Automation Threatens Jobs But Offers Financial Freedom

By Brian Berletic

Despite sensational headlines and opportunistic politicking regarding the threat automation poses to socioeconomic stability, with a fully informed, properly educated population, more opportunities than threats lie ahead of us in the near future.

Automation has since the Industrial Revolution replaced human jobs with machines. As technology advances and automation evolves, the socioeconomic landscape of human civilization has evolved with it.

For instance, the initial Industrial Revolution disrupted centuries of multidisciplinary crafts and trades where a cottage industry consisting of individuals or small groups of people carried out the entire process of production.  As technology merges information with the physical world, processes like 3D design, personal manufacturing, business administration, marketing, and even logistics are beginning to merge again.

So are fears that automation will displace human labor and disrupt socioeconomic stability warranted? Yes and no.

In China, according to MIT Technology Review’s article, “China Is Building a Robot Army of Model Workers,” millions of workers face potential unemployment as factories replace thousands of jobs at a time as automation advances and robotics improve.

The article notes that:

Millions of low-skilled migrant workers found employment in gigantic factories, producing an unimaginable range of products, from socks to servers.

And herein lies the problem: a poorly educated, low-skilled workforce. For low-skilled workers, robots are indisputably a threat. Once they lose their job, finding employment elsewhere becomes a necessity. As these workers continue to move away from companies replacing human labor with automation, competition for remaining jobs suitable for low-skilled workers increases.

To solve this problem, social, economic, and political elites have attempted to float the idea of a “universal basic income.” The Guardian in its article, “Universal basic income trials being considered in Scotland,” would report:

The concept of a universal basic income revolves around the idea of offering every individual, regardless of existing welfare benefits or earned income, a non-conditional flat-rate payment, with any income earned above that taxed progressively. The intention is to provide a basic economic platform on which people can build their lives, whether they choose to earn, learn, care or set up a business.

However utopian or empathetic such a concept may seem, it essentially seeks to place millions, if not billions of people under the control of highly centralized special interests, many of which will simultaneously monopolize all means of production. Such a scenario invites immense abuse with a population so hopelessly dependent on these centralized special interests, should abuse take place, little or nothing could keep it in check.

A Look at an Alternative Future

However, real solutions to expanding automation and the jobs it threatens do exist, offering an alternative future.

In addition to expanding automation and advancing robotics, another trend should be noted. As advanced manufacturing improves, the cost of automation decreases while utilizing it becomes more accessible. For a properly informed and educated population, automation then offers an opportunity to take highly centralized industries providing a handful of investors immense profits, and decentralize both the industries themselves and the profits made within them.

Instead of the auto industry replacing all jobs with automation and providing unemployed, poorly educated workers with a universal basic income they will be hopelessly dependent for their lives and their children’s lives, properly educated workforces facing unemployment can simply utilize automation themselves to compete with and take a market share from auto monopolies.

Such a scenario was described in a special report published by USA Today titled, “Automation puts jobs in peril.”

It tells the tale of small companies and even individuals leveraging advanced automation technology to create their own businesses, sidestepping both inevitable unemployment working at larger firms and the servile dependence they would face sustaining themselves on a subsidized universal basic income. However, in order to do this, individuals must acquire the skills necessary to successfully adopt and apply automation.

The report states:

Maxi Cifarelli, 25, of Baltimore, peers through safety goggles at a flat screen, her left knee bent and heel resting on her chair.

Two years after earning a fine arts degree from Towson University with a specialty in interdisciplinary object design, she now spends her work days working with a personality-free machine with a name to match: a computer numerical control, or CNC, router.

With automation poised to sweep through the economy, some fear that it will kill more jobs than it creates.

But Cifarelli’s experience is the opposite. She befriended automation, instead of fighting it, and she has a job because of it.

The report highlights industries under threat by robotics and artificial intelligence. Restaurant workers, journalists, bookkeepers, shelf-stockers all face unemployment. However, the means of automating these jobs could just as easily be adopted by individuals or small, local companies to make their own automated restaurants, news platforms, accounting firms, or logistical services.

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Instead of a population of laborers toiling under centralized special interests, there lies the possibility of a population of entrepreneurs maintaining a highly decentralized mesh of small businesses leveraging automation, information technology, and other innovations.

