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If humanity is to exist, Isn't a socialist society inevitable given the future of robotics?

Please don't take me for a confused communist, however I don't see how free markets can function in the robotic future. I would think that as robotics progress, and as the technology gets cheaper (just like consumer electronics), companies will replace humans with robots to increase profits. The company that doesn't do it will go out of business.

As robots proliferate in the factories, more and more people will lose their jobs. Consequently, the consumer base to buy non essential items will dry up as people lose their jobs. So at a certain point very few humans will be needed to perform much of anything. At that point do we give half the people jobs digging holes, and the other half filling them in? If we did not socialize the benefits of robotic production, where does that leave us? Everyone on vacation, or a need to get rid of the 99%?

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That will be pure capitalism. Robots doing everything for us is reducing our work time and increasing our leisure time using technology. That has nothing to do with socialism.

No train to Stockholm.

The answer to your question

lies in pointing out a basic fallacy of marxist economics. Marx's original theory actually sort of predicts at least the effects of robotic technology.

The fact is that if big corporations make a bunch of robots, and the rest of us are too poor to afford them, then who's going to buy the stuff the robots make?

The corporations will basically transmit their savings to the poor. If robots make stuff dirt cheap, then that stuff will be sold dirt cheap.

People still possess this: time, man-hours. They can use it to make/do something. The relative man-hours still govern overall relative wealth in terms of trade. Robots just mean a lot of great stuff cheap.

The problem you run into is with the 'freeness' of the free market. Is the financial system rigged to support the government and big banks? Are corporations structured to allow a few people to reap all the rewards of an economic activity without little to no liability?

Free markets mean that you own what you make, and all exchange is voluntary. If you labor at a machine, this means you own the time (opportunity cost) you give to the employer. That's all they mean. They don't mean special protections for certain kinds of economic activity. They don't mean special rules to encourage a certain kind of commerce.

Some 'socialist' ideas like not having incorporation laws might make sense and be consistent with free markets. The point is that the world we have today, economically in America, is not the be all end all of markets. So if you think that this current system will be destroyed by robots, you're probably right. This system was meant to indefinitely sustain and be sustained off of big corporate employers working with big labor unions. A certain level of technology supports that structure, but naturally a higher level of technology would not.

I could even argue for a lower stage of technology - back to farming - but with the population size supported by modern tech that wouldn't work.

Cyril's picture

A No-Brainer Primer On Socialism

People: So, what is it about?

Socialists: Simple. You've got to live according to your needs to be happy. WE know WHY and HOW that can work, this time.

Socialists: ... give up your guns, btw, while we discuss. You gonna hurt yourself.

People: *gives up guns*

People: Okay, but WHO's going to get to decide about our future "needs"?

Socialists: SHUT THE F*** UP, and get in line.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Cyril's picture

Exercise for the skeptics:

Exercise for the skeptics:

1) mark all the socialist experiments that contributed to:


2) compute the relative percentage thereof; checkpoint: did you find at least more than 80% of the cases? (whether or not it was "officially" socialism under this name / self-proclaimed or not)

3) did the coincidental invention of machine or device or etc "A", "B", "C", "X", "Y" or "Z" changed anything to the fate of the victims of (1) as History was unfolding?

4) ponder again on the above

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Cyril's picture

Fair enough?

Fair enough?


"Your Mileage May Vary."

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

The Curse of Machinery!

Among the most viable of all economic delusions is the belief that machines on net balance create unemployment. Destroyed a thousand times, it has risen a thousand times out of its own ashes as hardy and vigorous as ever. Whenever there is long-continued mass unemployment, machines get the blame anew. This fallacy is still the basis of many labor union practices. The public tolerates these practices because it either believes at bottom that the unions are right, or is too confused to see just why they are wrong.

The belief that machines cause unemployment, when held with any logical consistency, leads to preposterous conclusions. Not only must we be causing unemployment with every technological improvement we make today, but primitive man must have started causing it with the first efforts he made to save himself from needless toil and sweat.

