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Michael Van den Bossche

Sales Representative, Whirlpool Corporation

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What impact would self-assembly products have on our economy? I.e. Production, spare parts, jobs,...

Speaking of a paradigm, this is definitely one! :)

If we would start building these self-assembly products, it would definitely mean that lots of spare parts wouldn't be needed, lots of technicians would lose there jobs, less logistic organization, etc,...

But where do you see this going?
I truly believe that this can work, although people would start losing their jobs, this would definitely create new opportunities, people instead of focussing them on technical aspects, could now focus themselves on other area's in their lives, e.g. ideas for the climate change...

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    Apr 7 2013: Our ability to innovate beyond the industrial model is well-underway--the service sector is huge in Western countries; automation of repetitive to complex tasks; the majority of students are being trained for thought, not hands-on industries etc.

    But, I think it's problematic that we somehow refuse to let go of the industrial-era idea that everyone still needs to slave-away for most of their life at "jobs". If our time is being more and more liberated, things are getting safer and more convenient--then we need to innovate an economy that refocuses that extra time and health we have for: Things That Really Matter.

    We ourselves are like products of a 4-D printer--ever shape-shifting to our technologies and environment--however, we can't seem to think beyond an isolated cool adaptation. What is our system-wide plan after something changes? Like if cancer could be treated by 4-D nano-molecules cutting off the food supply of cancerous cells--would we be sad that zillions of university research departments and drug companies have nothing to do? Ironically, cancer feeds these jobs--and people would be upset about it. In fact, I think a lot of master solutions/ products are actually suppressed because of this inability to move on.

    We need to incentivize master solutions, and actively plan for industries' (not just products') obsolescence. Moreover, we need to develop a society that stops chasing after consumer-product economies and its jobs, and build a non-economics based existence.
    • Apr 7 2013: "it's problematic that we somehow refuse to let go of the industrial-era idea that everyone still needs to slave-away for most of their life at "jobs""

      Word. Buckminster Fuller said something along the same lines:

      "We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living."
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        Apr 7 2013: Word! :)
        • Apr 11 2013: I am new and they censored me. I am a newby and am still learning the ropes.
    • Apr 8 2013: ----I think it's problematic that we somehow refuse to let go of the industrial-era idea that everyone still needs to slave-away for most of their life at "jobs".----

      and lets not get too erudite, people need manufacturing jobs, or are you happy to see the whole of the Philippine people suffer a technological induced genocide via starvation. Even now there are guards there with shotguns outside supermarkets...
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        Apr 9 2013: 1. I don't think anyone is suggesting an overnight change.

        2. Anyway, manufacturing will leave the Philippines and South East Asia as it is with the rise of African labour. They need a plan anyhow. Plan for the obsolescence of industries--isn't that just inevitable?

        3. Given its arable land and climate, I'd say any threat of starvation by the people of the Phillipines is directly tied to things like developed manufacturing. What policies have been rammed through to disconnect the proprietorship of the land from its people who depend on it? Isn't that more important to address? Arable land sold to private (manufacturing / mining) industries is the very cause of starvation.

        4. Corruption, once thought to be impossible to conquer (and one could even argue that it helped usher through projects that helped certain economies that otherwise would have had nothing), could only end once everyone involved could agree to let it go. (A great talk by Peter Eigen, who actually led it among European countries).

        http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_eigen_how_to_expose_the_corrupt.html

        The nasty fishing industry around Tanzania in Lake Victoria provides jobs, prostitution, arms smuggling and starvation. You're right that it is difficult to unpack all the damage / good of a decision to dismantle an industry--but a long-term goal of health and sustainability needs to win over, for a change.
        • Apr 9 2013: just a note for you Genevieve, I like in Africa, the 2 paragraph wont happen.

          It's a long discussion of the differences of culture, work, environment, and many other things, but there is no way the companies involved will move here.

          para 3. Is about debt, the IMF and World bank want repayments, ie the interest on the $30b that the marcos's got. They the people, the country are still paying that back. When 1/2 your countries gdp goes like this, then there are only two resources you have, labor and minerals. So arable land is sold to corp's to build factories to gain foreign $. And the earth is ravaged, deforestation, mainly teak, again for the same reason. And that's why when the floods twice recently hit se asia, there is no protection, you've deforested the protection.

          So the question is globally are we going to take manufacturing away from them too? What are they going to do? There is no money for re-training, is everyone going to be consigned to...either starve or eak out what existence they can on Smokey Mountain.

          Search for "smokey mountain philippines" ... the image maybe distressing.

          But they better than the words I've given portray whats happening there.
      • Apr 9 2013: Let me also point out that the automation of manufacturing has been preceded by automation and mass production in agriculture. Like in the U. S. A.. You will be astonished that how much human labor was needed in agriculture grain and food production to feed millions of people in the U. S. A. nowadays. As a matter of fact, at this very minute in time, the advancement ( in the sense of manpower and material use efficiency in agriculture is far better than production in industrial consumer goods production. So you will see that the labor force for food production will go at least as fast as the manufacturing labors.
        So starvation won't be the problem in the future.
        Yes, we should try to transfer our daily time and effort to:
        1. train people to learn how to take care of the increasing group of elderly, as well as the children. Even with ample availability of consumer goods and robots (robots are essential for the care of disabled elderly by the caretakers in order to reduce the arduous physical effort of their work), human care still needs some human touch, so that the children and elderly can feel a little empathy or warmth from another human being.
        2. (we can afford to) develop skills in art, music, handicraft of artful values, and entertainment.
        And 3. devote more time in education and literature, not only for our fellow man but also to leave our history and footprints to our future generation.
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      Apr 9 2013: I think it's problematic that we somehow refuse to let go of the industrial-era idea that everyone still needs to slave-away for most of their life at "jobs".

      The problem for 99% of the people here is the addiction to consuming. And that is what feeds the idea of needing a job, "making their living" in order to get something. We should find a way of stepping out of these routines and addictions. That will be the beginning of a new era. And as usual, change comes most of the time at a slow paste, but we have to plant these seeds right now. We can start doing so by just becoming aware of how addicted we are, and what the hell we are doing on this planet earth, start thinking again about our purpose in life,.. are we really happy consuming, working like slaves,... or is there something better deep inside of us
    • Apr 11 2013: Sorry lady, we all go into industrial obsolescence -- we all grow old. Do not despair. Grandchildren or young children are the silver lining of, well, silver hairlines. Corporate, Government, Non-for-Profit Organization, and Religion Bureaucracies are the dreary part of life -- you know man against the Corporation/State/Self-Perpetuating-Problem-Organization/Religion. I love my family and friends. And, of course k-9's.

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