But the same special interests floating the concept of a universal basic income are attempting to head this possibility off at the pass as well.

Quartz in an article titled, “The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates,” would report that:

Robots are taking human jobs. But Bill Gates believes that governments should tax companies’ use of them, as a way to at least temporarily slow the spread of automation and to fund other types of employment.

The article would also note that the money earned from the taxes would go to retraining unemployed laborers for other jobs, and “jobs” that likely exclude the utilization of automation for entrepreneurial enterprises. And, like all other taxes, immense corporations heavily dependent on automation will inevitably find ways of influencing legislation and regulations to escape paying their fair share, meaning that those small and medium enterprises will be hit hardest. The consequence of this is an even faster acceleration toward highly centralized industry and a population dangerously dependent on subsidized incomes.

Shifting Our Thinking

Avoiding this dystopian future requires a paradigm shift in current thinking. The employee-employer paradigm is dissolving before our eyes, and what ends up taking its place is entirely up to us.

Makerspaces, hackerspaces, design studios and small companies leveraging automation that provide internships all offer a starting point for establishing a wider effort to prepare the population to be liberated by decentralized automation rather than shackled by centralized automation and universal basic incomes.

Seeing through utopian talking points, and grasping the true implications of concepts like universal basic income and taxing robots is important in developing policy and paradigms that serve the majority’s best interests rather than the small handful of special interests attempting to move their own agenda forward.

Ultimately, self-interest will drive unfolding events. If special interests are able to efficiently implement the centralization of automation, prevent competition through robotic taxes targeting small and medium businesses, and create a population dependent on these interests through subsidized income schemes, it is likely a dystopia will emerge.

Should these schemes be exposed, their implementation delayed, hampered, or otherwise disrupted, self-interest across populations seeking socioeconomic security may begin shifting away from employee-employer paradigms and toward a future of decentralized, balanced entrepreneurship.

You can read more from Brian Berletic at the site Wishful Thinking, where this article first appeared.

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29 Comments on "Automation Threatens Jobs But Offers Financial Freedom"

  1. We look into the future and envision this scenario: human labor is no longer needed for the production of most goods; robots can do most any repeatable task as well or better than humans. On the one hand, this makes humanity as a group more powerful and more wealthy. On the other hand, if a traditional economic struggle for income share between capital and labor, the leverage of labor in terms of its necessity to production has gone to zero. Can the mass of working age people then become part of the capital side of production or some corner of design labor that is not occupied by robots and is now expanded like never before due to lowered costs of mass production?? That can happen in some places, but it is unlikely to happen on a large scale. The reason is that there are many, many stages to producing a complex good, and capital only needs to control one or more of those stages – e.g. intellectual property/patents, logistic distribution, advertising, legal defense, etc… to control the overall chain. Basic income is one solution. Some others that could compliment it or provide alternatives: 1) increased democratization of corporate equity and dividend streams, 2) income tied to activities that improve the welfare of an individual and their immediate community, regardless of world market economic value.

    • Basic income has become the false dilemma we are to choose from in a highly centralized system of control. Nearly 20 years ago, I read a report of an analysis on government and social waste. The researchers calculated if waste was eliminated, we would only need an eleven hour work week to maintain our current lifestyles and basic comforts. No stack and pack cities or 90 sq ft “apartments” or basic income tied with endless “strings”. (Did you and your children get your mandatory vaccinations?)

      • I don’t see the logic in your connection between the concept of basic income and govt. strings. Compared to an alternative like the govt. providing basic food stamps, housing stamps, healthcare stamps, etc. that could be redeemed for essential living components, basic income is the least restrictive concept. People have the money and can use it without strings. In practice, some kinds of strings would likely be sensible – e.g. someone who keeps ending up in drug or alcohol rehab might get basic income in much smaller (less convenient, but safer) chunks. Anything can be potentially abused by govt. One can imagine all sorts of wrongheaded “strings”, but that is not a necessary part of the concept. On the libertarian/conservative side of things, one needs to acknowledge that govt. plays a huge role in controlling what counts as property and who has access to it. Govt. policies about intellectural property rights – patents, trademarks, copyrights, physical spaces (don’t come on my private beach I inherited from my great grand daddy,…) etc. Govt. taxes to pay for roads, police, etc. and not everyone gets an equal economic return on those benefits. It’s best to step outside the box and think hard about what the future can and should look like. Technological advances are making society as a whole richer all the time, so a correct policy should imply that is going to be true for most of the human beings as well.