Ecomics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt (Chapter 7 - The Curse of Machinery).

Some people believe that one day it will be possible for machines, computers and robots to calculate the marginal utility of a good, service or "Human Resource" on behalf of free individual human actors, then apply the calculations globally in order to allocate them for the best possible outcome.


The Zeitgeist Movement:

Take a look at the first quote on the link below and contemplate what it means:

"only complete world desovereignization can permit the realization of an all humanity high standard support"


Then we have "The Venus Project"

Simply stated, within a Resource-Based Economy we will utilize existing resources rather than money, and provide an equitable method of distribution in the most humane and efficient manner for the entire population. It is a system in which all natural, man-made, machine-made, and synthetic resources would be available without the use of money, credits, barter, or any other form of symbolic exchange. A resource-based economy would utilize existing resources from the land and sea, and the means of production, such as physical equipment and industrial plants, to enhance the lives of the total population. In an economy based on resources rather than money, we could easily produce all of the necessities of life and provide a high standard of living for all.


Both of the above "systems" would require a totalitarian central control system with complete sovereignty over the ownership of all property, production and human action.

In the words of Frédéric Bastiat:

Oh, sublime writers! Please remember sometimes that this clay, this sand, and this manure which you so arbitrarily dispose of, are men! They are your equals! They are intelligent and free human beings like yourselves! As you have, they too have received from nature the faculty to observe, to plan ahead, to think, and to judge for themselves!

The visions put forward by the above are all very alluring, they both claim to base their systems on scientific method, but I defy you to find any detailed economic explanation as to how their "Scientific" "Resource Based Economy" will function (without money).

I have asked many of those who sell this vision of the future to point me to any academic papers on economics, an explanation of their theory of value, how they solved the "Economic Calculation Problem" for example, or how they will rank higher order goods and services compared to lower order goods and services.

As to yet, I have not found or been directed to any published academic papers on economics from either of them to show how their "scientifically" designed "economic system" will function.

Every micro-economic system in a mathematically derived, collectivist world government of resources must be tied to an overall macroeconomic system, but what is the fundamental unit of calculation to be based upon?

Economic calculation problem

One of the considerations that must be understood when visualizing a mathematically derived system of economics, is that it excludes the participation of the individual from making day to day value decisions.

Values are subjective, not only based on individual preferences but also on the infinitely complex and ever changing external circumstances (through time) in which each individual is acting.

To grasp this subject fully, it is necessary to understand the difference between Ordinal Numbers and Cardinal Numbers and how they relate to an individuals subjective decisions when allocating marginal utility values to his/her available (or acquirable) resources and/or services.


The Glossary of Economics Terms defines utility as:
"Utility is the economist's way of measuring pleasure or happiness and how it relates to the decisions that people make. Utility measures the benefits (or drawbacks) from consuming a good or service or from working." [emphasis mine]


How do YOU measure value?

Do you think my measurements would be equal to yours?

Does the value of anything you own ever change?

Have you ever owned something that you thought was worthless only to find one day that it is indispensable, or vice-versa?

Could anyone program a computer or robot to make value decisions on your behalf?


Values are subjective, not only to each individual actor, they are subject also to constantly changing external factors.

There are literally billions

There are literally billions of various parts going onto manufactured products these days. Virtually all machined parts need some sort of fixturing that needs to be manufactured before a single part can be made. Who does all this design and handling? What about new fixturing for new products?

Mettle chips in massive quantities spun out in thick and thin thread like strands are thrown off machined parts. Different machining operations throw off millions of different waste product cuttings that need to be managed. Wrapped waste chips around a spindle can shut down the production till a human clears the obstruction. This happens in the production process frequently. Who does chip management?

Cooling oils become contaminated especially with certain types of materials like cast iron. Who checks cooling and lubrication fluids for machines and services as necessary?

I could write a book on why human machinists can never be replaced in the manufacturing process of machined parts. I have 30 years experience in the business.

