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Author Topic: chicken plucking  (Read 1709 times)
sledgehammer
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« on: June 09, 2012, 09:22:53 pm »

Lets say that the kids at Georgia Tech come up with a commercially feasible robotic chicken deboner.  Lets say that, as a result, 4000 human chicken deboners lose their job at ACME Chickens, Inc..  ACME still puts out the same number of chickens, and still makes the same revenue from chicken sales.  But ACME's owners no longer have to pay the 4000 chicken deboners.  So ACME's owners keep a lot more of the revenue.

Isn't this what has been happening since the early 1800s, when the industrial revolution began?  And hasn't the promise all along been that the end result of all these labor-saving improvements will be a better life for the masses....more free time to read, to paint, to live?  And if not, why do we bother?  Just to put more money into the pockets of the rich and less in the pockets of the masses?  And train the 4000 former ACME employees to perform some new drudgery?  Or condescend and give them some sort of "welfare," to keep them from starving?

In sum, does anyone have an idea of how we can prevent these new labor saving devices from adding to current income disparities?

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Lyn
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Posts: 652



« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2012, 11:27:38 pm »

Indeed it has, though in recent years the increase in the disparity of wealth has increased - with wealth being more and more concentrated in the hands of fewer people and the gap between the rich and the poor growing. 
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MarkGrieveson
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Posts: 531


« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2012, 07:22:40 am »

I agree that the dream world that was presented in the Jetsons doesn't exist (IE, that machines will do our mundane chores so that we can sit back and relax more).  In fact, there's less spare time for regular workers now than there was when the Jetsons came out (in the 1960s).  The middle class is shrinking and people are more in debt. 

I think such automation changes the entire landscape in ways that are unexpected.  So, rather than maintaining the exact same production quota and market share, ACME would now have an opportunity to expand and crush various smaller businesses, increasing its marketing focus as it does so.  Farmers would have less choice whom they could sell their chickens to, and likely would make less money per chicken.  ACME would need more chickens as it expanded, and would want to cut shipping expenses.  So, a few factory farms would begin to take over many family farms, to supply the need at ACME more efficiently.  Farmers and former chicken deboners would now find jobs in marketing or retail (typically low paid jobs), with some in maintenance of machines (and the manufacture of machines, until these jobs are shipped overseas.)  ACME executives' salaries would skyrocket.  For regular workers, basically the type of work that people do would shift from manufacturing to retail or service, with far less perks than previous workers had received.  And the poor chickens would be crowded in horrendous conditions.  Alas, a far cry from the Jetsons.
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bigpaws
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Posts: 1862


« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2012, 07:34:25 am »

If there was only one area the system failed in the US, the fix would be easier.

There are so many areas that failed slowly over a period of time.

My original reply became soap box grew to a podium .. I degress.

The systemic changes could have come from those elected.
Now those changes will come from the masses.

Bigpaws





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stretchedthin
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2012, 09:41:43 am »

This is actually a good example of why trickle down economics is fatally flawed.  When the rich are allowed to keep more of there money (due to lower tax rates)....
1. They are likely to hold on to the money (waiting for markets to open up, or other opportunity.)
and
2. They are just as likely if not more so to invest in the type of machinery that Sledgehammer is talking about, and as a result actually create less jobs but more product.

Economies trickle up, not down.  Give the poor to middle class a tax break during a down economy and they will spend the money during that down economy.  Creating jobs and employment as a result.
Give the rich money during a down economy and they will hold on to it waiting for richer opportunities to come.

In short the rich are motivated to get the money of the masses by producing goods and services, which produce jobs.
If we just give the money to the "Job Creators" directly then they have it, and the masses don't, and they don't need to create a single job to get it.

Trickle down is absurd.

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nightflier
Administrator
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Posts: 4038



« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2012, 11:50:07 am »

Then there is the question of how to keep the labor force in line.

Back in the old days, it was simple. People were property. They were disposable. The rulers could amass great wealth and keep it for themselves. With that kind of resources you could build yourself a pyramid or a temple, and make yourself a deity.

Now, it's more complicated. The laborers have gained knowledge and power. They can't just be brutally beat into submission. They need to be manipulated in some other way. Some techniques are ageless, like the threat of an external enemy. What would an administration do without some kind of war to justify the suspension of liberties and the hoarding of power? Religion is also a useful tool. Then there needs to be some kind of carrot in addition to the stick. Lotteries work well, because they are financed by the same people you want to control, and the proceeds can be taxed.
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Lyn
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Posts: 652



« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2012, 10:48:29 pm »

One of the most successful companies in the UK is the John Lewis Partnership, who own a chain of department stores and the Waitrose supermarket chain.  They don't have employees, they have partners.  Everyone who has worked for them a year becomes a partner, they can't sell their share but get to participate in profit sharing and they elect the board that runs the company.  In effect its a cooperative.  Their chief executive's pay is tied to a multiple of the average partner's wage and earns considerably less than his peers in similar companies.  Maybe that would be a better model to consider.
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Pita
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Posts: 1319


« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2012, 12:41:12 am »

The bushman in the Kalahari desert needed only 16 hours of work a week to fill all his needs. Envious?
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nitehawk
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Just me.


« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2012, 12:05:55 pm »

The bushman in the Kalahari desert needed only 16 hours of work a week to fill all his needs. Envious?

Ahhhhhhh yes,...but we (on the other hand)...have become oh, so very spoiled to our modern conveniences.
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