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posted by girlwhowaspluggedout on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the ya-tvoy-sluga-ya-tvoy-rabotnik dept.

regift_of_the_gods writes:

"A study that was published last year by two Oxford researchers predicted that 47 percent of US jobs could be computerized within the next 20 years, including both manual labor and high cognition office work. The Oxford report presented three axes to show what types of jobs were relatively safe from being routed by robots and software; those requiring high levels of social intelligence (public relations), creativity (scientist, fashion designer), or perception and manipulation (surgeon) were less likely to be displaced.

This further obsolescence of jobs due to automation may have already begun. The Financial Times describes an emerging wave of products and services from algorithmic-intensive, data-rich tech startups that will threaten increasing numbers of jobs including both knowledge and blue collar workers. The lead example is Kensho, a startup founded by ex-Google and Apple engineers that is building an engine to estimate the impact of real or hypothetical news items on security prices, with questions posed in a natural language. Specialist knowledge workers in many other fields, including law and medicine, could also be at risk. At lower income levels, the dangerous are posed by increasingly agile and autonomous robots, such as those Amazon uses to staff some of its fulfillment warehouses.

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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:34PM (#10683)

    2109-Many animals are taken over or eaten by robots, they are consumed as light snacks. Robots learn to reproduce with their gigantic huge and delicous metal dicks. They become horny 24/7.

    And you think losing your job is a problem.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by alioth on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:46PM

    by alioth (3279) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:46PM (#10689)

    These predictions keep getting made, but somehow we find new work for the supposed millions who will be put out of a job. For instance, in Britain now, more people are employed than have ever been employed in the country's history.

    There's a TV programme from the late 1970s called "The Mighty Micro" (you can find it on YouTube), it was a multipart series on the BBC (IIRC) about the coming microprocessor revolution. When the programme was made, Sinclair had not yet launched the ZX80 and a personal computer was either the extraodinarily expensive Apple II or some homebrew S-100 bus machine.

    The programme amongst other things predicted that by 1995 we would live in a cashless society with all transactions being some kind of ePOS transaction. However, in 2014 there's still no sight of the cashless society and no forseeable end to having to have some cash in your wallet. It still remains the only convenient way to pay a friend and the only way of paying for small purchases without getting a surcharge. There are still many small businesses like cafes that don't accept ePOS transactions at all because the bank charges on a £3 transaction are too high.

    The programme also predicted that automation would mean by the mid 90s the work week would have to be cut to 20 hours. Instead there are more people working longer hours than ever. What happened to 20 hour work weeks?

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by githaron on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:52PM

      by githaron (581) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:52PM (#10695)

      Productivity gains from technology are not equally distributed. Most people are getting a smaller percentage of the pie but that pie is also getting bigger.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:04PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:04PM (#10706)

      The programme also predicted that automation would mean by the mid 90s the work week would have to be cut to 20 hours. Instead there are more people working longer hours than ever. What happened to 20 hour work weeks?

      Instead of passing the profits of increased productivity to the workers, businesses decided to distribute those profits to the shareholders. Instead of a 20-hour work week, we got doubled stock valuations (capital gains). If labor were in a position to decide how profits get distributed, we'd have our 20-hour work week (or doubled salaries), and stocks would be flat, which would create its own set of problems (see "communism, failure of").

      It is hard for me to pick a side in this -- middle and uppper-wage workers are also investors, and I can see the day coming when I will make more money from my investments than I do from my job. When I can reliably make more from investments than I do from my job, I'll be retired, and coding for open-source projects or doing other volunteer work.

      My real concern is that cheaper and more powerful automation will just accelerate the consolidation of wealth.

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by githaron on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:22PM

        by githaron (581) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:22PM (#10717)

        My real concern is that cheaper and more powerful automation will just accelerate the consolidation of wealth.

        At first, you are probably right. Later, given the opportunity, the reverse will probably be true. Look at the music industry. It use to be all the money was made a only a few key players. Now, there is more people making a living off of music than there probably has ever been before. Why? Because the people now have the ability to afford the equipment necessary to make quality recordings.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by cafebabe on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:43PM

          by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:43PM (#10731) Journal

          According to http://www.salon.com/2013/05/12/jaron_lanier_the_i nternet_destroyed_the_middle_class/ [salon.com] (found via http://news.slashdot.org/story/14/01/07/1340211/ [slashdot.org]), Jaron Lanier estimated that approximately 50 artists in the US make money in hip-hop music and in all genres it is "low hundreds".

          --
          1702845791×2
          • (Score: 1) by HiThere on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:25PM

            by HiThere (866) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:25PM (#10926) Journal

            To be fair, that's just artists, and there are other jobs in music. So it's not at extreme as you are suggesting. But there's definitely a lot fewer than there were in 1913...probably by multiple thousands. (In 1913 there was generally at least one professional musician in every town or large village. Cities would have many more.) And there were many more small towns then than there are now.

            OTOH, recording engineers, clerks in music stores (do they still exist?), etc. aren't counted as artists, even though they earn their living in the "music industry".

            So I don't believe that you can trust his figures WRT number of jobs. They are too exclusive. But he's pointing in the way things are going. (Recording engineers are being de-skilled now, and will be replaced soon, e.g., and "music shop clerks" have already been largely replaced by the internet.)

            --
            Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
            • (Score: 1) by cafebabe on Friday March 07 2014, @06:39PM

              by cafebabe (894) on Friday March 07 2014, @06:39PM (#12846) Journal

              recording engineers, clerks in music stores (do they still exist?), etc. aren't counted as artists, even though they earn their living in the "music industry".

              I considered supporting roles before I posted. In general, I'd say that they aren't equivalent. Consider: Would you rather be a talent scout in an audience or a musician playing to the audience? In a more extreme example, would you rather be a rapper with a record deal or a music store clerk?

              --
              1702845791×2
              • (Score: 1) by HiThere on Friday March 07 2014, @07:28PM

                by HiThere (866) on Friday March 07 2014, @07:28PM (#12879) Journal

                They are, however, jobs. Some of the jobs that pay(paid?) much more than the average artist earns. E.g., owner of a record store.

                --
                Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
          • (Score: 1) by len_harms on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:58PM

            by len_harms (1904) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:58PM (#10952) Journal

            His assumption was that Kodak made product. They sold 'razor blades'. Digital pictures removed their razor blade market. Much like CD's, DVD's, books, TV, film, etc. I do not care about the medium it is on. I want to enjoy the product.

            Kodak could not keep up because their product was not cameras or making pictures. It was film. People also realized they did not need physical copies of every picture. You basically usually got the whole roll printed as you didnt know what you were going to get. Now you can choose 1-2 good ones and throw out the other 500 or just drop them on some storage.

            If we could digitize real razor blades Gillette would be out of business in 5 years.

            If you have a job that depends on physical media and there even a hint of a chance it could be digitized get out. Music is in the same mess. As to make a copy now is extremely low cost (both dollar wise and time wise). Where as before you had to goto the gatekeepers and their gatekeepers of the razor blades to sell it. You could justify the high cost to make the original copy because the margin was there. Movies are not quite there yet as the time to distribute is still somewhat high.

            With low cost creation and low cost distribution the middle mans margin is eliminated.

            Blockbuster went from top of the world to bankruptcy in under 20 years. Because they did not do what their competitors did. Eliminate cost from the consumer chain and more importantly pass it on.

            We were/are witnessing a whole group of people who made the medium our culture was printed on going away. We are also seeing the middle man who were the gatekeepers going away too or at the very least changing dramatically. It will not go 100% away but the scale they worked at before is going to be curtailed.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by ikanreed on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:38PM

        by ikanreed (3164) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:38PM (#10725) Journal

        And here's the trick. When you're retired, you'll be living off your investments, and diminishing them over time. You still won't be part of the class that natively gets richer constantly off of just how much they own. A manipulation of one aspect of your self-interest allows the wealth owners(and yes, that's a simplification/personification of a diverse group) to concentrate wealth at obscene rates. Small systemic balancing of taxes on capital vs. labor could address the issue, but through the 401kifying of pensions, we've managed to make people terrified of capital gains increases.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by metamonkey on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:35PM

        by metamonkey (3174) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:35PM (#10798)

        That's why labor unions are useful. There needs to be a counterbalance between the interests of capital and labor. When there is no one to speak for labor, capital keeps all the profits and fucks the workers. When labor has all the power, nothing gets done and the economy stagnates. We need these two forces fighting each other, as a fair and productive society exists somewhere in the middle. Right now, capital has all the power, and labor has nothing. Corporate profits are at all time highs, the stock market is going crazy again yet people are out of work and wages are stagnant.

        --
        Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:24AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:24AM (#11104)

          A large part of the problem in the US is that the unions have repeatedly, flagrantly shown themselves to be political clubs pushing their own agenda without being responsive to the real concerns of the workers, and substantially in the pockets of organised crime. And now they're amazed that union membership is dropping like a rock everywhere it's optional, and people are pushing to make it optional anywhere they can.

