Automation, robotization, off-shoring/globalism — rationalization in all forms — come from the drive toward maximizing efficiency.
But if everything “workers” usually do has been rationalized away — well, then the human race will have to reassess what our purpose really is.
Or starve. After Lysenko in Stalinist Russia and The Great Leap Forward in Maoist China, one shouldn’t discount the possibility that policy failure at the top brought by ideological rigidity is a possible outcome.
…“total commoditization” will obviate so many “jobs” that something along the lines of a guaranteed income will have to happen — Socialism 2.0?
I think this would be a mistake. To go down the path of guaranteed income would essentially be a public dole. Which would legitimize current wealth and power inequalities and thereby leave the populace beholden to patrons for as long as those benefactors are willing to pay. Neither the neoliberal nor the socialist approach is viable IMO.
Slavoj Zizek speaks to the need for a new approach to economics. One that expressly meets human needs for sustenance and social recognition. See: First as Tragedy; Then as Farce:
I’d also recommend Jaron Lanier’s Who Owns the Future? Here’s an interview you might find interesting:
…the discordance between what I find empirically in the world and the ideas about policy that everyone seems to return to as if there’s no alternative. We’re locked into a continued belief that investing in a particular kind of information-technology venture is good for society, when actually these often seem to be pulling society apart and creating ever more extreme income inequalities. We seem unable to connect the dots between the continued dysfunction of the financial sector, even as it expands profitability, and the rise of information technology.
The challenge is that people still don’t understand the value of their data. They have been infused with the idea that the ubiquitous fashionable arrangement, wherein you obtain free services or so-called bargains in exchange for personal data, is a fair trade. But it isn’t, because you’re not a first-class participant in the transaction. By first-class participant, I mean a party to a negotiation where everyone has roughly the same ability to bargain, so that when they do bargain, the result is a fair transaction in an open market economy. But if you’re in a structurally subordinate position, from which you have to accept whatever is offered, then you give much greater latitude and power to whoever has your data than you get in exchange.
If I’m right, then one interesting question is, will the value of information from a typical person ever transcend the poverty line? I think we’re headed towards that point. And if that does happen, then we have the potential for a new kind of society that escapes the bounds of the old debates between “Left” and “Right.” Instead, there could be an entirely new sort of more complete market that actually creates stable social security in an organic way. The possibility fascinates me. It is not irrational to imagine this future.
Anyway, thanks for your reply.