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Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the human-workers-sent-to-protein-bank dept.

Robotics 530

redletterdave (2493036) writes The largest private employer in all of China and one of the biggest supply chain manufacturers in the world, Foxconn announced it will soon start using robots to help assemble devices at its several sprawling factories across China. Apple, one of Foxconn's biggest partners to help assemble its iPhones, iPads, will be the first company to use the new service. Foxconn said its new "Foxbots" will cost roughly $20,000 to $25,000 to make, but individually be able to build an average of 30,000 devices. According to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, the company will deploy 10,000 robots to its factories before expanding the rollout any further. He said the robots are currently in their "final testing phase."

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Foxconn beings?! (5, Funny)

the_skywise (189793) | about 2 months ago | (#47404517)

The aliens have arrived!

It's invasion of the body snatchers!!!

AAUUUGGGHHH!!!

(And I for one, welcome our new alien overlords...)

Re:Foxconn beings?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404523)

This is just embarrassing. Fire Unknown Lamer.

Re:Foxconn beings?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405887)

Wild guess: author is a chink.

Re: Foxconn beings?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406009)

Worse: a chink kike jap nigger honky gook raghead wop.

Re: Foxconn beings?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406825)

You racist bastard! You left out the dago's and wetbacks.

Re:Foxconn beings?! (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 2 months ago | (#47404527)

At the rate of growth of Foxconn, I think Foxconn being is a synonym for Chinese.

Re:Foxconn beings?! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404547)

Could we get someone with a third grade education to post stuff?!?! This is getting worse and worse..

Re:Foxconn beings?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404601)

I don't see it getting worse. The quality assurance has always been a bit crusty.

Re: Foxconn beings?! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404919)

Isn't the solution obvious? Get a Foxconn robot to do the job.

Re: Foxconn beings?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405081)

Will a Foxconn being do the replacing?

Re: Foxconn beings?! (1)

Kevin Hu (3553411) | about 2 months ago | (#47406027)

"Beings" should be "begins". Just a typo.

Re: Foxconn beings?! (3, Insightful)

Kevin Hu (3553411) | about 2 months ago | (#47406031)

Should be "begins". Just a typo which happens to everybody.

Re:Foxconn beings?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407979)

This is getting worse and worse..

Funny, I thought that referring to the owners of Foxconn as "beings" was factually correct.

Re:Foxconn beings?! (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 months ago | (#47404627)

"h-1bonics"

Re:Foxconn beings?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404847)

No no no. The beings ARE the robots.

The robots are in charge and are replacing people with robots.

*blink* *blink*

AAUUUGGGHHH!!!

THE ROBOTS ARE IN CHARGE AND ARE REPLACING PEOPLE WITH ROBOTS!!!

Skynet is already making its T-800 series! Run for the hills!!

Re:Foxconn beings?! (2)

the_skywise (189793) | about 2 months ago | (#47404869)

Right... my mistake - It's not Invasion of the Body Snatchers!

It's The World's End!!!

Who's up for a pint!?

Re:Foxconn beings?! (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#47405179)

As long as it's at the Winchester.

I want it to be a place I know, that is safe, and where I can smoke.

\/\/

Re:Foxconn beings?! (2)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 2 months ago | (#47405389)

I think you will actually need three pints. And four packets of peanuts.

Re:Foxconn beings?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406223)

Yes, most of us have read that book, too.

Re:Foxconn beings?! (1)

Stele (9443) | about 2 months ago | (#47406599)

And don't forget your towel.

Re: Foxconn beings?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47422817)

Now that was a nice movie.

Re:Foxconn beings?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404943)

Or maybe the bosses are already robots! [slashdot.org]

Foxconn beings?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405895)

This is the first thing I noticed!!
Haha hope the editor corrects it

Re:Foxconn beings?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406261)

Me Fail English? Thats unpossible!

Re:Foxconn beings?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407037)

METAL GEAR?!?!?!?!

Foxconn Beings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404519)

Are those lesser or higher primates?

Re:Foxconn Beings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406407)

No.

That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404525)

Does this mean that iPhones, iPads, etc. will get really cheap?

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47404545)

That is not taking into consideration the cost of materials. Which will be incredibly high as these machines are not building iphones out of iron and oil they are putting CPUs into slots, and screwing together cases. They are probably replacing a $2 a device worker with a $1 a device machine.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404563)

This is China you're talking about. Chances are it's coal [eia.gov] , not oil supplying most of the energy - not saying that's any better.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47404635)

What, $200 in components per iPhone? Thas's not "incredibly high". There's still a lot of money to be gained if they can shave of a few dollars from each assembly. Personally, I find the lifetime of 30000 assembly cycles per robot very low (perhaps they meant through some time period?), but even it that were the case, 30000 times a few dollars is still several times the cost of the robot.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404793)

Parts cost about $5 before all the middle men.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47404953)

I'm not really sure the SoC is *that* cheap even if you subtract all the salaries and wages involved. All the energy, ultra-pure water, organic solvents, lithography and epitaxy machine depreciation etc. certainly aren't free.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 months ago | (#47405163)

I'm not really sure the SoC is *that* cheap even if you subtract all the salaries and wages involved. All the energy, ultra-pure water, organic solvents, lithography and epitaxy machine depreciation etc. certainly aren't free.

no but the are incredibly cheap when amortized against millions of units, with much of the equipment already paid for you just have to take into account depeciation which again may already be paid off.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47405193)

Amortize per-unit consumable consumption? How do you do that?

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404971)

After all, all the raw materials are free FREE for the taking!

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 months ago | (#47405689)

Sort of, the way China has been raping a witless Africa for its resources lately.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407639)

So building a fantastic infrastructure, paying well, and diversifying the economy is raping?
Please.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 months ago | (#47408565)

I guess you must be reading the Chinese news releases.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 2 months ago | (#47422899)

... which is so different from the way that Europe raped Africa for it's resources for the last few centuries.

(With, it must be said, the active connivance of some Africans. Those slaves didn't catch themselves and haul themselves to the slave-trading ports. And those mine-workers didn't whip themselves.)

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 months ago | (#47429445)

That's true. But at least now western companies get scrutinized a lot more and are less able to get away with shit. The Chinese companies don't have anyone at home who give a shit about where they get the ore and what they do to get it. And they try to avoid any western reporting often with the help from the politicians there. So western media haven't been been reporting what the Chinese do or haven't been able to. I have talked to people who have or currently work in mining in Africa and anyone could ask them about things like Chinese refining operations using crap loads of mercury and just pumping it out into rivers or hidden tailing ponds hastily built. I just talked to a guy over coffee last Sunday, who flies into Guinea periodically on mining related business (mind you he's taking a pass until the Ebola outbreak is taken care of).

FWIW, I don't fret about what my ancestors did. I can't help that and don't subscribe to the idea that I have to pay for their sins or indiscretions other than to have to live with the world they left like everyone else. I worry about what we can do now, and even though western companies try to get away with whatever they can, face it, we do rein them in far, far better than the Chinese do with their "companies" (quotes because really, they are just another arm of the government when they want them to be).

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about 2 months ago | (#47409863)

The raw materials are free for the taking (generously supplied by mother nature). Getting them where you want in a form you want is the expensive part.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405801)

That is not taking into consideration the cost of materials. Which will be incredibly high as these machines are not building iphones out of iron and oil they are putting CPUs into slots, and screwing together cases.

They are probably replacing a $2 a device worker with a $1 a device machine.

$2 per device? Something tells me you've grossly overestimated a workers cost. And pay.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

parkinglot777 (2563877) | about 2 months ago | (#47406173)

They are probably replacing a $2 a device worker with a $1 a device machine.

I am not so sure that that is the case. If a Chinese can assemble an iPhone in an hour, then this old news -- http://www.mercurynews.com/bus... [mercurynews.com] -- would give some idea that the replacement is not that much different (think about maintenance cost). I believe it is more on the labor law issues (less headache). The law suit from "human" could be very expensive. So it would be much easier to have robots do the work instead of humans, so that they can no longer need to worry about how many hours a day each robot can work. They could simply swap a robot out if it breaks (no hospital cost, just maintenance).

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406569)

Lawsuits? From Chinese workers? This isn't the USA you're talking about.

At $20,000 or so per robot, that's quite a few Chinese workers' pay, so there's obviously got to be a reason to automate.

For that, look East. China gained its pre-eminence in manufacturing exploiting labor price arbitrage. When you have lots of people earning $2/day, even a wage that would starve a US worker can be a step up and lots of people who'd otherwise be farming became factory workers.

But the US has been ramping up robotics itself. And a US robot demands the same wages as a China robot, costs about the same, and has the advantage that whatever finished goods it produces don't have to be shipped as far or as expensively.

So this isn't so much an indication of FoxConn putting Chinese workers out of work as it is of China at grave risk of losing one of its big markets and trying to take action before it's too late.

Re: That's Less Than $1 per Device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47409605)

You hit it right on the head.

  Automation with robotics brings manufacturing back as then you can drop costs by minimizing shipping related expenses. China and robotics is kind of pointless as their labor costs are already extremely cheap.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 months ago | (#47404599)

They already are incredibly cheap to manufacture. How do you think Apple gets all that profit every single year?

Of course if the robots were that good the location where the manufacturing plant is should be mostly inconsequential. Productions could be anywhere with cheap space and electricity. What I suspect will happen, as usually does in any corporation that tries to apply robots to what used to be an all human assembly line, is massive failure and hiring of more indentured servants, er i mean interns.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404785)

Farnsworth: Well, it looks like I'll be needing my heroic bureaucrat back. At severely-reduced pay, of course.