          When the unions in the USA start to actually care about the workers, work realistically in terms of business factors, and stop pushing their politics in the teeth of what their members think, union membership might start to rise. Of course, when that happens, I'll start looking for unicorns in my back yard, but hey. Miracles do happen.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by jcd on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:02PM

        by jcd (883) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:02PM (#10821)

        My real concern is that cheaper and more powerful automation will just accelerate the consolidation of wealth.

        This is the real danger, not loss of jobs. We'll find something to do. It's getting to the point where money isn't even a thing for the people at the top. It's just pure, unadulterated power. And the advancements in tech that we're seeing - inevitable, really - are just going to serve that power.

        --
        "What good's an honest soldier if he can be ordered to behave like a terrorist?"
        • (Score: 1) by HiThere on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:31PM

          by HiThere (866) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:31PM (#10931) Journal

          Don't be so certain that "We'll find something to do.". More and more people AREN'T finding something to do. The actual percentage of unemployed in the US is currently higher than it's been since women were allowed into the workforce. And the percentage in poverty has been increasing over the last decade or so. Also the percentage in "extreme poverty". And please note that urban poverty isn't like historic rural poverty, in that there aren't (almost) always things a healthy person can do to get by.

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
          • (Score: 1) by jcd on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:01PM

            by jcd (883) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:01PM (#10955)

            Don't worry, I know about the involuntarily unemployed. I'm one of them.

            --
            "What good's an honest soldier if he can be ordered to behave like a terrorist?"
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:08PM (#10875)

        I want to post this. It is relevant with armchair economic students.

        http://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/ [steshaw.org]

        Basically the tl;dr version. Distort the market and it will do something you do not expect. We as a society have basically used this as a checklist of what 'to do' to 'save the children'. With the well thought out ramifications of every single one every single time.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Thexalon on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:05PM

      by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:05PM (#10708)

      These predictions keep getting made, but somehow we find new work for the supposed millions who will be put out of a job. For instance, in Britain now, more people are employed than have ever been employed in the country's history.

      There are also more people that aren't employed than ever before. The better number to look at is the Labor Force Participation Rate [stlouisfed.org], which as you can see is well below its 1990 peak. If the population increases 5%, but the work force only 1%, that means that indeed production is more efficient, because businesses have found a way to meet the needs of those additional people without as much additional labor.

      Instead there are more people working longer hours than ever. What happened to 20 hour work weeks?

      What happened was that businesses discovered it was cheaper to hire one person and force them to work 60 hours per week than it was to hire 3 people each working 20 hours per week. In the US, that's because of health insurance, but in the UK with its NHS I have no idea why that would be the case.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 2, Informative) by gringer on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:41PM

        by gringer (962) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:41PM (#10805)

        What happened was that businesses discovered it was cheaper to hire one person and force them to work 60 hours per week than it was to hire 3 people each working 20 hours per week. In the US, that's because of health insurance, but in the UK with its NHS I have no idea why that would be the case.

        Getting more people in is expensive. There is a (comparative to salary) huge cost involved in hiring someone and dealing with people leaving (i.e. staff turnover), and additional per-employee costs over the course of employment. As long as overtime (assuming the workers can get away with that) costs less than the overheads associated with an extra person, companies will choose the single worker.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:25PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:25PM (#10890)

          Don't forget, if the existing employee has proven competence, then it's safer to get him to do the extra work rather than take a risk on someone else who may or may not be competent. Sure, you'll burn out your employee faster, but since we only care about the next quarter anyway, who cares? By the time the employee has had it and quits or has a heart attack, that'll be some other CEO's problem.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ikanreed on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:14PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:14PM (#10714) Journal

      Millions are out of a job.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:20PM

      by VLM (445) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:20PM (#10716)

      "For instance, in Britain now, more people are employed than have ever been employed in the country's history."

      Not the situation in the USA, that's for sure.

      We also have severe problems with underemployment, such that you can pretty much assume your average bartender or waitress or retail drone or manual laborer or generic office secretary type has a bachelors degree in some kind of advanced topic, usually a liberal art, but more and more often a STEM field. In a long term perspective, there's probably never been a time in human history when the average waitress, for example, is so highly and incredibly expensively educated.

      One big problem is its way too easy to manufacture jobs that contribute nothing to humanity, broken window fallacy and all that. Think of a giant prison industrial complex, the military industrial complex, most politicians and their staffers... plenty of jobs but we'd be better off without most of them.

      "work week would have to be cut to 20 hours"

      We've accomplished that, on average, in the USA, if you check the stats for your average working age citizen. Its more like 40% unemployed for whatever reason, 10-20% part timers, and the balance full time. The societal average for working age men is in fact about 20 hours. About half work full time, about half are unemployed.

      Also there's a glut of "heroic" salarymen who spend 60-80 hours consuming oxygen while physically located on company premises, but spend most of their time online shopping, facebook, twitter, talking sports at the water cooler, talking about TV shows at meetings, gossip, and really only work maybe 20 hours a week. I understand this is a substantial cultural shift from my grandfather's era.

      To some extent this is part of automation, exactly as claimed. Instead of an army of secretarial staff filing papers and pulling folders, there's one guy who waits all day to repair the SQL server.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:27PM

        by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:27PM (#10720)

        there's probably never been a time in human history when the average waitress, for example, is so highly and incredibly expensively educated.

        You say that like it's a bad thing. Education has intrinsic value, apart from how it (typically/allegedly) improves one's economic productivity. I submit that an educated waitress has a fuller, richer life, is a better participant in the democratic process, and is more interesting to talk to than an uneducated one.

        --
        [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by VLM on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:51PM

          by VLM (445) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:51PM (#10742)

          I agree with your outlook, however to say we have a minority opinion would be an understatement. The average American would literally rather die than think. The only acceptable reason for an American to desire education, at least in public, is training for a high paying job.

          The ripoff was the waitress was sold $75K of debt on the promise she would earn a lifetime of $100K/yr teaching job. Forgetting to mention we intentionally overproduce about twice as many teachers as we need, and the average employment till burnout is only about a decade, and almost none of them will make $100K during that first decade. So that theoretical rate of return of 80K annually for 40 years suddenly drops to maybe $10K for ten years for half of them, the other half can waitress (probably getting more money). So the societal average return on that fedgov guaranteed undischargable student loan for $75K is $50K. Whoops.

          There is also a societal cost in that if you assume you're not going to get that high paying job, you can safely pursue more interesting topics, which might on odd chance pay off. Maybe that waitress would have been the next Beethoven if she had bothered with music theory classes, instead of trying to train for a job she'll never get anyway. Training for a job that'll never exist is not as valuable of an educational experience as taking philosophy classes.

          As the old dotcom saying goes, we're losing money on every deal, but I'm sure we'll make up for it in volume...

          • (Score: 2) by Daniel Dvorkin on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:00PM

            by Daniel Dvorkin (1099) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:00PM (#10868) Journal

            The average American would literally rather die than think.

            Not you, though. You're different. Special. Better. Not like all those sheeple.

            --
            Pipedot [pipedot.org]:Soylent [soylentnews.org]::BSD:Linux
            • (Score: 1) by sgleysti on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:10AM

              by sgleysti (56) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:10AM (#11091)

              I'm glad you called out his unwarranted elitism, but man... that was brutal.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by edIII on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:11PM

          by edIII (791) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:11PM (#10769)

          Yes, you're entirely correct.

          That waitress who put herself through school, or her family scraped and saved to do it, is just ELATED that all of her hard work studying in a STEM field has been put to waste.

          At least she is interesting to talk to right?

          Oh wait! The fucking democratic process!! I just about forgot that.

          She gets the unending joy of electing politicians that will bail out all the men on Wall Street along with the men (who get the penis bonus in their salaries too) in the financial sectors.

          Oh joy!

          Those men don't have to suffer at all. They still get to go home to their luxury houses, yachts, and personal assistants while not having to suffer any of the consequences that a female waitress would have suffered if she maliciously and greedily tanked the entire economy.

          I bet that she goes to sleep just BEAMING with happiness, that while she understands a complicated STEM field, she will never be able to participate in the rampant innovation and creative processes fueling our economy and culture. Of course she will understand, that innovation is a relative term, and that most of her ideas will get shot down by the execs due to the real costs, barriers to entry, a broken copyright/patent system, and the anti-competitive practices of businesses.

          She will be courageous and persevere even though her hopes and dreams have been shot through.

          When that wonderful fine gentleman comes in for a cup of coffee that works in government, Wall Street, or any of the industries propped up by taxation without representation, she will be fucking grateful she has an educated mind and is allowed to participate in the grand democratic process that is America.

          Later on in life, when her feet are shot, her back hurts so much she is addicted to OxyContin, her youthful vigor has faded, she will remember, that although she worked hard to educate herself, she just wasn't lucky enough to be born into, or weasel her way into, the protected classes in our caste system now.

