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Forum Post: Don't Overlook Automation

Posted 10 years ago on Nov. 7, 2011, 6:50 p.m. EST by bugbuster (103) from Yoncalla, OR
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Lots of us who didn't get outsourced got automated out of a job. Roll back automation? Why not? It can be taxed, same as your income. When the tax hits the right level, the robots start to get replaced by humans. It's something to think about. Of course it will be dismissed by those who think God created automation and called it "progress." Nonsense. People hired engineers to build Rube Golberg contraptions because the venture penciled out profitable, not for any public good. Governments and taxes are there to promote the public good. Does anybody remember that?



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[-] 3 points by Redmist (212) from Yazd, Yazd 10 years ago

Equal rights for the robots!!

[-] 2 points by technoviking (484) 10 years ago

oh no loom-smashing goon alert

[-] 1 points by classicliberal (312) 10 years ago


[-] 1 points by bluedoghunter (3) 10 years ago

For every job that is eliminated by automation, a new job is created. Your theory is ridiculous. Companies cannot hire before there is profit to pay for the job. Automation creates profit, and new jobs.

[-] 1 points by HankRearden2 (4) 10 years ago

Great idea. Lets go back to push carts and horses. Are you a COMPLETE moron. Have you ever stopped to think about all the jobs created by automation? Ford replaces 5 people with one robot. Where did they get the robot? Someone designed that robot. Someone had to build the robot. Someone had to build the factory where the robot was manufactured. Someone had to ship the robot. Someone needs to service the robot. That is how investment in plant and equipment creates jobs. Get it now Einstein?

[-] 1 points by bugbuster (103) from Yoncalla, OR 10 years ago

More jobs means more labor cost. If it took more labor cost to use the robot, then using the robot would be a bad business decision. You see, if you increase a cost of production while the marketplace prevents you from getting a higher price for the product, then increasing your labor cost reduces your profit. If you can contain your hostile manly hormones for a moment and think about what you just posted, reason may yet prevail.

[-] 1 points by MJMorrow (419) 10 years ago

At the same time, automation will provide a long term solution to an age old problem. There will come a day, in the not too distant future when remote surgery, using robotics and a human doctor, amounts to robotics and AI. What do we do with humans, when there is positively no need for labor? Shall medical doctors be house servants for the ultra rich? It is apparent that there is an evolving need for a serious systematic look at how automation may provide us with a worker less economy, money-less, economy, with a for more horizontal class system.

In such an economy there is no need for money, as AI will not be motivated by making a buck. There will also not be a need for billionaires either to promote industry, as AI has no need for them, either. While some, particularly the rich, may think this sounds silly, consider that a single ant colony can achieve the equivalent of building a sky scrapper, in a single day, without a monetary system. How unlike ants, will our automated AI workforce be? How unlike the future will our present, utterly exploitative, Globalist system be?

How much better adapted would an Anarcho-Communist Government in such a future? I mention the last point, as it was men and women undoubtedly influenced by Anarcho-Commuunism or a similar movement, behind motivating the start of this movement. I really appreciate that and believe that it is worth considering their interests, as they consider our own. Now there are Neo-Liberals, highly dubious of my claims, but let us recall that a money system is not necessary in such an AI dependent system and therefore should not be taken as a necessity, when it is, in point of fact, not only not a necessity, but is actually a less efficient means of ordering a market, since money rations out desire fulfillment in a market, desires otherwise serviced, when money is not a consideration.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 10 years ago

Companies that actually make goods have already fled because of taxes and for cheep labor. The machine can do a simple job the same way each time and help turn out a better product. You might get the prices up, or push the factory to relocate, but it's unlikely you'll turn back the clock.

[-] 1 points by Disgruntled1 (107) from Kula, HI 10 years ago

Thats ridiculous, automation is a good thing from a business stand point, an automated assembly line can be idled and not require unemployment, likewise it can work 24/7 and doesnt call in sick on monday, i wish i could develop robots to work my farm, i could make a killing, hire labor? What a headache, not worth it!

[-] 1 points by JohnnyO (119) 10 years ago

Companies are in business to create shareholder or owner value, not to create jobs, healthcare plans, 401k matching, employee assistant programs, stock purchase programs, equity programs, scholarship grants, paid vacations, life insurance, health care savings accounts, retirement programs or any other employee benefits.

If you think companies exist to fund your existence, you are in the wrong country.

[-] 1 points by JohnnyO (119) 10 years ago

Bring back the New Jersey Turnpike toll collector! EzPass is a jobs killer!!!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 10 years ago

Alternatively, people can just stop buying products made by computers, skip the self-check isle, press "O" when a computer answers, etc. For more ideas, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-power-of-the-people/

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

to promote the public good

promote the general Welfare,

[-] 2 points by Disgruntled1 (107) from Kula, HI 10 years ago

Thats socialism

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

it's in the preamble of the US constitution

[-] 1 points by Disgruntled1 (107) from Kula, HI 10 years ago

Yes it is but i dont think the interpretation is in reference to socialist programs, i believe it is a general blanket inferrence of intent, but that would be for some professor with a doctorate of some sort to decifer

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

the people must be able to understand their law

[-] 1 points by buik (380) from Towson, MD 10 years ago

its more like as we become more and more productive as the result of computers, we work ourselves out of a job.

which isnt necessarily bad, as working for money sucks...