        • The simple vaccine example has already been an issue in Australia where parents are threatened with loss of government subsidies if they don’t follow the vaccine schedule.

          China’s Social Credit Score system is already being developed for the rest of the world, this is Technocracy, as is the Basic Income concept. It doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be, but that’s the reality. This is why William Lansing, CEO of FICO said what a person says on Facebook or other social media should be a part of their credit score and to this end FICO is developing a new a program to calculate credit scores. Need to step outside of the Matrix to grasp the problem, reaction, solution aspect of a strictly authoritarian global Technocracy, designed to be a Skinner-Pavlovian-Delgado system of continuous carrot and stick social conditioning. Can we wrestle this control grid and the deep capture of capital and resources away from TPTB? Perhaps when a tipping point of the public consciousness can fathom they are being sprayed daily, observing the skies overhead outside – that is to say, when their trance like spell dissipates enough to connect ALL of the dots.

          • Vaccine requirements are based on social contact situations. I don’t see any real connection to basic income vs. alternatives issue.

          • Well then, I suppose you don’t notice the chemtrails either, or wonder what 9/11 has to do with the rise of a global police state (Technocracy, or as Brzezinski calls it, the “Technotronic Era”). Social contract for mandatory autoimmune disorder, gut dysbiosis, and macrophage delivery of aluminum into the brain? Come on, even if you don’t subscribe to “conspiracy theories” you would understand the strings aspect argument from a conventional ‘conservative’ limited govt point of view – but oops, I guess the intel operation to shift Libertarian minded folks and Tea Party types to the left requires some hear, speak, and see no evil verbal waltzing.

          • The classic …”I’m just a gigolo” …comes to mind (lol)

          • Hopelessly compartmentalized. You nailed it. Thanks, again. Cheers.

          • What you call “compartmentalized” sounds like what other people call “taking an analytical approach to an issue or policy”. I say there is no logical connection between these two things and you say “Someone connected them in Australia for some set of vaccines”. You apparently believe that makes a stunningly good, slam dunk, argument against the concept of basic income, while I see it as making no argument at all. If the same politicans in Australia had passed a law requiring some vaccine in order to get a driver’s license would you be advocating against automobiles or public roadways??

          • Because you can’t fathom an example of draconian strings attached to government subsidy as being relevant to global Technocracy – which is exactly what you are supporting whether you know it or not, is not my failing it’s yours. MIT PhD commenting on World Socialist websites perhaps with a blind spot or hiding a position working as a meme seeder similar to agents showing up on other alt websites?
            One advantage to having formally studied neuroscience is it’s easier to spot meme seeding and when someone is trying to gaslight me.
            I know exactly what Global Technocracy is designed to be. If you don’t know then you should do your homework. If you do know and think it’s worth promoting behind the shadows, then come out into the light and put it squarely on the table to be fully scrutinized by the people who will be tightly contained under a strict surveillance state.

          • Bravo!

          • That’s because you’ve chosen ‘not to see’… to earn your filthy lucre & please your psy-op/ spin-doc ‘Handlers’ TROLL!

          • How does the concept of basic income imply anything about vaccines, one way or the other?

          • I spoke of strings and used the Australia example. You missed that?

          • Which just proved to me that you simply lack the acumen to comprehend what ‘blue579’ just stated above…. with regards to ‘Social Credit Scoring’ TECHNOCRACY with ‘Energy Credits’…not looming on the horizon but overshadowing us all…Welcome to Agenda 2030…that almost every country in the world has signed on to.

          • Blue produced the Australian model as the example of basic income directly tied to vaccines. Please re-read every reply rather than simply glossing over it.

          • Hopelessly ‘compartmentalized’ as well I see.

          • This person is either a completely conditioned & inculcated hynozomb …or …is a blatant TROLL uploading his Archie Bunker ‘Meme’ platitudes of carefully articulated specious obscurantism of abject propaganda

    • “Increased democratization of corporate equity & dividend streams” hahahahahaha!…gottaluv this boardroom NWO Globalist spin nomenclature of specious rhetoric with a #2) addendum of a ‘warm & fuzzy’ Nanny State pseudo consciousness of ‘caring’ …placating the inherent fears provoked & unconsciously elicited by the corporate state….slick as Shinola psy-op/ spin-doc doublespeak.

