Another AX: WORK

Another AX: WORK

Take a look at all of those skyscrapers in New York City, Tokyo, Seoul, etc. What do you think all of those office workers actually “do” ? Do you really think they are actually producing anything ? Are they needed for anything except being a place holder - a figment of imaginary labor - work, to justify billions of dollars of money transfers amongst the already and only ever going to be rich ? The truth is work in general is no longer needed, is destined to become obsolete no matter what anyone says or thinks or desires.

The calculation is easy to do: there are 200 million office workers worldwide, information workers, “knowledge” workers, research workers, “innovation”, and research and development and all of the other mega Bull Shit terms and expressions the modern economist love to talk about. So exactly what are they discovering - improving - creating ? Absolutely nothing except billions of dollars being robbed from the poor. But let’s look at it for what it really is: out of 200 million workers I would fanthom that only 1 out of 1,000 are creating anything, are really producing anything of lasting value, any real optimization, any real improvement, any real result, any real serialization of work as something that accumulates. But this is ok, the other 199 million are just running around in circles, they are essentially spinning their wheels, they are mostly just killing time and creating and solving imaginary problems, and playing the status game, office politics game, and creating useless meetings and every conceivable way to pretend to actually be working and doing something.

But those 200,000 that are actually optimizing, that are improving the little work processes that are left to do, those guys there are setting the stage to eliminate at least each 100 jobs as a minimum. For what is all of this research, optimization, innovation worth if it doesn’t cut costs, which in the end really means cut jobs ? And cut costs they will, no matter how inefficient they are becasue it is only natural that processes can slowly be improved and optimized. So 200,000 workers (the only ones that are actually serializing work, accumulating lasting results) will eventually each cut 100 jobs, so another 200 million unemployed workers will appear in the near future.

So the future of work is actually no work, hundreds of millions of unemployed, mass poverty, eventually starvation, thanks to the capitalists, success model of rich robbing everything from the poor. We need free salaries, and cheap rents since there will no longer be any possible work in the future. We need to get rid of the competition mentality, the me better than you idea, the idea of “earning” what you need, we need equality and everything must be furnished for free since automation and technology have essentially killed all possible work and will kill all work in the future.

Jobs are being manipulated globally in order to break the unions and move money upwards. Pretty soon food and water will be manipulated too, well, it already is to some alarming degree but it’s going to get much worse.

Sorry but I stand by capitalism it makes for a stronger healthier more intelligent human. Once humans no longer try to struggle to the top of the heap then humans become cattle.

You don’t understand: you won’t be choosing “capitalism” or whatever, the forces at play are going all in the same direction no matter what you or anyone wants. Optimization, automation, chinese or south korean scientists - engineers automating factories, creating production shortcuts, etc. etc. This will trickle through and translate into less costs which means somewhere and somehow less money to workers or less work. No matter what, this world is going towards the end of work, work is no longer needed, I know many people for one reason or another have no work, have nothing to do, even if they wanted to, because the modern production process is all geared towards the elimination of work. We better get this straight and not buy all the BS justifications of the economists that say more productivity, more research etc. will create new jobs. And in fact these are exactly the items that are eliminating work. More productivity and more research will kill jobs, not create new jobs, unless you consider dog walking a new “kind of job”, a new “service job”…

Slave or very cheap labor will always be required to some degree; and the ownership mentality is not just going to disappear either. Sometimes as a thought experiment I imagine what the world would be like if two economic parameters were to disappear: technology and land ownership. The possibilities are endless and, in my view, ultimately good.

Technology can only do so much. The Jetson’s and StarTrek living is a long long way off. In either case only those that prefer to be enslaved will be enslaved. If people cannot find work then what stops them from leaving the area? for any that truly wish to work and earn or be independent there will always be a place. Do you honestly think that here on earth is the only place for humans? Do you think only the land will be where humans live? Right now aquacultures are being developed. There will always be a niche for the human to work if that human so chooses. You have two feet you can pick up and move if you find no work. if you know people that are out of work and desire to work gather them together to form a co-op. Robots cannot do lawns clean houses babysit, paint homes build homes they cannot repair themselves, etc. There are many places where out of work people can form a viable work force to fill a niche. One person may not have enough resources but the many may. Working together is what we social creatures should be able to do best.