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 10 years ago

Why not just distribute those taxes as a "basic income" as social security for all from birth? http://www.basicincome.org/bien/aboutbasicincome.html



[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 10 years ago

Where is the incentive for hard work?

[-] 1 points by rbe (687) 10 years ago

We don't need incentives. That theory has already been disproved.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 10 years ago

That's a good question. Why do you think people need an incentive for hard work? See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

Why did you post to this forum if (presumably) you are not being paid to do it? Why do people contribute to Wikipedia? Why do most people try to raise children well (without most people being paid for it)?

Also, with so many people unemployed, obviously it seems we don't need more people working.

But if people do need incentives, if we took one half the about $15 trillion US GDP via taxes or charging for rent of government resources like radio spectrum of fishing rights, and redistributed it as a basic income (which would out to about $2000 per month per person in the USA), then that would leave the other half of the GDP (more than $7 trillion) to motivate people who needed financial incentives. That would be about the same total amount of money as the US GDP was in the 1990s, which was presumably enough to motivate a lot of people back then who needed to be motivated by external rewards instead of doing work for its own sake.

We could also rethink most work to be more fun (if it needed to be done at all): http://idlenest.freehostia.com/mirror/www.whywork.org/rethinking/whywork/abolition.html

Do people over 65 in the USA, who get "social security" on the order of $1000 a month or so still often work? Do they also volunteer at non-profits for no pay? Do they ever babysit for their grandkids or neighbors' kids for no pay? If so, why?

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

If you make the top income tax rate of 35% flat and make the FICA tax rate of 15% flat, you will raise enough revenue to pay for current government expenses plus pay every worker a $40,000 per year dividend as explained at:


[-] 1 points by Disgruntled1 (107) from Kula, HI 10 years ago
  1. Do you have a job?
  2. Did you pay taxes for the last 10 years?
  3. Are you willing to pay 50% of what you make to the government?
[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Yes I am willing to pay a 50% tax and so should you. Here is why.

Let's suppose you make $30k. That means you would pay $15k in taxes and get paid a $40k dividend.

So your take home pay, after taxes, would be $55k.

[-] 1 points by Disgruntled1 (107) from Kula, HI 10 years ago

Where does the money to pay the dividend come from? The taxes wouldnt even cover the dividend, corporate taxes wouldnt either, plus cost of government?

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Did you read my comment? lol

If we made the tax a flat 50% it would raise enough revenue to pay current govt expenses plus a $40k dividend to every worker.

[-] 1 points by Disgruntled1 (107) from Kula, HI 10 years ago

I guess i just dont see the math behind that, doesnt add up

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

$15.00 trillion: GDP

$7.50 trillion: tax revenue generated from a 50% tax


$0.70 trillion: cost of paying 35 million part time workers $20k dividend

$3.80 trillion: cost of paying 95 million full time workers $40k dividend

$4.50 trillion: total cost of dividend


$3 trillion: amount left over to pay for federal govt

[-] 1 points by Disgruntled1 (107) from Kula, HI 10 years ago

Off hand do you know what the fed budget is?

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

It is roughly $3 trillion. But that includes paying for a lot of programs that would no longer be necessary if every worker was getting a $40k dividend.

[-] 1 points by Disgruntled1 (107) from Kula, HI 10 years ago

Be nice to get a check for 40k every january second!

[-] 1 points by Disgruntled1 (107) from Kula, HI 10 years ago

Interesting, most likely too simple for these politicians we have to comprehend, the numbers make sense if they are right,

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Forget politicians. They are owned by the wealthy. Our power comes from unionizing and striking. And we are fairly entitled to a lot more than an extra $30k or so.

We produce $15 trillion in income each year which is enough to make every worker wealthy. If that income was allocated equally, for example, it is enough to pay every full time worker $135,000 per year.

That's right, the average income in the U.S. is $135k. And that is more than what 97% of all workers make. That means 97% of all workers make a below-average income. That is simply not fair and the root cause of all our problems.

In order to fix nearly every social problem we have, we just need to allocate that income fairly. We need to allocate it democratically.

If we allocated income democratically, which gave every worker a minimum income close to the $135k average as a right, everyone would have enough income to solve every problem that exists - home ownership, poverty, education, bad neighborhoods, health care. It would give everyone access to the best of what society has to offer as a right.



Democracy is a Greek word. It is not a Greek word for "voting" or "mob rule", it is a Greek word for "people power". It means power rests with everyone equally.

In a democratic society, you should get equal power to participate in the institutions that govern society. You should have equal power in government and the economy.

Since voting is your source of power in government, you should get a right to equal votes in government. And since income is your source of power in the economy, a democracy means you should also get a right to equal income for equal work in the economy.

