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polskieserce

How is the Church going to cope with the transition to a post-capitalist society?

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polskieserce

In the past, technological innovation resulted in temporary difficulty followed by a realignment of the labor market.  Most people who lost their jobs to technology were able to find other work since there was a lot of manual labor that needed to be done back in the old days and the machines were nothing like what exists today (or will exist in the future).  Some people are saying that there will inevitably be widespread mass unemployment and that the process has already started.  Here is some info that's worth checking out:

 

60 Minutes - Technological Unemployment

The End of Capitalism Has Begun

Envisioning the Post-Capitalist Economy

Fall of Capitalism and the Internet of Things

 

Given that this is the direction the world is heading in, how does the Church plan to cope with this problem?  Many Catholics, especially in the US, are really resistant to any major change to the economic system and the Church isn't fond of socialism.  However, what plan does the Church have to cope with eventual mass unemployment if the solution isn't going to be automated democratic socialism?  Perhaps some members of the clergy have already written about this topic....perhaps not.  I'm interested in hearing from everyone, especially from those of you who are really resistant to socialism as the eventual successor to capitalism.

 

 

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CatherineM

Robots can't do plumbing repairs. They could do new construction in a cookie cutter function, but not problem solve a leak or retrofit new pipes in an older home. That's one example of a million that will mean employment. 

There will be new jobs we can't possibly imagine. My Dad died 30 years ago and the idea of being a professional Pokémon hunter is something he couldn't possibly have imagined.

Just like in all eras of human development, those who adapt prosper and those who can't get left behind.  

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polskieserce
On 10/9/2016 at 9:20 PM, CatherineM said:

Robots can't do plumbing repairs. They could do new construction in a cookie cutter function, but not problem solve a leak or retrofit new pipes in an older home. That's one example of a million that will mean employment. 

There will be new jobs we can't possibly imagine. My Dad died 30 years ago and the idea of being a professional Pokémon hunter is something he couldn't possibly have imagined.

Just like in all eras of human development, those who adapt prosper and those who can't get left behind.  

For the time being, robots can't do plumbing repairs.  But what about the future?  Human-like AI will become a reality and humanoid robots will get better.  Or what about 100 years into the future when smart-homes have nano-robots that can detect/fix problems like a clogged/broken pipe or mold growth?  Do you really think it's realistic for 1/2 the population to be a plumber/electrician/any other job that's not easily automated?  The problem being posed in this question, as well as the videos I posted, is that technology will permanently displace enough people from the workforce that there will be upheaval and civil unrest.

The only way you can make a living playing pokemon go is if the government expands the welfare state to the point where everyone's needs are met (aka socialism). 

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CatherineM

One of my husband's summer students quit his job to do Pokémon go full time. No idea exactly who is paying him, but he's making more money. 

As to half the work force being out of work, it's also possible that half the work force will disappear. That happened in the Middle Ages with the Black Death. We could have a plague, an environmental disaster or even a nuclear winter. 

That's  why the Bible says to not be afraid. We can't know what's coming. We have to trust in the Lord. 

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polskieserce
On 10/18/2016 at 9:31 PM, CatherineM said:

One of my husband's summer students quit his job to do Pokémon go full time. No idea exactly who is paying him, but he's making more money. 

As to half the work force being out of work, it's also possible that half the work force will disappear. That happened in the Middle Ages with the Black Death. We could have a plague, an environmental disaster or even a nuclear winter. 

That's  why the Bible says to not be afraid. We can't know what's coming. We have to trust in the Lord. 

Understood, but those types of odd-ball jobs are a rarity

It's entirely possible that 1/2 the population will be wiped out by a new illness.  The rise of anti-biotic resistant bacteria will be a major problem for humanity in the future.  But even if half the population does get wiped out, the population will increase yet again. After the Black Death, the population recovered.  A shrinking population doesn't necessarily cure unemployment.  Fewer people means less demand for goods/services.  Several environmental disasters are also on the horizon (rising sea levels, droughts, stronger hurricanes, deforestation, etc).  Those disasters will inevitably make certain regions of the world very difficult to survive in. That's not a solution to unemployment either.

Essentially, the Catholic Church has no plan whatsoever to deal with the upcoming seismic shift in society.  At this rate, the Church will slip even further into oblivion.  The Bible tells us not to be afraid because God has everything figured out for us in the afterlife.  However, that doesn't mean that people are supposed to sit around waiting for solutions to fall out of the sky.  The dysfunction we have on Earth is a direct result of human action/inaction.

