadn’t lifted a finger to protect workers at his plant, he seemed unrepentant about having cast a union officer’s vote for a man who was notorious for stiffing workers. In fact, this union rep even went so far as to make excuses for Trump, and to explain to viewers how there were just lots of jobs that would never be saved, no matter what, because of things like automation. even though that plant closure wasn’t going to result in Mexican robots getting those jobs that were going south. No, it was real flesh-and-blood Mexican workers who were going to be doing what those men and women in Indiana had been doing. Or so it seemed to this viewer.

Source: The New, New Dictatorship of the Proletariat – LA Progressive

100 years later: 5 timeless lessons from Joe Hill

A couple of decades ago I was a delegate for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)…..a union organizer and activist…..and back in the early years of the 20th century when labor was starting to organize to help workers and their lives…….labor is still as despised as it was make in the day on difference is they use political games instead of baseball bats to defeat the movement…….back in the beginning  there was an organizer named Joe Hill….

In 1902, after the death of his parents, Joe and his brother Paul immigrated to America where they expected to “scrape gold off the ground.” After working various jobs in New York City, Joe moved to Chicago and found work in a machine shop. Shortly thereafter, he was fired from his job and blacklisted for attempting to organize the workers. As a result, Joel Haaglund changed his name to Joe Hill. He traveled extensively around the country before joining the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in San Pedro, California in 1910.

Joe quickly became immersed in the IWW and devoted his life to the “awakening of ‘illiterates’ and ‘scum’ to an original, personal conception of society and the realization of the dignity and rights of their part in it.” He wrote songs like “The Preacher and the Slave” and “Casey Jones – the Union Scab” to inspire solidarity in the ranks of the IWW and to recruit new members. He encouraged a “conscientious withdrawal of efficiency,” which was not a call for violence, but rather a sprinkle of sand in the workings of machinery, and, more specifically, the efforts of non-union friendly employers.

In 1914, on his way from California to Chicago, Hill stopped to earn some money in the Utah mines. There he encountered three friends who he had met while working in San Pedro: Otto Applequist and the Eselius Brothers. Edward and John Eselius allowed Joe to live at their house as a guest. Otto Applequist was one of Joe’s closest friends and may have been involved in the alleged murder of the Morrison’s. Joe Hill was eventually convicted of murdering John and Arling Morrison, and took his last breath in Utah before the firing squad. His trip to Chicago was eventually completed – in a casket.

There many things that Joe Hill teaches the labor movement……things that can be applied today….things that would make the American worker more important than they are today……

Source: 100 years later: 5 timeless lessons from Joe Hill

What Middle Class? | The American Conservative

Since the end of world War 2 the industrial engine of the US has been on the backs of the middle class…..everyone. politicians that is, wants to embrace the middle class and speaks to them at every outing……but in the last couple of decades this system has been slowly strangling the middle class out of existence……

I am concerned that once the middle class is eliminated then the political elites will take complete control and we know where that will lead…..we are already flirting with a very ugly political ideology……and the path we are on today will lead to the extinction of the middle class once and for all…..

I read this article in the American Conservative and found it an interesting piece with some excellent insights…..check it out and then tell me what you think….

Everyone loves the middle class. Everyone claims to be middle-class—some to put a gloss on their sketchy escutcheons, others to dodge chastisement for their awkward riches.

Source: What Middle Class? | The American Conservative

Is the Middle Class doomed?  Is there hope it can be saved?  If so, then who will save it?

McKinsey Article Lays Out How to Rethink Capitalism – US News

American capitalism is killing the American Dream…..it is crapping all over those who actually have to work…..call me anything you like….communist, socialist, anarchist….I do not much care as long as you pull your head out of your butt and take a good look at the damage capitalism is doing to the average American family.

Capitalism can work but it needs re-doing……..a task few are unwilling to sow the guts to even consider much less attempt……

 

McKinsey Article Lays Out How to Rethink Capitalism – US News.