[ExI] retrainability of plebeians

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Apr 22 12:05:25 UTC 2009

Dagon also wrote

 > Thats what will happen. If robotics achieve
 > take-off in competitive edge, that very day
 > McDonalds orders a million of these machines

It never happens in a single day. The buggy
whip manufacturers slowly went out of business,

 > Listen I know you probably will be safe. You
 > will probably have a job that'll last decades
 > before some machine starts pushing you out.
 > But can you feel safe, or do you actually

Dagon, do you really have to *personalize* all
these exchanges? Do you think that people here
are never interested in the ideas for their own
sakes? Please stop.

 > Are you sure your unswerving zealous faith
 > in free markets will not produce a society
 > with abundance in one places and sprawling'
 > favella ghettoes a few hundred meters away
 > from that?

Scandinavian societies have *always* been more
egalitarian, and that stems far more from their
basic culture than from the lately adopted
semi-socialist economics. The smorgasbord came
from up there for a reason.

On the contrary, very under capitalized societies
in Latin America, for example, were extremely
inequal---and this was *not* caused by rampant

 > ### But did the cotton picker cause structural unemployement? People
 > dying of hunger? No, it didn't. A few million people had to retrain
 > and moved to better circumstances, everybody else got to wear cheaper
 > clothes, all self-regulating processes without any government help.
 > Nice you give an example in support of my "dangerously naive"
 > statement.

Dagon wants a starker example. The enclosure acts
in England forced hundreds of thousands off their
lands---where it must be emphasized that they were
living in unbelievable squalor already---into towns
where there was factory work now to be had. There
were transition costs that were indeed heavy, but
in a couple of generations, the enormous wealth
from English factories got much better dispersed
among the people, and standards of living in England
rose for the first time ever above Malthusian levels.

 > > And what if all available food costs money?
 > > > ### Well, how does that differ from today?
 > Oh good grief that is ignorant.

What? Are so many of you people *congenitally*
incapable of exchanging posts at a sustained
intellectual level without making such statements?

 >     ### 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?
 > It happens in most of the third world. The end result is millions of
 > people living on top of each other, in miserable, crowded, violent
 > conditions.

Pray tell, just what examples do you have in mind?

They're only "miserable" and crowded according to
your standards. Talk to the people. They never
had it so good. If you think that things are bad,
try to find out how they lived 100 years ago.

 > Worse, we have examples it happened in
 > Russia, in the 1990s. People fell back from a
 > livable existence and (through external change)
 > lost most economic power they had and fell back
 > to a level of misery.

These changes were made most unwillingly by the
Soviet leaders. Their system simply wasn't working
and they knew it.

It will take generations for them to learn how
to be capitalist again, not that *Russians* ever
had great strengths in this area. It's wrong to
blame their lack of rule of law and respect for
private property on the disintegration of a
system that wasn't working and was headed for
even worse.
It took the west hundreds of years to develop
the wealth producing traditions and institutions.
The countries of Eastern Europe, are recovering
faster from socialism because they lived under
it for a shorter time.

 > Poeple living in the most expensive city of
 > third world pensions and incomes. Very limited health care.

Again, are you aware of what it was like 70 or 80
years ago? You seem to think that a smoothly functioning
free-market society with relatively little corruption
is just the natural state, and it gets disrupted by
sinister forces. No, it takes many generations to
break free of backwardness.

That's why so many people in those countries would
like to live in the U.S., but they can't get in.

 > ### Do you think that third world countries have
 > market economies? You may be divorced from
 > knowledge of the economy.

I agree with Rafal about that.


 > People have limited skills and ability to do meaningful work.
 > There is a limited demand for complex and highly rewarded work.
 > People are left doing simple jobs and as a consequence cannot improve
 > themselves.
 > Large amounts of people are doing machinelike jobs.
 > Machines become available, in the span of a decade (2015-2025) than can
 > replace simple jobs.
 > Simple jobs are replaced by machines.
 > Pay for jobs decreases below the value of having machines do the job.
 > People who do simple jobs can not find jobs that pay them enough to live
 > humane existences
 > US and EU society stratifies into a "rio de janearo model"
 > Many will claim, like people always did "something like that will never
 > happen here"
 > Rightwing and "free market" ideologies blame the unemployed to secure
 > their value systems.
 > Left wing and "socialist" ideologies start implementing statist,
 > wasteful bureaucracies
 > Black markets fill the gap and large criminal syndicates develop.
 > Society dehumanizes. We end up in a world where I do not want to live.

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list