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Alastair Campbell and John McDonnell on Question Time Watch

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    (Original post by JamesN88)
    Don't get me wrong I'm sure Marx didn't intend his ideology's decendants to cause the havoc and suffering they did, but they did all the same.

    I fully understand people turning to Communism a century ago due to the deplorable living and working conditions, but I think we can all agree it's well past its sell by date now. Capitalism has proven vastly more successful at generating prosperity, all that's needed IMO is a slightly more progressive approach to it and things like poverty and homelessness could be stamped out for good.

    I think automation will reach a point where universal basic income is introduced or the alternative will be some form of revolution, violent or otherwise. I mean it's possible in theory already to have virtually every day to day service done via automation so it won't be long before it all is.
    I don't think we can blame Marx for authoritarian dictators using his theory as an excuse to commit atrocities.

    Marx is very misunderstood. Many people seem to think that Marx simply hated capitalism in all its forms, however he actually saw it as a necessary evil. He believed capitalism was necessary to supply the world with enough resources which would mean we no longer needed it.

    He argued that capitalism would create the tools to bring about its own destruction. Automation will be interesting. It is estimated that up to 15 million jobs could go because of it and there are calls on all sides for a universal basic income.

    While Marx's communist dream may never occur, he still remains a hugely influential person. Many of his predictions were astonishingly accurate and his critiques of capitalism, especially free market capitalism remain as pertinent and relevant today as they ever were.

    I believe capitalism is the best economic system we have. However that doesn't mean we should ignore Marxist critiques of capitalism.
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    (Original post by Bornblue)
    While I do not support Mcdonnell , Marx is one of the most commonly misunderstood people. His reputation has been sourced by authoritarian uprisings using his work as their justification. Even though neither the Russian or Chinese revolutions were Marxist. Fundamental to the Marxist revolution was that it had to happen in all countries at the same time and it had to directly proceed capitalism.

    Marx did not get everything right but he made some astonishingly accurate predictions and is far more nuanced than given credit for.

    Marx predicted that capitalism would create the seeds of its downfall. Arguably with the impending prospect of automation, he may be onto something.

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    To contradict your own view i think Marx is given too much credit today (though probably not enough historically).

    Marx was not a prophet predicting the rise of socialism/communism 200 years down the line, he was simply writing in relation to what he saw around him. What he saw at the time was pure Victorian capitalism generating mass inequality without any of today's safety nets. He was broadly correct in that from ~1890-1980 the bulk of the world (both advanced and undeveloped economies) took a large turn to the left with a number of socialist, social democrat and national socialist states developing (there were some communist states like Cuba where property rights were abolished but this was less common than socialism and state led industry).

    What i don't for one second believe is that Marx predicted anything that happened after around 1980. Like many idealists i believe he failed to take into account that humans will accept being satisfied rather than holding our for perfection. The development of the welfare state, pensions and NHS meant that so long as those things were preserved, governments of the day were able to try solve the issues related to command economies via more free market solutions but without the fight back against it.

    The UK today may be unequal to an unhealthy degree (not so much in wages but in capital/wealth) however most people do not face the threat of starvation or homelessness even if sacked tomorrow. Quite simply, they are satisfied enough with the status quo that the threat of a radical shift to the left is pretty low.

    Note that while i am wary of the staus quo causing its own destruction (unequal distribution of capital means that home ownership is falling and that suggests a move to the left could be possible over time however i actually think it's more likely that the current economic system will end not by it's own destruction, but because of its success. Should we develop things like space mining and nuclear fusion (much lower commodity costs, much lower production costs, much lower consumer costs for goods) then rampant deflation may force some kind of change.
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    (Original post by JamesN88)
    http://m.stokesentinel.co.uk/mp-ruth...ail/story.html

    Of course Jezbollah takes no responsibility for this at all.
    Yikes. Though she's not the only MP to have received abusive hatemail of the anti-Semitic kind from that lot. Journos and bloggers critical of Corbyn have had the same*
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    To contradict your own view i think Marx is given too much credit today (though probably not enough historically).

    Marx was not a prophet predicting the rise of socialism/communism 200 years down the line, he was simply writing in relation to what he saw around him. What he saw at the time was pure Victorian capitalism generating mass inequality without any of today's safety nets. He was broadly correct in that from ~1890-1980 the bulk of the world (both advanced and undeveloped economies) took a large turn to the left with a number of socialist, social democrat and national socialist states developing (there were some communist states like Cuba where property rights were abolished but this was less common than socialism and state led industry).

