Re: A Challenge To All Extropians

Paul Hughes (
Sun, 17 May 1998 14:22:45 -0700

ChuckKuecker wrote:

> At 07:53 AM 5/16/98 -0700, you wrote:
> >
> >Chuck - I highly insist that you read the entire thread as it evolved
> over the
> >last month,
> Sorry. I will read more carefully before typing..time to dig through the
> thread again.

Apology accepted.

I don't mean to jump on your case specifically. Its just that this thread has
generated a lot of 'reactionary' and knee-jerk reactions of people who haven't
bother reading what I wrote, and then presuming that I am so kind of dogged
socialist proposing a centralized governmental body to re-distribute the wealth.
This is simply not the case.

The problem I'm trying to reconcile is the elegance of the free market combined
with increasing automation. Obviously, once we reach the assembler breakthrough
this whole issue becomes moot. Money and work become meaningless in a world where
you can replicate anything you need. My concern is for the *transition* leading
up to it. I see those years as ones where large segments of the economy become
increasingly automated. Jobs safe from automation until nanotech would probably
include - doctors, engineers, scientists, artists, programmers, consultants,
advisors, lawyers, etc.

The question is can blue collar/joe-sixpack adapt to the changing workforce by
becoming a knowledge worker? I have my doubts. Also, I believe much of the
service sector will become automated. One secretary does today what it took
dozens only 30 years ago. This trend in office automation is continuing.

However, some interesting counter-proposals from others on the list included
pointing out that the service sector will continue because of a high demand for
'human touch'. Although each company will need less people to do the same thing,
there will be more companies doing it. Dan Fabulich pointed out that with
increasing automation comes increased production at lower costs. So although
wages will decrease, the price of goods will decrease even more rapidly, thereby
raising the living standard for everybody.

Paul Hughes