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polskieserce
On 11/1/2016 at 9:52 AM, CatherineM said:

I don't think the church is falling into oblivion now. 

To each their own, I guess.  In my eyes, Church closings, disdain for Catholic teaching by those born into the Church, promiscuity, and dwindling parish numbers are more than enough evidence, but whatever.

Regarding automation putting people out of work, the only real solution seems to be a universal basic income.  If any of you are interested, this NPR piece is pretty good.

As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income

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SaintOfVirtue

The society we live in hasn't been Capitalist for at least the past 70 years. It is (and has been for the past 70 years) a Credit Based Consumerism.

Also a universal basic income is an anti-capitalist idea because it drives inflation and defeats the worker's ability to compete for jobs. 

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polskieserce
On 1/15/2017 at 1:46 AM, SaintOfVirtue said:

The society we live in hasn't been Capitalist for at least the past 70 years. It is (and has been for the past 70 years) a Credit Based Consumerism.

Also a universal basic income is an anti-capitalist idea because it drives inflation and defeats the worker's ability to compete for jobs. 

The capitalist system is naturally volatile and unstable.  When you have completely unregulated capitalism, most of the wealth eventually gets concentrated at the very top (as well as a host of other problems I won't go into so that this post stays brief).  For most of human history, that's how things were - a small ultra rich elite, a few people in the middle and the overwhelming number of impoverished people).  When most of the wealth is concentrated at the top, common people will struggle to purchase the goods and services they work to produce and the whole capitalist system comes grinding to a halt.

Credit based consumerism is capitalism with a bandage fix.  As long as common people have some money coming in, they can still obtain access to goods and services by paying for them over time.  However, this bandage solution will not last forever.  When automation kicks into high gear and a whole slew of jobs are eliminated, many people will not have any type of private sector income. 

The only solution to this problem would be to instate a universal basic income.  This is not going to happen in 5 years, obviously.  But this is the direction we are heading in.

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SaintOfVirtue
4 hours ago, polskieserce said:

For most of human history, that's how things were - a small ultra rich elite, a few people in the middle and the overwhelming number of impoverished people.  When most of the wealth is concentrated at the top, common people will struggle to purchase the goods and services they work to produce and the whole capitalist system comes grinding to a halt.

For starters, the standard economic model for "most of human history" can hardly be considered capitalist.  Even if you use Marx's definition the furthest back you could date it is 1500's at best.   

History has actually shown that a capitalist system is the single most effective method of bringing people out of poverty (as an example I offer Andrew Carnegie).

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Credit based consumerism is capitalism with a bandage fix.

No it's not.  It's socialism with sugar on it.

 

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When automation kicks into high gear and a whole slew of jobs are eliminated, many people will not have any type of private sector income.

Do you think the pony express, milkman, or the elevator operator ever saw it coming? Technological changes have caused the disappearance of jobs in the past and almost as frequently the out cry that technology is forever replacing jobs has preceded it.  Even a cursory glance at the writings from the industrial revolution show concern for this problem is at least 200 years old!  People adapt, the change in technology eliminates jobs but creates them as well. 

 

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The only solution to this problem would be to instate a universal basic income.  This is not going to happen in 5 years, obviously.  But this is the direction we are heading in.

You say that a universal basic income is the only solution; but offer no examples, historical or hypothetical, of why it is the only solution.  Neither does the NPR article; just thinking about the circular reasoning in that desultory disquisition is supremely frustrating for me. 

 

Also, you should read Rerum Novarum.  It details exactly why socialism is inherently opposed to the human right to earn and own.  It is a surprisingly better read than the NPR article.

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polskieserce
13 hours ago, SaintOfVirtue said:

For starters, the standard economic model for "most of human history" can hardly be considered capitalist.  Even if you use Marx's definition the furthest back you could date it is 1500's at best.   

History has actually shown that a capitalist system is the single most effective method of bringing people out of poverty (as an example I offer Andrew Carnegie).

No it's not.  It's socialism with sugar on it.

 

Do you think the pony express, milkman, or the elevator operator ever saw it coming? Technological changes have caused the disappearance of jobs in the past and almost as frequently the out cry that technology is forever replacing jobs has preceded it.  Even a cursory glance at the writings from the industrial revolution show concern for this problem is at least 200 years old!  People adapt, the change in technology eliminates jobs but creates them as well. 

 

You say that a universal basic income is the only solution; but offer no examples, historical or hypothetical, of why it is the only solution.  Neither does the NPR article; just thinking about the circular reasoning in that desultory disquisition is supremely frustrating for me. 