          Maybe in her next life she can be born a Share Holder, or a Politician.

          Long. Fucking. Live. America.

           

          --
          Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by metamonkey on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:40PM

            by metamonkey (3174) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:40PM (#10803)

            Given that more and more often that is the experience of many, many college-educated people...at what point to they band together at the barricades?

            --
            Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:41PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:41PM (#10848)

              Wouldn't matter if they did.

              Here's why:

              The college educated of this country are, as a group, not uniform. A substantial percentage have a vested interest in, if not the totality of the situation, enough aspects of it that they are not interested in the barricades and would cheer the police/army/thugs as they march. Even the ones who are unhappy with the state of affairs are more interested in working within the (ostensibly broken) system (voting, showing up at meetings etc.) than in turning every lamppost inside the beltway into a gallows.

              Well educated people at the barricades are an outlier, which can only win in any kind of revolutionary context if and when their numbers are supplemented by the less educated. The key question is whether or not enough of the less educated can make common cause with the more highly educated (or conversely, if the concerns of the less well educated can motivate a fair percentage of the more educated to join them). In the big picture, can and will enough disgruntled people band together to make a substantial difference?

              Short answer: not while the FBI, NSA and other groups who like COINTELPRO and analogous approaches keep succeeding at keeping them uncoordinated and distracted.

              • (Score: 3, Informative) by Grishnakh on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:33PM

                by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:33PM (#10895)

                Not only that, but the less-educated tend to resent well-educated people and intellectuals in general, at least in this culture. America is famous for being anti-intellectual. It wasn't long ago we elected a moron to be President who couldn't even pronounce "nuclear". We hate smart people telling us what to do, and tell them they don't know what they're talking about because our "common sense" is better than all their scientific research (see the global warming debate). We're also the home of the Creationism Museum, since all that fossil evidence couldn't possibly be true when our Bibles say the Earth is 6500 years old; obviously those fossils were planet there by the Devil.

                With people like that making up most of the population, and rabidly defending what they're told on Fox News, and practically worshiping ultra-rich people ("we shouldn't punish success!" "Rich people are rich because God loves them more!"), there's no way they'd stand up against the elites and their thugs in uniform.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:16PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:16PM (#11011)

                  Not only that, but the less-educated tend to resent well-educated people and intellectuals in general, at least in this culture.

                  This is not a uniform situation. Plenty of educated people get plenty of respect, but it depends on context. It would be more accurate to state that the educated are not automatically granted respect, and that communication skills are key to developing and maintaining that respect. In this respect, it's part of the USA being a (partially) classless society.

                  America is famous for being anti-intellectual. It wasn't long ago we elected a moron to be President who couldn't even pronounce "nuclear". We hate smart people telling us what to do, and tell them they don't know what they're talking about because our "common sense" is better than all their scientific research (see the global warming debate). We're also the home of the Creationism Museum, since all that fossil evidence couldn't possibly be true when our Bibles say the Earth is 6500 years old; obviously those fossils were planet there by the Devil.

                  To be entirely fair, G.W. Bush was not perhaps the brightest spark in the history of the presidency, but he wasn't really a complete idiot either (although to what extent his drug history affects the situation isn't entirely clear). He was a pilot, and real idiots don't get to be pilots because they can't pass the tests. The fact that he spoke a nonstandard dialect of English is no reflection on his intelligence as such.

                  Don't get me wrong. I don't think he was a great president, but if you want to complain about him, at least make sure that your complaints are cogent. He certainly did embrace the zeitgeist better than either of his major competitors, but a lot of the points which he presented (or which his handlers told him to present - pick your version of reality) were fairly subtle, and he was embraced to some extent despite that fact. So if you want to make the case that americans are broadly anti-intellectual, Bush is a bad example.

                  Also bear in mind that in the USA a very substantial proportion of the population has some college education. The extent to which this is a symptom of the dumbing down of college courses, and consequently how much meaning it holds, is a matter of some debate.

                  With people like that making up most of the population, and rabidly defending what they're told on Fox News, and practically worshiping ultra-rich people ("we shouldn't punish success!" "Rich people are rich because God loves them more!"), there's no way they'd stand up against the elites and their thugs in uniform.

                  So in a nutshell, your position is that we have a huge group of anti-intellectual people who worship rich people (who are disproportionately, if not uniformly well educated) and who will therefore never rise up. That is exactly the sort of distraction I would actually expect from a government agent trying to keep groups from finding each other, and actually oxymoronic as a position.

                  Try this instead:

                  The typical person in this country is too well supplied with the comforts of life, and too little disturbed by the machinations of power, to want to rise against the structure which is perceived as providing them with their comforts.

                  However, increasing numbers are growing increasingly disgruntled at perceived abuses of power (with respect to corruption, suppression of dissent, dilution of civil liberties, removal of real political choice etc.) and should they find a consensus on an agenda of change which is frustrated by the incumbent forces (of which a large part would probably include the federal service in its various forms) the prospects of a popular rising increase dramatically.

                  • (Score: 2) by edIII on Wednesday March 05 2014, @04:28AM

                    by edIII (791) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @04:28AM (#11171)

                    The typical person in this country is too well supplied with the comforts of life, and too little disturbed by the machinations of power, to want to rise against the structure which is perceived as providing them with their comforts.

                    !BINGO! !BINGO! !BINGO!

                    The best way to keep the cattle happy on the way to the slaughterhouse is to keep them fat and entertained.

                    Believe that was referred to in Roman times as Panem et Circes?

                    --
                    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by edIII on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:22PM

              by edIII (791) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:22PM (#10887)

              Honestly, and I know how dangerous it is to say it, I wonder when the revolution will start.

              Just how hard does it need to get, and just how fantastically unfair does it need to be, before the educated in this country start getting together in meetings and rationally discuss how to retire this government and start another.

              I could have never even conceived of this level of corruption, theft of wealth from the poor and middle classes, absolute havoc WRT civil rights and freedoms, and complete one-sided representation 25 years ago.

              We LIVE in a dystopia, and all the most frightening elements authors wrote about least century are being rapidly implemented.

              Even as a peaceful person, I honestly question myself, and wonder at just which point will I be swept up with the masses in a new civil war.

              That's not histrionics or cynicism. I sorely wish it was, I promise you. I wish to hell it was.

              --
              Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
              • (Score: 1) by HiThere on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:39PM

                by HiThere (866) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:39PM (#10935) Journal

                How bad does it need to be? It needs to be bad enough that you're willing to die uselessly rather than continue to live in the current system. And there needs to be support from some group among the privileged. And the military needs to have lost loyalty to the current government. There are a few other requirements, and even then a successful revolution is as likely to make things worse as to improve them.

                But long before that happens the government will be experiencing a series of "coupe d'etat"s. (And what *is* the proper plural of that?)

                --
                Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
                • (Score: 1) by metamonkey on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:54PM

                  by metamonkey (3174) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:54PM (#10949)

                  To be honest, I don't understand why the next revolution would need to be violent, or need people taking to the streets. When I said "man the barricades" I was speaking figuratively. I imagine today, smart people would hold an online Constitutional Convention, come up with a new system of government and promote it online. Run it like a wikipedia/sourceforge for laws, funded via kickstarter and promoted via social networks. /b/lackup to stifle sockpuppets.

                  I don't see why anybody would need to get off the couch to revolt these days. It's sad that all of these unemployed, college educated people sit in front of the most powerful communications tool, the most powerful weapon in human history, with access to all the world's knowledge, and they use it for cat pictures and jacking off instead of organizing.

                  --
                  Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @11:40PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @11:40PM (#11061)

                    I don't see why anybody would need to get off the couch to revolt these days. It's sad that all of these unemployed, college educated people sit in front of the most powerful communications tool, the most powerful weapon in human history, with access to all the world's knowledge, and they use it for cat pictures and jacking off instead of organizing.

                    Because all the constitutional conventions and so on in the world don't mean anything if nobody gets off the couch.

                    Let's say you live in a suburb and you get everyone in the suburb to agree on a new constitution, which is ratified, and you declare your independence, and your first actual step (because you're not big on getting up from the couch) is not to file taxes.

                    A bunch of letters get sent, which you use as firestarters.

                    A bunch of guys with guns get sent, and kick you out of your suburb because they're taking your stuff.

                    Revolution over, because nobody got off their couches.

                • (Score: 2) by jcd on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:46PM

                  by jcd (883) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:46PM (#11035)

                  Crane Brinton, is that you?

                  You are right, though.

                  I'm no French expert, but wouldn't the "coupe" be plural, since it translates to blow to the state?

                  --
                  "What good's an honest soldier if he can be ordered to behave like a terrorist?"
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @11:35PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @11:35PM (#11057)

                Honestly, and I know how dangerous it is to say it, I wonder when the revolution will start.

                Just how hard does it need to get, and just how fantastically unfair does it need to be, before the educated in this country start getting together in meetings and rationally discuss how to retire this government and start another.

