[ExI] dead weight

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Wed May 15 07:43:15 UTC 2019

Quoting Bill Wallace:

> We've talked about it before, to no conclusion.  Maybe we still  
> don't have any answers but maybe we need to talk again.
> The immigrants who come in to pick peas and so on are going to be  
> dead weight when mechanical harvesters are up to the job, as Spike  
> said.  As we all know, this is happening everywhere and will only  
> get worse as tech and nano tech and AI improve.
> So should we keep immigrants out now because they are going to be  
> dead weight later?  Even if so, what are we going to do with the  
> dead weight we have and the added weight from future tech toss-asides?

The problem of how to deal with tech-displaced workers is a problem  
that will affect all of us, not just immigrants. Sure one can argue  
that there will always be new high-tech jobs opening up to service  
emerging technologies but the number of those jobs will never keep  
pace with the number of people that will need them who are otherwise  
completely qualified to do the job. In other words, demand for skilled  
labor will always lag behind supply in an increasingly automated  
world. What to do with the surplus qualified professionals who would  
also be "dead weight"?

> Just as we pay farmers (that is, giant corporations) not to plant  
> things, we can pay people to stay home, as we have no use for them  
> outside of picking up trash, etc.

How about we send them back to school and pay them a stipend until  
they learn something industry or government needs? Like a universal  
basic income with the crucial difference that they are required to  
learn skills that society may need at some future date in exchange for  
their keep. Kind of like a "ready reserve" of skilled labor?

> Another issue:  98 countries according to Google have birth rates  
> below replacement.  Result:  fewer people working to support the  
> retired and to pay off debts.

Test tube babies and artificial wombs? To be honest, as far as  
dystopian futures go, I would prefer Huxley's "Brave New World" over  
Orwell's "1984" any day.

> Japan wants to increase the birth rate
> but will probably not succeed. Fewer mouths to feed seem like a big  
> , plus to me, but what about the debts?  I can't start this  
> conversation as I have no financial sense.

That's an interesting question: When you borrow money from future  
generations who don't end up being born, does the debt still exist?  
Did it ever actually exist in the first place?

Stuart LaForge

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