LaBarbara: It's better than nothing.

Fry: What about me? Can I come back at severely-reduced pay?

Hermes: You got it, mon! In fact, severely-reduced pay all around!

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (5, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 months ago | (#47404961)

China has a massive manufacturing hub in the hong kong - shenhzen - guangzhou region because a huge collection of components are available there, with a large collection of factories and workers who can flexibly shift between factories to meet rapidly variable demand (particularly for somewhere like foxconn who work for many related businesses - oh, dell you can wait 48 hours while we throw together 100k phone screens for apple who need them right now, and in 48 hours we'll have enough staff brought on board to do both).

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jun/13/inside-shenzen-china-silicon-valley-tech-nirvana-pearl-river

If you're important enough and need enough made they'll shut down schools for you to get more workers. And the areas are small (relatively) stand in the centre draw a 100Km circle around yourself and you've got 120+ million in a giant megacity making stuff for the world. It's amazing and terrifying and a lot of other things all at once. Imagine what the industrial revolution London did to the world - only 100x bigger. And that's thing - while some of the advanced semiconductor components are made elsewhere still so much of the supply chain, glass, displays, the motherboards, the plastic etc. etc. etc. all in a tiny little radius all shipped out around the world in 3 days.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | about 2 months ago | (#47405769)

Good article people should take a peek.
Fascinating regarding those handlebars referenced in the article, people can come up with a concept, take it to China, use kickstarter and suddenly it's a real product.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405819)

the centre draw a 100Km circle around yourself and you've got 120+ million in a giant megacity making stuff for the world...

All we need to do then is nuke em from orbit.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

Jumunquo (2988827) | about 2 months ago | (#47405937)

Your fellow Americans will turn around and nuke you instead to protect their iPhone addiction.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

invid (163714) | about 2 months ago | (#47406315)

They have a 'bit' of a smog problem in Guangzhou, but the hotel I was at had an excellent breakfast pho bar.

Re: That's Less Than $1 per Device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404649)

The cost to make them will go down, but Apple will increase the price (because their products are magical, of course!)

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 months ago | (#47404707)

What gives you that idea?
It means either Foxconn or Apple make more money. Perhaps both.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405263)

And then Samsung gets robots too, and competitive pressure forces prices down. You're familiar with supply and demand, right?

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (2)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | about 2 months ago | (#47405495)

Hmm... you wouldn't buy some cheap knockoff, would you? If your phone costs less than $800, it's not "premium" or "VIP" or how do they call these things nowadays. So no, prices would remain the same because people are already buying phones at current prices, and even if it will go up they'll gladly pay for the magical "status item". Lawyers and marketologists could ask for a raised salary, though.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 2 months ago | (#47405955)

What gives you that idea?
It means either Foxconn or Apple make more money. Perhaps both.

Obviously Foxconn has no other customers than Apple. Reminds me of the headlines last year "300 workers threaten suicide at Apple factory" (because they were in fear of losing their jobs due to dropping X-box sales).

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 months ago | (#47409381)

Obviously not.
RTFS

Apple, one of Foxconn's biggest partners to help assemble its iPhones, iPads, will be the first company to use the new service.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405111)

No, because you're paying for the brand. Price obeys demand, not (only) costs.

Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47406789)

No. It means that certain people are going to get richer faster because not as much money needs to be delegated for salaries

Welcome (3, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 months ago | (#47404531)

I, for one, welcome our new Foxconn overlords.

more leisure time for humans! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404541)

This is great news! Zero income means zero income taxes. How much food can I buy with zero dollars?

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47404553)

"More leisure time for Foxconn Beings" - Fixed that for you.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (5, Insightful)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47404683)

Karl Marx saw this coming over 150 years ago

The final end result of mass mechanized production is that the available workers will far outnumber the available jobs, and this is the problem that communism was intended to solve.

Unfortunately, communism has earned a fatally bad reputation after being misused by so many dictators during the 20th century.

Re: more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404717)

Exactly. No one has done it correctly yet. Of course, Republicans are not smart enough to comprehend this so they are irrationally against the best form of government.

Re: more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404773)

Republicans completely understand that everybody else got Christianity wrong, but they've finally fixed it.

It's working so well in Venezuela (2)

daninaustin (985354) | about 2 months ago | (#47404845)

It really is the best if your goal is equality in poverty, No one has done it "correctly" because it's founded on a fatally flawed understanding of human nature. Workers are lazy and will not produce if they don't have to. Governments with totalitarian powers will never wither away.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404903)

It really is the best if your goal is equality in poverty,

No one has done it "correctly" because it's founded on a fatally flawed understanding of human nature. Workers are lazy and will not produce if they don't have to. Governments with totalitarian powers will never wither away.

Eventually people get bored enough that they want to do something. Travel the world or tinker with devices or take photos or paint. Many people are stuck where they are due to their employment situation.

If I wasn't looking for a job to feed and house myself, I'd be working on my own projects. Every time I think of working on it, I get distracted by the knowledge that I would have a better use of time putting out resumes.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (2)

daninaustin (985354) | about 2 months ago | (#47405343)

Hobbies are great, but it's hard to feed the world on pictures of cats.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (4, Insightful)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405397)

As long as the machines are feeding the people, why would it matter if the work you do is productive?

In Marx's vision of the world, he expected everyone to sit around and write poetry, while the machines did all the work.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (2)

AbRASiON (589899) | about 2 months ago | (#47405737)

Completely unsustainable under the assumption people are allowed to continue to breed as they currently do.
If every human on earth were to have the same luxuries which many of us do in the west (I'm typing this from my 1 bedroom apt, it's heated, I'm sitting on a $1000 comfortable office chair, behind 4 monitors, I saw a doctor today for free) then the entire world would collapse in about 11 minutes.

Maybe, just maybe if the machines did all the work AND we stopped our endless population / consumption, we might be ok - while we pillage what natural resources are left - but I suspect we're all mostly fucked regardless.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (4, Insightful)

delt0r (999393) | about 2 months ago | (#47405901)

The only people breeding are the poor people.

Re: It's working so well in Venezuela (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406025)

So true!

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (3, Informative)

disposable60 (735022) | about 2 months ago | (#47406357)

Because they can't afford other entertainments.
Nor can they afford contraception (either financially or spiritually).

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406721)

If they cant afford a 1 euro condom can they afford to feed a baby?

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408111)

What, you think just a single condom will keep you baby-free for years? A euro a day is plenty to feed a baby but might falls short on what you would need to spend to stop a baby. especially in places where things like the pill are harder to come by.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

NewYork (1602285) | about 2 months ago | (#47422287)

"Any man who, having a child or children he can't support, proceeds to have another should be sterilized at once." --Mencken

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (5, Interesting)

MrLogic17 (233498) | about 2 months ago | (#47406441)

If people continue to breed as they currently do, we're going to be just fine. Birth rates globally are on the deline. As education (espcially education of women) becomes commonplace in a country, birth rates drop. We are in no danger of over populating the planet. Depending on the projection, "peak people" just might be within our lifetime.

With advancing technology. why can't everyone have a high standard of living? Technology & weath are not a zero-sum game. More people with education & skills raise the standards for all. (If you disagree, explain to me where all the silicon valley wealth was durring the stone age.)

Stop worrying about how big your slice of the pie is. Let's make the pie bigger for everyone.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

bigpat (158134) | about 2 months ago | (#47409101)

If people continue to breed as they currently do, we're going to be just fine.

That would be true only if current population levels are actually sustainable over a longer term and depends on what your definition of "just fine" is. The evidence so far is mixed. Yes, we have apparently been able to feed almost everyone and there is some additional arable land that could be put into production, but not too much more land, especially given the pressures of development for housing, industry and transportation. And we have seen some pretty massive wars and genocides in the last hundred years which are at least partly the result of temporary or perceived resource scarcity. Japan wanted to control its oil supply in World War II and Germany wanted to directly control its oil, coal and food supplies. Other wars have been about oil. The Rwandan Genocide certainly had a component that was caused by resource scarcity.

So far with a human population in the billions "just fine" has meant periodic wars and genocides which kill millions and millions of people.

I don't think "just fine" means what you think it means and we would be really much better off if we had worldwide birthrates somewhat below replacement population. When it comes to population and natural resource utilization you never want to think about getting anywhere close to 100% capacity. You should always aim for excess production capacity to account for natural disasters and wars.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407831)

The more educated a society is, the fewer children they have. You point has nothing to do with a robotic era.

Remember, tech comes with other tech. Once we have system talking to each other about what that are doing and our scheduled to do, they will become more efficient. Then we have more powerful system to work on really hard problems. Like better reuse and recycling, off world mining.

robotic system solve all you other issues.
You need to stop applying your current way of thinking with an automated society.

It's clear tat the value you place on the chair isn't comfort, or health, but the money it costs.

Would it be a worse chair if it was sold for 250 dollar? 25 dollars?

 

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

Duhavid (677874) | about 2 months ago | (#47407339)

I think most people would choose something more fulfilling than pictures of cats.

I know I would. I have one recent software idea that I don't have time to work on.
My wife recently did a project collecting books from authors to donate to kids in the Philippines as part of a thing my Church did.
My kids and I volunteer at food bank activities often.