                I wouldn't bet on physical meetings. Not many, anyway. I'd bet on electronic meetings - which as a prerequisite have electronic systems which are a lot more secure than what we have now, to be successful.

                That said, don't bet on unfairness being a driving factor either. Justice and equity are matters of opinion to at least some extent.

                How hard it needs to get: people need to feel that they are effectively disenfranchised (i.e. that the current system is not addressing their complaints, regardless of whether or not voting is part of the system) and that a way of life they hold to be valuable is being withheld. This can be as stark as starvation, or as abstract as a government which shows every sign of impoverishing their children. Obvious corruption and other abuses can act as goads, but not every revolutionary army is emaciated and shivering.

                I could have never even conceived of this level of corruption, theft of wealth from the poor and middle classes, absolute havoc WRT civil rights and freedoms, and complete one-sided representation 25 years ago.

                We LIVE in a dystopia, and all the most frightening elements authors wrote about least century are being rapidly implemented.

                Even as a peaceful person, I honestly question myself, and wonder at just which point will I be swept up with the masses in a new civil war.

                That's not histrionics or cynicism. I sorely wish it was, I promise you. I wish to hell it was.

                And there you are; there's the trigger. You see yourself living in what you consider to be a dystopian, borderline kleptocratic society, and you could see yourself, maybe not today, but in the fairly near future, standing together with millions of others who feel the same way even if you do not specifically share every detail of ideology (because it's a cinch you wouldn't).

                I see a couple of preconditions:

                Coordination. If the Microsoft Militia of Redmond arise, they'll be squished flat in a month or less. If the Sagebrush Militia of Howling Madness, Wyoming, arise, their lifespan will be pretty similar. If every town and county from Redmond to Yellowstone rises at once, it won't be just a month (and it's pretty darned sure that a lot of the rest of the country will rise too, and I don't just mean three rednecks in Talking Cactus, Texas).

                Basic consensus. Everyone doesn't have to agree on everything, but certain basics need to be agreed upon. It could be pretty abstract (a balanced budget and banning lobbyists) or relatively concrete (secession for Cascadia, Texas, and Dixie). Whether the Independent Republic of Texas is pro-choice or pro-life is not important to the Redmond Revolutionaries any more than the question of whistleblowing laws in Free Cascadia is to the Dallas Brigade.

                Mutual support. If the cadres in Montana are taking a beating, folks in Spokane should be willing to take action, whether remote or local, to support their fellows. This might take the form of blocking roads to inhibit logistics, or riding over to Montana to shoot at the Great Satan from DC.

                Strategically I would see the Bill of Rights as written in the current constitution as being a critical element. First because it has been so shamelessly, progressively trampled in wars on stuff, and second because a large number of soldiers, currently serving and inactive, actually care more about the constitution than they do about Washington DC's dictates. There are, last I heard, roughly 20 million veterans in the country and based on those I've met, I'd expect that about 15 million of them would support a movement for the bill of rights over Congress.

                Also, even if 1 million folks stand up with rifle in hand to tell the feds (in whichever form) to get lost, a real deciding factor will be another 10 million who don't fight directly, but support them with caches of food and/or ammunition, medical care (first line or hospital), intelligence on the ground, transport, a warm place to sleep at night, computer services, equipment manufacture and repair, radio services and so on.

                I could even perfectly well foresee a bunch of revolutionary supporters in, say, San Francisco, not touching a gun, but designing drones or remote controlled robots or surveillance systems which can easily be slapped together in a machine shop on a farm somewhere. Fifty rednecks with rifles are a minor pain in the butt. Fifty rednecks running drones which can drop napalm and thermite all over valuable equipment are a major problem. Fifty rednecks who have such drones, and also have remote controlled rifles which command a valley have a presence which can tie up a couple of regiments for a long time.

                But I'm not a military strategist or a political scientist. Those guys would have much better ideas, which would get a lot fewer people killed than my ramblings.

                • (Score: 3, Interesting) by edIII on Wednesday March 05 2014, @05:12AM

                  by edIII (791) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @05:12AM (#11186)

                  And there you are; there's the trigger. You see yourself living in what you consider to be a dystopian, borderline kleptocratic society, and you could see yourself, maybe not today, but in the fairly near future, standing together with millions of others who feel the same way even if you do not specifically share every detail of ideology (because it's a cinch you wouldn't).

                  I see that without any doubt whatsoever.

                  Not because I'm angry (I am), not because I wish for violence (I'm very close to a pacifist), and not because I intrinsically wish to destabilize any form of government (why?), and most assuredly not because I think I know everything, all the answers, and the exact right way to run this country (I know that I know less than what I don't know by far).

                  It's because I will be forced to act to provide some sort of logistics (which I am good at it) for food, shelter, and clothing. Isn't greatness usually thrust upon the shoulders of someone unwilling? I don't mean that egotistically. Just that I'm confident enough in my skill sets, and confident enough in knowing myself, that I could not sit by with inaction while my brothers and sisters fought for a better world for me and our children.

                  Why will that happen?

                  Our democratic process is broken to such an extent that Americans are almost 3rd class citizens in their own country simply because of the inability for our government to fulfill their charter and purpose. That purpose was to provide an EQUAL foundation in which we could all enjoy the ideals of freedom and the benefits of prosperity.

                  Government doesn't do that. They do the opposite, which is to serve monied interests that are intrinsically evil. Evil not by appeal to emotion or histrionics, but evil by definition; The monied interests only serve their short term goals while being perfectly aware of the harm they cause. The great tragedy is that it is most likely not a singular awareness at all. There is no Hitler. It's mob mentality. Only acting together with cognitive dissonance and the justification that everyone does it, and nothing can change, does the 1% act so abhorrently. It's broken the democratic process with flawed logic, fear, illusions of sustainable growth and wealth, and the more or less direct wholesale bribery of the EXACT people that should be above all that, the people that should know better, the people that should be the smartest and the wisest of us, capable of leading us and protecting us. The 1% has so fully pushed the political process from grace, that it wouldn't know the light if they were on fire.

                  They are a virus, a blight, a pox upon the civilized world. We are not dealing with it properly, and at some point, we either deal with it or perish.

                  Revolution is not just a possibility, it's an inevitability if we continue to be paralyzed and fail to enact protections, reforms, and a movement back towards the legal embodiments of our American ideals. This revolution has the possibility of being without bloodshed of any kind, and might not even meet the definition of a revolution at all. It could be an evolution.

                  I sorely wish we did not have to wait 1 minute till midnight on the clock to act. I know from quite unfortunate experience (as do we all) that in the worst cases you don't get to appeal to God to get an extra few seconds. You can't stop your momentum if you try, and as causality is quite a bitch, you die.

                  --
                  Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
                  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:29AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:29AM (#11197)

                    It's because I will be forced to act to provide some sort of logistics (which I am good at it) for food, shelter, and clothing. Isn't greatness usually thrust upon the shoulders of someone unwilling? I don't mean that egotistically. Just that I'm confident enough in my skill sets, and confident enough in knowing myself, that I could not sit by with inaction while my brothers and sisters fought for a better world for me and our children.

                    If you are a techie, probably the single most revolutionary thing you could do is work towards a truly secure, safely pseudonymous forum with a troll-resistant interface. That is basically what would be necessary to foster the kind of discussion which could bring people together to actually discuss how to fix things. In a perfect world, not only would it be unnecessary, but the duty of guys like the FBI would be to monitor the discussion (you couldn't keep them out, practically) and to inform their masters of why and how the people are truly disgruntled so that they could fix what's broken. In the real world, their mission appears to be to diffuse and stifle dissent rather than address the root causes.

                    The real problem with this is that the longer they put it off, the worse it gets until you have a truly monstrous situation at hand.

                    Why will that happen?

                    Our democratic process is broken to such an extent that Americans are almost 3rd class citizens in their own country simply because of the inability for our government to fulfill their charter and purpose. That purpose was to provide an EQUAL foundation in which we could all enjoy the ideals of freedom and the benefits of prosperity.

                    I am not disagreeing (although I see room for disagreement around the description of the purpose of government) but I can't really disagree with the observation that the democratic process is showing signs of strain, to say the least. That description matches the sense of disenfranchisement which is typical of revolutionaries. If you felt you had a place at the table, so to speak, you wouldn't be motivated to support the flipping of the table.

                    Government doesn't do that. They do the opposite, which is to serve monied interests that are intrinsically evil. Evil not by appeal to emotion or histrionics, but evil by definition; The monied interests only serve their short term goals while being perfectly aware of the harm they cause. The great tragedy is that it is most likely not a singular awareness at all. There is no Hitler. It's mob mentality. Only acting together with cognitive dissonance and the justification that everyone does it, and nothing can change, does the 1% act so abhorrently. It's broken the democratic process with flawed logic, fear, illusions of sustainable growth and wealth, and the more or less direct wholesale bribery of the EXACT people that should be above all that, the people that should know better, the people that should be the smartest and the wisest of us, capable of leading us and protecting us. The 1% has so fully pushed the political process from grace, that it wouldn't know the light if they were on fire.