Old subject

for those of you who think this is an old subject the change that used to take a hundred year now take place in a (Decade?) not sure of the conversion but the impotant fact is that what was once impossible for the elites to achive is rapidly approaching, with 3d printing and other advances human labor will loose the historic value it has always had. when the masses are no longer needed , what will be thier, OUR, Fate.
This is not an old fear but a New reality, when the few do not need the many!

Tasers are Torture, Deism.com

"3-D printing" is not

"3-D printing" is not restricted to "the elites", it's widest adoption so far is with home-based hobbyists. Up to now, this tech has been prohibitively expensive. I can almost guarantee you'll be able to go to a Home Depot or a FedEx Office (formerly Kinko's) or a corner store and buy instant fab components in 5 years. You will also be able to buy less sophisticated home 3-D printers that will be as easy to operate as an HP printer for printing out small items, like handles, knobs, cases, casts, fashion accessories, toys, etc.

In-demand technology always migrates outward and costs always fall.

Most Important subject

The advance of robotics is manufacturing is the most impotant subject that is not discussed by our society. In the Bay area Manufacutring is returning but instead of 1000's of jobs the factories hire a few hundred, Tesla and another major factory are both going for maxium automation, and this results in minamil hires. this trend will accelerate and soon we will find that what is produced for the elites will one thing and for the masses another and we will have no say.
for machines do not go on strike, Our votes will be counted by mahines and nothing will change for the better, the policy will be for lower and lower populations abt the discovery show life after humans will be the result, after all it is the plan!

Tasers are Torture, Deism.com

I don't see the economics leading that way.

Crony capitalism and fascism have their plans but they are funded by the plunder they collect.

Soviet Union lasted 70 years but they started from scratch and the loot from the Czar.

The Federal Reserve members loot taxpayers skimming interest off the bonds they buy, and the regulations that stomp out their competition.

Will it last 100 years? It's looking pretty wobbly.

Free includes debt-free!

This is very simple

When we lose manufacturing jobs because we use robotics, we create robotics jobs. The cost savings goes to more non-essential jobs such as bartenders and entertainment. Automation helps costs go down which doesn't kill jobs, it just creates different jobs.
This is basic free market stuff. Robotics and automation help increase quality of life for everyone. All society has to do is allow people the freedom to change with the times.

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

Why does this meme keep popping up?

Weren't the same type of arguments made 100 years ago? Yet, will all the automation that we have compared to 100 years ago, there is still all this work that needs to be done.

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

This is an old myth

Did harvesters create an unemployment spike that crippled our economy?

Did computers create an unemployment spike that did the same?

Did the internet harm the free market or expand it in ways never thought possible?

Did the industrial revolution kill the market or create one of the biggest booms in history?

The answers are obvious.

Technological advancement in a free market closes some jobs and creates new industry, and often MORE jobs. Capital doesn't just disappear, investment just moves.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."

Click Here To See The Candidates On The Record

Keynesianism on steroids.

Remember Obama talking about saving teller jobs by stopping ATM usage. Pure retardation. Let's bring back milk men too!

No train to Stockholm.

Google glass..

..is a game changer.

In Star Trek Levar Burton wore glasses that allowed his blind character to "see" using infrared and E.M.R.

I predict in the next 10 years descendants of Google glass will eliminate through incorporation:
PC's and laptops
room speakers
movie theaters
speedometers and pedometers
glasses and contacts
telescopes and binoculars
Laser thermometers, tape measures and leveling tools
GPS, especially for employers
Driver's license bureaus
Traffic cops


"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty" TJ

Google Glass (and its

Google Glass (and its theoretical descendents) may have some impact, but handheld phones, a la the iPhone will continue to have a wider impact. Google's self-driving cars in 5-10 years are going to be really interesting. The next 18-30 years are going to see radical shifts as we get closer to the Singularity.


that all that George Jetson did in 2062 was press a button an hour a day two days a week and he could support an entire family and have a maid and a huge dog.