    What i don't for one second believe is that Marx predicted anything that happened after around 1980. Like many idealists i believe he failed to take into account that humans will accept being satisfied rather than holding our for perfection. The development of the welfare state, pensions and NHS meant that so long as those things were preserved, governments of the day were able to try solve the issues related to command economies via more free market solutions but without the fight back against it.

    The UK today may be unequal to an unhealthy degree (not so much in wages but in capital/wealth) however most people do not face the threat of starvation or homelessness even if sacked tomorrow. Quite simply, they are satisfied enough with the status quo that the threat of a radical shift to the left is pretty low.

    Note that while i am wary of the staus quo causing its own destruction (unequal distribution of capital means that home ownership is falling and that suggests a move to the left could be possible over time however i actually think it's more likely that the current economic system will end not by it's own destruction, but because of its success. Should we develop things like space mining and nuclear fusion (much lower commodity costs, much lower production costs, much lower consumer costs for goods) then rampant deflation may force some kind of change.
    Interesting points. However I disagree on the point that Marx didn't take into account that humans will accept being satisfied rather than holding on for perfection.

    He very much did foresee that and that's why he was so opposed to the factory laws. He warned against the proletariat accepting compromises like that because he knew that if the ruling classes could distract the working classes with a bone (eg a few more worker protections) then in exchange they could get away with all sorts.

    Also Marx did not argue that capitalism would simply be brought down by its failures, but by its successes as well. He believed that capitalism would create so much wealth and so many resources (despite not distributing either) that the world would no longer need capitalism, that instead it would just need a system for distributing the resources.

    If you look at the world today, there is enough food to feed the entire world. How devastating that while malnutrition kills millions upon million in Africa, that obesity is a huge problem in the States and Europe.
    Automation too may have a devastating impact, we will have to wait and see.

    Marx was not a prophet, he did not get everything right and held some questionable beliefs but nonetheless he was one of the most influential thinkers ever. His critiques of capitalism, economic driven policy and globalisation remain as valid today as they ever did.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    however i actually think it's more likely that the current economic system will end not by it's own destruction, but because of its success. Should we develop things like space mining and nuclear fusion (much lower commodity costs, much lower production costs, much lower consumer costs for goods) then rampant deflation may force some kind of change.
    Isn't this agreeing with Marx?

    It's like how feudalism created its own downfall. Capitalism creates the conditions of its destruction.

    I think you should maybe add automation or some kind of computing revolution in there as well.
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    Isn't this agreeing with Marx?

    It's like how feudalism created its own downfall. Capitalism creates the conditions of its destruction.

    I think you should maybe add automation or some kind of computing revolution in there as well.
    I'd say not really in the sense that Marx believed that the change to socialism would result from many of the negative aspects of capitalism, i believe some minor tinkering is all that's needed to address them. Additionally i don't think what will come will resemble socialism or that communism will ever exist. Property rights and a free rather than command economy will still exist, i believe the changes will probably be more monetary (probably some kind of credit distribution like the universal income you believe in - though i oppose it until we move to such an age of abundance).

    I'm not sure the computing revolution will be on the same scale (though it will substantially increase the pace of innovation) and automation is a bit up in the air at the moment, i'm not sure the future is as dark as some think because of it.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)

    I'm not sure the computing revolution will be on the same scale (though it will substantially increase the pace of innovation) and automation is a bit up in the air at the moment, i'm not sure the future is as dark as some think because of it.
    I don't think it is dark!

    I want it to happen.
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    (Original post by Cain Tesfaye)
    If the raison d'être of removing Corbyn is to win, what good is it if the person you replace him with also cannot win?
    Where's the evidence that Smith can't win? That's pure conjecture, and I'd say not very astute given by 2020 the Tories are likely to be quite a tired government, increasingly unpopular (as governments usually are after 10 years). But if the Tories are up against a candidate that can be as easily dismissed as Corbyn can, a candidate who can legitimately be painted as a terrorist-sympathiser and a friend of fascists and murderers, a man who is fundamentally incompetent and widely perceived as such, then they will be able to overcome all the inherent disadvantages of having been in power for 10 years and sail through another election victory, probably with an increased majority.

