Re: A Challenge To All Extropians

ChuckKuecker (
Sat, 2 May 1998 12:12:50 -0500 (CDT)

At 18:20 5/1/98 -0700, you wrote:
> The extreme form of your fear (millions starve to death because technology
>has been made obsolete) is fairly easy to discredit. Suppose 10 million
>people were laid off tomorrow because a new invention drastically reduced
>demand for the jobs they had been doing. Instead of starving, wouldn't
>they be better off forming their own economy, using simple technology
>and trading among themselves? (Not that that's likely to be the best they
>could do, it's merely the simplest to describe).

Would the present government allow such a trading society? It would be
completely out of their control, and therefore a grave threat.

> I see no sign that automation has been causing or is likely to cause a
>significant number of people to need to work harder to maintain a stable
>standard of living. As to how hard people will need to work in order to
>upload, I don't know.

This is especially true in engineering departments. 15 years ago, even
engineering techs had draftsmen, secretaries to type up letters and reports,
and file clerks to do the day-to-day drudge work. Modern computers have
eliminated most of these positions and piled the responsibilities on the
engineers, who now use their own PCs to type letters, do detail drawings,
manage paperwork, etc. Also, they are now expected to design and deliver new
products in less time than when they had a team of assistants.

With this increased responsibility has come a slight decline in the real
purchasing power of their wages..not to mention layoffs when they reach the
top of the pay scale, and loss of many once 'sacred' benefits.

Chuck Kuecker