The future of the economy is going to be shaped in our lifetime. I’ve read about this numerous times, as you likely have, but a blogger at Medium covers it in more detail. It being the very real moment coming soon where robotics will be cheaper than people for just about anything. And I’m not just talking engineering either, even things thought of uniquely human as teaching, and obviously the very real replacement of Taxi drivers with self driving cars. That last sector alone is millions of people. And really none of this needs to concern anybody. It will be, because we’ve prioritized profits over humanity, but it doesn’t need to be. Simply enough we can choose to either hinder ourselves slightly in profits or performance to keep people employed or we can move into a post economy economy.
There’s a quote I saw recently that said “Sell to the Masses, Eat with the Classes. Sell to the Classes, Eat with the Masses.” The notion being that if you cater to the common people you will become wealthy. But if you cater to the wealthy you will lose everything. The idea being that the moment the only people with money are the hyper wealthy is also the moment that same wealth is absolutely valueless. You can’t have an economy that way, the flow of funds that keeps everything moving collapses. I don’t know if we are already seeing this. It’s difficult to tell the difference between trends and just access to more information.
But this question of robotics really will have one of two outcomes that I can see. Either we will decide to just keep on with consumerism and the entire economy will collapse. Or we will decide that it is not a policy that can survive globalization and do something better. Start acting with the interests of others in mind, even people we don’t know.
The first answer is easy, which is why it’ll probably happen. But I wouldn’t be shocked if I saw folks being dragged into the latter kicking and screaming.