    Labour voters prefer May over Corbyn. Do you understand the significance of that? Do you comprehend what that means? Shall I explain it to you? And among overall voters Corbyn comes a distant third in preferred Prime Minister, 31 points behind May and 12 points behind "Don't Know". He's the most unpopular opposition leader since polling began, not just by a bit but by a long way (previously Michael Foot had the worst approval ratings with minus 28, Corbyn is on minus 41).

    That kind of statistical reality is something that should cause all the alarms to be going off at Labour HQ, something that leads to a deep and searching reassessment. When left-wing voters prefer a Conservative Prime Minister, not just by a but by a huge number, then you are getting into territory that is profoundly dangerous for a major party. But a reassessment won't happen, Corbyn doesn't accept he's doing anything wrong and he would not sacrifice his newfound power even though it would be in the party's best interests. While he is leader Labour is fundamentally unelectable. Smith is far from perfect and there are a number of things on which I disagree with him, but Labour at least has a fighting chance if he becomes leader (or more realistically, once Corbyn has been gotten rid of a better candidate like Dan Jarvis or Sir Keir Starmer could step up to the plate). The polls clearly show that ordinary voters prefer Smith to Corbyn; there's a reason for that and there are conclusions any objective observer of British politics would draw from it.

    You disputed that there was a campaign of vilification against Corbyn, I was just showing you evidence to the contrary
    You didn't show me any evidence, you cited a study which itself doesn't have any actual evidence of vilification against Corbyn as it doesn't compare him to any other politician or to a control group, nor does it establish what would be a valid percentage of negative stories. If someone does a lot of negative things, they will attract negative stories. That doesn't mean they've being vilified. I would encourage you to actually read the study, like I did, rather than just assume it says what you think it says and then copypasta it into comments.

    This I agree with. However, it is not as though Owen Smith is particularly adept at navigating the media's narrative of him
    Clearly he is more adept than Corbyn given ordinary voters prefer him over Jezbollah by a significant margin; Owen Smith doesn't have to be perfect, merely better than Corbyn. Placing Smith and Corbyn in the same category, as somehow equally unacceptable or unelectable, is not only contrary to all the actual polling data we have, but also indicates the person making the comparison has a very poor grasp of British politics (or political biases, often of the kipper, Trumpite or Islamist variety; politics makes for strange bedfellows and the rabble of extremists who express sympathy with him, including KKK leader David Duke, speaks volumes about the man's politics)

    You accuse Corbyn's supporters of belonging to a "cult", yet the manner in which you oppose him is no less cultish.
    Obviously you are confused by what "cult" means, and unfortunately you are reverting to the sort of childish default of people who don't know much about politics (i.e. "they're all as bad as each other... if I pose as being neutral and posit a plague on both their houses that means I must be above it all. Yay me, I'm so superior"); it doesn't mean you are truly above it, merely that you don't possess the intellectual horsepower to compare like-with-like and assess material similarities and differences between two positions. Come back to me when you can draw my attention to some leader who I am mindlessly worshipping as the solution to all the country's problems; then you might have a scintilla of a point about equal cultishness.

    I am not a Labour party member or voter, so I don't really care if Smith or Corbyn wins.
    What a narrow, limited view. I'm not a member of the Conservative Party or a Tory voter, but I pay very close attention to internal Tory Party politics and factions, and as a citizen of this country I had a great deal of interest, and stake, in the outcome of the Tory leadership election that just happened.

    What happens in the Conservative Party has real effects and the real world, as a result of differing policy preferences between factions. Equally, anyone who would make a plausible claim to being a respectable, informed and involved citizen would care both that there is an opposition that is capable of holding the government to account, and also that neither of the major parties becomes a home for extremism. It's very clear a party is becoming a home to extremism when the head of said party accepts £20,000 to shill on television for a regime that lynches gay men from cranes and stones women, and who has a history of expressing support and admiration for terrorist murderers and atrocities (including the 1984 bombing of the Grand Hotel which came close to killing Thatcher, an act for which Corbyn expressed his approval in the hard left London Labour Briefing publication by praising its "audacity" and 'joking', "What do you call four dead Tories? A good start")

    I can't imagine any serious-minded, intelligent person feigning complete disinterest in that. Then again, maybe I'm a just a bit old-fashioned; more attached to traditional, even Roman, notions of civitas and virtus. A respectable citizen involves himself in politics and cares about the issues of the day. Plebs prefer bread and circuses, and ostentatiously proclaim their disinterest in serious matters as some kind of virtue. I leave it to the judgment of TSRians to decide the category in which you might fall.
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    JamesN88


    Hey dude, just thought I'd point you to the above comment, I was going to @ you into it but there's an issue with the edit function.
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    Labour can do whatever the **** they like: CCLLLCCCCLCLCCLLLCCLLLCCLC

    I made it up but the electoral winners do a ****ing chief job of resembling an independent sequence of coin tosses. Check it urself.

