Re: A Challenge To All Extropians

Randall R Randall (
Wed, 29 Apr 1998 10:41:32 -0400

On Tue, 28 Apr 1998 16:39:50 -0700 Paul Hughes <> writes:
>Randall R Randall wrote:

>> As the economy becomes automated, we will all be able
>> to buy and use more or improved products.
>Again, *how* will people be able to buy and use more or improved
>when those products are being made almost completely with human labor?

That just means that human labor becomes
more valuable, in terms of what can be made.

>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.

I don't know that a person *can* be "permanently
automated out of a job".

>The automation process is accelerating
>faster than people are capable of re-training.

I don't see any reason to think that this is the case,
since *I* retrained, last year, from being a
factory worker to being a network administrator.
It isn't even very difficult to change, for someone
who is already minimally keeping up. If a person
isn't, then it's that person's own planning that is

>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.

I cannot give any general proof, but
it doesn't seem to me that there is
any problem, now or in the next ten
to fifteen years, with retraining to do
whatever needs doing. Part of the
difficulty here is that we seem to
have different ideas of how automation
is going to appear in the economy.
With macroscale automation, much
of it will be of the type that McDonald's
is installing this year, that is, automation
designed to improve the product, but
which doesn't put anyone out of a job,
as long as they can adapt to the new
paradigm. I don't think we will see
vast percentages of the economy
becoming automated before the
arrival of molecular manufacturing,
and that can be small enough that
everyone can have their own
manufacturing facility for almost

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