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  #32291  
Old Today, 07:56 AM
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PeppermintPatty PeppermintPatty is offline
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Originally Posted by Eimon Gnome View Post
I dispute your reading of history. The Gilded Age and all.

Workers did not get their share. Nothing like it. It lead to extreme violence. During the Pullman Strike, there were literally armies battling over territory. National guard on one side, armed laborers on the other. Is that what you are expecting this time? Cuz that is a rather bleak outlook. Armed rebellion?

Example: after the Haymarket Square riot in Chicago, the residents of the North Shore (Chicago's wealthier suburb) requested and received a standing army. The government built Fort Sheridan. The fort wasn't built there to protect us from any foreign invasion - it was there to put down any civil unrest.
This. The rise of the middle class was largely fueled by tax policy. Otherwise, those that have more also have the resources to get a larger share of the future. We are axing that tax policy, and we'll pay for it.
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  #32292  
Old Today, 08:29 AM
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Machines have been taking our jobs for the entire history of the US. The long term trend (but not a smooth line) has been that productivity gains end up getting shared with workers. What's different this time?


If self-driving trucks save consumers money, then they have more money to spend on something else. We can't foresee what that will be, but it seems there should be jobs.
I don't think there is a reason to believe that machines won't be better at those jobs too.

Somewhere along the line, we reached an inflection point. Probably around the development of integrated circuits. Machines are getting better, faster than humans are. Do productivity gains end up getting shared with workers who can no longer produce competitive work? That's what I'm worried about.

We're certainly not there yet. u/e is below 5% and many employers are having a hard time finding skilled workers. I'm fairly confident that we're going to get there someday though. And I think there is a good chance that it starts to happen within my lifetime. The transition from, "You work for your keep," to "Society will take care of you even if you can't work for you keep," will be really rough unless we start getting comfortable with it now. In order for us to get comfortable with it, there are some notions that I think need to be shed.

- Self-worth is inextricably tied to the value of the work you do
- Everyone needs to work 40 hours / week to contribute
- If you work 40 / week or more, but can't make it on your salary/benefits, then you don't have a "real job" and need to get one
- Healthcare is a privilege that goes only to those who can afford it
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  #32293  
Old Today, 08:50 AM
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Machines have been taking our jobs for the entire history of the US. The long term trend (but not a smooth line) has been that productivity gains end up getting shared with workers. What's different this time?
In the old days we invented things that Below Average IQ people could help build and run.
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  #32294  
Old Today, 08:55 AM
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In the old days we invented things that Below Average IQ people could help build and run.
What do you call the IT department?
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  #32295  
Old Today, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Eimon Gnome View Post
I dispute your reading of history. The Gilded Age and all.

Workers did not get their share. Nothing like it. It lead to extreme violence. During the Pullman Strike, there were literally armies battling over territory. National guard on one side, armed laborers on the other. Is that what you are expecting this time? Cuz that is a rather bleak outlook. Armed rebellion?

Example: after the Haymarket Square riot in Chicago, the residents of the North Shore (Chicago's wealthier suburb) requested and received a standing army. The government built Fort Sheridan. The fort wasn't built there to protect us from any foreign invasion - it was there to put down any civil unrest.
Good point. Politics matter. I've argued that over the last 35 years, politics mattered more than technology. That's what is "different this time", not the four items you listed.

Workers got their share in the 20th century because the elites were afraid of armed rebellion. We could give other data points, the execution of Czar Nicholas, the Bonus Army march on Washington, sit down strikes in Detroit. They forced changes to laws that gave workers a chance against the owners.

Or, if not armed rebellion, at least voting power. Two months after V-E day, the British voters kicked out the heroic Churchill and elected the Labour party. Labour promptly nationalized "major industries and utilities including the Bank of England, coal mining, the steel industry, electricity, gas, telephones and inland transport including railways, road haulage and canals." That will get US stockholders' attention. Maybe it's better to accept some union organizing.

I think US wages have been stagnant, while productivity increased, because political decisions changed. A very important decision was outside the US - Chinese rulers decided to get into the Western trade system. In the US, the fall of the Soviet Union marked the end of the socialism vs. communism debate. Owners decided they could outsource work, import cheap labor, shift taxes down the pyramid, break unions, .... with impunity.

Very broad US history: In colonial times and the early US, labor got its share because the frontier gave workers an out. When the land filled up, and immigrants kept coming, owners got more because there were so many workers. Then workers fought back, shut down immigration, get the right to unionize, ... and got their share back up. When communism collapsed, owners gained the political clout, broke unions, exported work, etc.

Technology was improving all that time, but labor's share didn't go up smoothly, because of shifting political power.
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  #32296  
Old Today, 05:01 PM
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Technology was improving all that time, but labor's share didn't go up smoothly, because of shifting political power.
And so, back to the starting point. With the technology changes today, we should expect very little benefit to accrue to labor given the political climate today. And the question of "What has changed?" is answered: political power now resides firmly in the capitalists camp.

Things will not "even out" on their own. It will require rewriting some of the rules, or labor is screwed.
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