    Point is. Assume you are some fat ****. Assume you are a ****ing idiot. You will get power because thats how we roll. Jeremy Corbyn can say whatever the **** he likes.
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    As for Marx, the problem isn't just Marxism/Communsim. The problem is also Russia. If UK had adopted his principles it would probably have been more successful compared to Russia.

    Russia is ****ed by geography. When people finally realise that oil and weapons are not a real resource they will realise that. But most people are thick as two short ****s.

    Russia is so ****ed its not even funny.
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    (Original post by KimKallstrom)
    Wait, what?
    Ruth Smeeth MP is now living under police protection. And PaDP (the Met directorate in charge of parliamentary and ministerial security) don't just provide protection at someone's request, it's usually the other way around; they will go to the person in question and tell them that there have been credible threats against their life and that they advise them to accept a 24-hour protection detail. Also remember that Jess Philips had to have a fortified panic room installed in her constituency office due to the violent threats against her from Corbyn supporters.

    That is the situation that Ruth Smeeth is now in. Basically, at the press conference for the Chakrabarti Whitewash, this obnoxious hard left activist called Mark Wadsworth got up and started attacking Smeeth as being part of a media conspiracy against Corbyn. Quite why a ne'er do well like Wadsworth was invited to this event at all is unclear, but he and Corbyn known each other quite well from being in the same "community activist" hard left circles for years. After this guy abused Smeeth and she left the meeting in tears, and after the press conference, Corbyn and Wadsworth had a conversation; Corbyn greeted him warmly and Corbyn apologised to Wadsworth! Corbyn said, "Sorry about that, I texted you about it". So clearly they're close enough to be texting each other, and Corbyn apologising to this hard left prick instead of dressing him down and supporting Smeeth. You can watch it right here;



    In the aftermath of that, the anti-semitic attack machine went into overdrive and went on the attack against Smeeth (as it does against anyone who questions Corbyn) and she received over 25,000 anti-semitic abusive tweets and emails. A number made threats against her life.

    Serious questions have to be asked and answered; why is it that anti-semites like Corbyn so much? Why do people like the KKK leader David Duke praise Corbyn as a "breath of fresh air"? Why do people like Holocaust denier Paul Eisen refer to Corbyn as "a close personal friend"? You and I know the answer to these questions. It's high time his supporters in the Labour movement started owning up to this, but of course they never will; in reality the 2015 leadership election sucked in every hard leftist, frustrated Green and sandal-wearing flake in the country into the Labour Party to support him. We shouldn't be surprised they don't give a crap about Corbyn's anti-semitic issue; they didn't object to that sort of stuff before they joined the Labour Party to support this man, so why would they after? These entryists aren't true Labour, and unfortunately Labour is being warped into their twisted vision of a political movement. Those of us who have been in the party since before May 2015 despair.
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    (Original post by Bornblue)
    made some astonishingly accurate predictions
    Such as?

    Marx predicted that capitalism would create the seeds of its downfall. Arguably with the impending prospect of automation, he may be onto something.
    The thing is, I'm on the moderate wing of the party and I would be happy to say I am in some senses a Marxist; not in the policy prescriptions he proposed (such as a dictatorship of the proletariat and revolutionary vanguardism, and also some of the quasi-religious aspects like dialectical materialism), but in Marx's economic theory and a materialist conception of historical analysis (again, minus the dialectic). I think it's perfectly valid to say one is a Marxist in the analytical but not political sense (and I'm assuming this is what you were getting at).

    But couldn't McDonnell just say that? This isn't the straight-talking politics we were promised. Despite McDonnell being much more dogmatic than Corbyn for a while I actually respected him more because he seems shrewder, he seemed to be more willing to compromise and to understand the necessity to gain power. But increasingly I've been turned off by his arrogance and aggression, and so in the Corbyn administration you get all the macho aggression and nastiness of McDonnell acting as the attack dog but without the rigour and discipline I think you would probably have in a McDonnell administration. He seems to be getting worse over time
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    (Original post by JamesN88)
    Don't get me wrong I'm sure Marx didn't intend his ideology's decendants to cause the havoc and suffering they did, but they did all the same.
    Actually, Marx was more violently inclined than people often think. You often have the received wisdom that Marx and Lenin had some good ideas, and then Stalin went and messed it up. Actually, Marx's advocacy of a dictatorship of the proletariat and violent revolution could very predictably lead to the mass murder of the Soviet Union.

