Robots are taking over in the pandemic

http://digitaledition.pilotonline.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=ddb712d3-fa04-45fe-8727-3dc59129334e

“How many cars will your robots buy?” The apocryphal question asked by Reuther to Ford regarding the automation advances at the assembly line.

Free market capitalism, the economIc system used throughout the world in various forms, is dependent upon the relationship between sellers and buyers. Payrolls generate the money to buy the goods and services offered on the free market. Take away the payrolls and we take away the market.
The $600 add on to the already meager unemployment insurance available in the states kept the economy from a free fall during lockdowns. A critical assist in a low wage economy like ours.
When jobs are plentiful, we didn’t worry about unemployment that much. But that’s not the case now, or even for the foreseeable future.
Are we headed towards a universal basic income? Will the taxes to pay for that be a part of the cost of doing business? And if so, should we structure our nation to pitch other reasons for investing here. Safety, stability, lack of corruption, Rule of Law, clean environment, education, healthcare, etc., are all selling points other than tax rates.

11 thoughts on “Robots are taking over in the pandemic

  1. RE: “Are we headed towards a universal basic income?”

    I doubt it. Imagine a fully automated world where all goods that humans might want are produced without human effort. By definition, goods would be free and there would be no need for incomes or money at all.

    RE: “Will the taxes to pay for that be a part of the cost of doing business?”

    It is hard to see how such a system would work. Suppose you gave out 10 units in UBI, and collected 10 units in taxes to pay for the next round of UBI. Prices would have to go up to cover the tax, but then more than 10 units of UBI would be needed to maintain the purchasing power of the original benefit. For this and other reasons you could never achieve a steady state of constant UBI distribution and collection. The only option would be to continuously expand the money supply artificially (printing more scrip), but that itself destroys the purchasing power of money (devaluation).

    RE: “And if so, should we structure our nation to pitch other reasons for investing here?”

    No, we shouldn’t. The more we automate, the wealthier we will become. That is sufficient to attract investment.

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    1. “ By definition, goods would be free and there would be no need for incomes or money at all.”

      “ The more we automate, the wealthier we will become.”

      So how does no incomes or money at all become increased wealth in a market economy?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RE: “So how does no incomes or money at all become increased wealth in a market economy?”

        They don’t. Wealth equals goods, not money.

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        1. So how does one get the goods without money in our current system?

          (We frown on looting, so that is unacceptable even if a bit more prevalent in the FOX news reports.)

          Are we going back to bartering?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. RE: “So how does one get the goods without money in our current system?”

          There are lots of ways. Some people make their own food, clothing and shelter. Some people mooch. Some people barter, and so on. The question doesn’t make much sense, though, since our “current system” consists of a monetized economy. So, it is a little like asking, “How does one use money without using money?”

          Besides, your original hyphothetical assumes that prices will remain constant. You need to account for the fact that greater automation will lead to price reductions. Specifically, should the cost of living decline, there would be less need to have a job.

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          1. “…should the cost of living decline, there would be less need to have a job.”

            The COL would have to shrink substantially to pay for shelter, food, clothing, education, transportation, taxes, etc.

            Bartering and weaving your own clothes sounds nice, but also very primitive. We still need planes, locomotives, heart monitors, communications, etc. Growing your own corn and trading it for tobacco isn’t going to cut it.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. RE: “The COL would have to shrink substantially to pay for shelter, food, clothing, education, transportation, taxes, etc.”

            I’m not sure what that means. For one thing, I can’t imagine how a lower cost can “pay” for something. For another, I can’t figure out what unit of measure applies.

            But, taken at face value, eliminating human labor as an input to production would certainly and substantially lower the cost of living.

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          3. If a pair of shoes cost $5, well below the current market price, it still has to be paid for by the barefooted man.

            How does he get his footwear?

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Robot Chicken Butcher?! Wait, is that a robotic butcherer of chickens, or a butcherer of robot chickens? I happen to like Robot Chicken. Seth Green is a comic genius. And, it’s really more of a cyborg chicken anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. If? It will be. We don’t have the educated workforce for assembling sophisticated devices. Hell, even your cars come with only “some assembly required”.

        Liked by 1 person

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