Equal income for equal work means that the only legitimate, justifiable reason for paying one person more than another is to get them to do difficult work and to get them to give their maximum effort. After all, that is what the purpose of income is: to motivate you to work.

How much more you need to pay people in order to be an effective incentive can be determined scientifically. And you will not find any scientific study that says you need to pay people much more than 2 to 4 times their pay in order to be an effective incentive.

We do not need to pay people hundreds or thousands of times more than others in order to have a dynamic, growing, productive economy.

And when we limit differences in income to just what is necessary to be an effective incentive, where top earners are able to make 4 times more than the lowest earners, there is enough income to pay everyone between $115k and $460k - enough income to make every citizen wealthy. And when you make every citizen wealthy, you put an end to nearly every social problem we have.

In order to make the economy democratic, we would need to make 2 changes:

  1. Allocate income democratically. The political process would filter out reasonable compensation proposals where differences in income are limited to just what our best scientific evidence says is necessary to be an effective incentive and then the worker population votes directly on its approval.

  2. Allocate investment democratically. Investment would no longer come from savings. A portion of GDP would simply be allocated to banks for them to invest.

But otherwise, the economy would operate exactly as it does now. Consumers will decide what is produced based on how they spend their money. Entrepreneurs with new ideas will go to banks for funding. Companies will be individually run and managed. Companies must generate enough revenue to cover expenses in order to stay in business. Managers will be responsible for hiring, firing and company performance. And companies will still compete for your business.



The wealthy in this country only have their wealth because they convinced 97% of the workforce to accept a below-average income.

Once the workforce wakes up and sees the raw deal they are getting, and they organize, our current economic order comes to an end.

Because if 97% of all workers demanded that they get an income that is closer to the current $135,000 average or they will go on strike, the system will have no choice but to submit to that demand.

The median income in this country is a pathetic $33k. So 50% would see their income at least quadruple. Getting them to join a national worker union that would make them all wealthy and put an end to their financial struggles will not be difficult. And if they agreed to strike unless the economy was made democratic, the world would change overnight.

Forget elections. The general strike is where we have the power to enact massive change in short order.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 10 years ago

You might also like the "US BIG" site? http://www.usbig.net

I wondered if USBig.net might point to the one you linked to, but reading demandthegoodlife.com some more, probably not, because it seems like an aspect of a pyramid scheme on the site you linked to related to pledges? That is sad because it destroys the value of that site you linked to in my eyes, even if it says some other good stuff about a basic income.

It says on a linked page about the "pledge": "There is no limit to how much you can earn. There are about 220 million people eligible to vote. So a total of $1.5 trillion in income is available to be earned. Some activists will make millions, some will make hundreds of millions, some will even make billions of dollars. We think the potential of earning this much money is the only way to motivate enough people to do the actual work of getting enough pledges to make these significant changes in society a reality."

That is also a sad statement that people are only motivated by visions of great wealth. http://conceptualguerilla.com/?q=node/47/

So, really, it seems to me like an unfortunate approach that will probably backfire (and I'm not sure of its legality, either). Make me wonder if it was intentionally set up to sabotage the basic income idea? I'm not saying it is not a clever approach in some ways, just that it is pretty mired in an old way of thinking.

For another example of an old way of thinking, there is a problem with the plan linking payments to graduating from formal schooling or formally volunteering at an "approved' organization. That is problematical for multiple reason, including this one by John Taylor Gatto about schools existing to dumb people down: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/16a.htm

Besides, should not families get more support when they have more children, so they can travel and homeschool if they want? So, that approach entrenches a problematical schooling paradigm even deeper into our society. See also by Gatto: http://www.newciv.org/whole/schoolteacher.txt "Look again at the seven lessons of schoolteaching: confusion, class assignment, dulled responses, emotional and intellectual dependency, conditional self-esteem, surveillance -- all of these things are good training for permanent underclasses, people derived forever of finding the center of their own special genius. And in later years it became the training shaken loose from even its own original logic -- to regulate the poor; since the 1920s the growth of the school bureaucracy and the less visible growth of a horde of industries that profit from schooling just exactly as it is, has enlarged this institution's original grasp to where it began to seize the sons and daughters of the middle classes."

The deeper truth about motivation in the 21st century: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

All the info at the DTGL website is accurate and something I advocate as a transition out of a capitalist economy and into one that is democratically run. http://occupytogether.com/forum/discussion/901/solution-replace-capitalism-with-democracy/p1

But I probably should have mentioned it is part of a game website. So the pyramid part is fake (it is an ingenious way to use the system against itself but it works much better in a storyline plot than in the real world).

The dividend payments begin when you graduate school which is motivation to graduate. But it doesn't say anything about the state of our education system.

I think the future of education is gamification (google "gamify education"). Essentially school is turned into an MMORPG game where you complete tasks to increase your rank, points, virtual rewards, etc.

I would disagree with paying people more to parents who have more kids. That would just incentivize parents to have kids and we already have too large a population.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 10 years ago

Can you please explain why you think we already have too large a population? Would you rather there were less gamers playing your game?

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

There is not enough room for everyone.