And ummmm, try taking my land from me jonquil, we worked our butts off for these acres. I take it you are pro Iminent domain ?

No matter where and how many people can build houses or cut the lawns (valid only in the US, most countries don’t have houses with lawns to cut, etc.) there is not enough work for too many people. We have huge excess capacity in all productive endeavors, Spain and the US, just to name 2 even very different countries built way too many homes and now have a glut of homes, the US may have 15 million empty homes, all of Europe from Lisbon to Moscow may have even more, they did all the right things, they built all the homes they could, but the system cannot support them without free salaries to millions of families that could use them.

The right wing thugs like to pretend there are these magical solutions, “technology destroys jobs but creates more jobs than destroyed”, or “go somewhere else where they are looking for your manpower”, etc to put the blame on the unemployed, to put the blame on the victim and not on the system: we live in automatic economies, work is disappearing at an alarming rate, there is no magical solution. We need free salaries and cheap rents, government owned, because the government is the people, the government is the nation as a whole, is the only real value, the collectivity, the individual is an egotistical criminal that wants to rob from the poor, wants to beat up the weak and kick them out of work. A central government that gives what the people need, and a progressive government that will use all the excess productive capacity for progress, the future, like space exploration, millions of skyscrapers, a society where the common good, and not the individual good is cherished. Exploration of the solar system and then the stars and planets, thousands of rockets, the future of humanity, a future of science and discovery, of an advanced civilization that puts all of its energy to use for progress, for the advancement of everyone, to share with everyone, to go higher and higher and further and further. Capitalism is a stone age system for violent - ancient apes that like to fight and have huge egos.

Sounds like excellent reasons to justify sittting on your butt playing online games all day. “Pay me to do nothing. I should not have to earn my keep, its owed to me. I can’t find a job and I don’t want to leave my home, woe is me I am a victim of a horrible system that actually tries to make me work.” Blah blah blah… The chronic victim speech. If there are no jobs make one if you don’t have the brain to be inventive find someone who does. Humanity will always have issues it owes no one anything. Be a victim or be a victor. Work is not scarce, backbones and brains are scarce.

No. I just like to imagine a world where people do not fight over land or property but rather share in its thoughtful use for the good of all.

Its a nice dream but what about the ones that kick back do nothing and still get their share of benefits? Should we be forced to share with those people? I am not speaking of handicapped people. Just those that prefer to let others work while they do nothing and trust me there are more of those people around than ever before.

But this is exactly how the system is being set up to be: I started out talking about 200 million office workers worldwide in skyscrapers who do a kind of comic book, make believe work, all mostly office politics, time wasting, changes and counterchanges all in the name of making it seem like they are working. The japanese salaryman for example has to wait until 10 at night to go home because he cannot leave before his boss, because of status relationships, not because there is real work to do in an office for 12 hours a day. In the US many stay more hours in the office, to show how “dedicated” they are mostly to the status and power structures that are put in place, to avoid being singled out as lazy, since going home early is a sign of being lazing, since what actually is being produced, which is really nothing at all, is totally irrelevant, only the status and power relationship counts and has any meaning, etc. so they won’t be the next on the layoff list.

The reason why so many millions can do no work at all in reality and get paid an essentially free salary, is because the economic system and its technology and energy resources has created a free ride: most work is automated, most endeavors can be accomplished easily, and in fact if they really wanted to optimize work you would have millions of more unemployed office workers, which will eventually happen anyway.

The real labor that is left to do, like building the skyscrapers, like working 12 hour shifts in Chinese factories is paid as little as possible (200 to 800 dollars a month), any real work tends to be paid less and less worldwide, while a majority of free loaders can live off the huge excess capacity and productivity of the semi automatic economic system. Only a few million slaves are really needed to provide most of the goods, to a rich workless majority: this process will continue, more optimization means less work, more free loaders, and eventually even less slaves, since robots will do all the work.

But we are still stuck with a moralistic, old fashioned, “you have to earn it” mentality when the economic system is telling us, this mode of thought no longer applies, the rules have changed, work is no longer needed, is destined to disappear whether you like it or not.

Take a look at all of those unemployed in the US, in Ireland, in Spain, etc. There are millions of them and tell them you are all lazy, you all want to play the victims, you don’t want to baby sit, or paint homes, or “invent” a new line of work: as if millions of people can’t figure out and invent all of these new kinds of jobs and work that are waiting to be discovered.

