Sunday, May 06, 2012

An e-Mail

Someone sent me today an e-mail with a link to *this article* about how robots are making human workers more and more unneeded.

My e-mail in reply said:
I don't see the exponentially increasing computerisation of our society as a negative, but as a positive. It will free people from boring and meaningless work.

There will be more need for people who can design and fix computers. Computers will also create a need for human workers in areas that haven't even been thought of.

Even so, less human workers will be needed overall in the private sector as time goes on. This can be seen already in America, for example, where the number of people working is the same today as it was in 2007.

There are no longer full-employment economies. If you take the percentage of the fully unemployed and add the partially unemployed (those who have only a part-time job) the effective rate of unemployment in most of the developed world is anything between 15% and 20% - which was the unemployment rate during the Great Depression.

You can see the effect of computer-generated automation in the stock market rise, which has comes out of companies having profit margins larger than ever because they can now do more with less (ie cut costs) thanks to computer-caused automation.

The stock market has also risen because the rich, who are the main players in the stock market, have more money to buy stocks because their tax rates are now less than they were fifty years ago.

In America, for instance, the top marginal tax rate in the 1950's was 91%. In the 1970's it was 70%. Today it's 35%. You'll see this trend in all of the other economies in the developed world.

What has all this to do with computer-caused unemployment?

Well, if the rich were taxed as they were taxed fifty years ago, or even thirty years ago, there would be lots of money to put the unemployed to work in the public sector, doing the sorts of meaningful jobs that would improve the quality of life.

There is absolutely no reason why everyone shouldn't have a full-time job if they want one.

It just needs a radical change in thinking.

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