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#309203 - 11/05/18 05:54 PM Re: the economy [Re: Greger]
pondering_it_all Offline
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Registered: 02/27/06
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There's a logical fallacy in there: Just because machines don't buy widgets, doesn't mean people disappear. They just get other jobs and continue to buy widgets. Buying widgets is not dependent on people making them.

Of course, there have to be other jobs available! If there are none because machines make everything, then you might have a problem. Most of the hard-core unemployment problems are because people like coal miners don't want to move somewhere else where their are jobs not mining coal. No conceivable government action is going to bring back those coal mining jobs, nor should it.

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#309229 - 11/06/18 09:27 PM Re: the economy [Re: pondering_it_all]
Greger Online   content

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
Quote:
Of course, there have to be other jobs available! If there are none because machines make everything, then you might have a problem.

Yes, mightn't you. That's end game capitalism. At that point all the available capital is held by perhaps 100 people in the world. The rest have nothing and no money to buy widgets. The environment is destroyed and the planet becomes unlivable.
Those 100 people take all the money in the world and blast off to their 4 star resort on Mars to escape the apocalypse.
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#309245 - 11/07/18 02:35 AM Re: the economy [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
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That's a flight of fancy veering off into science fiction. And not even very good science fiction. I think LONG before all wealth belongs to 100 people, the peons decide it's fun to eat the rich.

What IS a possibility is that AI-enhanced people (or just AIs themselves) end up with enormous power and wealth simply because they are smarter than us. But part of their intelligence would be knowing how much of that wealth to share so we (normal humans) don't revolt. Or even express dissatisfaction with the system.

I read a nice series in which somebody taps into an interstellar "internet" of sorts and they download an AI that is better at business than anything human. In effect it's a virus for whole civilizations. The human who did it became very rich, but the corporate AI entities become the dominant part of the human economy.

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#309247 - 11/07/18 02:54 AM Re: the economy [Re: pondering_it_all]
Greger Online   content

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
Quote:
LONG before all wealth belongs to 100 people, the peons decide it's fun to eat the rich.

Yeah, Marx predicts revolution way before then. I'm not scared of robots or automation but the environmental issue is a big concern to me.
AIs might be able to make a lot of money doing rapid trading in the stock market. But they are still just machines that make money for their owners.
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#309251 - 11/07/18 05:48 AM Re: the economy [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
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Registered: 02/27/06
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What happened in the book is that these AIs incorporated, thus becoming "people" according to the Supreme Court. Then these corporations owned the majority of other AI corporation stocks. Thus, they effectively owned themselves. Actual people had no control over them, and they made sure the courts and politicians supported their "human" rights.

We don't have AIs anyway near as sophisticated. Remember they are many times smarter than any single human being. Our current AIs are idiot savants by comparison. But they are getting smarter...

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#309253 - 11/07/18 06:34 AM Re: the economy [Re: Greger]
NW Ponderer Offline
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Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 16303
Originally Posted By: Greger
Originally Posted By: Jeffery J. Haas
It is up to us, not Karl Marx, to decide how capitalism is allowed to function,


Capitalism is unsustainable. Take a look around you. We're wallowing in our own filth. The oceans are dying, the atmosphere is changing as we release more and more carbon into it. We are killing the very planet that sustains us. We decided long ago how capitalism would be allowed to function.
I agree more with Jeff than Greger on this point, but it is a close race...

Here's my .02: Karl Marx understood a lot of how capitalism was shaping society, but he was wrong that there was only one solution (which failed, btw). FDR was closer to right, which is why I agree with Jeff on that point. Capitalism, on its own, is unsustainable, but so is socialism. There are competing interests in every human: social and individual. The urge to be part of the social whole and care for each other, and the urge to be independent and get ahead. The various economic factions are just blends of both of these in different proportions.

Capitalism, by its very nature, is a socialist activity - it is the pooling of resources to obtain an economic goal (like a lottery pool), but the proceeds of capitalism are corrosive on both an individual and social level because they tend to become concentrated. Those that have, get the benefits, and those that don't, get the slag.

Socialism, by its nature, is altruistic - the greatest good for the greatest number - but can be unrealistic about the nature of humans. Humans are generally willing to participate if they see themselves getting something out of it, but participation drops off when the personal benefit becomes obscured.

The purpose of government, in my view, is to harness the benefits of society for the greatest number, and protect the most from the deprivations of the few, as well as the few from the deprivations of the many. It is a constant balancing act between individual benefit and social benefit. The best programs are well balanced between the two - Medicare, Social Security, the EPA are good examples. Universal Health Care would be another. The individual interest may be the most obvious - availability of medical care, protection from destitution, protection from environmental hazards - but the social benefits are actually larger.

What we need to do, as a country (and economy) is to allow ourselves to focus on the big picture rather than the circumscribed view we are being fed.

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#309254 - 11/07/18 12:50 PM Re: the economy [Re: jgw]
chunkstyle Offline
member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 1076
I'm sorry to have to ask this again but what was Karl Marx's solution?
I didn't realize he had a solution but if he did I would be keen to know what it was.

I do think he's described our current political/ economic situation very well with his conflict theory. The economic violence perpetrated on the working class and poor is fairly visible these days. Ditto on alienation and atomization of society due to economic forces. The devaluing of labor was also described as well as political capture.

I've looked for it but I haven't found a 'and this is the solution to my conflict theory' from Marx.

Anyone got a link to this Marx solution?


Edited by chunkstyle (11/07/18 12:52 PM)

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#309255 - 11/07/18 01:53 PM Re: the economy [Re: chunkstyle]
Ujest Shurly Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/16/16
Posts: 362
Loc: Sterling Heights, MI, USA
Originally Posted By: chunkstyle
Anyone got a link to this Marx solution?



Republican National Committee?


grin
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#309256 - 11/07/18 02:39 PM Re: the economy [Re: jgw]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 16303
I don't know if you're being deliberately rhetorically disingenuous, chunk, or you really know so little about Marx. Until I know the answer to that, I'm not too willing to expend much energy on the subject, but I will point to The Communist Manifesto for your erudition. I've pointed out many times that Marx himself was not a very good Marxist. In his philosophy, he argued that socialism would naturally occur as a result of the conflict between capital and labor, but in his life he actively sought to foment change.

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#309259 - 11/07/18 03:52 PM Re: the economy [Re: jgw]
chunkstyle Offline
member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 1076
That was cruel Unjest!

Thanks NWP, I do know little of Marx but have been working to change that. Reading Capitol for the moment and not the Communist Manifesto.
Also boning up on French revolution and its impacts.
I'll add it to the list but I wonder at the idea of it's tried and failed, no need to discuss it further. Excuse my skepticism but I take nothing for granted when it comes to political or economic opinions these days. It's for that reason that I have worked at Capitol. So far, to me anyway, it's a tough road to hoe but what does seep thru seems pretty accurate to circumstances of today. Labor theory, value theory and conflict theory are what I'm wrapping the brain around but, limited as I am, it does have a ring of truth in it as an explanation of and a critique for capitalism.
I'll continue to hold off on judgement of whether or not 'it's been tried and failed' is accurate or even meaningful. Failed at what? China comes to mind.As does Russia. Both suffered prolonged assaults from western capitalist regimes that capitalism did not have to endure, correct? State violence has been the common tool for smaller vassal states, proxy war and economic blockade for the larger communist states.
How long did the process of moving from the feudal system to capitalism take? Was it successful everywhere and at once? I ask because that seems to be a rationale to closing discussion on a very important alternative form of social ordering. Asking doesn't mean endorsing.

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