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Monday, November 11, 2013

Thomas Friedman is Absurd:

I have no words for articles like these.  It admits that there are no jobs, even for college graduates.  It admits that technology is rapidly overtaking every conceivable job field known to man, and no new job fields are opening up that hire large numbers of people.  It admits that the middle class will soon no longer exist.  And then it rushes to the rescue after all this despairing news with -- but don't worry, Obamacare will subsidize your health care plan!

If you don't have a job, it doesn't matter whether Obamacare is there or not, you have much bigger problems on your hands.  If a college education can't get you a high paying job, what exactly can people do anymore to get jobs?  This is a breach of the social contract.  If you can't receive from your fellow man the necessities required to live, no matter what you do and no matter how hard you try, then what choice does one have?  Sorry, but a college degree doesn't cut it anymore.  Most people can't even get that enviable college degree.  They can't get accepted into it, they can't afford it, they can't learn the material, or they simply can't stay focused diligently on such trivial and meaningless material for the number of years it takes to get it.  Now you're saying even this minority of people who jumped through all the hoops to get a 'jobs license' are no longer qualified, and they need to accomplish something more.  What next?  Shoot a fireball?  Do a hurricane kick?  A dragon punch?  How many qualifications does a person need just to have the right to live?

This is a fundamental moral question -- what do we owe our fellow man?  If your answer is 'nothing,' then doesn't that mean we also owe it to him to not interfere with his ability to make a living?  And what are we doing except interfering by declaring the whole world is private property and he has no right to homestead anywhere, fish anywhere, hunt anywhere, farm anywhere, use water from anywhere, dig up minerals from anywhere, because all of that is 'owned' by someone else, not them, and if they try to violate this 'ownership' the entire might of the American military will descend upon them?  What chance does anyone born into this world have in such a rigged scenario?  And at this point, can you really say the social contract is being honored?  A person with nothing, born with nothing, is not qualified to hold a single job his whole life, through no fault of his own, but he isn't owed any charity by anyone even given this scenario?  This scenario is already reality.  The New York Times has acknowledged this to be the world we now live in.  Can you really still tell me that this hypothetical newborn is being given a fair shake because, after all, if he had just become a rocket scientist he wouldn't have had any problems navigating life in the 21st century?  Is it still a social contract if only 1% of people in America have any opportunity in life whatsoever, simply because that 1% isn't chosen ahead of time?  Do the remaining 99% failures really have to be content with 'fate,' if they just didn't 'merit' anything more than starvation and death?

"They'll find new jobs," has been the refrain for the last thirty years.  We never found any new jobs.  In fact, we haven't even made any new jobs since 2000.  Where are the new jobs?  Who will hire all the unemployed?  Not just the uneducated unemployed, the college graduate unemployed, the PhD unemployed, everyone is going to be unemployed.  Who will hire them?  For what?  What will be their new wonderful economic field?  And if your answer is 'live in servants, nannies, prostitutes, drug dealers, organ donors and gladiatorial warriors,' then no thanks.  We should not have to descend back into the dark ages to find employment in a world that long since surpassed the dark ages.  No one should ever have to live such a demeaning, immoral job in a world so full of plenty, which could so easily support them without stooping to these measures.  Let's get this straight --- if we cannot live as well as we did in the 1950's, we should return to the 1950's.  Full stop.  There is no excuse for technological growth, for industrial growth, for economic growth, to require people to regress their lifestyles to the barbarisms of the past.  I consider it beneath human dignity for people to be used as furniture, as simply social props, as status symbols for other folk.  The entire servant class of the old pre-industrial era is a disgrace, a disgrace just as terrible and unacceptable as slavery.  Nor should anyone have to trade their very bodies as the only worthwhile commodity in their lives, because their mind and soul is considered utterly worthless and just an unwanted attachment to their vaginas or kidneys or red blood cells.  Nor is it moral to say the next big field in jobs is security, because we will be hiring half of the poor to kill off the other half of the poor who, out of desperation, in one last gasp will try to steal the food and shelter they need to live from the super rich.  And then, when their services are no longer needed because they successfully defended the rich's property, we can fire half the poor and repeat the process, using only half as many security guards each time until the last of the poor are gone and everyone left doesn't need to steal to have property because they're all rich by inheritance and own all the property in the world.  This is no different from Stalin's Holodomor, and calling it anything else, like 'law and order' or 'property rights' or whatever is just Holodomor-denial.

There are not infinite jobs.  Jobs are based on meeting human needs.  Fundamentally, a job no longer exists when the need met creates less pleasure than doing the job causes pain.  That's a negative utility return and therefore no society in its right mind would compel anyone to do it.  Therefore, mindless, meaningless, makework jobs with no return in terms of providing real gains to society are not jobs.  They are not jobs.  There is honor in the term job.  It has a connotation of doing something real, of being true, the very term 'a job well done,' implies something was accomplished at the end of the day.  If, by standing on a street corner with a sign all day in the hot sun, you can convince one customer to come shop at a store for a total gain to the store of $5, as opposed to some other store getting that customer's $5 where he normally would have shopped, you do not have a job.  You are being tortured as a divine jest.  It is simply comical to call that a job.  It achieves nothing.  It helps no one.  And ultimately, it generates zero wealth for anyone, including yourself.