                    They are a virus, a blight, a pox upon the civilized world. We are not dealing with it properly, and at some point, we either deal with it or perish.

                    I'm unsure that the 1% is a useful target. Depending on your definition, the 1% could be a fairly prosperous plumber, or a successful farmer after a bumper crop. It sounds to me as if you're more concerned with the political class, and the upper echelons of unelected officials, and the ecosystem of lobbyists and similar folk around them.

                    Revolution is not just a possibility, it's an inevitability if we continue to be paralyzed and fail to enact protections, reforms, and a movement back towards the legal embodiments of our American ideals. This revolution has the possibility of being without bloodshed of any kind, and might not even meet the definition of a revolution at all. It could be an evolution.

                    I sorely wish we did not have to wait 1 minute till midnight on the clock to act. I know from quite unfortunate experience (as do we all) that in the worst cases you don't get to appeal to God to get an extra few seconds. You can't stop your momentum if you try, and as causality is quite a bitch, you die.

                    I've heard it suggested that the revolution will come when the ACLU and the NRA have both had enough. When they make peace, and the NRA becomes the ACLU's armed wing, the revolution will come. I don't know how plausible that is, but it's definitely not a secret that both groups are showing increasing signs of frustration.

                    The best chance of peaceful evolution is the elected officials getting smart and working to restore civil liberties as written, but I am definitely not holding my breath. The priorities are too distorted.

          • (Score: 1) by velex on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:47PM

            by velex (2068) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:47PM (#10906) Journal

            I don't think the gender of the waiter/waitress here matters as much as you think it does. I also don't think the gender of the profiteers in the financial sector matter as much as you think it does, either. Besides that, your point is valid.

            • (Score: 2) by edIII on Wednesday March 05 2014, @05:24AM

              by edIII (791) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @05:24AM (#11187)

              I wrote it entirely from the point of view of the waitress, which I believe, is female by definition.

              There are glass ceilings and wage disparity WRT to gender of course, but I will admit, that was mostly used as a "literary device" if you want to call it that.

              I found the attitude that I was responding extremely offensive, simplistic, and patronizing, and it sounded exactly like what some rich person would say trying to justify their position of prosperity and assuage their own guilt (even if it just survivor guilt).

              To be crude, it was like saying, "Yeah. You're getting butt fucked by a telephone pole, but think of all the money you will save on laxatives the rest of your life"

              --
              Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
          • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:56PM

            by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:56PM (#10910)

            So is your argument that everyone is naturally entitled a high-paying job if they work hard in school? That hasn't been true in 30 years, if it ever was. Or is it that there is no point in educating people who weren't born into a position of privilege, because education won't make them rich?

            --
            [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
            • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:23PM

              by bucc5062 (699) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:23PM (#10924)

              As I read his point, I think you missed its meaning. You presented this picture of some happy waitress being richer for being educated even though she's slopping coffee to people who only see her as a waitress.

              "I submit that an educated waitress has a fuller, richer life, is a better participant in the democratic process, and is more interesting to talk to than an uneducated one."

              Whether or not she is interesting to talk to (assuming you can start a conversation with her) the poster's point was to show an opposing, and most likely realistic viewpoint of our waitresses future. Perhaps in year one, maybe in year two she's still thinking she's got chance, but by three four and beyond the resignation sets in and we find at some point a beaten down, worn out person who only can dream of what may have been. Is it a right to get a good job if you get educated? No, but it would be nice if the chances and opportunities were prevalent enough so it would be for lack of trying that she fails. There are more and more people looking at that future and it is sad state for a country when resignation is the norm, not the exception.

              --
              The more things change, the more they look the same
              • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:45PM

                by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:45PM (#10941)

                You presented this picture of some happy waitress being richer for being educated even though she's slopping coffee to people who only see her as a waitress.

                Actually, I was comparing an educated waitress to what her life would be like if she were uneducated, but still a waitress. I've been on both sides of that fence -- worked menial jobs before and after college -- and in terms of quality of life, it was (to me) the difference between night and day.

                Don't get me wrong, it still sucks to make a bare subsistence wage, but it sucks a lot more to earn a bare subsistence wage while being ignorant. In my experience, at least.

                --
                [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
                • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:38PM

                  by bucc5062 (699) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:38PM (#10985)

                  I don't want to get much into ya yo mamma type discussion, but you still miss his point.

                  I too worked menial jobs before college and after college. I also found gainful employment and was able to work my way up the income ladder to the point where I live a comfortable, yet not far from the edge life. Yeah Us!!

                  How would you feel if after college you never got past that menial job or the next or the next. Working as a carpenter for a year, with 20 years of experience in the IT world both humbled me in how little I knew about carpentry work and did bring about a level of work ethic and viewpoint to make it interesting. However I also found that my witty (to some), intelligent conversations did not go far when hanging out with folks that had not my background in education or work. I got back into my IT world, but being down had a profound effect on my life view. I learned that most people who do not have a similar education, background, or worldview will not accept you. It is either adapt or be outside.

                  So back to the situation you and I experienced. Menial work after higher education. This time you don't get out of the cycle. You drift further and further from your starting point and for you to have a life, friends, companionship you start to change. Friends you knew that got jobs, moved up, no longer hanging with you for they are busy with new friends. To build friends and have a decent working environment you start to accept a different world view. Where once the world was big, now it is no bigger then the next county or even town. One day you come across a picture, or maybe a physics book. You open it up only to find you don't remember much of what you learned. You think your the same, but in truth, your younger self would no longer recognize or understand who you are.

                  Feel free to deny, but I lived that 7 years ago. By Grace I got back on track to a lesser, but similar life I had and now can even look at making my own decision to make a life change, not by some corporation or private business. I was lucky though I did make some of my own.

                  People who do not have an education and make a subsistence wage most times don't have a clue that life can be different, they are relatively happy living in that moment, and most times could/can live a full life if they are treated with respect and they don't have a government/corporation shit on them. When Amerika lost its Labor Unions it threw its low income and poor into the crapper and hit the flush button (and that is being kind)

                  --
                  The more things change, the more they look the same
                  • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:17PM

                    by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:17PM (#11013)

                    How would you feel if after college you never got past that menial job or the next or the next.

                    Well, I don't think I would have sat around feeling sorry for myself, and I don't think I would have let my intellectual life go completely to seed, or lost touch with my college friends. So yeah, I guess I don't follow your point.

                    --
                    [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
                    • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Wednesday March 05 2014, @03:05AM

                      by bucc5062 (699) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @03:05AM (#11141)

                      I like you. You are a funny guy with a certainly set view on life. That you would not have done that is a good thing. For those that did..well fuck em I guess. It is the prevailing attitude these days.

                      Me? Having been banged up a bit by life, I guess I'm just one of those has beens that actually cares about people, even those I don't know.

                      I'll leave it at that. We just differ I guess. Not a bad thing since diversity breeds innovation and introspection.

                      --
                      The more things change, the more they look the same
                      • (Score: 2) by edIII on Wednesday March 05 2014, @05:31AM

                        by edIII (791) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @05:31AM (#11189)

                        We are on the same page for sure, and your eloquent explanation was exactly the point I was trying to make to him. Albeit, I did that with the subtlety and tact of a hurricane in Florida.

                        In much the same way, I've had the benefit of education and a sophisticated intellect (I'm more grateful than anyone can know, that I can think, and understand I am no better than anyone else). Also, in much the same way, I've had the benefit of life handing me my ass, and as a result learned empathy through mutual suffering.

                        --
                        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
                      • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:04PM

                        by Sir Garlon (1264) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:04PM (#11302)

                        Thanks. I actually care about people too, I just show it through "tough love" sometimes. ;-) I have seen two close friends really get stuck in a rut working menial jobs after college, and I have had the satisfaction of playing a small role in helping them get their careers back on track. I think the problem we're discussing here is that is likely to get much harder to do. All I can say is, play the hand you're dealt. Sometimes unexpected opportunities come along. The educated waitress I knew got a job helping run a print magazine, which still ain't prestigious but she considered it a step up.

                        --
                        [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
          • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:12PM

            by bucc5062 (699) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:12PM (#10920)

            "Long. Fucking. Live. America." Yep, that about sums it up these days. Don't forget the variation on a theme; aging middle income STEM educated mind one days gets handed a slip of paper that says, all the work you did, all that education, we think it's now worth shit, have a nice day.

            Now this person, who had worked hard to build a decent, comfortable, but not wealthy life looks for work only to find no one wants him/her any more. Tries to get reeducated, but can't afford the cost. Slowly the savings go, slowly the cuts are made, slowly the decent into poverty occurs til one day the man or woman wakes up to discover that just having that minimum wage is the last line holding him or her together.