3.5% of the entire US land space was used for development (homes, roads, businesses). But 40% of the entire US land space is used for farming:


Half the world land area is unsuitable for habitation because it is either desert or high mountains.


When our existing world population decides to eat as much as an American, it will require all our current land space.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 10 years ago

See: "The Truth About Land Use in the United States" http://www.westernwatersheds.org/watmess/watmess_2002/2002html_summer/article6.htm

Basically, about half the land in the USA is used for agriculture, as you say, but about 75% of that is used to produce feed for factory farmed animal products. And eating the animal products is essentially killing us. See: http://www.ravediet.com/preview.html

And: http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/foodpyramid.aspx

How to escape a "pleasure trap" of self-destructive eating habits: http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/article16.aspx

But, even if that were not the case, we can have endless vertical levels of indoor farms with electric lights: http://www.juliansimon.com/writings/Ultimate_Resource/TCHAR06.txt

And we can grind up rocks to make soil: http://www.remineralize.org

And we are on the verge of having hot fusion, cold fusion, and thorium power that could power all that, as well as solar PV cheaper than coal: http://cleantechnica.com/2011/05/29/ge-solar-power-cheaper-than-fossil-fuels-in-5-years/




So, again, what is the problem?

Furthermore, if your house was getting crowded with kids and grandkids, would you tell your grandkids not to have any kids or would you help them move out? Well, space habitats could support quadrillions of people throughout the solar system. So, there really is no reason we could not expand into space if we wanted to (and the oceans before that). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_habitat


What is arable land (or the equivalent) and what kind of foods we want to eat are a function of our technology and culture, both of which are changeable. Example: http://www.earthship.net/food

Or think about the Dutch who reclaimed land from the sea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polder#Polders_and_the_Netherlands

To be clear, I think our current technological infrastructure is a mess (including from pollution). But it does not have to be that way. It is that way because it is the most profitable to the 1% in the short term to have it the way it is. Other alternatives are possible if we want them: http://www.nist.gov/el/msid/lifecycle/sustainable_mfg.cfm

Anyway, there is enough land to produce enough food for everyone on the planet right now. And even US Americans are cutting back on meat consumption. http://www.idablog.org/veganism/u-s-meat-consumption-falls/ "An earlier study from the Daily Livestock Report found that U.S. meat, poultry, and fish consumption declined by one pound per person in 2010. Per capita pork consumption fell by 2.2 pounds per person in 2010, and beef consumption was at its lowest level in 2010 since the Daily Livestock Report started keeping records in 1955! This is the fourth year in a row that meat consumption has declined in the United States and the fifth decline within a six-year period. The economy could be a factor in this trend, but studies are finding that a recent increased awareness about farm animal issues is also likely to be a contributing factor."

Animal product consumption would probably be a lot lower without continual propaganda by various industry boards and their influence on government policy. See: http://www.seriouseats.com/2007/11/the-subsidized-food-pyramid.html


Further, if people really want to eat meat (or other animal products), it will be much cheaper and easier to create high quality meat and other products in labs using "in vitro" meat ideas currently being developed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_vitro_meat

The more people around, the more imagination and hard work that gets done. In an information age economy, it only takes one person with some imagination and hard work to create some process that everyone can benefit from. Why reduce that? That is old style scarcity thinking.

Maybe when the solar system is full of quadrillions of people we will have to talk about limits to local growth. But by then there will be a lot more people around to think about the problem (maybe discovering faster-than-light travel, or alternative universes, or how to live well inside a computer, or something else we can not even imagine).

Who profits off of convincing people there is not enough room for everyone in the solar system?

Again, do you think it would be a good idea if there were less people around to play your game?

Anyway, I think we probably both have a lot of similar interests and a broad knowledge of alternatives; I'm just asking you to look a little harder into some of this and be a bit more optimistic on the technological side. More examples coming from lots of people using their imagination: http://inhabitat.com/

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

The game actually isn't mine. I don't think we need less people. I just think we are reaching the population limit.

I don't think there is a limit to our ability to increase our wealth. We have abundant untapped energy and materials. But there is a limit on population because of farming.

I don't think there is much upside to increasing the population anyway. I think a better plan is to make better use of the existing population.

Most people toil in pointless jobs. They are really not contributing much. Even in the most advanced countries, maybe 1% are working in science and research.

That needs to be reversed. Imagine if billions were working on disease cures, robotics, ai, reverse engineering the brain, physics experiments, nanotech research, genetics research, etc. instead of a few million.

The US has less than 100k people doing medical research. And we have 15 million doing sales.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 10 years ago

I agree with you that most jobs are pointless, along the lines of what Bob Black wrote, in that, like sales jobs, they just preserve the work and product rationing system itself.

Still, many people just like raising kids, dancing, singing, contemplating the universe, telling stories, being good neighbors and friends, and so on. People don't have to be so materially productive all the time. Many might want to do "research", but lives are valuable for their own sake. Also, the woods would be pretty quiet if no bird sang there but the best, so people may want to do things just because they are fun, not because they are going to be a world expert at it.