"Endless money forms the sinews of war." - Cicero, www.freedomshift.blogspot.com

if collectivism is voluntary then there is nothing wrong

with it, is there. Voluntary mutual cooperation isn't wrong is it? imo .My biggest problem with socialism isn't the core ideas which socialism has sprung from but it's the socialist tribesman and women themselves. Like most other tribes, they want their team to win so bad they will forget the principals in which brought them to certain beliefs and gladly lobby the federal mafia to force others to do what they believe it right.

Like all "isms", socialism today (at least as I see it) is nothing more then hypocrisy and fail. If it was so good you wouldn't need to use gov force to bring people to your cause. People would be attracted not drafted.

If they could only see that there voluntary socialist experiment could co-exist in a anarchist world. Perhaps the true American experiment could be had again.

Cyril's picture

Here's the catch:

Here's the catch:

beyond the family cell, collectivism NEVER stays voluntary.


As it transforms itself more or less rapidly, anyway:


The latter, hardly ever "voluntary" for those bleeding to death or vaporized in flames.

Others have decided for them by that time.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

I kind of disagree

I think your catch has a catch of its own, which you even identified.

You identified that the breaking point was 'beyond the family' and I believe that, to date so far, that HAS BEEN true. However, the world has never known true abundance. I believe that 'the family' is relevant because it's the barrier (usually) to where genuine sharing occurs.

We don't share with outsiders as a standard practice. We may share on an occasional basis but at some point, we see that as them taking advantage of us. The same may happen with a family member but we usually still do or we pass them off to another member.

If we had true abundance that actually did provide for all of our needs, there would be no competition for goods or services. We would lose the tendency to hoard 'our stuff' away from 'them'. When it came time to collectively take some action, we would not be hiding ulterior motives so the decision would really boil down to nothing more than do we, personally, have the time or resources to spare for helping the task.

Disruptive Technological Innovation

Your post concerns freedom in a high tech future but does not account for disruptive tech innovations. The Internet was one such innovation. It has created challenges in the areas of data privacy but that is part of a general 'opening' of all data, even government data, that it has caused.

I don't think the production model of "economies of scale" (EOS) is going to continue much longer. It is being propped up by an entangling mix of other systems which are each compromised and weak. The whole thing is going to fail. In its place will be just in time (JIT) manufacturing. The JIT will evolve as a disruptive technology from 3D printing.

That which is good enough for EOS to prototype is actually a JIT method of production when decentralized. I imagine in 20 years time, I will be manufacturing exactly what I need in my barn using micro robotics and patterns and designs downloaded off the Internet. The computing power will be amazing. We won't need to mass produce tons of crap and then waste most of it.

The waste levels will be very low and the whole distribution system will be simplified and far less resource intensive. Sooner or later, energy prices will demand this decentralization and a new package of technologies which all exist now in nascent form will arise to disruptively change the means of production and distribution.

This bodes very well for freedom as the main power behind the corrupt form of corporatist state we have now is control over the means of distribution. They control the few large pipes as the market is moving to decentralize into many smaller pipes, coordinated by better computer power. They are losing influence and increasingly relying on hard government power to retain their monopolies and cartels in the face of pro-freedom disruptive tech. That is why the vastly increasing tyranny. If they were winning and socialism was increasing, they'd not have to play hard ball since they'd have it 'in the bag'. Right?

There is always a use for more human labor.

As a business owner, the biggest issue that I have is the lack of financial resources and the lack of labor. What we have done is apply automation and thus utilize the extra human hours made available to other projects. Essentially if I had unlimited human and financial resources I would find a use for both. So automation provides for the development of new products. Instead of having thousands of people working in sweat shops, we have thousands working in new sewing machines factories, or whatever. Instead of having thousands working in a car factory, we have thousands working in a robot factory that produces cars. Instead of having thousands working in a robot factory, we have thousands working in a robot factory that produces robots for a car factory. Instead of having anyone working in factories, we have thousands working in offices designing new robots that can make other robots that make end user products. And at that point a robot cannot replace the innovative mind of a human.