The things I could do if I didn't *have* to work.
And note, I would still work. I love my job, most of the time.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47409447)

For everyone traveling the world, tinkering with devices, taking photos or painting, there are a host of people working like galley slaves. Thats a resource control issue and no matter how sophisticated technology gets it will always be a problem. Even if we were to somehow double the world's resources, a small percentage of the world's population would take most of it for themselves.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47416185)

the main issue with that statement is that you understand the difference between working and not working. Its not the first generation that has issues, its the ones after that never have had to work and know nothing of how much time to yourself is worth.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (3, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 2 months ago | (#47405009)

Workers are lazy and will not produce if they don't have to.

"As long as they pretend to pay us, we'll pretend to work."

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1, Troll)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405407)

They don't need to produce.

Would the world starve if mcdonalds or starbucks suddenly went away? Are the workers there actually producing anything? If nothing of value is produced though a person's labor, then nothing of value is lost when that person stops laboring.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406233)

Well, I would argue that the things of value that are lost are the things you value when those displaced workers steal your stuff so that they can feed themselves. There is value in people working and getting paid so that they can eat and not have to become criminals in order to survive.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

RobinH (124750) | about 2 months ago | (#47406589)

Wouldn't it be cheaper if all the people buying hamburgers just paid those people to sit on their ass?

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407051)

Yes. The point is that machines don't have this flaw. Automated trading systems ERP software and forecasting models are ubiquitous. They are already doing the heavy lifting and will continue to do more and more. At some point humans are no longer necessary for labor. What do people do then? I can foresee a day when my job (software engineer) goes away too. Eventually everything is automated and capitalism ends. What then?

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405159)

Do you work?

Are you lazy?

Please ignore for the moment that I might show your boss your reply.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405299)

Machines aren't lazy

Marxist communism relies on a level of mechanized production that STILL doesn't fully exist yet.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

daninaustin (985354) | about 2 months ago | (#47405355)

and never will

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (4, Insightful)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405385)

Maybe it will, maybe it won't. But unless there is some serious decline in technological progress, it's more likely that it WILL happen eventually, even if it doesn't happen in our lifetime.

This is the idea that drove Marx to come up with communism. He was there at the beginning of the industrial revolution, and he could see where mechanization would eventually lead. It just took a LOT longer than he was expecting, mostly because he didn't predict the invention of fast-food and starbucks which is the only thing that is currently keeping unemployment under control in the US.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

Therad (2493316) | about 2 months ago | (#47405479)

Is it really under control? There is a rising trend in youth unemployment in the west.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (0)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405535)

Then there is a rising need for communism.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406041)

No one has done it "correctly" because it's founded on a fatally flawed understanding of human nature. Workers are lazy and will not produce if they don't have to.

That's right. Otherwise we'd have popular operating systems developed by unpaid workers running the Internet.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406311)

Workers are lazy and will not produce if they don't have to.

Well, since you've made the statement I'll logically disprove it:

I am a worker. I have worked without any gain at all.

There, that was easy. You made a statement encompassing a group ("Sheep are white") and I disproved it ("Here's a black sheep").

If there's a need for something, someone will want to do it. You may not be able to comprehend why someone would want to wait tables if they're not being paid for it, but I know one person who does want to.

Yeah, we'll get a lot of professional surfers, but so what? Right now, my country has a few hundred professional football players who earn millions for prancing around a field and then saying how good Sanitarium Weetbix are. They produce nothing, they are simply the brand that's sold, yet they are paid ridiculous sums for going to the gym.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

canadian_right (410687) | about 2 months ago | (#47406859)

Why would you expect poverty when robots produce the same or more than all human workers?

Capitalism, regulated by government to prevent the worst abuses, has proved itself the best economic system given our current level of technology, and culture. When everything you could possibly want is produced without human labour then capitalism isn't going to work. There will be NO work. Obviously, some sort of socialism will have to replace capitalism. This theme is explored in a number of SF books, and often labelled "Post Scarcity".

The current economic recovery in the USA is often called the "jobless recovery" because while corporations profits have recovered the number of jobs that have been created has been much lower than in previous economic recoveries. This trend of increasing productivity through automation is going to accelerate.

Some form of socialism is inevitable in the long term. Dogmatic free marketers are just going to have to learn to change. The culture is going to have to change to value something other than "work" as a good use of one's time.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407857)

"Post Scarcity". and 'robotic systems' are different concepts.
You can have total automation and still have scarcity.
Post scarcity only happens when you can cheaply build anything from base atomic structures. So I can take a pile of carbon and create an apple. or a car, and so on.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407767)

Communism, does not mean totalitarianism. Please divorce the concepts in you mind.

" fatally flawed understanding of human nature. Workers are lazy and will not produce if they don't have to."
that's factually incorrect. Don't confuse not wanting to work 80 hours a week with 'lazy'. Don't confuse low productivity due to being forced to so something you don't want to as 'lazy'
However, since we are talking about replacing people with robots, that kind of makes you issue go away.

More people are being automated out of work then the creation of the automation adds to the work pool. This started at the end of the 90s.

So, what do we do when people aren't need to do most work?

I have several types of solution, but I wonder what you come up with.

Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 months ago | (#47408381)

Workers are lazy and will not produce if they don't have to.

Thank you for being honest about capitalism being based on coercion, disguised as it might be. However, the issue is precisely that we're running out of work that needs to - or even profitably can - be performed by humans, so what's the problem?

Re: more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406329)

Exactly. No one has done it correctly yet

Because it cannot be done correctly. Moron.

Re: more leisure time for humans! (3, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47406901)

Communism has been done correctly in the past, but never on a scale as large as a country.... at best, I think it has only been achieved at the scale of a modest community, and generally involving no more than a few thousand people or so.

Basically, when everyone in the community personally knows practically everyone else in it, there is a social obligation on everybody to conform to expected behavior on account of a complete lack of anonymity, and communism works. Individuals who do not fit in to such societies are unceremoniously kicked out and left to fend for themselves.

Republicans are closet communists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408941)

Actually, Republican Alaska has just about figured out how to do communism right. Every resident of Alaska gets a check every year from the Alaska Permanent Fund. Last year it was $900, but in 2008 it reached over $2000. No just add a digit or two to that amount and then you could live on the dole without having to go through all those humiliating hoops to prove you are worthless in order to get welfare.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47404761)

Wow, quite a distortion you came up with there. Granted, Marx did say some interesting things but the question should be why communism would allow companies to build machines that remove income from humans? For that matter, why is a "capitalist Republic" allowing it now? Obviously China is not a capitalist, we have similar issues in the US.

Those may be a bit philanthropic for most, but the only way that _should_ be happening is with fascism because companies are the government (and vice versa).

Both Capitalism and Communism are supposed to be about maintaining the work force, so guess where we all are today?

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47404829)

Granted, Marx did say some interesting things but the question should be why communism would allow companies to build machines that remove income from humans?

Isn't that a nonsensical question? I would have thought that in an actual communistic society, the companies would be society's companies, building those machines to remove human labor would be simply the collective will of the people, and no income would be removed from humans because material wealth produced rather than income would be the driving force, and this wealth would be increased by building the machines, not diminished.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47404929)

No, it's not a nonsensical question. The whole premise of Communism is reliance on the worker, and protecting the worker (probably not the best choice of terminology but saves paragraphs of explanations) because the worker is the only way for bureaucrats to exist. Communism requires people to be busy at work, and if robots make people idle the system fails. No workers, no bureaucrats, no government.

FWIW, Marx did predict that the US would head down the path of fascism, though he called it out not in name but symptoms. His critique of capitalism calls out exactly what we see happening in "Capitalism" today. In Marx's Communism this could not happen because the Government controls everything.

Where Marx completely fails, is that he never takes human nature into consideration. Human nature has been the nemesis of pretty much every form of government and economics. This is why a huge target on the last several decades has been deregulation in the US, we actually had many protections by law until very recent times.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (4, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 months ago | (#47405135)

The whole premise of communism is "from everyone according to their ability, to everyone according to their need". It is meant to be a classless society (so no division into "workers" and everyone else), and, ideally, the one that is post-scarcity. The kind of thing described in TFA is in fact exactly what most communist utopia writers envisioned.

The entire worker angle was a way to achieve communism, starting from a capitalist society. It's not a core part of communism itself.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (2, Interesting)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | about 2 months ago | (#47405519)

I wish I had some mod points - there are so many misconceptions about Marx and communism that it is sometimes painful to watch. Although, if we'll take anarchism or libertarian capitalism in their extreme (and unattainable) forms, they'll result in a really nice societies as well. We'll just need a different types of people for each of these systems to work properly. Right now it seems that we have the system that we deserve, no more, no less.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406911)

""from everyone according to their ability, to everyone according to their need". It is meant to be a classless society"

It obviously isnt meant to be a classless society when two 'classes' are stated in the dictum - those who have ability and those who have need.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407613)

There isn't a class of people with "needs" and a class of people with "abilities". Not in general anyway.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 months ago | (#47408269)

Do you understand the meaning of the English word "everyone"? If not, try consulting a dictionary.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407113)

"from everyone according to their ability, to everyone according to their need"

So, rationally, I ought to minimize my abilities and maximize my needs. Which is exactly what people do under communism.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407677)

How does one "maximize" their needs? Needs are nearly the same for every person. Basic food and basic shelter. You can attempt to mess with your abilities, but anyone who is actually good at something will do what they're good at, no matter what. You will always have the social incentive. People who are viewed as lazy will have few good friends. Their life will be utter crap.