            While at the same time companies wonder why consumers aren't buying as much product anymore. It couldn't be because they shit on the same people that actually bought their crap.

            God. Help. America. for its Government sure is hell bent on doing nothing save speed the downward progress.

            --
            The more things change, the more they look the same
            • (Score: 1) by HiThere on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:47PM

              by HiThere (866) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:47PM (#10944) Journal

              FWIW, just TRY living on a "minimum wage job". If you're young, energetic, and healthy it's barely tolerable. Once you get past that...

              OTOH, assuming the debt burden of a college education, and trying to live on a minimum wage job...you understand why they maneuvered to get those loans declared immune from bankruptcy protection. Not only will you never get out from under, the debt burden will keep increasing even if you attempt to pay it off. You need a high paying job to pay those off, so those who get one don't dare scruple over privacy or legal rights. (Was that intentional? No evidence. Is it NOW intentional? Yes.)

              --
              Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:06PM

          by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:06PM (#10823) Journal

          Education has intrinsic value, apart from how it (typically/allegedly) improves one's economic productivity.

          I usually/mostly agree that it does, but that doesn't mean that intrinsic value is necessarily greater than the cost of the education; if it's not, it seems like it is a bad thing.

          And I know this will sound horribly elitist, but...
          When I look at how dissatisfied I (two B.S.es and a M.S.) am (and others with comparable education usually are) with the state of the world in general, and my country and community specifically, and at how content less-educated people tend to be, I think I see a trend, and it makes me not-so-sure about this "fuller, richer life" business. (Yes, I'm well aware I could be seeing a trend where none exists.) I'm actually inclined to believe not that the education is the cause of the dissatisfaction, but that they're both effects of a common cause. Still, sometimes I wonder....

          • (Score: 2) by edIII on Wednesday March 05 2014, @05:40AM

            by edIII (791) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @05:40AM (#11190)

            Elitist is thinking that your own self, in the context of a sense of self, is better than anyone else and entitled to *something* to a greater degree than anyone else.

            You don't sound like that at all. Being born with a mind and pondering all the great questions of life, the universe, and everything is not elitism either, but probably an emergent property whereby the most intelligent are the most tortured and malcontent. Often that malcontent aspect can evolve quite quickly into the super villains like Hitler that wish to alter the world to their image, but I believe far more often it is the man that develops the squeezable ketchup bottle because he is so fucking pissed at getting ketchup all over his dining table for the last time.

            I don't believe that emergent property is an accident either, and fundamentally contributes to the progress of humanity as a whole. The source of that emergent property is of course greatly debated. God, simple causality, His Great Noodly Appendage, you pick.

            --
            Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by gallondr00nk on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:47PM

      by gallondr00nk (392) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:47PM (#10736)

      For instance, in Britain now, more people are employed than have ever been employed in the country's history.

      Granted, but that's a deceptive argument considering that our population constantly increases.

      The ONS figures for last month show youth unemployment of 18% and 4.1 unemployed per job vacancy. Granted, these are down from a year or two ago (When it was 25% and 5, off the top of my head) but it doesn't strike me as a healthy labour market.

      There's another caveat which is underemployment. Underemployment has been creeping up since about 2006, from about 7% to 11% in 2012, and was actually climbing before the crash. Since a lot of part time positions require government wage top ups (since they pay so poorly) they're obviously inadequete for providing a secure standard of living. Indeed, 1 in 5 in the UK are living under the poverty line.

      I admit, this certainly isn't an avalanche of automation rendering millions destitute. but I'd argue that automation won't work like that. Instead first it'll push more people into part time work, or into inadequetely paying self employment.

      If we look elsewhere, in the USA job creation has gone from 1-3% under practically every postwar president (except Bush Snr.), before suddenly halting in 2000-2004, with a measely 0.25% addition under Bush Jnr's second term and the same under Obama's first. That's well under population growth.

      Automation might not be the cause, I admit, though I'm a firm believer that it probably is. I'd personally say there's already sufficient reason (economically as well as ethically) to fundamentally challenge the way we see labour and income distribution.

      • (Score: 1) by alioth on Wednesday March 05 2014, @03:54PM

        by alioth (3279) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @03:54PM (#11371)

        When "The Mighty Micro" in 1979 made the predictions I outlined, youth unemployment was probably worse than today, though.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by keplr on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:08PM

      by keplr (2104) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:08PM (#10764) Journal

      but somehow we find new work for the supposed millions who will be put out of a job.

      Actually, we don't. Look at the labor participation rate. It's been going down since around 1997/1998. [wikipedia.org] Part of this is demographic shifts, but it's also that these jobs are going away, and they're not being replaced with anything.

      --
      I don't respond to ACs.
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:17PM (#10773)

      Sorry to be AC

      At least in the U.S., the work we "found" for displaced workers is often lower paying and less stable (service industry and retail vs. manufacturing). We've also seen people give up more in order to keep a job (such as working longer and longer hours, to the point that they have no time for family, or to participate in non-job communities like churches and municipal government).

      Our unemployment statistics also exclude those who are no longer looking for work, and pull a few other tricks to obfuscate how many people do not have stable employment.

      I think the fault in a lot of these futurist predictions is that they posit a fast, disruptive change, rather than a trend that takes many years to complete (which also makes the issue much more difficult to identify and cope with).

      Saying that "new jobs will come along to replace the old" is a statement of faith. Innovation will continue, but in a lot of industries, that innovation will be along the lines of making better machines that require less oversight and cut more expensive labor out of the equation.

    • (Score: 1) by Kilo110 on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:17PM

      by Kilo110 (2853) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:17PM (#10774)

      I'm going to assume you live in the UK.

      In the US, I can go whole weeks without ever touching cash or change. I use my credit card for all purchases, both online and offline.

      I keep a few 20s in my wallet for emergencies, but that's it.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:49PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:49PM (#10855)

      These predictions keep getting made, but somehow we find new work for the supposed millions who will be put out of a job. For instance, in Britain now, more people are employed than have ever been employed in the country's history.

      Really? Is that by total or by percentage? There are MILLIONS in UK who don't have jobs AND are still looking for jobs: http://www.bbc.com/news/10604117 [bbc.com]
      And things might be even worse if this is true: http://www.radstats.org.uk/no079/webster.htm [radstats.org.uk]
      (e.g. people who have given up looking for jobs don't count as unemployed any more). It's too bad I can't find historical "percentage employed" figures (will need to adjust for ageing population before comparing of course). Still, as long as the unemployed get enough wealth to live and the population does not grow beyond the State's ability to support it then it may be fine. But in expensive countries where the welfare is crappier or nonexistent things won't be so good.

      You cannot assume there will always be jobs - just think of the Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, etc workers as robots. How well has that really worked out for the workers in the more expensive countries? And Foxconn is already replacing chinese workers with robots. Some chinese workers will "move up" and take higher end jobs from the USA for 20% the pay and produce good enough results: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jan/17/business/l a-fi-mo-man-outsourced-job-to-china-20130117 [latimes.com]

      But the rest? If not enough Chinese workers can get good enough jobs I think there will be big problems: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/06/us-china -worker-idUSBRE83504T20120406 [reuters.com]
      So I hope they also figure a decent way out before that happens.

      If replacement jobs that provide equal wealth are created, where will the employer's extra savings/profits come from? From selling more stuff? To who? A growing population? Or are we going to convert more and more natural resources from the Earth to wealth on a per capita basis? In the old days there were plenty of forests to chop down, bison to kill and oil to extract.
      Virtual goods? Think the rich will buy enough iphone apps for enough wealth to trickle to everyone else so they can buy real food, clothing and shelter? I'm not confident of "trickle down" being enough. It's not "gushing down" after all. So how will those who can't get jobs get what they need? Crime? Prison?

      We seem to be heading towards a world with more and more automated warehouses, where buildings may be 3D printed or have most parts prefabbed in a factory and assembled on site in less than 3 weeks. Where even burgers are made by robots.
      This may cause prices to go down but how low can they go for people without jobs to afford them? So unless you give everyone a base income (and regulate reproduction somewhat- you can have up to X kids if you + the State can afford to support them and/or you can get sponsors for them), the future isn't going to look so bright.

    • (Score: 1) by RedBear on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:54PM

      by RedBear (1734) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:54PM (#10994)

      Predictions always assume that the people who own everything are as big-hearted and logical as the people making the predictions. Turns out in the real world it doesn't work that way. Now we work 40 hours and get paid the equivalent of 20 hours while the rest of the profit goes right into the owner's/shareholder's pocket.

      Every time this issue comes up most of the commenters start shouting about broken window fallacies and how new job categories will magically appear to replace all that is lost. But the Luddites were not wrong. As the automation machines and AIs get smarter and more generalized, they replace human jobs faster and faster. Eventually the process will collapse. We can't just keep inventing whole new categories of jobs. In order for you to pay other people to do things for you, you first have to have some sort of gainful employment of your own. If everything from agriculture and manual labor all the way up to service jobs are all 100% automated/robotic, what is left for the basis of human employment? I have never actually seen anyone come up with a plausible new job category to replace the current service/information job class that we are currently depending on now that manufacturing is basically dead.