The Z80 microprocessor was designed by 2 top notch scientists (faggin, shima) in the 1970s and a few technicians in a one year period: maybe 10 man years, and that microprocessor, like many others has eliminated millions of jobs after 30 years. That is real work, productive work: we have millions of man years worldwide and the result is recession, pain, poverty, and everyone fighting everyone over breadcrumbs, a war between the poor.

old,

I think you’re right, but you have to remember that social structure lags 30-50 years behind actual conditions on the ground. “Conventional wisdom” moves at a snails pace. Could we finally arrive at the point of automation were there is little or no work left to be done? I think it depends too heavily on a stable world order which is unraveling almost as fast as technological “progress”. Also beware too simplistic systems analysis. Not all technological processes remove jobs. Often, new processes create new work. An example: We are currently investing in building wind power infrastructure. The factories that produce the generators, the towers, and the blades, are only partially automated. There are a whole bunch of jobs created that can be called “work”. Moreover, there are jobs created in transporting all of the components to a wind farm, jobs to prepare and erect the towers, jobs installing all the necessary feed lines to tie into the power grid, and a new class of long term jobs maintaining the wind turbines. Additionally, there are thousands of office workers, engineers, construction management specialists necessary to design and coordinate all of the complexity of such a venture. Most of those people are working…

So it isn’t as simple as it seems, and while you may be right, you’re probably a hundred years too soon, and that assumes stability which doesn’t look promising…

Not all the millions are helpless a good many of them can find work if they choose to others I agree they would have difficulty due to specialization or lack of marketable skills. Still, how many people in your neighborhood do you know old?

That is the trend, like or or not, no one can do anything about it: work is not needed, if a corporation can get the same output with fewer people they will go for it no matter what. And this talk about “marketable” skills, or “specialization” is a bunch of BS. They are always inventing some hot new “skill” that you have to have for some imaginary new “line of work” that has never existed for all of the time mankind has been on earth. I know, I have seen it in technology, most of this talk of specialization and hot skills is just an excuse to not hire anyone, because they are not up to the “challenge”, and since the challenge is ever changing and always impossible to meet, then it is always the workers fault, he doesn’t have the skills or ability. What crap, like for example they giving you a program with 10,000 lines of code that is completely not understandable (on purpose, so the original programmers had some leverage) and telling you to find the subtle - intermittent bug in a couple of days, etc. Or you having to double the sales target in two months, on products that were difficult to sale (mostly you had to have the right “political” and “people skills” connections to sale, etc.).

Don’t buy all this BS of skills and technology and specialization. I can’t remember how many times companies switched back in forth saying one day, we need highly specialized workers in javacrap and the next day we need a global type who understands business and not specialization, so whatever the heck you were, you were always at fault, either specialized or too global, or too whatever idiotic term they invent to have leverage and power on the employees.

Now, I agree that work isn’t disappearing all of a sudden, that there are segments like electric cars, some IT, wind power, some infrastructure, some new products, industries, health care machines and drugs (drug everyone into oblivion ?) etc. that will still need people, etc. But make no mistake, the general global trend is dead on with eliminating work as much as possible and also as fast as possible now that you have technological powerhouses like South Korea, Taiwan, some of China - India, the always present and still powerful JAPAN, etc. working on automating jobs away.

Another trend in the long run is the whole disappearance of the corporation as an entity, there will no longer be many corporations understood as a group of people working towards a unified goal or production process: mergers and acquisitions are another method of killing jobs, each time a new company is absorbed by IBM or Microsoft, more people become redundant (you don’t need 2 marketing divisions do you ? or 2 R&D labs do you ?, etc. ) , and fewer and fewer big players gain more and more power.

That is a good analysis, old6598. Do you ever wonder, as I do, what the critical mass for unemployment, underemployment, and low-wage service sector jobs is, before these people become so economically stressed that they will create serious problems for the society at large? It’s clearly higher than 20%. It was well over 30% during the Great Depression before the fear of riots, social activism, and such caused the government to take action. The difference now is that corporations and rich do not have to operate within this country; they have a global market and cheap/slave labor pool to choose from. This spreads out so far that it diffuses and dilutes the culture dish, which in turns makes unions and social activism ineffective and irrelevant at present. There is still just enough social welfare for the dispossessed poor to keep them alive, but that is shrinking and about to end. Then what? Will people just lie down and die? I don’t think so. What concerns me is that the government, firmly in the pockets of the wealthy and the corporate, might very likely turn into a police state, herding people into controllable areas akin to concentration camps or reservations instead of rethinking our whole economic system in a new way.