I may be annoyed of people abusing welfare to get a free ride, but I am not jealous of their lives. Their lives suck. They have no self confidence, they feel useless, they're always unhappy.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 months ago | (#47408303)

We don't know what people do under communism, since we didn't have it anywhere (nor did anyone ever claim to have it implemented).

The way it is supposed to work in theory is through education and upbringing, by making people (most of them, anyway) conscious of common welfare and willing to participate in the scheme that maximizes it for all, rather than freeloading to maximize it for themselves. You'd inevitably get some freeloaders, anyway - this is a fairly common story device in communist sci-fi - but the majority of people are not sociopaths, and altruism is in fact a strongly ingrained instinct, and you only really need a majority to keep the system going.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408943)

but the majority of people are not sociopaths, and altruism is in fact a strongly ingrained instinct

Not him, but I disagree

People are not sociopaths, but they aren't saints either. Our altruism is easily blunted if given (or deprived of) the correct stimuli. For example, see the bystander effect [wikipedia.org] . People who normally would not be considered sociopaths, and might even be very nice people, could end up acting without much empathy or altruism.

I don't have the link, but research into social media has indicated that people can't maintain social circles larger than 100 or 200 people. We cannot even infinitely extend our friendship, let alone our altruism to anybody and everybody in our society, or the world at large. Even if we somehow could, things like the bystander effect is still in play.

you only really need a majority to keep the system going.

Basically, what I'm saying is that the majority we really need to keep the system going is still too high from the type of humans we really have (in the foreseeable future)

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 months ago | (#47409033)

You may well be right - that's why I said "in theory". The way the originators of the movement saw it is that they would first need to temporarily establish a socialist system with a strong state that would have to be there for some period of time to 1) advance technology to the point where scarcity is not an issue anymore (they believed it is only possible under socialism), and 2) raise several generations educated and indoctrinated with the outlook that is necessary for such an economic system. The actual amount of time necessary for this was never specified by the theorists, though Marxist-Leninist states often declared goals like "building communism in 10 years" (and then, of course, it would still be 10 years away after 10 years).

Regarding altruism, it is actually a well-established fact that it is a basic instinct in humans. There are many anthropological and ethological studies that demonstrate it, even in very young children. The catch is that it's not universal altruism, but what they call "parochial altruism" - basically, mentally dividing everyone into "us" and "them", and extending altruism only to "us", often at the expense of "them" (which makes sense, since the evolutionary mechanism that causes altruism to appear in the first place necessitates such divisions to maximize gene propagation).

Re:more leisure time for humans! (5, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47405153)

The whole premise of Communism is reliance on the worker, and protecting the worker (probably not the best choice of terminology but saves paragraphs of explanations) because the worker is the only way for bureaucrats to exist. Communism requires people to be busy at work, and if robots make people idle the system fails.

Really? Quoting [wikipedia.org] :

Communism (from Latin communis – common, universal) is a socioeconomic system structured upon common ownership of the means of production and characterized by the absence of classes, money, and the state; as well as a social, political and economic ideology and movement that aims to establish this social order ...

... Communism becomes fully realized when the distinction between classes is no longer possible and therefore the state, which has been used as an instrument of class dictatorship, no longer exists. In the communist economy, production and consumption are fully socialized, and the processes for which are advanced into maximized automation, efficiency, and recycling.

I don't know, but from reading this, one could certainly conclude that firing bureaucrats and replacing workers with robots wherever possible ought to be very high on any communist's agenda!

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406307)

You missed the essential parts where production means are not privatized, but owned by everyone.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406949)

And since the "production means" are other human beings, it means slavery.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47411797)

Obviously, what other arrangement would even make sense under the circumstances?

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407883)

Bureaucracy where created by people s we cold do complex things well.

They are needed, and work very well over all. WE can all point to failings, but overall they have made things better.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 months ago | (#47405421)

The whole premise of Communism is....

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". - Karl Marx.

In otherwords everyone is a "worker" in a communist society (despite what you may think of bureaucrats and politicians). Marx thought that it would work because the communist movement belived technology was the road to equity. However they also belived that property above and beyond personal need was a barrier to the efficient use of technology and resources. Mao was a true communist in this respect in that he pulled down the "barrier" by forcing everyone to become a pesant farmer. The result was that millions starved to death.

I was a teenager when they finally booted out the gang of four. In the 40 years since that time China has dragged more people out of poverty than the rest of the world combined by directing it's economy towards feeding, housing, and employing it's own people. It's a remarkable turn around, the only economic feat I can can think of that comes close to this kind of growth was the rise of Gengis Kahn.

Both the US and China practise "crony capitilisim" (moderate facisism) these days, they just implement it differently. Actual reasearch [wikipedia.org] (as opposed to ideological naval gazing), into what makes a productive stable society indicates that the sweet spot for income disparity is somewhere around 10:1, ie: the top 1% earn 10X as much as the bottom 1%. Currently China has one of the worst equity ratings in the world, the US and Russia are about even but not that far behind China.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 months ago | (#47406865)

I would postulate that protectionist "regulations" designed to hide protectionism in the form or "safety" or other regulations, creating barriers to entry in such a way that it prevents new, innovative ideas from coming to the market quickly and efficiently. The whole Technology surge of the last 20 years will be undone when "regulations" trying to prevent "bubbles" or other momentary inefficiencies will result in the abrupt end to the technology economy.

Yes, inefficiencies are part of a "free" economy, and often result in the busts that inevitably follow, as they are driven from the market. However, in no other kind of economy, can a person reach their full potential either, as restrictions in the form of regulations create the barriers to entry that effectively block them from doing so.

The end result is that in trying to prevent "harm" we actually do greater harm, that is masked in terms of stability. Stability is not necessarily a good thing, even while we desire it.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407913)

Nonsense.
Nothing in history shows that, and it s very clear yo do not need bubbles for technology to advance.

I keep reading the post, I'm not sure you know what en economic bubble actually is.

Stupid.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407903)

Communism is not Marxism.
Marxism is not Leninism
Maoism is not Communism.

" However they also believed that property above and beyond personal need was a barrier to the efficient use of technology and resources."
in some of the aforementioned version, but not a core tenet of communism.
So Maoism:
If robots are doing the work, then the forced farming isn't an issue, is it?

Re:more leisure time for humans! (4, Insightful)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | about 2 months ago | (#47404861)

Both Capitalism and Communism are supposed to be about maintaining the work force, so guess where we all are today?

A nominally capitalist country pays a communist country for much of its manufacturing because it's cheaper, instead of employing its own citizens. So the logical next step is to just buy the robot factory workers from China to replace workers in the U.S. to save on shipping costs.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47404937)

Well, no. The first responsibility of a country is to it's own citizens.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405065)

Your first responsibility is to learn the difference between its and it's, Mr Senior System Engineer/Architect.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

cardpuncher (713057) | about 2 months ago | (#47405657)

I think you'll find that the concept of "country" and "citizen", insofar as it applies to people and not capital, is what got us to this point.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406305)

joke of the year 2014

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405129)

Your analysis doesn't account for the environmental concerns with the semi-conductors (and potentially the rare earth metals supply, which China has been playing games with how much they'd release of the raw materials to ensure they have some economic pull).

Yes, the workers are more expensive, but making one that passes the various environmental laws might be more expensive than having them shipped by boat after being assembled in China.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47416695)

Wrong, it's far cheaper to let them pollute their own side of the planet rather than actually do it right in a regulated (yet not enough) environment.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405059)

Capitalism is a system designed to reward capitalists. Capitalists are those who have capital. Capital is money/resources/etc. It has nothing to do with maintaining a work force. Capitalism, in theory, uses greed of capitalists to produce the most efficient systems of production possible. More efficient production creates the most supply with the lowest prices.

In reality, Capitalism produces monopolies. Monopoly is the natural end state of Capitalism. The big fish eat all the smaller fish, until there's only one big fish left. "There can be only one." Then, monopolies, given no competition and driven by greed, drive up prices and artificially restrict supply, thus creating great inefficiencies. It's like a pine forest, growing faster than all the trees around it, only to poison itself with acidic leaf litter once dominance is established.

The capitalists don't care, because the proles can go eat cake or whatever. They're sitting on a mountain of money and resources and exist in a system where "greed is good." In reality, an economic system is ideal when it most fairly distributes resources those who need them. When 3 million people in your country are homeless, and Detroit is bulldozing 40 square miles of homes... your system of economics is completely fucked up.

Replacing workers with robots is not inherently bad. Under the right economic model, having robots do all the work while humans have 100% leisure time would be an admirable goal. The problems begin when workers replaced by robots have no means to acquire food/shelter/resources. One solution might be to raise taxes on the capitalists and redistribute that in some way to the "have nots" but then companies like Apple hide hundreds of billions of dollars off shore to avoid said taxes.

Apple doesn't need the money at all, while the poor starve to death. That makes Apple and other companies like Apple the most despicable group of people on Earth. It isn't just Tim Cook or Jeff Bezos or Larry Page. Companies are made by people and every single person working at Apple is contributing to the problem.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405231)

Replacing workers with robots is not inherently bad. Under the right economic model, having robots do all the work while humans have 100% leisure time would be an admirable goal. The problems begin when workers replaced by robots have no means to acquire food/shelter/resources.

This is the problem that communism was intended to solve. But instead of simply taxing the capitalists, the idea is that the companies will belong directly to the public, with what is essentially a 100% "tax" on all profits.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47406343)

But then the problem is that there is no incentive for anyone to keep the factories running. So people who have the initiative and ability are given extra rewards, and you are right back to the only system that works...Capitalism

No. (3, Interesting)

denzacar (181829) | about 2 months ago | (#47407537)

But then the problem is that there is no incentive for anyone to keep the factories running.