Real jobs, jobs that can be called by the honorable title of 'job,' must generate a positive utility gain that makes the effort you put into your job worthwhile.  These jobs are few and far between, and they were filled to the brim with able workers long ago.

The highest priority utility is basic survival needs.  Food, water, shelter.  But the number of people employed in these industries, as a percentage of the population, is vanishingly small.  Water = a few high tech people who keep track of water treatment plants and occasionally replace old broken pipes.  Food equals a few high tech farmers with massive fields tended by automated tractors, and cows milked by machines.  And as for shelter, we already tried that bubble and it burst -- we have far more houses than we have buyers who can afford them already.  Furthermore, the real price of shelter has nothing to do with a construction worker's job anymore.  We have big, expensive houses because it allows for class based segregation -- no other reason.  So the actual 'work' of the construction worker is phony.  Sure, we make the houses twice as big, and family sizes half as small for these behemoth houses, but no utility is actually produced as a result.  The room just goes to waste, containing nothing and no one.  Its only purpose is to make the neighborhood so expensive that riff raff can't move into the neighborhood.  And like I said earlier, phony work is not a job, so at this point the entire housing industry is a farce and does not count.  In a sane economy, absent this segregation arms race, all housing could be 1/4 as expensive and still fulfill every possible need to the consumer, which means at least 3/4 of construction workers shouldn't be working.

Electricity is the next major need, because it regulates temperature, and at this point in human development most people live in intemperate places that were simply unlivable and uninhabitable to the people in the past.  The only reason the South exists is because of air conditioning.  The only reason Canada exists is because of heating.  And so on.  In addition, electricity is necessary for cooking our food, cleaning our water, etc.  It's a basic necessity of life, and currently most everyone working in this sector is an 'honest worker.'  IE, they really are doing something useful and what they are doing really is important.  But this entire field of work is going to dry up soon.  We're just one solar power invention away from switching away from the entire process of drilling and refining and transporting fossil fuels to the whole world, every individual household, becoming energy independent with free energy from just their roofs.  Energy will essentially be free and completely automated by 2050, and besides, the entire fossil fuel industry will be banned by then due to its adverse effect on the climate.  So even now, even this field is only 'pretending to be useful' because the fossil fuel industry, and the nuclear industry for that matter, both cause more pollution, lasting long term damage to humanity, than it does good for mankind, marginally above and beyond the option of switching to solar to power the world.  We should be a solar economy right now.  Even though we aren't, it's inevitable that we will be soon.  Just look at the news from Technology Review today:  Solar panels just sit out in the sun for 25 years, and they're made by factories without a single worker in the whole plant.  Good luck employing people in the energy sector then.

Transportation isn't really a necessity anymore.  The reason it's a necessity is artificial.  As before, it's a tool by the rich to segregate themselves away from everyone else.  It used to be that every necessary store was within walking distance, so transportation was a waste of time.  Modern city planning artificially made personal transportation a necessity just to buy food, but it doesn't have to be this way.  If city planning were done for the sake of the poor instead of the rich, 'food deserts' and the like would never occur.  Furthermore, even this type of driving for the sake of shopping will quickly go away when we can just order automatic cars to deliver our groceries to our doorstep via the internet while relaxing at home.  This could be done today, but in any case will arrive here soon enough.  Since 90% of the time cars are just sitting around unused on people's driveways, the switch to automated cars will mean we only need 1/10 as many cars manufactured as we currently have in the world, who will still handle all the transportation needs of the world just as quickly.  In fact, more quickly, because there will no longer be any traffic jams or traffic accidents.  So just like that, I can cut the transportation job force by 90%.  But even this is over exaggerating the need for transportation.  In truth, people don't need to take these silly vacations all across the world, it's just a luxury we could do without.  They don't need to physically visit their relatives -- they can rely on phones, the internet, video conferencing, or the soon-to-be-invented virtual reality headsets to meet in what feels like real life without any of the bother of ever leaving the house.  As communication modes increase, physical transportation needs decrease, to the point of eventually reaching 0.  Which would eliminate all contagious diseases (since people would never actually meet in real life) and reduce the health care industry as well, while we're at it.  Furthermore, most of the driving demand for the transportation industry is the need to commute to work.  If we gave people a citizen's dividend, and they never drove to their phony jobs in the first place but simply received free checks in the mail every month instead, the entire industry basically vanishes overnight.  Shipping of mass produced goods will of course be entirely automated all the way from the point of origin to the end user's door, of course.  Plane, boat, or car it doesn't matter, a computer can navigate just fine on its own and already has shown itself capable of doing so.

