[ExI] retrainability of plebeians

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Apr 21 16:55:12 UTC 2009

Rafal Smigrodzki---who does know how to present arguments
unlike many people---wrote:

> Dagon wrote:
 >> [Rafal wrote:]
>>> ### Marshall Brain has no idea. Structural unemployment of the
>>> able-bodied non-insane persons is a side-effect of government
>>> regulation, and it has nothing to do with technology.

That's true, but you didn't explain why. Here I may
not be presenting *your* view, but here is *my* view
of why you are right. The government regulation dampens
free market activity (in mostly bad ways, though given
that we're not all ready for total freedom, some regulation
at this time seems optimal).

Worse, the government largess and government regulation
diminish people's incentives.

>> I declare this statement ideology, almost as silly
 >> as stalinist rhetoric.


>> Worse it is a dangerously naive ideology

How enlightening! Oh. Your interlocutor is naive. Hmm.
That's real deep.

>> And nobody is willing to hire any of the
>> precious labour so you can't buy food?
> ### Can you try to think your way through the scenario and describe
> how something like that could happen? Imagine - there is an abundance
> of everything (produced by robots), i.e. the food and shelter needed
> to keep a person alive cost an infinitesimal fraction of the resources
> available to the average person, and somehow nobody is willing to hire
> anybody to cater to their needs? How is that possible in a free
> economy?

Well, Rafal, let me take a swing. Right now there
are a lot of people who just "get by" somehow. I
don't know how they do it.

In your scenario the phenomenon is magnified. Yes,
there are still some things that completely unskilled
labor can do---it's nice to have someone sit behind
the desk at a motel, or to have effusive and charming
"greeters" at the totally automated Wal-Mart. But
the rich, i.e. those of the people who have skills
so refined that the machines can't yet cope, very
likely have no use for the hoi-polloi, and really
don't want them around.

Therefore, I claim, this is why few will be willing
to hire, and that freely given charity will be rampant.

>> If this does not compute you are so decadently
>> divorced from reality you may need therapy

Heh, heh. I leave that latest Dagon assault here for
purposes of humor only.

>> When people like you start suffering consequences
 >> in terms of acute misery, then we will finally
>> see some change.
> ### Just like a Luddite you see machines as a source of problems (they
> wanted to break machines, you seem to want to ... well, actually I
> don't really know what you want). But increasing productivity of
> capital is a *solution*, not a problem, and there is nothing anybody
> needs to do get hysterical about.

Just so. But exactly how it will all shake out isn't easy to see.

>> But my claim is that mass-robotization AND A.I.
>> and nano will be just too much, too fast to handle.
 >> Many people will go unemployed and really pissed
 >> off really fast.

The poor and unemployed'll get by. Tremendous numbers
of them already are. Since stuff will be so cheap,
I expect voluntary charity to rise dramatically.
> ### Again, you claim it will happen, but how? What
 > is the mechanism by which robotization is supposed
 > to cause mass sustained unemployment and poverty?

What about a sudden advent of affordable matter compilers?
The prosperous among us shell out the $100,000 for one
and suddenly the services of 60% of the population are
no longer needed by the prosperous. Exactly why couldn't
that happen (ignoring its improbability, i.e., taken
as a purely theoretical possibility)?


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