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Will Automation Lead to Economic Collapse?

Most of the agriculture and industrial jobs are already phased out by machines. Over 70% of jobs and labor is currently to find in the service sector, but also this sector is being phased out and replaced by automation which means decreased purchasing power of the general public. Just take a look at this: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/08/20/Will-Robots-Cause-Mass-Unemployment-in-China.aspx#page1

Let's make an example as well. What exactly happens when people get automated by machines? They loose their jobs and need welfare to support themselves until they get a new job, if they ever do. But, where does welfare come from? It comes from tax payers. And do people on welfare pay taxes? They don't. So, what happens when everybody is on welfare due to automation and nobody pays taxes? This example is the reality in Michigan and the government there have been on the brink of shutting down due this exact issue. And we are beginning to see this never-ending spiral go out of control in the rest of the world. The trends are definitely there, but where's the solutions?

Is an economic collapse, in fact, an imminent event and a mathematical certainty, looking at the trends in Michigan and China? And is there a way out of this, looking at it in an economical perspective?

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  • Sep 29 2012: Only one basic problem; If, for the sake of argument, we say that robots can create any product or service a human being can provide, there is still one fundamental thing a robot will ~never~ do: ~BUY~ the product or service it creates!

    Within the framework of our present economic culture, there are only two ways this could work; either we create sentient androids that can buy the products & services they create (they'd have to be paid & then they would totally replace us) OR we fundamentally change our socio-economic structure into... what? Robotically enhanced Socialism, where we all equally benefit? Doesn't look bloody likely!

    Let's not ignore the parallel development of recombinant DNA. Within 40 years Biotech will provide the means to increase life spans by 100-200% and arrest the ageing process. Not to mention increased intellect, strength, durability, vision, etc, etc. Who will benefit from these mega-enhancements? It will NOT be egalitarian, it will only be available to the rich & powerful among us (the .001%). If it were applied to the masses it could be a disaster, there aren't enough resources available for the present (short lived) world population. These procedures could cost millions of dollars, whomever becomes the 'Bill Gates' of the Biotech Company providing these enhancements could become a multi-trillionaire.

    The gap between the 'haves & have nots' is about to increase by ~several orders of magnitude~! These lucky few may be considered to be Homo Sapiens 2.0, and who better to lead/rule society?! (I suspect that these 'super beings' will consider themselves as Homo Sapiens 1.0, the rest of us were just beta models.)

    Combine this with a robotically run society including robotic police & armies and a very unsettling & downright scary future can easily be imagined.

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