There is no MONETARY incentive for factory workers to create additional profit, above that which is needed for maintaining a monetary status quo, or a very slight profit above it.

There are plenty of other incentives though.
Ever tried to beat your own score in a game? How about collecting all the special items or unlocking achievements?
Anyone paid you for that? Did you get a badge? Or a shirt? How about a citation in front of your peers?
How about your grades in elementary school? Did you get monetary incentive according to your grades and was that your primary motivator?
Fucking? Do you get paid for that? How about eating?

From personal pride of one's work to various propaganda techniques appealing to various human prejudices, from "think of the children" to "Uncle Sam needs you".

Armies are the example of just such an arrangement.
They "belong directly to the public, with what is essentially a 100% "tax" on all profits".

Plus, the workers get a chance to be killed and/or maimed while making almost no money for themselves.
Who'd want to work at a place like that, right? No incentives will bring you back from the dead.
And yet...

Monetary motivation is just the cheapest and easiest to work with, giving the lowest results. Very few people would put their life on the line for "just money".
Millions of people put their lives in danger every day with no hope of monetary compensation.
Doing it "for their community".
Not "for their capital".

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405699)

So socialist countries don't have any homeless people?

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406487)

One there are no other fish, could it be equally reasonable to assume the head of the big fish drives down prices because he/she is benevolent? For instance an energy company taking over and automating energy production such that it is free(and they have already broke even)

Re: more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406501)

You make it sound as inerently bad. Capitalism is the best system know until this very day to serve the needs of the broad public, bringing together and organizing the allocation of knowledge, human work, money to match demand with offers at affordable prices. All while giving eaxh indivdual a free choice of whether and how to participate. No other system, certainly not communism, has created a comparable surge of wealth and higher living standards in all parts of the world. Adding robots is a good sign, it means wages haven risen to the point where a machine is cheaper than the factory worker. In other words the factory worker can either do better work at a higher wage, or work elsewhere at the same wage.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (2)

TheSync (5291) | about 2 months ago | (#47407075)

Capitalism is a system designed to reward capitalists.

Capitalism is a system designed to assure private property rights. Through assuring protection of private property from appropriation form the state, the risk of investment is lowered, thus encouraging investment. Investment provides the capital that allows new types of jobs to be created and technology to be improved.

Thus capitalism rewards capitalist investors with enhanced returns on capital, rewards laborers with better and more well paying jobs because of improvements in their productivity due to higher levels of capital investment, and rewards consumers with improved products and technologies.

Monopoly is the natural end state of Capitalism. The big fish eat all the smaller fish, until there's only one big fish left.

Where is the evidence for this? Private property protection encourages competition because it incentivizes investment in new companies and technologies. We see this for example in accelerating Fortune 500 turnover [wired.com] and the turnover of the DJIA [investmentsoffice.com] . For example, today we barely recognize the former DJIA companies Owens-Illinois Glass or Central Leather. The economic term for this is creative destruction [wikipedia.org] .

Many large companies exist today created from scratch that did not exist 50 years ago (Starbucks, Best Buy, FedEx, Dell, Cisco, Sysco, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, ARM, AMD, Intel, Nvidia).

It is particularly difficult for a large organization to remain competitive over a long period of time. They build up too many entrenched internal power centers and often become blind to market change and technological change. See IBM for a company that started as mainly a hardware company, but has totally lost that market and is mainly a software consulting company today.

On the other hand, when the commanding heights of the economy are in the hands of the state, it is easy for the government to enforce monopolies of state-owned enterprises through regulation.

while the poor starve to death

Most actual deaths of people due to starvation occur in countries with low levels of economic freedom, not in countries that embrace private property rights and capitalism. Recent famines in Senegal, Gambia, Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, DRC, Ethiopia, and North Korea are occurring in states ranked in the Index of Economic Freedom [heritage.org] as being "Mostly Unfree" or "Repressed", with many having a long recent history or even still being ruled by governments that claim allegiance to Marxist socialism (for example, Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, or the Workers' Party of Korea).

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | about 2 months ago | (#47408727)

Capitalism can achieve all of those things but it does lead to monopolies. There is plenty of historical examples including our own robber baron periods here in the USA. The solution of course is to have a regulated capitalist economy. Of course the problem with that is that the bigger fish still end up with an inordinately loud voice when it comes to writing and passing regulation, so the solution often becomes just another part of the problem.

Capitalism can create more jobs but if you hadn't noticed there has been a jobs problem of late, capitalism isn't exactly a panacea. And capitalism frequesntly just leads to fewer jobs because it is more profitable to do more with less workers involved. Increasing automation exacerbates this, and sure something new might come along that ends up employing all of those people that will be replaced by robots, but that is a pretty big maybe. Usually what we see is that a lot of low wage jobs are replaced by a few higher skill/higher wage jobs, but that isn't an even exchange as far as the economy and community is concerned, because one person with $1,000,000 doesn't spend as much money in the same way that 20 people with $50,000 each would. That one person will arguably still put all of that money back into the economy by investing in some assets or even just putting it in the bank, which means that money is then available to someone else. But at that point it is entering the economy at a very high level and will be used by someone else also high on the foodchain to further increase their wealth. Whereas if the money had instead gone to the 20 people a much higher portion of it would have entered the economy through smaller and likely local businesses, it would still eventually work it's way to the top with the current trends of wealth accumulation, but it would have done more to bolster the economy in the long run.

Starvation is definitely a mostly solved problem in the USA. But that is only because we spend a lot on welfare programs and charitable food programs, it isn't a result of capitalism meeting basic survival needs. In fact a number of companies rely on those welfare programs in order to supply a very cheap work force.

I'm not advocating for the USA to go to a 100% socialist economy, or even 50%. But I think there are definitely some areas where it is a very good fit and others where it is not, just like capitalism. I just wish we would spend more energy figuring out which solution is best for any given situation and get it implemented then waste energy and time debating the merits of different economic models as absolutes that will never actually be matched in reality.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

TheSync (5291) | about 2 months ago | (#47409191)

Capitalism can achieve all of those things but it does lead to monopolies. There is plenty of historical examples including our own robber baron periods here in the USA

Unfortunately the "robber baron" concept is a myth.

Take Standard Oil for example. It had 4% of the market in 1870. Its output and market share grew as its superior efficiency dramatically lowered its refining costs (by 1897, they were less than one-tenth of their level in 1869), and it passed on the efficiency savings in sharply reduced prices for refined oil (which fell from over 30 cents per gallon in 1869, to 10 cents in 1874, to 8 cents in 1885, and to 5.9 cents in 1897). Although Standard Oil's efficiencies did allow it to dominate the oil industry (85% market share), it never achieved a total monopoly (in 1911, the year of the Supreme Court decision against it, Standard Oil had roughly 150 competitors, including Texaco and Gulf).

One of Rockefeller's harshest critics was journalist Ida Tarbell, whose brother was the treasurer of the Pure Oil Company, which could not compete with Standard Oil's low prices. She published a series of hypercritical articles in McClure's magazine in 1902 and 1903, which were turned into a book entitled The History of the Standard Oil Company, a classic of antibusiness propaganda.

Or take the Union Pacific (UP) and the Central Pacific (CP) railroads. These were not created by capitalist processes, but were state socialist creations by The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. For each mile of track built Congress gave these companies a section of land - most of which would be sold - as well as a sizable loan: $16,000 per mile for track built on flat prairie land; $32,000 for hilly terrain; and $48,000 in the mountains. Compare with the privately built Great Northern transcontinental railroad.

Or take Cornelius Vanderbilt, who invented ways to make travel and shipping cheaper. He used bigger ships, faster ships, served food onboard. He cut the New York-Hartford fare from $8 to $1.

if you hadn't noticed there has been a jobs problem of late, capitalism isn't exactly a panacea.

Nothing in the world is perfect (including government), however you may want to compare the US unemployment rate of 6.1% with the French unemployment rate of 10.1% or the Spanish unemployment rate of 26% (France and Spain are ranked only "Moderately Free" by the Index of Economic Freedom [heritage.org] ).

And capitalism frequesntly just leads to fewer jobs because it is more profitable to do more with less workers involved.

Where is your data on this? The number of employed people in the US has always tended upwards [stlouisfed.org] with only a blip during the most recent financial crisis.

Of course you are correct that US employee productivity per hour [stlouisfed.org] rises all the time due to investment in productive capital.

There are only three countries in the world with higher productivity per employee hour than the US. One is Norway, which gets 20% of GDP from oil, and none of those countries have more than 3 million workers. Ireland is one, and it is currently rated "Mostly Free" by the Index of Economic Freedom, as is Luxembourg.

one person with $1,000,000 doesn't spend as much money in the same way that 20 people with $50,000 each would.

One person with $1 million would invest that money into capital, producing new jobs and technology. That capital would be spent on business goods, salaries, etc. All of my savings are in stocks, for example. The "paradox of thrift" is also a myth.

For example, Manufacturers' New Orders: Nondefense Capital Goods Excluding Aircraft [stlouisfed.org] which was $70 billion dollars last month.

In fact a number of companies rely on those welfare programs in order to supply a very cheap work force.