Health care is basically a fraud.  If you live a normal, healthy life, without indulging in vice, you will never get sick in the first place.  The entire health care industry, all of our modern marvels and drugs and so on, beyond that, can only buy you another five years of life, if you're lucky.  Furthermore, if kids knew that there was no cure for a torn tendon or ligament or broken bone, they wouldn't play nearly as rough games or sports, and would take proper care of their bodies instead of skiing and playing rugby with each other.  Vaccines and antibiotics that cured all the epidemics of the world are basically dirt cheap, and the only real medical advance that's ever happened in human history.  The rest is just silly fluff, that mainly just mitigates increased risk taking behavior, in other words, a whole lot of treading water.

Teaching is totally a fraud.  No one remembers a damn thing out of what they learned in school.  Nor do teachers in any way facilitate the process of learning.  Dumb kids drop out, and smart kids excel in home schools without any outside assistance, proving that the entire school system is just a farce.

Communication is basically free.  Having already laid down the fiber optic cables, communication companies now just rake in infinite profits at no cost and have been playing at this game for a decade now.  The actual cost of bandwidth is basically zero, even though people are charged an arm and a leg every month.  Even this farce will have to end eventually, as scientists are continuously coming up with vast upgrades to the network at no additional cost.  Soon enough terabyte per second bandwidth will be as technically simple as currently megabyte per second bandwidth is.

The last possible human need is entertainment, and this too is a rapidly dying industry.  Considering the digital library of books, movies, music, games, and TV shows that already exists, it should be possible, for free, to entertain someone for life with purely high class goods.  The internet, computers, and time have basically solved this issue for all future generations.  It's true that entertainment is still valuable now, because we are still upgrading our graphical quality and storytelling abilities compared to all past entertainers, but that trend can only continue so long.  The PS4 to PS3 gap isn't nearly as wide as the Nintendo to Super Nintendo gap.  There's another reason why the entertainment industry will eventually die -- so many people love art that they'll do it for free.  Higurashi was a doujinshi.  Just think about that for a second.  Higurashi, the 5th best anime of all time, was not made for commercial purposes but just for fun.  If art of that quality is floating around as a result of pure volunteerism, paying for entertainment is a needless luxury.  Now, certainly, if people can afford to spend, they're likely to spend it on entertainment, but the free alternatives we now have entertainment-wise means most of the market won't be interested in these high-end products anymore.

If you aren't providing food, water, shelter, electricity, health care, transportation, communication, or entertainment to some end user, I can't even conceive of a purpose for your industry and it should be shut down.  This includes insurance companies, bankers, real estate agents, the military, lawyers, so forth and so on.  If you can't even explain how your job improves the lives of others you should be fired from your job.  Financiers, advertisers, the whole rotten boat of them should all be sunk to the bottom of the ocean.  Cops, jails, and all that nonsense should also be eliminated.  We should only allow the right sort of people to live in the first place, the people we know will never do crime even if we leave them alone (for instance, only allow Asian females to be born and voila, no more crime for the rest of human history), and the entire security industry could puff away in smoke.  The number of people hired as public and private security is a joke, a testament to the whole rotten nature of the modern world.  It used to be that security wasn't necessary and didn't exist.  You'd have maybe one cop per town, doors would remain unlocked for decades, and disputes would be settled privately by adults who could take care of their own problems.  There's no reason that we couldn't return to those days tomorrow.

Every important job, and by this I mean 'task that needs doing in order to provide someone with a good life,' is not a booming field but a dying field.  There will be less employment in every one of these sectors looking into the future, for the reasons I described in each of the paragraphs above.  Automation is getting too good at these jobs for humans to remain competitive.  And this is happening across the board, in every important field.  Just wait until houses are 3-D printed from scratch by just downloading your preferred blueprint from the internet and pressing "Start" without a single electrician, plumber, or architect ever being involved.  Each of these sectors is already overstuffed with dead weight, giving out way too many jobs than the market actually demands.  There are no jobs, there is no opportunity, from here on workers are only going to be cut from the payroll, not added.  There's simply no legitimate need for any of them.

There are no jobs.  There are a lot of 'farces' that people commonly call jobs, like prostitution, maids, teachers, clerks, etc.  But by the definition of 'something which produces more value than it destroys,' none of these fields qualify.  Lawyers.  Soldiers.  Government bureaucrats.  Bankers.  Landlords.  What a bunch of bull.  If anyone can describe where the 99% should work, in what new burgeoning job horizon which the libertarians promise us will replace the manufacturing sector, please do so.  But if you can't come up with anything for the remaining 6.9 billion redundant people on Earth to do while the 1% monopolize the rights to all capital on Earth, then just give up and vote for the citizen's dividend.  You have no moral right to any other course of action.  And no, Thomas Friedman's suggestions were not helpful (if you had to ask).  They were just more laughable farces just like all the other jobs of the modern world, none of which need doing or have any use.

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