 

Also, you should read Rerum Novarum.  It details exactly why socialism is inherently opposed to the human right to earn and own.  It is a surprisingly better read than the NPR article.

When I referred to most of human history, I was referring to the overwhelming majority of people being dirt poor and ruled over by a hyper rich elite.  But that being said, it was still a dog eats dog world when it came to making a living.

I am in no way saying that the world would be a better place had capitalism never existed.  Capitalism, despite all of its serious faults, has played an important role in advancing humanity.  That being said, it is not an unsustainable system and it will continue to serve a smaller and smaller group of people as more people are permanently displaced from the workforce.  I agree with you that past predictions of mass unemployment were premature.  But just because a prediction doesn't come true tomorrow doesn't mean it's wrong.  It's the same story with capitalists denying environmental problems.  But there are several reasons why this time around it's different.  First, there was plenty of manual labor that had to be down back in the old days.  Even if a machine was created to optimize a particular task, its scope was very limited and the workers do some other form of manual labor because there was so much of it that needed to be done.  I once spoke to an information technology professional at professional group meeting and I asked him point blank if he though there would be mass unemployment in the future and he said there is no doubt in his mind that there will be.  This guy was a highly skilled computer programmer who was hired by many different firms in the area to automate tasks.  He mentioned 1-2 stories to me about companies he worked for which previously had a decent sized workforce but had been reduced to a handful of people due to automation.  Here are the points a lot of you keep missing: automation will destroy more jobs than it will create and the new jobs being created are highly skilled jobs in engineering, mathematics and computer science that a lot of people don't have the intelligence to do.

How is credit based consumerism a socialized system?  It fundamentally lacks adequate services for the poor, the rich still control pretty much everything, there is still enormous inequality, and common people really don't have that much control over the economic system.  It's just capitalism that's been slightly reconfigured to get around the issue of poor people struggling to buy stuff.

There is no historical precedent for the universal basic income, so kind of historical examples am I supposed to give you?  If you are so certain that a universal basic income is not inevitable, then what is your proposed alternative?  Lol I would love to see you try to retrain millions of people in their 40s and 50s to do computer science or engineering.  I would even laugh at the thought of having 75% of students major in an intense STEM program.  The chorus of people calling for a universal basic income is slowly but surely getting louder.

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SaintOfVirtue
Quote

When I referred to most of human history, I was referring to the overwhelming majority of people being dirt poor and ruled over by a hyper rich elite.  But that being said, it was still a dog eats dog world when it came to making a living.

Based on ...? Your opinion?


 
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Capitalism, despite all of its serious faults, has played an important role in advancing humanity.  That being said, it is not an unsustainable system and it will continue to serve a smaller and smaller group of people as more people are permanently displaced from the workforce.

Socialism is obviously the answer. That worked out so well for Greece and the EU.

 

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It's the same story with capitalists denying environmental problems.

Lol! Fallacy of composition.  Someone being a capitalist has literally nothing to do with their view on environmental problems.  (eg. Elon Musk)

 

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But there are several reasons why this time around it's different.  First, there was plenty of manual labor that had to be down back in the old days.

There’s still a lot of manual labor that needs to be down today too.  In fact many of the trades like plumbing, electricians, and welders are in high demand because there’s so much work to be down and so few people to get it down.

 

Quote

I once spoke to an information technology professional at professional group meeting and I asked him point blank if he though there would be mass unemployment in the future and he said there is no doubt in his mind that there will be.  This guy was a highly skilled computer programmer who was hired by many different firms in the area to automate tasks.  He mentioned 1-2 stories to me about companies he worked for which previously had a decent sized workforce but had been reduced to a handful of people due to automation.

I drew a picture of a rainbow once that got me two gold stars. :|

 

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Here are the points a lot of you keep missing: automation will destroy more jobs than it will create and the new jobs being created are highly skilled jobs in engineering, mathematics and computer science that a lot of people don't have the intelligence to do.

You keep saying that, but what you keep missing is: I don’t care what your opinion is, show me some actual substantiated facts to back it.

 

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There is no historical precedent for the universal basic income, so kind of historical examples am I supposed to give you?

Quite the contrary, you could start with the Negative Income Tax in the US during the 1960’s, or the Canadian Mincome experiment in the 1970’s.  In fact I’m pretty sure Brazil started a similar experiment back in 2009ish.  You could even go for the Social Security Program, or just start quoting Karl Marx.  Those would be a few good examples to start with.    