    I fully understand people turning to Communism a century ago due to the deplorable living and working conditions, but I think we can all agree it's well past its sell by date now. Capitalism has proven vastly more successful at generating prosperity, all that's needed IMO is a slightly more progressive approach to it and things like poverty and homelessness could be stamped out for good.
    Very true. Capitalism is in fact, far more dynamic and, dare I say it, revolutionary than communism. Communism as a political and economic system is far too slow to react to changing circumstances and information (that's why in Soviet Russia one year you might have a boot shortage and too many toothbrushes, and the next year a toothbrush shortage and too many boots; the dead hand of central state planning for the production of consumer and light industrial goods is completely retrograde beyond a certain point of industrial development [probably the point reached by the Soviet Union in the mid-60s])

    Markets are very efficient at the development and delivery of consumer products, commodities and business services. And in so doing they are very efficient generators of taxation that can be turned to progressive ends. My view is that the state is better suited to pretty much everything it does now, plus any natural monopolies and utilities (like water, electricity, rail, etc).

    I think automation will reach a point where universal basic income is introduced or the alternative will be some form of revolution, violent or otherwise. I mean it's possible in theory already to have virtually every day to day service done via automation so it won't be long before it all is.
    Very true. The problem with automation is that it creates a feedback loop of wealth aggregation so that 100 years down the line you might have a dozen people who own all the big servers and robotic enterprises, and in that they own pretty much the whole world. The efficiency with which they generate wealth will mean they can buy up the entire economy, and any new wealth that is created is immediately sucked up by their enormous money black holes.

    I think as we move into the information age we do need to move to a much more redistributive system, or even make laws against mass automation. Beyond a certain point of technological development, I don't think there's any reason we necessarily need to accept a technological development that will so fundamentally up-end the balance of economic power in our society.
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    (Original post by Raiden10)
    Labour can do whatever the **** they like: CCLLLCCCCLCLCCLLLCCLLLCCLC

    I made it up but the electoral winners do a ****ing chief job of resembling an independent sequence of coin tosses. Check it urself.

    Point is. Assume you are some fat ****. Assume you are a ****ing idiot. You will get power because thats how we roll. Jeremy Corbyn can say whatever the **** he likes.
    Someone could easily have made a similar point in 1905 about the Conservatives and the Liberals. 25 years later the Liberals had ended as a party of government, replaced by the Labour Party.

    Political parties have no guarantee of permanent life and a position as one of two major parties. Labour's current extremist leadership are certainly tempting fate there, and if they adopt the mentality you display then they are pretty much guaranteed to implode as a political force.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Should we develop things like space mining and nuclear fusion (much lower commodity costs, much lower production costs, much lower consumer costs for goods) then rampant deflation may force some kind of change.
    Some people argue that technological deflation has already arrived. We've had interest rates around 1% or less for 8 years, and yet inflation has stayed pretty steady under 4% with some small blips.

    That would have been impossible in the postwar period; interest rates were put up to almost 20% to force inflation down, and it was never as low as 1%. Clearly some mechanism in the economy has decoupled since the early 1990s such that the economy doesn't work the way it used to; it's almost like no matter how low interest rates are, no matter how much quantitative easing there is, inflation (except asset price inflation in the housing sector) doesn't budge.

    And if that is the case, then we should use the "free" kicks we can get out of QE (central bank money creation being spent into the economy without excessive upside inflation risk; we could use that to invest substantially in industry, new housing, technological innovation, paying off government debt etc)
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    Some people argue that technological deflation has already arrived. We've had interest rates around 1% or less for 8 years, and yet inflation has stayed pretty steady under 4% with some small blips.

    That would have been impossible in the postwar period; interest rates were put up to almost 20% to force inflation down, and it was never as low as 1%. Clearly some mechanism in the economy has decoupled since the early 1990s such that the economy doesn't work the way it used to; it's almost like no matter how low interest rates are, no matter how much quantitative easing there is, inflation (except asset price inflation in the housing sector) doesn't budge.

