Re: A Challenge To All Extropians

ChuckKuecker (
Wed, 29 Apr 1998 05:24:24 -0500 (CDT)

At 16:39 4/28/98 -0700, you wrote:

>Again, *how* will people be able to but and use more or improved products
>when those products are being made almost completely with human labor?
>Your points on stock devaluation are well taken, but you have yet to
>demonstrate how the free-market can alleviate those people who are
>permanently automated out a job. The automation process is accelerating
>faster than people are capable of re-training. So as you said, if you are
>not suggesting that people become superfluous what are they going to do to
>survive besides begging or stealing. If you can't answer this with adequate
>demonstration, then you have yet to meet the challenge that I proposed at the
>very beginning of this thread.

One way, as previously mentioned, would be for the displaced to become
servants for the survivors. For centuries, the servant class was an integral
part of society, and they did not suffer degradation in the main in the last
century. The reason the servant class has disappeared in our society is
because of laws requiring tax withholding, worker's comp. and high income
taxes on those who would benefit most from the servants. If the laws were
changed to allow hiring of servants, who would themselves be responsible for
paying the costs of their employment, and income taxes were removed, I
expect many now un- or under-employed would sign on to being servants. Quite
a few 'rich' people would then be able to take on a maid or butler,
gardener, etc. They get essentially free room and board, and have incomes,
and so are a productive part of society. Sounds like a pretty good deal,
when the alternative is living in near poverty on government handouts..

Another factor is the increase of property taxes. Since these have risen in
the US, there are now no landowners who are actually 'owning' land. They all
pay rent in the form of taxes to the state. This has the effect of
eliminating the 'family home' that was the norm in the last century, where
two or three generations and their servants lived for many decades in one
place. Once you retire, you can no longer pay the taxes, and are kicked out
by the landlord eventually. The taxes on a residence that was 'comfortable'
100 years ago are now something only a Bill Gates can afford..

Chuck Kuecker