 

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If you are so certain that a universal basic income is not inevitable, then what is your proposed alternative?

 

Crony Capitalism. :P

 

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Lol I would love to see you try to retrain millions of people in their 40s and 50s to do computer science or engineering.  I would even laugh at the thought of having 75% of students major in an intense STEM program.

I worked on an assembly line once and literally had to build the automated line that eventually replaced me.  Now I’m a Nuclear Electrician.  My field is technical on a scale you cannot even begin to comprehend, yet I have no college degree and most of my training was done on the job.  I went through the program with everyone from kids just out of high school, college dropouts, college graduates, and professionals from all sorts of trades.  The oldest guy in my group was 32 and he “graduated” the same day as I did.  Learning a new trade is frustrating, but not impossible. [Mic Drop]

 

Quote

The chorus of people calling for a universal basic income is slowly but surely getting louder.

Only in your imagination.

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polskieserce
16 hours ago, SaintOfVirtue said:

Based on ...? Your opinion?

Socialism is obviously the answer. That worked out so well for Greece and the EU.

Lol! Fallacy of composition.  Someone being a capitalist has literally nothing to do with their view on environmental problems.  (eg. Elon Musk)

There’s still a lot of manual labor that needs to be down today too.  In fact many of the trades like plumbing, electricians, and welders are in high demand because there’s so much work to be down and so few people to get it down.

I drew a picture of a rainbow once that got me two gold stars. :|

You keep saying that, but what you keep missing is: I don’t care what your opinion is, show me some actual substantiated facts to back it.

Quite the contrary, you could start with the Negative Income Tax in the US during the 1960’s, or the Canadian Mincome experiment in the 1970’s.  In fact I’m pretty sure Brazil started a similar experiment back in 2009ish.  You could even go for the Social Security Program, or just start quoting Karl Marx.  Those would be a few good examples to start with.   

Crony Capitalism. :P

I worked on an assembly line once and literally had to build the automated line that eventually replaced me.  Now I’m a Nuclear Electrician.  My field is technical on a scale you cannot even begin to comprehend, yet I have no college degree and most of my training was done on the job.  I went through the program with everyone from kids just out of high school, college dropouts, college graduates, and professionals from all sorts of trades.  The oldest guy in my group was 32 and he “graduated” the same day as I did.  Learning a new trade is frustrating, but not impossible. [Mic Drop]

Only in your imagination.

 

I still stand by my assertion that for most of human history, the overwhelming majority of people were poor and ruled over by a hyper rich elite.  There are vast amounts of human history to back that up.  If you wish to dispute that, then you really don't have a clue.

The reason the EU ran into trouble is that certain EU countries decided to adopt an open borders policy.  That was a very stupid thing to do, especially when you have a large welfare state.  Do not classify all European nations as having open borders because that's simply not true.

Also, I'm fully aware that past experiments involving full scale socialism have failed and I concede that the same thing would happen again if another attempt was made tomorrow.  The reason why those failed is that they lacked the technology for such a radical change in the socio-economic order.  If you traveled back in time to when the US was a new nation, people like you would laugh at you if you told them that the US would eventually make a super weapon (nukes) that could destroy entire cities by replicating the suns reaction.  Socrates is another ardent capitalist I've debated on this forum.  I'll tell him the same thing I told you: the early pioneers of aviation technology were ridiculed by your kind.  The so called "experts" said that it was impossible to fly.  Boy was your kind wrong....

First of all, capitalism is responsible for some of the worst environmental devastation in the planet's history.  Second, the point I'm making is that capitalists in general are in denial of the fact that capitalism is not a sustainable system.  Not all capitalists deny and/or downplay environmental destruction but many do.  Not all capitalists deny that automation will permanently a myriad of workers from the economy, but many do.

100 years ago, there were far more decent paying manual labor jobs than there are today.  Yes, there are still some of those jobs available, but that pool will continue to shrink as technology becomes more and more advanced.  If you want a real world example, look at where agriculture was 500 years ago and look at where it is now.  Not every manual labor job will disappear due to automation, but enough will.  All those unemployed, marginalized people will trigger political earthquakes all over the world.

At this point, you are simply in denial.  Plenty of experts agree with my point that automation will lead to mass unemployment.  Mass unemployment does not equal NO EMPLOYMENT.  Income inequality is rising.  Look at how much harder it is to find a job nowadays.  The difficult job market is the product of outsourcing, automation, and an outdated education system.