I believe you have things backwards. Wages tend to be set by the competitive market for employees, not by availability of welfare programs. If those welfare programs went away, it is unlikely those workers would be paid more by their employees. Now some of the workers, more highly impoverished, may become more incentivized to find ways to accumulate human capital to improve their incomes (or to finish school, etc.) or perhaps to engage in entrepreneurism (I know plenty of recent immigrants without a high school education and without access to welfare programs who make enough to survive doing gardening, building, babysitting, and other odd jobs). Moreover if welfare programs were reduced to those not currently working, they may be incentivized to re-enter the labor force.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | about 2 months ago | (#47410589)

I do not contend that companies who have an effective monopoly can not do good things or produce inovation. However an effective monopoly is still not worth the risk because it is ripe for abuse We don't even have to get to monopoly levels to see private industry engaging in politics to limit and hamper new entrants to the market.

Unemployment is a sketchy measure, or at least the numbers we get from the BLS is anyway. That said the current unemployment is pretty middle of the road, in the last 40 years it has been worse and it has been better. I didn't intend that as a blanket statement and certainly not in absolute terms. I was trying to say that when a factory lets 500 menial laborers go and replaces them with robots and 50 people. The 500 that were let go aren't necessarily going to have any job opportunities. Some of them might get hired back as part of the 50, but it isn't likely and the other 450 aren't just going to fall into a new job because we aren't creating new jobs for that kind of work. Those people are actually likely to end up working some other job that is even worse for worse pay. You can visit just about any part of the rust belt to see the results of industry moving on technologically and geographically.

I don't know that there is a coined name for it but the idea that you are creating jobs by investing in the stock market is a joke. The only time your investment in the stock market is going to a company seeking funding to do anything like create jobs, is when you buy stock directly from the company. Most stock you purchase is being bought from some other investor that bought it hoping to sell it for a profit. And guess what they will do once you give them the money, they'll just buy some more from someone else. That money is not creating jobs except in the rare case that someone pulls out their cash and starts up some new venture that actually employs people or you buy stock from a company that is raising cash for expansion, and even in that case there is a good chance they are just going to buy robots to replace their menial workers.

Walmart and other companies that rely on unskilled labor are not competing for workers by any stretch of the imagination. I've never known someone who worked there and got a solid 40 hours a week and got raises consistently because they'd be too hard to replace. Shit, even the contracting company I worked for a few years back didn't do that and in theory we were a scarce commodity.

Welfare programs are definitely a boon and a curse. And like I said before capitalism has it's good and bad just like every other system out there, it is simply a matter of figuring out how to use it best.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

TheSync (5291) | about 2 months ago | (#47413207)

We don't even have to get to monopoly levels to see private industry engaging in politics to limit and hamper new entrants to the market.

You are correct about that. Government should have as little power as possible to regulate trade so that private industry can not use government power to hamper new entrants into the market.

The only time your investment in the stock market is going to a company seeking funding to do anything like create jobs, is when you buy stock directly from the company.

And people only buy stock directly from a company because...they believe they will profit from selling it to someone else later. The secondary market drives the primary one.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

bigpat (158134) | about 2 months ago | (#47409379)

There is nothing natural about a free market capitalist society allowing itself to be transformed from a society with more equitable distribution of capital into a society where very few people control most of the wealth and people are not really free to exchange goods, services and capital.

This is happening as the result of government regulations and because of public policies and not simply some sort of passive "deregulation" where the government steps back and does nothing. The government isn't deregulating. We have as much regulation as ever, it is just violently skewed towards protecting the vast and unbridled wealth of the rich while not diligently making sure that those without wealth have a level playing field in a free market.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407125)

Oh bullshit.

There are more people starving, per capita, in Venezuela where your perfect socialist utopia reigns supreme.

But that's ok because the socialists "care". Right?

Or is that because poor little old Venezuela (which sits on one of the worlds largest oil reserves and has massive resources and wealth... y'know... CAPITAL) is being held back by teh evil capitalists.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

blue9steel (2758287) | about 2 months ago | (#47407345)

In reality, an economic system is ideal when it most fairly distributes resources those who need them.

Sorry, I have to disagree with you there. In any system with limited resources they should be allocated to those that produce the greatest net benefit to the society in question. Allocation based solely on need is a road to starvation and poverty.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407727)

Everyone has capital.
You don't seem to understand that.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408129)

Capitalism is a system designed to reward capitalists. Capitalists are those who have capital. Capital is money/resources/etc.

Capitalism rewards risk-takers and investors, that's exactly where all modern inventions come from during peace time.

It has everything to do with technology advance and the development of human world.

It has nothing to do with maintaining a work force.

Stone-age farming society maintain a work force quite well, except I have no god-damned idea why those cavemen bothered to live at all. We're humans not fucking ants.

Capitalism, in theory, uses greed of capitalists to produce the most efficient systems of production possible. More efficient production creates the most supply with the lowest prices.

In reality, Capitalism produces monopolies. Monopoly is the natural end state of Capitalism. The big fish eat all the smaller fish, until there's only one big fish left.

Right, and the only way to counter this is to constantly create new products and new demands, thus allow new companies to break away from existing competition and monopolies.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 2 months ago | (#47408551)

Apple doesn't need the money at all, while the poor starve to death. That makes Apple and other companies like Apple the most despicable group of people on Earth. It isn't just Tim Cook or Jeff Bezos or Larry Page. Companies are made by people and every single person working at Apple is contributing to the problem.

Google is bigger than Apple now, so you can throw your hate that way. Or are you just another irrational Apple hater? Rhetorical.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405189)

In ideal communism (which has never existed afaik) the proceeds from increased efficiency would be redistributed to the people. The more efficient the production becomes, the more everyone prospers (either though higher tax revenue for exported products, or lower costs for domestic products)

Re:more leisure time for humans! (5, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 months ago | (#47405953)

Wow, quite a distortion you came up with there. Granted, Marx did say some interesting things but the question should be why communism would allow companies to build machines that remove income from humans? For that matter, why is a "capitalist Republic" allowing it now?

Because a system, once build, is more than just a sum of its parts. It has independent existence and motives. What that means is that neither communism, nor capitalism, nor USA nor China, are under human control, so why would they serve human interests, except incidentally? Yes, these systems have human actors making decisions, but these humans can only make decisions within parameters given by the system itself - a Foxconn CEO must do whatever it takes to keep Foxconn "competitive", and if he won't, he'll be replaced by someone who will, and likely severely punished. An American politician must accept a system-approved role - a set of political positions - if he wants to be elected. A dictator, while seemingly free, faces the same situation, except the punishment for disobedience is death rather than merely dropping out. Human beings, even those seemingly in control, are little more than agent-slaves of the Lovecraftian monstrosity they've conjured.

No one wanted World War I, yet it still happened. Neither the Soviets nor the Americans wanted the world to end, yet they came within hair's width of blowing it all up during the Cuban crisis. Chinese don't want to breath a poisonous fume, yet Peking's air is just that. People regularly refer to "the market" like it was a living thing that needs to be appeased and soothed and definitely not something anyone can control - because, in some ways, it is.

Human beings aren't in control of their own nor the destiny of the world, and haven't been since civilization began. I suspect this is the real reason religions keep popping up: beneath the bizarre cruft all traditions tend to accumulate, they present a perfectly accurate picture of the everyday experience of living in a world ruled by utterly inhuman and mostly invisible forces. For example, "Free Market" is, for all intents and purposes, the god of capitalism, gets treated that way by everyone, has sacrifices performed to it, has temples and priests trying to predict its capricious whims, is the object of fundamentalist faith - I've had people define a human's very right to live in terms of body ownership - and doctrinal conflicts, etc. Someone who wasn't indoctrinated to the system from birth could hardly avoid classifying this all as a typical religion.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 months ago | (#47406421)

"For example, "Free Market" is, for all intents and purposes, the god of capitalism, gets treated that way by everyone, has sacrifices performed to it, has temples and priests trying to predict its capricious whims, is the object of fundamentalist faith - I've had people define a human's very right to live in terms of body ownership - and doctrinal conflicts, etc. Someone who wasn't indoctrinated to the system from birth could hardly avoid classifying this all as a typical religion."

Sounds awfully like feminism or progressivism to me. Ideologies are generally counterproductive my friend, except Buddhism, and that only because its first and last instructions are to reject ideologies, including this one.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (2)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 months ago | (#47407183)

Sounds awfully like feminism or progressivism to me.

They can become religions, certainly. Progressivism has a built-in sense of destiny - a divine plan - and feminism began as a demand for more just world and developed a weird cult-like fringe later.

Ideologies are generally counterproductive my friend, except Buddhism, and that only because its first and last instructions are to reject ideologies, including this one.

Go ahead and reject ideologies, then. Now how will you get food? You can't just buy it, after all, without interacting with the local economic system in ways acceptable to that system - and if you do, you're not rejecting its values in any meaningful way.

This is what I meant when I said people aren't really in control of their destiny: believe what you will, but you'll still obey the overlords or die.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47417851)

I normally don't comment, but this is an amazingly well written analogy. Thanks for writing it!

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

r.freeman (2944629) | about 2 months ago | (#47406149)

What?
Chine is one of most capitalistic country in the world, they "communism" applies to worldview/personal freedoms (but also USA is fascist, so both suck), and to state-sponsored projects (but, USA does it too of course).
China is much more free market then USA (but not a perfectly free market, because it as all existing powerful city-states does run state central sponsored grand projects).

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407867)

"Both Capitalism and Communism are supposed to be about maintaining the work force, s"
no.

Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1, Insightful)

dfenstrate (202098) | about 2 months ago | (#47404781)

Unfortunately, communism has earned a fatally bad reputation after being misused by so many dictators during the 20th century.

