I think the error in your argument is to talk about the history of automation.
Martin Bond

Martin, I think the post I started earlier got lost in the ether. I appreciated your article and your comments. My comments were not to argue but to put a bit more perspective on the subject. I referred to the danger of saying “this time it’s different”. With a long enough consistent history, then the saying continually reduces in credibility — until the time that it is different. This is not to argue against what you say but keep the awareness of the odds present.

Your great quote that the new values will not “show up in GDP” points at two important features. The first is that GDP is a measure, so inaccurate as to be dangerous rather than useful, is a figure from and for governments that is so out of touch with human or economic reality that it would be better not to exist. The second is to make clear that “work” first is also not a powerful way to think of human productive activity, and that there is a vast array of human productive activity that could be opened up by automation.

I mainly want to emphasize the point that the new employment, the new “work”, the new contributions of human effort will be “expressive” of being a human being in a voluntary social arrangement.

In this sense, mechanisation was also a release from previous dehumanizing work in many cases. And made it worse in others — for instance when cottage industries were replaced by inhuman warehouse type operations. I’m sure the changes due to automation will be equally so. Many negative but a much higher percentage positive.

What I want to bring more to is the background of the history of life being emergent evolution, the major force of which is the operations of complex adaptive systems.

We shall see.