What "hard" facts would satisfy your demand for evidence?  I can't travel to the future with a camcorder, film some stuff, and then post it online for you to view.  If you have some time, read this or do some research into self driving cars:

http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf

Small scale experiments done years ago aren't the best predictors of things to come.  So far, there has never been a society that attempted a true UBI program for the entire population (nor would it be a good idea, because we don't have the technology for it).

And so what if you became a nuclear electrician?  Lol the oldest guy in your group was only 32.  How about people who are in their 50s?  A person's brain deteriorates with age.  Once more and more jobs get automated, there will be more and more people competing for jobs like yours.  If you look even further down the road, one can only being to wonder what AI will be able to pull off.

Once again, you are simply in denial.

 

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SaintOfVirtue

While I work on a full response will you at least reference some of the "plenty of experts" who agree with you? Afterall you keep making claims about history, wages a 100 years ago, agriculture 500 years ago; but are expecting me to just accept your word as canon.  If you have some numbers (i.e. facts from a reputable source) of the number of jobs and their wages from 100 years ago then great let's see them. I'm not in denial. I am perfectly willing to change my views if the facts support the change.  What you've given me thus far is absolutely laughable because its just you saying the experts and all history back you.  Show me where in history, tell me what experts, show a logical argument for how socialism is the answer. But for now I'll just settle for a list of the "plenty of experts".

Edited by SaintOfVirtue

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4588686
On 10/9/2016 at 9:20 PM, CatherineM said:

Robots can't do plumbing repairs. They could do new construction in a cookie cutter function, but not problem solve a leak or retrofit new pipes in an older home. That's one example of a million that will mean employment. 

There will be new jobs we can't possibly imagine. My Dad died 30 years ago and the idea of being a professional Pokémon hunter is something he couldn't possibly have imagined.

Just like in all eras of human development, those who adapt prosper and those who can't get left behind.  

Robots are or will be capable of doing all of those things. In fact, to long ago an AI beat a number of champions in no limit Texas hold 'em. AI is here and it thinks fast than you do, can retrieve far more information far more quickly than you can, and can communicate that information like a human. 

 

On 2/1/2017 at 9:31 PM, SaintOfVirtue said:

 

Do you think the pony express, milkman, or the elevator operator ever saw it coming? Technological changes have caused the disappearance of jobs in the past and almost as frequently the out cry that technology is forever replacing jobs has preceded it.  Even a cursory glance at the writings from the industrial revolution show concern for this problem is at least 200 years old!  People adapt, the change in technology eliminates jobs but creates them as well. 

 

Automation will almost certainly exacerbate income inequality and give more and more power to fewer and fewer affluent people. Sure, if I own the IP rights to the final and best high frequency trading algorithm then maybe I want to figure you to be my footstool. Unfortunately for you, since basically anybody can be a footstool but very few people own rights to hit algorithms you're going to be racing to the bottom against the other footstools. 

Edited by Hasan

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SaintOfVirtue

Income inequality is a key term here because the moment you bring it into the equation you are no longer talking about the poor being poor and how to help them, you're talking about the rich being rich and what they should be doing to help the poor.  So instead of it being a conversation of how to help the poor help themselves it becomes a conversation of how to make the rich pay for the poor.

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BarbaraTherese

"Today's problems, they are enough for today".  I think speculation about the future, if of course there is to be one, speaks to the fact that The Church desperately needs those in The Laity (perhaps especially) in the various fields of expertise, science, commerce and economics to mention a few to be committed to Jesus and His Gospel and to reflect on their particular field of expertise prayerfully and to speak out from there.  They and all of us need to invite The Holy Spirit into a seemingly rather unpredictable sort of future, if of course we are to have one, and to be our inspiration and motivation as we possibly move into a difficult future.

History has proven over and over again that the totally unexpected and unanticipated or X The Unknown Factor is always waiting in the wings and in any and all speculations and conclusions.  Whether X gets to come on stage is not a foregone conclusion - it may or it may not.

Doctrine of Divine Providence, which is NOT passive resignation, precisely the opposite in fact.

V. GOD CARRIES OUT HIS PLAN: DIVINE PROVIDENCE http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p4.htm

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4588686
On 2/3/2017 at 9:48 PM, SaintOfVirtue said:

Income inequality is a key term here because the moment you bring it into the equation you are no longer talking about the poor being poor and how to help them, you're talking about the rich being rich and what they should be doing to help the poor.  So instead of it being a conversation of how to help the poor help themselves it becomes a conversation of how to make the rich pay for the poor.

And the problem with that is?

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