  2. It’s not just low-skilled labour that is being threatened by AI/automation. Doctors, lawyers, architects, etc will also be replaced; as much as 80% of all jobs will go.

    It has long since been predicted that only 20% of the working-age population will suffice to keep the wheels running smoothly for the elite. The rest – 80% – will be “tittytained” / distracted and on welfare, barely maintained on the poverty level of subsistence.

  3. The kind of income the beast would give would be very poor living standards as are all of the so-called low income housing.
    Although, I feel safety nets are fine and may not go far enough to hang onto one’s home in time of crisis.
    The gubbers in the east would, no doubt pull strings as Blue579 has pointed out, as in get your vaccines and eat your 3d printed phood ya worm.

  4. If we are only labor to the elite what happens to us when our labor has no value?

  5. This article is total bullshit. There doesn’t need to be “entrepreneurship”, business, money, banking, government, taxes, or any other bullshit promoted by the ruling psychopaths. People’s minds have been controlled and imprisoned by all of this bullshit, so they cannot see how we can live without their money, their system, their poisons, and their lies.

    Free energy, as well as healing technologies that work with sound, light, energy, and frequency have all been suppressed by the ruling psychopaths. The Rife machine could destroy diseases based on their unique energetic frequencies. Nutrition is more important to health than toxic pharmaceutical drugs with many side effects. 3D printing can make corporate manufacturing obsolete. These technologies, once released, will destroy the current money-business slavery paradigm. An open-source environment where everything is free of cost is what is needed.

    • Fully agree. And it is coming, it is said. Healing in the above described way, health, happiness increases, longer life. No more killing “healing medicines” by Big-killing-you Pharma medicines.
      Big Pharma it is now known is a big scam.
      A slogan about Big Pharma:
      “They care not for your health, they care for customers.”

    • The article literally says what you said which means you didn’t even bother reading through it.

      What hope do we have as a society when grown adults ramble for two paragraphs about a headline they misinterpreted and an article they didn’t even bother to read?

  6. Do not let them fool you, people. This is to keep you calm. They give a damn about us.
    Money, money, money is what counts.

    We are booked by them as a “commodity” and later on as “an eater”. We know what they think of 7,000,000,000 eaters? 6,500.000.000 will be marked as redundant.
    Plan of The Khazarian Mafia including The Banksters.

  7. In case it isn’t clear from my comments, I’m not exactly a Luddite who disparages use of technology. I do though feel some consideration needs given its use. I do not want to see “Basic Income” toted out for people. At one time, I thought such may have been a “good idea”. After seeing it re-framed in a different point of view, which I now agree with, I can see it is a “terribly BAD idea”.

    Perhaps, Ubuntu Contributionism might hold one aspect or vector of solving our problem/s. I do not know it would one hundred percent, nor do I know it would not. I always return to “well why not try it, or something at least?” So far it seems I face the same response, “lack of will”. Lack of will still ensures we have starvation in the world too.

    Food First, an independent organization has studied the “hunger problem” for over forty years. They conclude the same as I do. Their research points out that enough is grown yearly now, everyone on the planet could be guaranteed at least four pounds of food a day. This is only counting grains, they suggest adding in fruits & veggies, nuts, algae, bugs (if you really want to go that far) and everyone would have well over four pounds daily at an indefinite rate of time, possibly infinitely. It’s not done though simply due to lack of will.

    That evokes a great sense of pride in for being human. Yes, that last sentence was flooded with sarcasm. To me it seems clear, let’s ensure no one goes hungry. If we did this though I’m sure we could then also provide freely accessible and adequate medical care to everyone too. After all most pharmaceuticals largely in part come from plant based derived product. If we’re growing plants anyway, might as well grow plenty of medicinal ones as well. And oh look, we have plants helping to take CO2 and other nasty stuff out of the atmosphere once we increase growing for food and medicine.

    People would possibly then also learn to come into balance with the Earth as they grew foods and medicines. Gee, seems like a bit of a winning idea to me. Nah, we’ll just accept lack of will and go on to our suicides, thanks.

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