Guaranteed Income for All Americans

Professor Wolff: You have often cited the significant role that automation (robotization) and computerization play in the elimination of good-paying jobs in the United States. Capitalists enthusiastically employ technology that removes workers from production, because machines do not get paid wages, demand profit-eating health insurance, pensions, or benefits, or go on strike. Marx himself noted this phenomenon. I recently had dinner with a neighbor who works for a prominent U.S. manufacturer of industrial robots. He said that according to inside information to which he is privy that within the near future 50% of jobs in the U.S.will be performed by robots. One can imagine that technological advances might even increase this number. My question is what do we do? U.S jobs are disappearing fast, either because of automation or from off-shoring. Is a guaranteed income for all Americans the only answer? Thank you.

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  • commented 2016-09-15 20:01:48 -0400
    I believe Prof. Wolff does address this. In a healthy economy/society, automation would allow people to have more time for the important things in life. I believe a cashier at the grocery store is capable of contributing much more to society. In a sick economic system such as capitalism, automation is used to exploit and gather more wealth.
  • tagged this with Important 2016-09-15 20:01:47 -0400
  • commented 2016-08-25 11:35:12 -0400
    Novelist Kurt Vonnegut’s excellent first book Player Piano took a fictional look at what would happen if all workers, except engineers, were replaced by machines. Vonnegut, ever shrewd and politically, socially astute, saw clearly what lay ahead at a time when a single computer of of ridiculously modest power by today’s standards was a mammoth machine that filled a single sizable room. Needless to say, the real world is coming to look more and more like the dystopian society he portrayed.
  • published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2016-08-22 15:52:46 -0400


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