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March 11, 2018
Right wingers and the super rich are joined in an unholy alliance which has done a framing number on the rest of us with their propaganda that those of us who want a more equitable distribution of the income and wealth of our economy are communists, socialists, leftists et al., when we are nothing of the kind – we are only interested in economic justice – and those apostles of greed are not.
The problem is in our lopsided view of how we reward capital over labor, both of which are necessary to produce the economy’s income and wealth. Now we know that new billionaires are being created at an accelerated rate while ordinary Americans are falling into poverty due to wage inequality. I find this politically, economically, morally repugnant, and not only unnecessary but operating as a drag on the performance of the economy itself. There is room in our economy for a fairer and more equitable sharing of the income of our economy between capital and labor – lots more  room – and if labor were justly compensated for its contribution to the economy’s income such an increase in income would bring about an increase in aggregate demand, the sole arbiter of economic growth, which would in turn increase capital’s share of the larger pie.
I also fear for the future of working Americans when increasingly sophisticated automation replaces their labor contribution to the economy, especially since it will be the billionaires who own and control such automation, which suggests that the lopsided treatment of rewards to capital over (labor as we know it) may become worse.
I think we should be working on the effects of this sea change in production and distribution now – right now – as in, how are we going to distribute the fruits of our economy to those who are not working because there is no work for them to do, their former contributions to the economy supplanted by automation, among many other human problems occasioned by this transition from an industrial to an information age, such as what kind of changes in our mores and folkways must we undergo to agree to pay people for not working?
Experts smarter than I am (and they are legion) are, I hope, working on the political, economic and social changes we are going to have to make to cope with automation as it continues to flower at an accelerated rate. The Protestant work ethic of “no work-no eat” obviously has to go, and the idea that “welfare” is bad has to go as well, among other early casualties in such accommodation of humans to their new environment. I don’t know what changes tomorrow will bring, but I do believe that we are in for enormous changes in how we are going to acclimate humanity with full blown automation and think we should be working on such accommodation before we reach emergency status – like now.        GERALD         E

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