Still, if you value research, then the more people, the faster research happens.

Anyway, if you think we have abundant untapped energy, that is inconsistent with thinking we can't have indoor vertical farming.

So, the population limit for what? For one planet with one set of technology and a specific culture? But all those are variable (planets/asteroids, technologies, cultures).

With the right technology, we could have launched an automated factory to turn the near-miss asteroid into a space habitat: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/06/uk-space-asteroid-idUSLNE7A500E20111106

We might have had that technology if Carter had gotten re-elected: http://www.islandone.org/MMSG/aasm/ "What follows is a portion of the final report of a NASA summer study, conducted in 1980 by request of newly- elected President Jimmy Carter at a cost of 11.7 million dollars. The result of the study was a realistic proposal for a self-replicating automated lunar factory system, capable of exponentially increasing productive capacity and, in the long run, exploration of the entire galaxy within a reasonable timeframe. Unfortunately, the proposal was quietly declined with barely a ripple in the press. What was once concievable with 1980's technology is now even more practical today. Even if you're just skimming through this document, the potential of this proposed system is undeniable. Please enjoy. "

Instead we got the 1%/99% divide when Carter's speech was ignored and shown to be all too prescient: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/carter-crisis/ "We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure. All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our nation and ourselves. We can take the first steps down that path as we begin to solve our energy problem."

It's hard to even imagine these days how much optimism and energy the USA had in the 1970s. Beyond the blight of Reaganism, greed is good, etc., it might be spending too much time indoors and eating too much junk food related to profit-making by the cosmetics industry (getting people to fear the sun) the media/computer industry, and agribusiness? http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Yes it is true that most farming is so that we can eat meat. But people are never giving up meat. Even if we grow meat in a lab, that would not end the constraint that farming poses.

Vertical farming is a fantasy.

The amount of energy required to duplicate the sunlight our farms use is thousands of times our current energy production.

If we want to grow past 10, maybe 20, billion people, we have to figure out a way to colonize space.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 10 years ago

"But people are never giving up meat."

Can you prove that?

On energy to plant growth, the link I supplied at "The Ultimate Resource" showed a profitable farm operating indoors. It talked about "PhytoPharm" that was in business for about a decade: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/a-spinach-plant-grows-in-dekalb/Content?oid=871088 "A Spinach Plant Grows in DeKalb: It produces 13 crops a year, 16 tons a month, with no sand, no bugs, and no pesticide residue. But the electricity bill is a killer."

Pictures: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/90c0/

Note -- that was a profitable operation for years before more energy-efficient LED lights.

More resources by others: http://www.verticalfarm.com/





"Indoor farming operation grows veggies and seafood" http://blog.syracuse.com/farms/2011/11/indoor_farming_operation_grows.html "Whether you’re using lights, heating a greenhouse or putting diesel fuel in a combine, farming is an energy intense operation, no matter how you do it,” he said."

Indoor farms can figure out ways to use light very efficiently, including changing the spacing between plants as they grow.

There may be other ways to convert sunlight or electricity to plant materials more efficiently, too. This is not about full indoor farming, but it can give you some of the idea of automating plant production inside buildings: "Robot Delivers Uniform, Consistent Crop" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSAXgt2odSs

Another example of indoor growing of edible plants: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfzuEAagnv0

Some of this technology is probably also being pioneered by people creating products not intended for eating, of course.

Also, plants react to things like wind and insect predation (including by creating plant defense compounds that change taste and nutritional quality) so I'm not saying all the issues are worked out -- just that you can see it as a possibility. So, a claim that we can't grow enough food for lots of people has to seriously evaluate such possibilities as well as where they may be in twenty to thirty years with better robots, better power sources, better biotech, a better understanding of human nutrition and how to change taste preferences, and so on.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

"Can you prove that?"

Exhibit A: We are omnivores

Exhibit B: Every human, outside of a few radical vegans, loves meat

Exhibit C: Being a vegan is a struggle, a sacrifice, and many do not last

Vegetables make up a very small percentage of our farm land (I think less than 5%). Grains, cereals, maize, that's where the problem lies. And the examples of indoor farming that you see are for vegetables and on a very small scale.

I don't doubt that a company can grow a vegetable indoors, call it organic, fetch a premium price and make that model profitable.

But you would not be able to scale that to replace our outdoor farming.

I don't think farming space is something to worry about. Population will stabilize when the developing countries become wealthy.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 10 years ago

I can't reply to your other comment below because this website limits nesting discussions. But basically, the more people, the more innovation. Also, where would you be if someone years ago had decide we should keep the population to one million humans?

