the abolition of work

Tony Belding (
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 07:47:59 -0600

Dan Fabulich <> wrote:

DF> When I pay you for your labor, we BOTH benefit: I for receiving your
DF> labor, you for receiving my payment.

Yes, but I also suffer from having to actually /perform/ the labor. Being a
naturally lazy person, I find such a system distasteful. :-)

DF> Robots would be no different.
DF> The argument that anyone could do our work and leave us WORSE off as
DF> a result is dubious at best.

It's not a choice between the work being done or not being done, it's a
question of HOW. Under the current system, you pay a laborer to do it. Under
the future system, you can lease a robot to do it. You are paying for the
same productive result either way, but in the first case you're paying someone
to toil for you. In the second case you're paying someone for the use of his
capital (in the form of the robot).

I prefer the second system, since it becomes less likely that I'll have to
work for a living. It is an opportunity to lift the burden of work from
humanity, by making us all cyber-capitalists!

Of course there is some precedent in history... There was the unfortunate
practice of human slavery. I live in Texas, a state with the dubious
distinction of having gone to war /twice/ in defense of slavery. This leads
to a certain degree of soul-searching. If we ever attempt an economic system
using robots in the place of slaves, we must be /damn/ sure of our ethical
grounds before starting. There must be a system in place to ensure that the
robots -- no matter how versatile and competent they might become -- are
always in FACT soulless and emotionless automatons incapable of either
desiring or appreciating freedom.

   Tony Belding