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get ready, robots are going to steal your job

June 9, 2014

An article from CNBC about the role technology is playing in displacing workers:

Get ready, robots are going to steal your job

To illustrate the insanity of our economic system and the logic underlying it, we tend to view machines that free us from labour as a bad thing because they ‘steal our jobs’ and screw us out of an income. At the same time, capital invents new jobs to retake up that time and replace said income rather than working towards reducing hours of labour and moving away from a reliance on wage-labour altogether.

Money is social construct that enables a few to accumulate vast amounts of wealth and power while giving the working class just enough to reproduce itself. At this stage of development, it’s entirely superfluous to satisfying our needs. People don’t starve because there’s not enough food in the stores. People don’t live in the streets because they’re aren’t enough empty homes and apartments to put them. They go hungry and are forced to sleep on the streets due to a lack of money.

And ironically, technological advances and increases in efficiency only make matter worse by creating a mass of unproductive capital and labour (hordes of cash and unemployment respectively), and causing the rate of profit to fall and a shrinkage in the absolute mass of profit created, meaning less money in the form of wages for the working class as a whole. Hence, we have to work even longer and harder to afford just the basic necessities, let alone anything more. It’s completely absurd.

The way we view the necessity labour (economically, morally, etc.) is outdated and counterproductive. Our productive capacities are such that we no longer have a material necessity for capitalist wage-labour or social relations, but the demand for profit creates an political-economic system that consistently depresses our productive capabilities and produces artificial scarcity, limiting the production and consumption of commodities to only that which can realize profit, among other things.

We have reached an epoch of material abundance via the technological advancements and innovations of the past, but the old masters, who must increasingly rely on the state (so much so that the two are almost indistinguishable, with the state essentially acting as the national capitalist), are refusing to let go of their death grip on wealth and power, their ownership of the means of production, finance, etc., stalling our transition to a post-capitalist society.

What’s worse is that most of us follow suit, fearing that society would drift into chaos and crisis and economic barbarism without them, without capital, wage-labour, profit, and even money itself, when the reality is that we’re actually descending into chaos and crisis and economic barbarism because of them, because we refuse to let these relics of a past epoch go, because these things are holding us back and we lack both the imagination and the motivation to conceive of a future without them.

We’ve reached a point where, even with vast reductions in hours of labour and/or employment, we consistently produce more than can be productively consumed in the capitalist production process (i.e., in a way that produces surplus-value for the capitalist) despite no shortage of need and yet we’re worried about robots taking our jobs without realizing that ‘we’ don’t need those jobs anymore, capital does.


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