The murder part of communism is a necessary component to deal with people who don't want to play along. That's why it happens all the time. If you don't want to play by the rules of a society that has anything resembling a market economy, the outcome is well known: Your standard of living slides down to the lowest your fellow citizens will tolerate seeing.

If you don't want to play by the rules of a society with a Marxist economy, well, abject poverty is always an option there, too. A rather common one. But if you want to work for yourself, and keep a significant portion of the fruits of your labor? Well, sorry, that's where the murder comes in. Against the fundamental rules of the society, you see.

If you disagree, kindly tell me what you do with people in your ideal communist society who want to put in above-average effort, and reap the extra rewards. Besides murdering them. The communist societies that exist within larger market economies can eject slackers, and the motivated can simply leave. The societies that are entirely communist need other options. Exiling the motivated will simply rapidly impoverish those that remain.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47404867)

If you disagree, kindly tell me what you do with people in your ideal communist society who want to put in above-average effort, and reap the extra rewards.

How are those *fundamentally* different from the people in my current society who want to take more than their allocated reward? Pretty sure we don't MURDER them.

Exiling the motivated will simply rapidly impoverish those that remain.

Calling them "the motivated" is a fallacy out of the gate. It has naught to do with motivation, and everything to do with them being criminals by the standards of the society.

I know plenty of people who are motivated to produce art, music, entertainment, and science for little to no unreasonable 'extra' reward beyond what they could otherwise earn for less effort. They do it because they enjoy these pursuits. You seem to discount them existing and suggest that the only reason anyone is motivated is so that they can "reap all fruits" for themselves. This is not the sole source of motivation, and it is arguably not the best source either.

Take a small commune of farmers, one farmer smarter than the others, discovers a technique to improve production -- shares it with the others, and they all benefit from increased leisure time. Why do you argue he would be NECESSARILY not motivated to do this? Because he doesn't gain an edge over his peers? That's absurd.

Communisum has a lot of real problems but having to "murder" people who are "motivated" is not one of them.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404947)

The small farmer gains a great deal from his new technique and loses something by sharing that technique. The net result is a gain for himself and for society as a whole. I expect many such people understanding this would be motivated to keep the gain and avoid the loss by not revealing the technique. This is not a NECESSARY consequence but it is quite likely in my opinion.

If you'll not take GP's "the motivated" out of context and notice that he was actually talking about the people of above average productivity that recognise that they are net producers for society and wish to keep these extra rewards for themselves (not all over-productive people will do so as some will truly believe in Communism, but some will still be capitalist at heart). These "criminals" will have to be dealt with if Communism is to function. Imprisonment for those who refuse to pay their taxes seems like the natural outcome so I'll disagree with GP there.

Either way, you will still have increasing poverty. You can't expect all of society to run at the same level as art, music, entertainment, and science; these pursuits will be popular and we currently enjoy very cheap dupilcation/distribution of the fruits of such effort due to the internet. Most of the things that people want others to do (you know, normal jobs) are not the sort of work that people would want to do for no extra reward (consider they get their living allowance whether they work or not and working does not change the amount). Past communist societies have had to resort to the threat of violence to keep people working (creating a disincentive to not work). With no rewards for working and no violence for not working, the work done is going to quickly fall very far from the work that people want done. This leads to increased poverty and, for many of the countries in the world today, I expect a great deal of famine.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405707)

If you earn more, you should pay more in taxes. And yes, you are morally obligated to pay your taxes as someone who benefits from living in a society...

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 months ago | (#47405197)

This is exactly the mentality that escalates to murdering those who work harder than others in order to reap larger rewards. You call everyone who fits that bill "criminals."

Remove money from the equation and it becomes pretty simple. I work twice as long in number of hours tilling fields and planting crops. As a result, I produce twice as
much as anyone else. According to you, I'm a criminal for having twice the income.

Money masks the root issues, and is used as a convenient excuse to accuse people of greed. Yes, there are greedy people, and I am entirely supportive of taxing and regulating production of capital simply by manipulation of other capital. The systems that allow it rely entirely on State support, and as a result should not enjoy any of the rights of natural persons (collectives which operate without State support excepted). However, not all motivated people are extracting wealth from others. Plenty of value can be created by trading for materials and adding value. A carpenter who works twice as many hours should not have the excess taken from him simply because the average carpenter works half as long. Substitute any field you like, and the same tends to be true.

If you try to make income "fair" with communism, you do, in fact, have to disincentivize working more than the average. Since the only way communism actually works given human nature, it necessarily requires ruthless dictators to enact.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405283)

Working twice as long and earning twice as much is fine, but right now we have people who work 1/10th as much, and earn 10 times more (CEOs, lawyers, stock investors, bankers, politicians, etc)

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 months ago | (#47406571)

Presumably, they are producing something with 10x the value. I could sit at home all day making rainbow loom bracelets, and I'm still producing something, but what I'm producing is worth very little. The output of your work is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. Does an Engineer who designs a bridge which is depended on to transport hundreds of thousands (or millions) of people over its lifetime safely deserve the same amount of money as someone who's job it is to answer tech support calls, and who can't even solve your problems because they are just reading from a script and don't actually have any skills?

You could argue that being a CEO is easy, and it probably looks that way from the outside, but it's not something most people would do without proper compensation. You never really get any time off. Your every action is under public scrutiny. Lawyers also have a difficult job. If you're a defense attorney, making a mistake could mean an innocent person goes to jail.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 months ago | (#47407213)

Presumably, they are producing something with 10x the value.

The key word is right there: Presumably. Are they? As far as I can tell, most CEOs can be replaced by chipmunks for at least 6 months at a time, and absolutely nothing happens. What's more, I can think of quite a few high-profile cases where a chipmunk would have produced better results (hello, Carly). The only thing I know for sure is that the bigger the pyramid atop which the CEO sits, or the bigger the flow of money that runs across his (or, in much fewer cases, her) desk, the bigger the pay check. I see little correlation with actual productivity.

Does an Engineer who designs a bridge which is depended on to transport hundreds of thousands (or millions) of people over its lifetime safely deserve the same amount of money as someone who's job it is to answer tech support calls, and who can't even solve your problems because they are just reading from a script and don't actually have any skills?

Since you're so wonderfully loading the question, I'm going to rephrase it a little bit. Does a civil engineer deserve less money than a marketing director whose sole job is to pump out pretty graphics to tell others what to buy and his bosses what that money went to? Because civil engineers, especially those starting out, make diddly squat.

You could argue that being a CEO is easy, and it probably looks that way from the outside, but it's not something most people would do without proper compensation. You never really get any time off. Your every action is under public scrutiny.

You haven't met many CEOs, have you? Those that are CEOs or owners of small companies are indeed extremely busy. They also make shit money. Those that make the obscene salaries on the other hand have enough time for mistresses, hobbies and extra-curricular activities - far more so than any working drone underneath them.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 months ago | (#47408237)

Rather or not specific jobs (or specific people who hold specific titles) are getting paid too much or too little is hardly part of the argument. Because communism says everybody should get an equal share regardless of the actual work they are accomplishing or the contributions they make to society. Paying everybody the exact same amount makes even less sense than paying a small percentage of the people too much.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

Magius_AR (198796) | about 2 months ago | (#47411229)

You haven't met many CEOs, have you? Those that are CEOs or owners of small companies are indeed extremely busy. They also make shit money. Those that make the obscene salaries on the other hand have enough time for mistresses, hobbies and extra-curricular activities - far more so than any working drone underneath them.

You do know that most large companies started small, right? And that many of those obscenely paid CEOs went through the "extremely busy/shit money" period? I always saw the "obscene period" as a payout for the years/decades you worked building something successful, because as you said yourself: those years aren't pleasant, or easy. Of course, this doesn't account for the CEOs that fail and just bounce from company to company in high positions, but I believe that's a different problem.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 months ago | (#47497931)

Even those CEOs that fail though, got to where they are by not failing. Pretty much every single one went through that shit phase at least once.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 months ago | (#47497921)

Are they? Doesn't matter. There are people who think they are and are willing to pay them commensurately. Ultimately, "worth" of work is subjective, and determined by demand. Do you think it's worth 10x as much? Irrelevant. Your opinion doesn't matter, because you're not paying them.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408065)

Many times these CEOs that "create" value only create it in relation to the business, but not society. They may add $1bil of value to a business, but at the expense of $2bil of value to society. That is a net loss.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47409357)

Assumption. What are the actual numbers? How consistent is this assumption as it plays out in the real world?

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47408345)

This is exactly the mentality that escalates to murdering those who work harder than others in order to reap larger rewards.

No, its really not.

You call everyone who fits that bill "criminals."

Calling them "criminals" was to illustrate a point. That's what any society calls any one who violates the rules of society for any reason -- good or bad, well intentioned or not.

A person who takes excess wealth from the obscenely rich and gives it to those who cannot afford hood. (aka Robin Hood) is very well intentioned ... but he's also indisputably a criminal. While the obscenely wealthy man who watches his neighbors die in the street, while engaging in gluttony, he is a fine upstanding citizen.

Should robin hood be the criminal? Should the glutton be the upstanding citizen? Those are the rules of our current society.

In a communism, yes, the person who works harder(*) and expects to be rewarded beyond his share of the wealth would be a criminal.

First, you reacted as though this was barbaric, unjust, and tantamount to murder. But why? What is the inherent good in taking more than an even share? How is that heroic?