    And if that is the case, then we should use the "free" kicks we can get out of QE (central bank money creation being spent into the economy without excessive upside inflation risk; we could use that to invest substantially in industry, new housing, technological innovation, paying off government debt etc)
    Deflation certainly occurs in some sectors so there is a degree of evidence to support that however that's primarily driven by greater automation and globalisation allowing for lower unit costs than a fundamental change from scarcity to abundance.

    Yes, there are multiple issues with those who believe in a return to normality. The first is although the UK and US especially have not done enough (in my opinion) to structure their economies in a sustainable fashion (higher asset growth than wage growth), we have still corrected to enough of a degree that coupled with European deleveraging demand from the west for goods and commodities from places like China and Brazil is much lower than it was which has in turn resulted in lower commodity prices. In such an environment, domestic QE and the like is not going to have a significant effect on inflation because for a net importer like the UK, we are actively importing deflation from the Euro-zone and disinflationary pressure from the exporters of the world.

    I was somewhat sympathetic to QE when Osbourne was agressively persuing the deficit and it was geared around keeping GILT yields low however with Hammond expected to relax i'm not supportive of continued intervention and do not at all support the BOE plan to buy corporate bonds. Note that i'm not against a significant increase in capital expenditure though, i just think it should be financed through ordinary means (cut deeper or raise taxes and transfer the spending).
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    ;

    Very true. The problem with automation is that it creates a feedback loop of wealth aggregation so that 100 years down the line you might have a dozen people who own all the big servers and robotic enterprises, and in that they own pretty much the whole world. The efficiency with which they generate wealth will mean they can buy up the entire economy, and any new wealth that is created is immediately sucked up by their enormous money black holes.

    I think as we move into the information age we do need to move to a much more redistributive system, or even make laws against mass automation. Beyond a certain point of technological development, I don't think there's any reason we necessarily need to accept a technological development that will so fundamentally up-end the balance of economic power in our society.
    :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:

    That is an utterly awful idea.

    To start with it's actually being tried before in that through the late 1960's the UK's industrial policy (aided by self interested unions of course) was to actively discourage methods which could increase productivity if they meant less employment.

    Secondly though the problem with people (primarily on the left) who wish to save jobs is that in almost all cases the disinflationary benefits of higher productivity/lower tariffs (i.e. lower unit costs) create more employment nationally than they destroy locally (hence why any plan to save Port Talbot should have seen most of the workforce go as we automated the crap out of it rather than saving the jobs to lose to foreign industry).

    There is a mild argument to support ensuring there's a relatively equitable distribution of the gains accrued from mass automation but the idea that the UK should slow development is abhorrent. Far from it, we should lead the world.

    Personally i'm not as downbeat as some since i don't think Elysium is where we'll end at.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:

    That is an utterly awful idea.

    To start with it's actually being tried before in that through the late 1960's the UK's industrial policy (aided by self interested unions of course) was to actively discourage methods which could increase productivity if they meant less employment.
    I'm not by nature a Luddite: I have an almost Whiggish mentality and I'm very optimistic generally about technological and social progress. I'm not proposing to ban all the ordinary forms of automation we already see. But I think it would be a mistake to apply the lessons of the past to the sort of automation we will likely see in the 22nd century. Where automation has previously occurred, those workers who were economically displaced were able to move into new jobs (although as we've seen with the transition from manufacturing to a service economy, it was much to their disadvantage).

    But if we are approaching a period where artificial intelligence and robotics are putting almost all workers out of a job, including professionals like lawyers, accountants, architects, etc, and that the technology is so productive that it automatically defaults to a kind of wealth singularity where you end up with a dozen or so people owning almost all of the productive economy, then I have absolutely no problems with enacting legislation that places a halt on mass automation beyond a certain point. Again, I'm not talking about what we see now, I'm talking about a particular (and speculative) sort of automation that results in mass unemployment (I mean like 70% or 80%, not 12%).

    Such an outcome, even in the ideal, would mean a universal income and seeing almost all people become clients of the state. It would be fundamentally injurious to our democracy, to the idea of free citizens having an equal say (which, for all its faults, our society broadly adheres to at the moment). At worst such an outcome, where the data/robotics magnates decided to starve the state of funds out of some libertarian fanaticism, could result in mass starvation and inequality on a level not seen since antiquity. For the health of our democracy, for the welfare of the plurality of ordinary middle-class people, for the sake of our human civilisation, I would prefer the regrettable blunt instrument of legislative limits on automation (or else the companies would have to be nationalised and the ownership redistributed on an annual basis to all the population).