Again, heavy meat eaters tend to have more health problems. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meat#Health


"Disease of Rich [gout] Extends Its Pain to Middle Class " http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/13/health/13gout.html

http://www.emagazine.com/archive/142 "Evidence Shows that Our Meat-Based Diet is Bad for the Environment, Aggravates Global Hunger, Brutalizes Animals and Compromises Our Health"

And even if people want meat, in can be produced in factories. It basically is already (factory farms, and very cruelly at the moment). Meat (or other animal products) will be a lot cheaper and higher quality if made in vats like things like chocolate and beer are already. Meat can then be 3D printed to give it textures or put it on "bones". http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/16/view/12675/3d-food-printer.html

"Organ printing: computer-aided jet-based 3D tissue engineering." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12679063

But the 1% may end up standing in the way of that: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/16/artificial-meat-food-royal-society "Others identify unexpected hindrances to producing more food. One of the gloomiest assessments comes from a team of British and South African economists who say that a vast effort must be made in agricultural research to create a new green revolution, but that seven multinational corporations, led by Monsanto, now dominate the global technology field. "These companies are accumulating intellectual property to an extent that the public and international institutions are disadvantaged. This represents a threat to the global commons in agricultural technology on which the green revolution has depended," says the paper by Professor Jenifer Piesse at King's College, London."

Anyway, how would we get all these solutions without lots of people to work on them?

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 10 years ago

If you now say: "I don't think farming space is something to worry about. Population will stabilize when the developing countries become wealthy."

Then why do you earlier say: "There is not enough room for everyone."?

I'll agree there is a difference from grains and vegetables, but if you look at this food pyramid, you can see that it is healthier to get most of our calories from vegetables, fruits, and beans: http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/foodpyramid.aspx

So, your argument that indoor vegetable growing is not enough doesn't sound convincing to me. People could be just as happy on that diet as eating a lot of meat -- see the book "The Pleasure Trap" previously cited that tells how to adjust taste preferences (including by fasting). Or see this movie: http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/

Lots of different cultures eat different things. Most of what we eat is an acquired taste. Even when people in other cultures eat meat, most cultures don't eat a lot of it. The more the eat, the sicker they tend to get (especially when mixed with refined grains). Eating a lot of meat tends to lead to the "diseases of kings" like gout, cancer (including from acrylamides from burning), and heart disease (see Dr. Fuhrman's "Eat to Live" for the study references, although the connection of meat and heart disease may depend exactly on how much is eaten and how it is prepared and whatever things are added to it and how it is raised).

A lot of people don't "love" meat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism


Some people who think about it find it somewhat revolting.

On the other hand, a lot of people love eating insects: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entomophagy "Human insect-eating is common in cultures in parts of the world, such as North, Central and South America; and Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Over 1,000 insects are known to be eaten in 80% of the world's nations. However, in some societies insect-eating is uncommon or even taboo. Today insect eating is rare in the developed world, but insects remain a popular food in many developing regions of Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania."

So, shouldn't you be eating insects? If not, well, why should meat get such a special place, special enough to prevent the births of billions of people, when so many people do love eating insects but you do not because you grew up in a different culture?

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

I think the population is at its maximum. There is very little room for more growth.

I say there is too many people because I don't think there is any benefit to the world having 7 billion people instead of 6 billion. The only thing it does is make it more difficult to provide for all of them.

If we went vegan we can certainly exceed 10 billion people. But if I had the choice between a world with 10 billion where we can eat meat or a world with 50 billion but had to be vegan, I'm choosing the former. What benefit is there to increasing the population?

The cultures that eat little meat are cultures that are poor and cannot afford it. Meat eating is the diet of the affluent.

[-] 1 points by Skoalman (56) 10 years ago

My family worked at the car plants and yeah, automation took quite a few jobs. That's progress. Apparently though, it didn't work well enough to save them. The Japs have the right idea and they're good at it.

[-] 0 points by l31sh0p (279) from Sand Fork, WV 10 years ago


[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) 10 years ago

i have a better idea for this that i have been working on. society needs to begin structuring price based on human hours worked, all the way down to energy and raw material.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Paul Cockshott, a professor in Europe, is published on the subject. He advocates an economic system where everything is priced in labor time:


[-] 1 points by derek (302) 10 years ago

Great video, but I think that professor is actually too pessimistic on whether people at the top "lose out" even if they are the best paid or derive income from capital ownership. It is possible even the wealthy will be better off in a society with a basic income for some unexpected reasons: http://www.livableincome.org/amillionairegli.htm

For example, our health system may be better. There may be less violent crime and property theft. There might be a greater variety of media to choose from. Wealthy people might worry less about their childrens' futures (especially as money handling skills often skip a generation or two for various reasons). And so on.

Surprisingly, many financially obese people and their children are already pretty miserable it turns out: "The Culture of Affluence: Psychological Costs of Material Wealth" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1950124/

"Children of the Affluent: Challenges to Well-Being" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1948879/

Two problems with his labor hour idea is that there is less need for human labor with increasing automation, and also outside of a factory context, like say for an artist or writer (or even parent), it is hard to really connect an hour of a person's time with an hour of a certain quality of "labor".

It also ignores the issue of broadly rethinking work itself: http://idlenest.freehostia.com/mirror/www.whywork.org/rethinking/whywork/abolition.html

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

I agree that a lot of the wealthy would benefit from a society that was more equal and worked well for everyone, even though their pay would decrease.