      Even more importantly, you all underestimate the abject hatred that the owners of everything have for being forced to employ other human beings for non-zero wages. Long before we have true generalized humanoid robots capable of economically replacing all non-creative human labor, the ultra-wealthy owners will have already invested in various forms of automation technology just for the sheer pleasure of being able to lay off almost all their human workers. EVEN IF IT COSTS MORE to pay for the robots and maintenance than it does to pay humans to do the same job. Employers hate the mooching, ahem, working class that much. And it will be their downfall, and the downfall of the entire economy as most of the 99% end up unemployed and unable to purchase any of the goods made in the robotic factories, no matter how cheap they are. I really don't understand how the wealthy believe they'll be able to maintain a stable economy without a stable middle class.

      We already have 20% unemployment for, what was it, everyone making less than $120,000 or something? Meanwhile all the upper classes are almost fully employed. If the wealthy folks keep letting things get worse and keep automating away low-end jobs, eventually we'll have 50% unemployment of everyone under $1,000,000 income and some rich fucker will spew the equivalent of "Let them eat cake" on Fox News and the working population will have a light bulb moment and there will be a complete meltdown of our society. Short of exterminating all the lower classes and reducing the population by about 90%, I cannot figure a way around this unless we convert to socialism and wealth sharing and minimum guaranteed incomes. You know, things that the power elite will never allow to happen while they're alive.

      When automation has become so good that we can now build factories that would have employed a thousand people a few decades ago and now only employ 30 people, yeah, automation is definitely threatening not just jobs but our ability to maintain a stable economy and society. Which makes me sad, because like any good geek I grew up loving robots and thinking they were a good thing that could help us immensely. But now, looking at the way human nature works in the real world, I don't see how they can be anything but a severe detriment to human society that may end up completely collapsing the world economy sometime in the next 100 years as the humanoid robot comes asymptotically closer to perfect usability and affordability.

      --
      ¯\_ʕ◔.◔ʔ_/¯ LOL. I dunno. I'm just a bear.
      ... Peace out. Got bear stuff to do. 彡ʕ⌐■.■ʔ
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:19AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:19AM (#11098)

        Predictions always assume that the people who own everything are as big-hearted and logical as the people making the predictions. Turns out in the real world it doesn't work that way. Now we work 40 hours and get paid the equivalent of 20 hours while the rest of the profit goes right into the owner's/shareholder's pocket.

        Darn those owners. Those evil Mom and Pop owners who cackle diabolically all the way to the bank. Wait, you mean they're not? Like, a lot of self-employed people are actually not flush? Crazy. And the big corporations, their stockholders are often not very wealthy people? Bizarre.

        Reality check: there isn't some super secret cabal of rich capitalist fat cats who are blackballing you from their club because you went to the wrong school. If your work is genuinely worth all that much, you can get paid for it. You just have to figure out how best to get there. Maybe you need to moonlight. Maybe you need to incorporate. Maybe you need to specialise. Whatever you need to do, sitting on your hands and crying because the big bad conspiracy is holding you down sure as hell isn't working.

        Every time this issue comes up most of the commenters start shouting about broken window fallacies and how new job categories will magically appear to replace all that is lost. But the Luddites were not wrong. As the automation machines and AIs get smarter and more generalized, they replace human jobs faster and faster. Eventually the process will collapse. We can't just keep inventing whole new categories of jobs. In order for you to pay other people to do things for you, you first have to have some sort of gainful employment of your own. If everything from agriculture and manual labor all the way up to service jobs are all 100% automated/robotic, what is left for the basis of human employment? I have never actually seen anyone come up with a plausible new job category to replace the current service/information job class that we are currently depending on now that manufacturing is basically dead.

        Sure, the Luddites weren't wrong. The bar for being usefully employable is rising, because the competition is getting consistently tougher. However, this fact doesn't require someone twirling his waxed moustache while servants brush off his top hat and polish his boots and thank their lucky stars that they have employment at all. It's a simple, morally neutral fact that some things are more efficient than others.

        Even more importantly, you all underestimate the abject hatred that the owners of everything have for being forced to employ other human beings for non-zero wages. Long before we have true generalized humanoid robots capable of economically replacing all non-creative human labor, the ultra-wealthy owners will have already invested in various forms of automation technology just for the sheer pleasure of being able to lay off almost all their human workers. EVEN IF IT COSTS MORE to pay for the robots and maintenance than it does to pay humans to do the same job. Employers hate the mooching, ahem, working class that much. And it will be their downfall, and the downfall of the entire economy as most of the 99% end up unemployed and unable to purchase any of the goods made in the robotic factories, no matter how cheap they are. I really don't understand how the wealthy believe they'll be able to maintain a stable economy without a stable middle class.

        Now I can authoritatively say that you are just plain out to lunch. I own a business. I do not abjectly hate the idea of employing people. As a matter of sheer necessity, I prefer to spend five bucks rather than ten, and get free rather than cheap where I can. But this is everybody in all walks of life. This is why businesses advertise sale prices and cheaper products.

        You ascribe to malice what is usually a set of decisions based on economic realities (I can hire people for twice what machines cost and go broke, or buy machines and hire fewer people to get the job done cheaply) or, more frequently, red tape (I can spend hour upon hour dealing with OSHA and the NLRB and every other alphabet soup agency in town, or a few minutes talking to a machinist) which isn't even dictated by the business owners in the first place.

        Reality check: I'd be delighted to hire lots of people, and occasionally I do bring people in on temporary contracts for big jobs, but in the real world I use machines not because I hate people, but because I don't want to go broke hiring people as an act of charity.

        We already have 20% unemployment for, what was it, everyone making less than $120,000 or something? Meanwhile all the upper classes are almost fully employed. If the wealthy folks keep letting things get worse and keep automating away low-end jobs, eventually we'll have 50% unemployment of everyone under $1,000,000 income and some rich fucker will spew the equivalent of "Let them eat cake" on Fox News and the working population will have a light bulb moment and there will be a complete meltdown of our society. Short of exterminating all the lower classes and reducing the population by about 90%, I cannot figure a way around this unless we convert to socialism and wealth sharing and minimum guaranteed incomes. You know, things that the power elite will never allow to happen while they're alive.

        I don't know who this shadowy, faceless power elite is, but I can offer you some solace. I, for one, have absolutely no problem with a minimum guaranteed income. Make it nationwide. Every citizen gets a weekly or monthly stipend which starts at the poverty line, and includes such additional costs as could be meaningfully included, such as health insurance costs or whatever. Just one condition: tear down all the idiotic, inefficient, stultifying red tape we have wrapped around all the things which the minimum income would replace. Food stamps? Gone. Disability? History. Minimum wage? Gone (because the living wage argument vanishes when you have a guaranteed minimum income). EIC? Gone. Supplementals? Gone. Unemployment insurance? History as well. Because you don't need these things - everyone has the same guarantee.

        Citizens only - and by dropping the wage floor to nil, we incidentally stop low income immigration in its tracks, since immigrants don't get the minimum guarantee, and the minimum wage no longer exists.

        There you are: a solution to exploitative immigration and the strangling of the indigent and the vast overhead of the federal red tape in one tidy package, courtesy of one of those evil people who has the effrontery to actually own a business.

        You're welcome.

        When automation has become so good that we can now build factories that would have employed a thousand people a few decades ago and now only employ 30 people, yeah, automation is definitely threatening not just jobs but our ability to maintain a stable economy and society. Which makes me sad, because like any good geek I grew up loving robots and thinking they were a good thing that could help us immensely. But now, looking at the way human nature works in the real world, I don't see how they can be anything but a severe detriment to human society that may end up completely collapsing the world economy sometime in the next 100 years as the humanoid robot comes asymptotically closer to perfect usability and affordability.

        Your prediction is wrong on so many levels it hurts.

        Robots take energy. Energy inputs are, in the long run, getting more expensive. Robots are not a limitless source of production.

        Governments are well aware of the risk of popular risings, so some kind of backstop against human desperation and misery is necessary, and they know it.

        Human employment may dwindle at the lowest end of the chain, but there are non-socialist responses to that which are quite functional. If you don't want to hand everyone a stipend with no consequences or oversight, add a working side effect to it - if you're paying for the people, you might as well make them dig ditches and pick up trash. Efficient? No. Socially justifiable? Yes.

        You can't just draw a straight line based on current trends and assume everything will keep going that way. As a good geek, you should know this.

        • (Score: 1) by RedBear on Tuesday March 11 2014, @08:12AM

          by RedBear (1734) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 11 2014, @08:12AM (#14522)

          I didn't read through your whole response but I skimmed through it and I can tell you very simply that while you may be a capitalist you are a flaming leftist liberal compared to the sort of ultra-conservative a-holes that I'm talking about. I mean, you even agree that a minimum guaranteed wage might become necessary. You're not even on the same philosophical planet as the people I'm talking about. And just because you aren't one of them doesn't mean they don't exist.