    I'm a socialist but I recognise that market democracy has been the most incredible engine for growth in the history of mankind, particularly in the last 30 years. I recognise markets are dynamic, vigorous and revolutionary in a way command economies are not. If we could maintain that current balance between the market and the state, I would be happy to keep things broadly as they are. But I just don't think they will; I think mass automation will be a game changer and we cannot rely on market dogma that somehow it will all work itself out as long we leave the magnates alone.

    There is a mild argument to support ensuring there's a relatively equitable distribution of the gains accrued from mass automation but the idea that the UK should slow development is abhorrent. Far from it, we should lead the world.
    I would be happy to have a redistributive system not just to equalise the gains of mass automation, but critically to keep the relative wealth and influence of the rich (in particular, the data/server/AI/robotics magnates) against the broad middle-class in check. It's the health of our democracy I truly worry about.

    To make it actually work I think you would need to convey to all citizens some kind of non-alienable equity in these mass automation / AI conglomerates, otherwise these conglomerates would find a way to make a general welfare payment to the population but snatch the truly valuable equity in their bony, arthritic miser's hands.

    As a socialist I accept my side of politics will have to find a compromise with the centre-right on this issue, but I imagined most would prefer a form of industry regulation regarding employment levels than to see a fundamentally socialist redistribution of the equity of these companies. All in all I might prefer the latter if the centre-right would accept it
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    I'm not by nature a Luddite: I have an almost Whiggish mentality and I'm very optimistic generally about technological and social progress. I'm not proposing to ban all the ordinary forms of automation we already see. But I think it would be a mistake to apply the lessons of the past to the sort of automation we will likely see in the 22nd century. Where automation has previously occurred, those workers who were economically displaced were able to move into new jobs (although as we've seen with the transition from manufacturing to a service economy, it was much to their disadvantage).

    But if we are approaching a period where artificial intelligence and robotics are putting almost all workers out of a job, including professionals like lawyers, accountants, architects, etc, and that the technology is so productive that it automatically defaults to a kind of wealth singularity where you end up with a dozen or so people owning almost all of the productive economy, then I have absolutely no problems with enacting legislation that places a halt on mass automation beyond a certain point. Again, I'm not talking about what we see now, I'm talking about a particular (and speculative) sort of automation that results in mass unemployment (I mean like 70% or 80%, not 12%).

    Such an outcome, even in the ideal, would mean a universal income and seeing almost all people become clients of the state. It would be fundamentally injurious to our democracy, to the idea of free citizens having an equal say (which, for all its faults, our society broadly adheres to at the moment). At worst such an outcome, where the data/robotics magnates decided to starve the state of funds out of some libertarian fanaticism, could result in mass starvation and inequality on a level not seen since antiquity. For the health of our democracy, for the welfare of the plurality of ordinary middle-class people, for the sake of our human civilisation, I would prefer the regrettable blunt instrument of legislative limits on automation (or else the companies would have to be nationalised and the ownership redistributed on an annual basis to all the population).

    I'm a socialist but I recognise that market democracy has been the most incredible engine for growth in the history of mankind, particularly in the last 30 years. I recognise markets are dynamic, vigorous and revolutionary in a way command economies are not. If we could maintain that current balance between the market and the state, I would be happy to keep things broadly as they are. But I just don't think they will; I think mass automation will be a game changer and we cannot rely on market dogma that somehow it will all work itself out as long we leave the magnates alone.



    I would be happy to have a redistributive system not just to equalise the gains of mass automation, but critically to keep the relative wealth and influence of the rich (in particular, the data/server/AI/robotics magnates) against the broad middle-class in check. It's the health of our democracy I truly worry about.

    To make it actually work I think you would need to convey to all citizens some kind of non-alienable equity in these mass automation / AI conglomerates, otherwise these conglomerates would find a way to make a general welfare payment to the population but snatch the truly valuable equity in their bony, arthritic miser's hands.

    As a socialist I accept my side of politics will have to find a compromise with the centre-right on this issue, but I imagined most would prefer a form of industry regulation regarding employment levels than to see a fundamentally socialist redistribution of the equity of these companies. All in all I might prefer the latter if the centre-right would accept it
    Excellent post.
 
 
 
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