Labor time is still relevant with increasing automation because it will be a long way off before we can produce goods with no labor.

100% of our production comes from labor and it will remain that way probably for most if not all of our lifetime. In the future when labor becomes insignificant in production, cost can just be measured in time. Making each good and service takes X amount of hours of our productive capacity so that would be its cost.

Any good or service produced can be accurately priced in labor time including art. Being a parent however wouldn't be priced because that is not something someone is buying.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 10 years ago

On parenting, so you have arbitrarily drawn a line as to what labor is valued related to market pricing and exchange. Why? Why does child care count as labor hours when a nanny does it but not a parent?

With 3D printing and robotics and AI, the end of most work may be coming sooner than you think. Example: http://www.hizook.com/blog/2009/08/03/high-speed-robot-hand-demonstrates-dexterity-and-skillful-manipulation

Or: "Foxconn plans to create a million robots to replace workers within three years" http://venturebeat.com/2011/07/31/foxconn-plans-to-create-a-million-robots-to-replace-workers-within-three-years/

On that theme: http://www.marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

As less and less labor is required, and as it is more interesting, then more people are probably willing to do it as volunteers, same as with running Wikipedia or contributing to GNU/Linux.

If we need so much labor to run our society, why are so many people unemployed but still eating? Why don't we have children in the coal mines like we used to but have them in schools instead? How did we grow our US GDP by 25% over the past decade with zero net new jobs?

Thanks for the agreement that the wealthy could benefit by some broad changes. I think that is an important point that could help ease the transition if we focus more on it. That helps get around the problem of a 1%/99% divide. As Domhoff suggests: http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/change/science_freshstart.html "If the problem is developing new policies and gaining political power, which it is, then the struggle should be framed from the start as a conflict over power and values, not as a struggle between social classes. The in-group should be all those who come to embrace the program of the egalitarian movement, and the out-group should be all those who oppose such changes. If the conflict is framed in this way, an egalitarian coalition has a chance to win over the moderates, neutrals, and independents who currently identify with capitalists, and who might be offended by blanket criticisms of them as a class. It may even attract dissident members of the capitalist class who transcend their class interests, and in the process become very valuable in legitimating the movement to those in the middle who are hesitant to climb on board."

Although on that last, even Domhoff does not see that the deeper class interest may be to have a more egalitarian system for various reasons.

[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) 10 years ago

we have established that you do not grasp the concept of similarity vs equivalence.

following your logic: i propose you must regularly shit. therefore you are comprised of shit.

when you understand why that is false, i will debate with you.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

I'm not interested in debating you. I'm trying to offer you some info that you might be interested in.

You should maybe try speaking regularly instead of in analogies. I have no idea what you are saying.

[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) 10 years ago

ok. i'll say it like this. you have a fear mongering quality to your pointing out of similarity between my suggestion and socialism. socialism begins with the state owning everything. without that, you do not have socialism, period. secondly, if you are against anything that has it's concept based in socialism, you better tell all the elders in your family to send back that SSI because it makes them look like communists.

you make a huge reach trying to connect my position to socialism, more scare words than fact. then play dumb because you think you are so smart that i cannot pinpoint and articulate your ridiculousness. get a life.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Man, you are paranoid.

I actually advocate socialism (because it is the only way to have a fair and democratic society). So you are way off base.

Lighten up.

[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) 10 years ago

well thats nice. getting tired of the socialism bit from opposition and supporters to be frank. and the idea may be associated with marx but this is bs. it actually has it's roots here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_(Aristotle)

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

So you are against socialism? How would you be able to price things based on labor time in a capitalist economy?

What idea may be associated with Marx? Labor theory of value? The LTV is from classical economics, before Marx.

[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) 10 years ago

what type of socialism. there are at least 8 variations. LTV is also only one variation of labor pricing. this is why i would point you to the origins of concept rather then all the flavors. it's the root concept that has substance, the variations are simply the end result of previous debates of the root concept. can you argue a new debate on those concepts or will you just continue to force this debate to be a continuation of someone elses debate. you guys have a seriously hard time with [similarity vs equivalence vs absolute]

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

I advocate that the means of production should be publicly owned so that (among other things) income can be allocated democratically which would enable us to pay every worker $115k - $430k, enough to make the economy work really well for everyone.

But I do not believe central planning or a command economy can work. Goods and services should be allocated through the market.

Consumers will decide what is produced based on how they spend their money. Entrepreneurs with new ideas will go to banks for funding. Companies will be individually run and managed. Companies must generate enough revenue to cover expenses in order to stay in business. Managers will be responsible for hiring, firing and company performance. And companies will still compete for your business.

So the price of everything in such an economy will be the total labor hours required to produce it times whatever their hourly pay is.

Prices will become a more meaningful, rationally-based number. It will no longer be the result of negotiation. It will be the actual measurement of expense. You can no longer pretend you have gained efficiency by reducing price as a result of paying your employees less.

The only way to gain efficiency is to decrease the amount of labor it takes to produce.

As demonstrated in the famous economic calulation debate in the economic journals throughout the 20th century, you do not need markets with fluctuating, negotiated prices in order to get supply to meet demand.

