samantha sjatkins at mac.com
Thu Jun 3 22:40:42 UTC 2010

Adrian Tymes wrote:
> --- On Thu, 6/3/10, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Remember that technology would not stop advancing, so we
>> could
>> reasonably expect that over time, a smaller and smaller
>> fraction of
>> the population would have marketable skills.
> This is the central flaw in the argument.  As people's
> current skill set becomes non-marketable, people eventually
> tend to acquire marketable skills to replace them.  (Yes,
> there are some who never do.  Those retire, while new
> workers who start off with marketable skills come in to the
> market.

They may retire to being street people or simply not make it.  This too 
happens.  The implied assumption that it is just a matter of willpower 
of deciding to learn something new is very debatable.   Look at the IQ 
curve.  How much IQ do you think is needed to become a programmer vs 
having been an assembly line worker?  Oh, but you can get a job in 
construction?  Nope, too many of those workers with less to do and more 
automation.  You can work in a restaurant or burger joint?  Perhaps, if 
you have the disposition and your burger joint does not become automated 
itself as many are likely to.  The point is that there may not be 
anything at all left that pays well for a person of a certain level of 
intelligence as the society advances technologically.   And there is 
nothing real that says there must be a workable niche for every human 
being that breathes.   There is some pretty theory that it will always 
work out but the reality is not so pretty.  I am not saying this is 
necessarily something we both can and should fix or at least not without 
MNT and/or being able to raise anyone's IQ we please.

>   The advent of extreme longevity may skew this,
> because older workers will have less incentive to retire,
> and thus are more likely to eventually acquire marketable
> skills; indeed, this effect can already be observed, even
> with today's relatively modest lifespan increases.)
Assuming for a moment that they are capable of learning marketable new 
skills, where exactly are they getting the funds to acquire these 
skills?  Even if all the knowledge needed plus certification is freely 
available on the web, how do they support themselves in the meantime?

- samantha
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