Now all of this is ONLY possible if you have a free market. Resources, both human and financial, must be allowed to flow to industries freely. At any point that the government interferes, you have interrupted the process and thus resources are poorly allocated.

Human labor without IQ & work ethic is a liability, not an asset

The ranks of the unemployed are for the most part like a drawer full of broken tools that should be thrown out.
A couple weeks ago I fired "Jay" who was close to brilliant, a rare experienced person in our field, but was stealing little things from work, chronically late and got stoned off his ass at lunch, making him utterly useless half the time. Of course he lied about everything. He was supposed to be training "Josh". I fired him.

A week ago Josh dropped a customer's property on the floor, breaking it, and then lied about it. He stood his ground and lied for 3 hours. The blue metallic mark on the floor matched and the rough concrete left a corresponding mark on the customer's property. Finally, I even found an irregularly shaped paint chip that matched perfectly. I told him there was a camera and pointed right at it and he still lied. He backed his lie even when we wrote up an $800 bill to charge the customer to fix the customer's property.
Here, reckless damage gets an employee a non-recorded, "be more careful". But this father of two toddlers still lied. I fired him too.

Since I put secret cameras in, it is making it impossible to keep employees.

I'm thinking I should get Automation tattooed on one bicep and Outsourcing on the other.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty" TJ

My Point Made.

Automate as much as you can, thus utilizing the least amount of labor. Yet to do this automation, there will be a series of engineers, managers, accountants, etc., that will have to be hired by another company. Then another company to install it for you. And another to maintain it. As for your shitty employees that you fired, those will still be needed for things like cleaning toilets; cheaper to hire someone than to automate it.

It is all a cost benefit analysis, taking into consideration all the resources needed to make the final product/service; one of those resources just happens to be humans.

You get what you pay for with

You get what you pay for with labor. Pay more and you will get better employees, but I am guessing your profit margins don't allow it, hence you get what you can afford.

Confusing communists is what libertarians do

I mean no disrespect, and I admire your inquisitive nature, but you are a little confused. Socialism and its evil counterpart communism cannot exist without a large powerful government to enforce it, resulting in a stagnant, failing society and a loss of personal freedoms.

How robots could facilitate a socialistic society, reminds me of what Archimedes ran into with the King of Syracuse (I believe I have this right). He developed a rudimentary steam engine, brought it to the King, explaining all the potential of producing mechanical energy. The Kings response was, "what will the slaves do?" Archimedes went on to invent weapons, the King loved that idea.

I could see where robotics could free up human labor and facilitate a future with more recreation, literature, art, entertainment and inventions we have not even thought about. Possibly a more agrarian society, but not a socialistic one.

How will people indulge in

How will people indulge in more recreation if there is nowhere to trade their time for the money to buy recreation?

How will people that have no job buy the goods produced by robots? People that are unable to produce now are given disability benefits by the Government. Yes, there is some fraud, but a lot of people cannot legitimately work. Paying out food stamps is basically bribery money so that those people do not need to come to your house with violence in order to survive. Many people not working could in theory work, however the market place doesn't want them. They have already been rendered useless by the market place. More are to follow.

You have a very socialistic perspective my friend,

I will try to respond to your questions. For one thing, recreation does not necessarily need to be purchased, or certainly not at a large cost. It's freedom for the individual to pursue activities that are not work related. Time with family, a walk in the park, reading, pursuing an education Etc.

People will always have a possibility of becoming disabled, robots or no robots, the disability benefits available are both in the private sector and SS in the public sector.

"People cannot legitimately work", the vast number of people can work. The government now prevents many from doing so, with minimum wage laws, zoning restrictions, licensing requirements, insurance mandates, tax laws and a welfare system that penalizes working because of a loss of benefits.

Food stamps are bribery for sure, bribery to keep people and the agri-businesses dependent on government. If anyone comes to my door needing food I would willingly oblige, as far as the violence part, they probably won't want to do that, I have that covered.

There are people that have an

There are people that have an inability to earn a livable wage even in a libertarian utopia.