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Comment Re:Why is this guy still talking (Score 1) 217

The difference is that the rate of automation is still increasing.

Nope. This is a myth. The rate of automation is slowing down. Most easily automated jobs are already automated. Most workers today work in services, which are proving harder to automate. So workers today will likely have more time to adapt.

Comment Re:Why is this guy still talking (Score 0) 217

Can you find me such an expert?

Certainly! You can become such an expert yourself in FIVE MINUTES just by reading this webpage. That will give you 4 minutes and 55 seconds more expertise than most of the armchair economists on Slashdot. It will even make you smarter than Stephen Hawking (at least on the topic of economics, but maybe not on quantum physics).

I'd very much like to understand what kind of gainful employment the blue-collar workers of today and white-collar workers of tomorrow can look forward to

Did you read the webpage? If so, then you already know the answer.

But somehow I expect that you did NOT read it, so here is the answer: Imagine a world where the robots exist that can do ANY job currently done by humans. Furthermore, imagine that they are faster by a factor of ten, than any human, at every job. So they can make an apple pie ten times faster than humans. They can weave baskets ten times faster, etc.

Now imagine two workers, Abby the Apple Pie Maker, and Betty the Basket Maker. Before the robots came along, Abby made a pie everyday, and Betty made a basket everyday, and then they traded a pie for a basket. But now, with the robots, pies are only worth a tenth as much, and baskets are only worth a tenth as much, so obviously, Abby and Betty will both starve. Right?

But WAIT A SECOND, while the pies and baskets have each fallen in value by a factor of ten, a pie is still worth ONE basket. So Abby and Betty can just continue life as before. The robots changed nothing.

Of course this is a simplistic model, and real life is more complicated. In real life, the robots are going to be MUCH better at automating some tasks than others. But this makes things better. If the robot can make 10 pies in a day, but only 2 baskets, then a basket is worth 5 pies, and Abby can just switch to making baskets, and she and Betty will both be much better off. This is known as "Comparative Advantage". It is a basic concept taught in economics 101.

So as the robots take over more and more jobs, people will switch to the jobs that the robots are not necessarily bad at, but just less efficient at, and then trade the goods and services they produce for the goods and services that the robots produce. If you say "What if the robots are better at EVERYTHING?" then you should go back and read the webpage again, because you completely missed the point.

Now for the bad news: As robots take over, and more and more jobs are automated, we will almost certainly be better off. But there will be some "losers", and those losers will likely be the same sort of people that are currently losing: poorly educated unskilled workers in 1st world countries. These people are basically trying to compete with a servo motor, and and the motors are winning. We are not going to stop all technological progress because of these people (although we may slow it down for foolish political reasons), so what is the answer? We could try retraining them, but they already got 13 years of free education and failed to learn anything useful, so that is not hopeful. So the most likely scenario is to put them on some sort of welfare until we can get riot control robots perfected.

Comment Re:Surprised (Score 1) 480

Given that you are offering $12/hr cash payment to evade taxes

Nonsense. I am paying MORE taxes. If I pay cash, then the cost of hiring that person is not a deductible expense. So I pay the taxes, not the worker. I am almost certainly in a higher bracket.

a. The federal, state, and local governments get nothing; you are ripping off your fellow citizens, all of them.


b. The workers aren't getting credits towards Social Security so no retirement "safety net" for them.

They are illegals. They don't get benefits from these programs, so why should they pay into them?

c. The workers aren't getting credits for unemployment so no insurance when you fire them.

You don't "fire" day laborers. If I don't hire them, they walk three meters to the next van in the queue.

assumes that they can get a job every single day of the work week.

I am not assuming this. I am observing it.

And you're talking about six adults working full time for minimum wage sharing a 3 bedroom house

That is a lot better than picking tomatoes in Chiapas.

Comment Re:Why is this guy still talking (Score 3, Insightful) 217

It doesn't take a genius, expert, or celebrity to understand these predictions

It also didn't take a genius to understand these exact same predictions when they were made in the 1700s, the 1800s, the 1920s, the 1960s, and the 1980s. It also doesn't take an expert to see, with the benefit of hindsight, that all of those predictions were wrong. What DOES (apparently) take an expert, is to see that they are wrong this time too, for mostly the same reasons.

If you think that productivity improvements cause poverty, you are not an "expert".

Comment Re:Why is this guy still talking (Score 1, Troll) 217

Since when is common fucking sense way out of his expertise?

What he is saying is NOT common sense. Common sense would be believing that the current wave of automation will have similar effects as the many, many waves of automation that have occurred in the past: short term disruption, but higher productivity, wealth creation, and eventually higher living standards for nearly everyone.

Saying "this time is different" is not common sense, especially since there is plenty of evidence that this time is NOT different. Nearly everyone is benefiting from the current wave of automation. Billions of people are being lifted out of poverty in China and Africa. Only a tiny fraction of people are "losers": unskilled workers in rich countries. The other 95% of us are doing well.

Comment Re:Surprised (Score 1) 480

You describe a queue of people seeking impoverished workers

Cash income of $12/hr is equivalent to roughly $15 hour regular payroll, since no taxes are taken out. That is equivalent to about $30k year. The last guy I hired said he and his wife shared a 3 bedroom house with 2 other couples, and they were all working. So 6*30k = $180k of household income. I would not call that "impoverished". Sure, $180k doesn't go far in SF, but most of these workers commute in from the East Bay, where living costs are much lower.

paying not enough to rent a room and buy meals and clothing

These workers are not homeless, they are well-fed, and they are wearing clothes. So they are obviously able to afford all of these things.

let alone medical care?

So we have homeless people because they refuse to accept jobs that don't offer medical benefits? Seriously?

Comment Re:Silicon Valley have-nots? (Score 4, Funny) 54

Would this be someone who lives in a $200,000 shack

You are missing a zero. Facebook is in Menlo Park, where a 3 bedroom home is over $2M, and even studio apartments go for over $1M. I am happy to see Facebook helping these people. After their mortgage payment, some of these people have so little money left that they have to settle for a 5-series BMW instead of the 7-series that they truly deserve.

Comment Re:Surprised (Score 0) 480

Maybe instead of giving her card to people with "Please Help" signs your friend ought to place some "Help Wanted" ads around town.

In the SF Bay Area there are "help wanted" signs in nearly every shop window. There were still plenty of homeless people begging on street corners. Anyone in SF who wants a job can have one in five minutes ... including illegals. A few years ago there used to be a queue of Mexicans at Home Depot every morning looking for day labor. Today there is a queue of people seeking workers by 7am, and they need to offer at least $12/hr in cash.

Comment Re:Surprised (Score 0) 480

Unemployment rate is tied to unemployment benefits.

Indeed. Many times when I have interviewed people, they have said they are available to start work on a specific date. When I ask why that date, they say that is the day their unemployment benefits expire.

If we pay people to not work, more people will not work.

Comment Re:Amazon's responsibility (Score 2) 103

If Amazon takes the money, then they're the seller. Full stop.

What if I buy it from eBay using Paypal? Then Paypal takes the money, so they're the seller. Full stop. Right?

Should eBay be vetting everything sold on their platform? Should Paypal be vetting everything bought or sold using their platform? What about Visa and MasterCard? Should they be vetting? If not, then what makes Amazon different?

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