          Human greed will trump anything good we might have been able to do with mass automation. But I will be happy to eat my words if in twenty years you can still come back and tell me I'm wrong. Maybe we'll find some way to weed out the ultra-greedy members of our society. I'm not going to be holding my breath in the meantime.

          --
          ¯\_ʕ◔.◔ʔ_/¯ LOL. I dunno. I'm just a bear.
          ... Peace out. Got bear stuff to do. 彡ʕ⌐■.■ʔ
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @04:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @04:45PM (#11394)

      The programme amongst other things predicted that by 1995 we would live in a cashless society with all transactions being some kind of ePOS transaction.

      In a way, they were mostly right: the majority of consumers carry very little cash [walkersands.com] nowadays. Remember, ATMs were still rare in the late 1970s. Writing checks and going to the bank to wait in line to make a withdrawal a couple times a week was the norm.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Thexalon on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:49PM

    by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:49PM (#10691)

    Do as we say, or we will replace your job with a simple shell script!

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 1) by githaron on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:54PM

      by githaron (581) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:54PM (#10697)

      Please use something better than a shell script for large projects. I have seen large projects written in them. It is not pretty.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:14PM

      by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:14PM (#10712)

      Well you better do what I say or I will replace your program with a C program that writes shell scripts that do jobs.

      --
      "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
      • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:17PM

        by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:17PM (#10715)

        Actually maybe I will just put in an entry to the IOCCC to replace my own job of replacing shell script writing people with C programs...

        --
        "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by ikanreed on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:41PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:41PM (#10727) Journal

      Do as we say, or we'll fire you for literally no reason.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:00PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:00PM (#10750)

        That is the ultimate truth.

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by metamonkey on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:54PM

        by metamonkey (3174) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:54PM (#10816)

        No, they'll lay you off for a good reason: it causes stock prices to go up.

        --
        Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by buswolley on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:52PM

    by buswolley (848) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:52PM (#10694)

    As demand drops from lack of income of the starving masses, there will be two options before us to move the economy: 1) the government issues a guaranteed income, or 2) build robots to consume products

    The sane would choose the former.

    --
    subicular junctures
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by githaron on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:01PM

      by githaron (581) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:01PM (#10704)

      The government is not the only form of communal ownership. You could have extended family/friends coming together to purchase the robotics necessary to sustain themselves. You could also have clubs that work similarly.

      • (Score: 2) by buswolley on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:08PM

        by buswolley (848) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:08PM (#10710)

        Agreed.

        --
        subicular junctures
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by NecroDM on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:05PM

      by NecroDM (376) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:05PM (#10707)

      Or a third option:
      3) build robots to consume the starving masses (the soylent processing bots aka "om nom nom" bots)

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:41PM

        by VLM (445) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:41PM (#10729)

        We already have drones killing wedding parties because they hate us because we use drones to kill wedding parties because ... recurse infinitely.

        Also an automated SCADA'd CCTV equipped prison is kinda a big immobile robot.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by MikeRo on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:05PM

      by MikeRo (1436) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:05PM (#10709)

      For the insane choice, you need to close the loop. Build robots to mine bitcoins then those robots can consume products.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by WillAdams on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:35PM

    by WillAdams (1424) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:35PM (#10723)

    Why not just reduce what's considered a full-time job?

    That's what was done during the great depression to help get more people employed.

    • (Score: 1) by Geezer on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:53PM

      by Geezer (511) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:53PM (#10744)

      Actually, it was the run-up to World War II that got the economy going again, the Vinson-Walsh "Two-Ocean Navy" Act being a big part of that.

      Re-defining full-time employment without a commensurate adjustment in compensation merely serves to devalue it.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:02PM

        by VLM (445) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:02PM (#10754)

        "merely serves to devalue it."

        Part of the purpose might be to produce conversations like:

        "Your anti-corporate protest sounds like fun and I'd love to attend, but I have a 4 hour working shift right in the middle, after the drumming circle but before the food riot on the schedule, so I'll take a raincheck. And the Packers are playing on Sunday as that's out too."

        At least part of the Civilian Conservation Corps unofficial mission was hundreds of thousands of young men in the middle of nowhere building national park features means theres hundreds of thousands of young men not marching and or rioting downtown...

        • (Score: 1) by Geezer on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:11PM

          by Geezer (511) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:11PM (#10768)

          I'd venture to say that Selective Service turned out to be a more effective means of distracting (and eventually reducing)the surplus young male population than the CCC.

          • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:39PM

            by VLM (445) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:39PM (#10801)

            You are correct but soldiers are so expensive now, and the latest headlines are along the lines of shrinking the .mil to smaller than pre-WWII era (probably about six decades late, but whatever). One minor problem is that's being done by shifting lots of work to contractors. Non .mil people assume contractors means some dude from IBM with a masters degree troubleshooting the targetting computer, but it really means the Army can't feed itself or run its warehouses or ship stuff around without significant civilian assistance during peacetime much less wartime. I had KP duty three time in my career and those were special occasions in the field.

            • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:44PM

              by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:44PM (#10904)

              They're not shrinking the military, that's a complete lie from Obama as usual. They're shrinking the number of soldiers. BFD. The budget will still be as big as ever, just instead of going to foot soldiers, VA benefits, etc., it'll go to defense contractors for overpriced POSes like the F-35, $15B aircraft carriers, etc.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Thexalon on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:08PM

      by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:08PM (#10762)

      That's what was done during the great depression to help get more people employed.

      Actually, that was the result of the rise of trade unions and the International Workers of the World (IWW) in particular that happened during the 1920's and 30's. People were arrested and imprisoned on trumped-up charges, or sometimes killed by police or hired goon squads, demonstrating for the 40-hour work week. The actual laws about it (as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938) came after striking workers had forced many companies to abide by a 40-hour week.

      When people say unions never did anything for them, they have no idea about their history.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 1) by HiThere on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:58PM

        by HiThere (866) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:58PM (#10951) Journal

        The problem is that NO centralization of power remains trustworthy. Yes, the old unions got us the 40 hour week, health insurance, etc. Modern unions lost support through corruption before there were legal changes making them relatively powerless. (And, yes, it's more complicated than that. Even if they had remained incorrupt, people have short memories. But they didn't.) These days the unions seem more interested in attacking soft targets than in defending their members, which causes them to lose support among the general populace.

        OTOH, it's also true that the media are owned by enemies of the unions, so they are eager to spread news of bad actions by the unions, and slow to spread news about any good that they do. If the union leadership were in touch with the rank and file, they'd understand these problems and address them. (Web sites aren't THAT hard to put up and make interesting. Perhaps the staff of SoylentNews could consult with them...if they were interested.)

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:10PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:10PM (#10766) Homepage Journal

    Go look in your spam folder, chances are you've been getting a polite email from Mike McCarthy every single day for years.

    I recently uploaded my resume to all the job boards, but with a new email address. A couple weeks later, I happened to look in my GMail spam folder, and LOLled when I found that every day for those two weeks, the exact same email from Mike McCarthy had been sent straight to spam.

    Whoever is paying to host the mike_mccarthy_bot is apparently unaware that they've been blackholed for years.

    However, Satya Raj is not yet blackholed. I'm looking into that:

    Subject: Michael

    Michael,

    I just left you a VM but wanted to follow up with a quick email...

    Satya Raj has been sending me that exact same email, not every day but regularly since June of last year, yet he has yet to actually leave me a voice mail!

    All the Mike McCarthy and Satya Raj bots are actually doing is harvesting resumes. I expect they aren't real people.

    However I can easily see how someone with half a brain could implement a recruiter bot that actually could readily replace live human recruiters.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by AsteroidMining on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:43PM

    by AsteroidMining (3556) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:43PM (#10809)

    The problem is not automation, but the concentration of wealth, and the desire of (some) wealthy people to continue that process to the bitter end.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by prospectacle on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:15PM

    by prospectacle (3422) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:15PM (#11008) Journal

    The amount of wealth that can be created per person is largely based on technology and training, but the way it's distributed among the different actors in the economy depends almost entirely on the incentives and entitlements created by law.

    Just look across the developed world for vastly different employment rates and ask whether their access to technology or their laws are what differ more.

    For example, how much does one have to pay directly for education and training, and how much of it is treated as a social good that is paid for by the government? The same for healthcare. How are market monpolies tolerated, or prevented, or dealt with? What's the minimum wage and how much disposable income is it likely to give someone, so that they can stimulate demand for various luxury goods? Who is allowed to donate how much to political campaigns, and under what conditions?

    Any graph of technological development vs employment levels in different times and countries would demonstrate the two are not closely related.

    --
    If a plan isn't flexible it isn't realistic