From :

kunstler.com/blog/2010/10/postin … rning.html

"But I really question the broad assertion that most office workers do not serve a purpose. In the financial service industry, those who administer my credit card transactions certainly serve a purpose. Those who administer my auto insurance, those who administer my IRA account, certainly they serve a purpose.

And what about all the office workers that do the paperwork for manufacturing industries? Certainly at least a large share of them serve a purpose."

  1. credit card transactions : a computer does that, and if it doesn’t you can be sure that it will do it all in the near future, otherwise all the IT guys are really idiots if they can’t still figure it out;

  2. Those who administer my auto insurance : a computer does that, and if it doesn’t you can be sure that it will do it all in the near future, otherwise all the IT guys are really idiots if they can’t still figure it out;

  3. those who administer my IRA account: a computer does that, and if it doesn’t you can be sure that it will do it all in the near future, otherwise all the IT guys are really idiots if they can’t still figure it out;

The bottom line is that computers were designed and used to AUTOMATE WORK, to eliminate labor, to do more with less, otherwise why on earth even use them ? There is this absurd paradox, that people can’t accept the idea that computers and technology should kill jobs, should eliminate as many jobs as possible, that their reason to be is exactly to get rid of people in all productive endeavors. This is a sign of success, of being used well, of the engineers and technicians designing them and doing “their work” very well. Is this so hard to understand ?

So the constant increase of computers, software and technology will lead to less work, no matter what, and less work in factories too, thanks to robots.

So what on earth are all those millions laid off from their jobs going to do ? They will invent new lines of work ? they will update their skills to do exactly what ? Oh , I see program computers, so they automate even that little work that will be left.

No matter what, there will be more and more people and less and less jobs, this will lead to a fight amongst the poor, to a fight of everyone against everyone, everyone blaming someone else that they are “lazy” and “don’t want to work”, while in all truth it is exactly the huge excess productive capacity of technology and applied science that has increased the productivity of work way beyond what we can presently grasp. This is not science fiction, it is now and reality.

The only logical solution is free salaries, cheap rents (2,000 dollars a month salary, 200 dollars a month rent), mass transit BUSES, for everyone worldwide, and from that base those who are more talented can make more money.

Of course this is utopia, it won’t happen because people have an ape brain, like to fight, like to beat up others, especially the weak.

Maybe I am creating a “resource scarcity” myth in the opposite direction by thinking that work is limited in quantity, but I am sure real - effective work is limited, maybe financial instruments line of work can invent millions of products and hire millions of people…

“1) credit card transactions : a computer does that, and if it doesn’t you can be sure that it will do it all in the near future, otherwise all the IT guys are really idiots if they can’t still figure it out;”

Actually I take that back: millions of jobs will be created by creating ever mega complex programs with untold number of bugs, non interconnecting standards, etc. So more programmers (the less talented they are, the better) will have to modify, debug and especially add millions of lines of code for these very simple applications.

I am always amazed at how bad software and computers are used for often very simple tasks: but this is the result of excess capacity, too many people, entities, corporations, standards, interacting and creating ever growing complexity and mass chaos. If they did it right the first time, you wouldn’t need so many people working…

Most dysfunctional processes and organizations are also due to this excess capacity, too many insurance companies in health care, for example, bad choices of wars in defense, etc.

And we need millions of lawyers to figure out the housing mess, and I hope each lawyer adds an ever growing layer of complexity so as to need trillions of lawyers…

old6598, are you the commentor, eightm, on kunstler.com? If so, thanks for posting your comments over there.

I am really glad I found your comments over there a few weeks ago b/c I can see in my area that what you say is true, there is not enough work to do. Sure, some can be created but not enough. It’s been a problem off and on here for decades, now I see it spreading all over.

Don’t let the blog-hogs with their consensus reality on JHK intimidate you from posting. Keep it up, I appreciate it.