In our current economic system, a rise in price signals an economic shortage and provides the incentive for businesses to produce more of that good or service in shortage.

In a democratic system, you don't need a rising price as a signal that there is a shortage. You can simply see the shortage on the computer that tracks orders. And managers at those companies will be responsible for acting on that information.

There will also be an incentive for the system to react to that shortage just as the market does now.

When consumers stop spending money on product A and spend that money on product B instead, revenue for the producer of Product A will go down, forcing them to lay off workers, and revenue for the producer of Product B will go up which will give them the money to hire those newly unemployed people so that they can meet their increasing demand.

The requirement of the economic system for companies to have enough revenue to cover their expenses and to maintain full employment will force the economic system to submit to consumer demand without floating prices or private profits.

It will keep the system more responsive, efficient and dynamic than our current system.

What kind of system do you advocate?

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 10 years ago

"income can be allocated democratically which would enable us to pay every worker $115k - $430k"

It has been predicted that the Gross World Product in a century will be (inflation adjusted) at that level per person globally (based on compounding of productivity). From an archived Wikipedia page (guess people did not like the implications, because how can you have wage slavery when people earn so much?): http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gross_world_product&oldid=337754319 "Gross world product (GWP) is the total gross national product of all the countries in the world. This also equals the total gross domestic product. See measures of national income and output for more details. The per capita GWP in 2008 was approximately $10,500 US dollars (USD).[1] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in their Third Assessment Report (TAR), predicts a maximum per-capita gross world product in 2100 of approximately $140,000 (in year 2000 dollars)."

More on that prediction: http://everything.explained.at/Gross_world_product/

And more, as a "bet": http://longbets.org/194/ "“The world per-capita GDP in the year 2000 was approximately $7,200. The world per-capita GDP (in year 2000 dollars) will exceed $13,000 in the year 2020, $31,000 in 2040, $130,000 in 2060, $1,000,000 in 2080, and $10,000,000 in 2100.” "

But, will we reach that possibility without a basic income? See, from 1964: http://educationanddemocracy.org/FSCfiles/C_CC2a_TripleRevolution.htm "There is no question that cybernation does increase the potential for the provision of funds to neglected public sectors. Nor is there any question that cybernation would make possible the abolition of poverty at home and abroad. But the industrial system does not possess any adequate mechanisms to permit these potentials to become realities. The industrial system was designed to produce an ever-increasing quantity of goods as efficiently as possible, and it was assumed that the distribution of the power to purchase these goods would occur almost automatically. The continuance of the income-through -jobs link as the only major mechanism for distributing effective demand—for granting the right to consume—now acts as the main brake on the almost unlimited capacity of a cybernated productive system."

Great videos here related to "socialism", by the way including Chomsky: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4Tq4VE8eHQ


[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) 10 years ago

a change like you are looking for would require addressing the very simple point i have laid out. solve this and you may be onto something.

[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) 10 years ago

ok. but you have a rising population. the ratio of currency vs population will cause an increase in currency value, therefore goods become less valuable. to offset this, you must introduce new currency to devaluing it. simply paying people is circulation, not introduction of currency. introduction comes from fractional lending. we villainize this practice but without it, your house would become worth less and less every year.


[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Whatever amount of money that is needed to run the economy is just created.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Let's say the economy had 2 workers who each made $115k. Total GDP would be $230k. And total income paid out would be $230k.

If a new worker entered the economy who also was paid $115k, that person would make $115k worth of additional goods and services so total GDP would now be $345k and total income paid out would be $345k.

[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) 10 years ago

ok. where is the origin of the $115 - $230, and what is the origin of the additional $345. how did the employer obtain the $230 to pay the employees. from sold product presumably, cycles. so now you have $230 in circulation. where does the additional $115 come from?

[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) 10 years ago

you are off with respect to price relationships. there are far more factors in pricing than demand and there must be. population increase demands a floating currency or we would be stuck in perpetual deflation(loss of value on goods and property) due to the ratio of currency vs population. you cannot simply introduce currency without cause(that would be just giving it away,chaos). this single point invalidates your entire position.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

I don't say price is based on demand. It is based on the amount of labor time it took to produce.

And I don't say currency is introduced without cause. The total price of all the final goods is equal to the total income paid out to all workers so that demand equals supply.

The only way the price of something is going to decrease is if they produce it with less labor.

Prices are fixed so there is no such thing as deflation or inflation.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

That is the labor theory of value. It is essentially what classical economics is based on.

Socialists advocate that labor time is how everything should be priced in a socialist economy.

[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) 10 years ago

ok. so in your logic, similarity = equivalent?

so then capitalism must be dependent on slavery?

works both ways

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Pricing things based on labor time is equivalent to what socialists advocate.

Ricardo, Adam Smith, and the rest of the classical economists believe the value of everything is based on how much labor it took to create.

I don't understand your capitalism comment.

[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) 10 years ago

thats ok. similarity vs equivalent is common IQ test material.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

huh? I don't understand that comment either!