Second, you assert he "worked harder". That is a common presumption in your sort of argument. But did he? Maybe he was just born smarter, and he was able to discover better ways of doing things, without working harder at all. Should he be elevated above all his peers, or should everyone be elevated by his discovery? Which outcome is more heroic?

Or perhaps he doesn't work very hard at all, and still wishes to receive a greater share of the wealth? Is that also heroic?

What if he can trick you into thinking he does something particularly valuable, has he earned a greater share of the wealth?

What if he's nothing special in any regard at all, perhaps even a bit lazier and duller than normal, but his grandparents on his mom's side were quite clever and they ammassed some extra wealth, what is your argument that suggests he entitled a life of luxury?

. A carpenter who works twice as many hours should not have the excess taken from him simply because the average carpenter works half as long.

You've loaded the argument backwards. In a true communism he is not paid directly for his labor in the first place. So the amount he receives in the first place simply doesn't correspond to the hours he worked. There is no excess wealth he gains that is "taken away". In that society he doesn't view working longer as a way of "getting more" stuff, as the two simply aren't connected.

I work twice as long in number of hours tilling fields and planting crops. As a result, I produce twice as
much as anyone else. According to you, I'm a criminal for having twice the income.

In a true communism, that would only be true if you tried to withhold the crops from the commune for some reason. Given the crop yield, like everything else, is communal property, if you work twice as hard and produce twice the crop, the commune as whole is a bit wealthier. Not you.

And you are not a criminal, but likely respected by your peers for contributing so much.

Now you can ask me why, in such a system, you would feel -motivated- to work twice as hard if it just makes the commune as a whole, instead of yourself, slightly wealthier, and that's a perfectly valid question.

You probably wouldn't feel motivated to work twice as hard and spend 20 hours a day in the fields.

Why is that "bad"?

I expect you would be motivated to do something else with that time... create music or art, teach the children to fish or program computers, or perhaps you will experiment with new farming techniques to try and discover a better way of farming so that commune will collectively have to work even less, enabling everyone to spend even more time on non-farming pursuits... or whatever else you find personally fulfilling instead of trying to amass excess wealth.

Are you going to try to convince me that this would be somehow a "worse" system?

Since the only way communism actually works given human nature, it necessarily requires ruthless dictators to enact.

We have yet to see human nature in an environment where there are sufficient resources for everyone without labor.

"Human nature" manifests the way it does in a competition for scarce resources and a society that measures success in terms of the resources you've gathered.

Now suppose the resources aren't especially scarce, and society might well decide to value something else instead.

it necessarily requires ruthless dictators to enact.

Or perhaps it will come naturally in a post scarcity world. Or perhaps we'll come up with something else, and the circumstances in an actual post-scarcity world will lead us to forms of society we just haven't considered yet.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

Magius_AR (198796) | about 2 months ago | (#47411275)

Now you can ask me why, in such a system, you would feel -motivated- to work twice as hard if it just makes the commune as a whole, instead of yourself, slightly wealthier, and that's a perfectly valid question. You probably wouldn't feel motivated to work twice as hard and spend 20 hours a day in the fields. Why is that "bad"? I expect you would be motivated to do something else with that time... create music or art, teach the children to fish or program computers, or perhaps you will experiment with new farming techniques to try and discover a better way of farming so that commune will collectively have to work even less, enabling everyone to spend even more time on non-farming pursuits... or whatever else you find personally fulfilling instead of trying to amass excess wealth. Are you going to try to convince me that this would be somehow a "worse" system?

Now who's loaded the argument. You assume that the majority of people are going to use that free time contributing to society. In reality, that's likely far from true. Most people would spend their time drinking beer, watching tv, or general recreation/laziness activities. Just look at what people do with their free time now. Look at countries with short work weeks. The Dutch average 29 hours a week at work (http://money.cnn.com/gallery/news/economy/2013/07/10/worlds-shortest-work-weeks/). Tell me: are they the pinnacle of innovation? What are they doing with their free time? Now I'm not saying it's not a good thing in general to have a shorter work week, but trying to claim people would automatically use the vacated time for the greater good of society is incredibly disingenuous.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47411347)

You assume that the majority of people are going to use that free time contributing to society.

I assume no such thing. We were only talking about *motivated* people. The one's who wouldn't be satisified by lounging about drinking beer and watching TV.

What are they doing with their free time?

Topping the charts for "happiness" in the world, ranking high as entrepreneurs, opportunity... etc.

trying to claim people would automatically use the vacated time for the greater good of society is incredibly disingenuous.

That's fair, and I didn't mean to say that. As I said, the context of the conversation was "motivated people who work twice as hard as everyone else"... I assume *those* people would find something fulfilling to do, whether its a "contribution" to society or they spend all their time climbing mountains and skydiving is beside the point -- I'm sure they'll be doing something they find interesting.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 months ago | (#47497961)

I didn't presume he worked harder. I stated is a fact. There are people who work harder, even if you can say in every case "but did they?" The question presumes that there is a burden of proof to be met before they get more than an equal share. The world is full of people who work harder than the vast majority. Calling them criminals is just a footstep down the slippery slope to murdering them. You cannot change human nature just because it's "not fair."

You presume many things to be true in order to support your argument. They are not necessarily true, but they are necessarily speculative. The burden of proof is on you, and you haven't come close to meeting it.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405199)

Communism isn't about sharing. It's about 100% subjugation to the bosses in the politburo. The bosses own *everything*. Your property, your body, your labor. Everything. And there is no escape.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (3, Insightful)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405287)

Please stop with the anti-communist propaganda, it's not 1960 anymore.

Real communism doesn't even have a "boss"

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (3, Insightful)

daninaustin (985354) | about 2 months ago | (#47405365)

There is no real communism and there never will be.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (4, Insightful)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405511)

There is no real communism...

True, there is no such thing as real communism yet.

and there never will be.

That's a pretty bold statement, especially considering that the industrial revolution (the thing that originally inspired the invention of communism) hasn't actually ended yet.

It's impossible to increase efficiency indefinitely without causing rampant unemployment at some point. Communism is a solution for a problem that hasn't quite happened yet (but it's silly to think it won't happen eventually).

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406519)

I think this article [ic.org] will hopeful tell you why Communism won't work. Simply put a structure will raise in any group of humans working together. Hopeful, this structure will put good leaders at it's top but human history doesn't make it look promising. Also, there is no need to believe that workers will go away soon or ever. The rich will simply be able to afford more custom things and personal service if they fail to take advantage the economy will weaken since they won't be able to sell enough to other rich people to stay wealthy. Am also not saying that free food won't be available in ever city in the world just that it won't be some sort of true communist leaderless system that will do it. Ether that or a new dark ages will come about the will wipe away the knowledge that created this problem in the first place.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

GuB-42 (2483988) | about 2 months ago | (#47409247)

Even if technology can give us everything we need with no actual human work (i.e. infinite efficency), we are still social animals.
It means that people will gladly pay just so they can interact with actual human beings.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47411957)

Communism works in theory. One thing most people forget about: people. It doesn't work with people, as we've seen many times. Without people (I.e. human nature) it looks good. Unless you can magically make all resource problems go away like in Star Trek forget about it. Sorry your 3D printer is not a replicator. It can't make me an infinite number of Earl grey. Hot. And even in Star Trek there will still be conflicts over other "resources". Women. Power (just coz some people like having that). They don't show it in the show but I'm sure there are lots of political fights for power in starfleet command for example.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405411)

Where can I find this real communism? Every real society appears to have practiced something else.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405547)

You can't find it anywhere (other than in a book), because it requires mechanization beyond what is currently possible.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 2 months ago | (#47408169)

What level of mechanization makes it possible?

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47408531)

What level of mechanization makes it possible?

Essentially: post-scarcity of labor as a mechanized resource.

Humans won't be required to perform labor to produce food, shelter, and menial maintenance tasks.

In such a hypothetical society it makes sense for the society to collectively own that mechanized army of labor.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 2 months ago | (#47408885)

Someone close to me worked in an economically depressed neighborhood. While food and shelter were provided to the poorest families, basic parenting was still needed. Abuse and neglect were so bad that many children end up emotionally harmed and needing constant supervision and psychological & psychiatric care. The bad parents continue to have children, and continue neglect/abuse. How would mechanization solve for this?

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47409039)

I don't follow why you even think I'm arguing that mechanization could or would directly solve this problem?

Why are the children abused and neglected? Seems like there is a cycle in place -- were the parents have unmet problems -- those would need to be identified and resolved to break out of the cycle.

Clearly the fact that the neighborhood is "depressed economically" is a factor -- but the choice of economic system or degree of mechanization isn't going to automatically provide parenting, education, or hope.

Mechanization may alleviate some of the economic factors, but I don't expect it is a solution by itself.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 2 months ago | (#47409463)

I don't follow why you even think I'm arguing that mechanization could or would directly solve this problem?

Because as I see it, we're already capable of meeting much of the subsistence material needs, and the more important needs are the needs for fixing social problems (and I'm not necessarily advocating more social workers, just saying there are problems that mechanization can't fix).

Mechanization may alleviate some of the economic factors, but I don't expect it is a solution by itself.

Fair enough - I was reading something into what you were saying which wasn't there, apparently. But some don't make a sufficient distinction between post-labor scarcity and human misery.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47409109)

The bad parents continue to have children, and continue neglect/abuse. How would mechanization solve for this?

Solve what, the kids, or the adults who can't keep their pants on?

For the kids, you can have robot nannies and teachers and guardians

For the adults... sexbots.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 months ago | (#47406365)

The problem with your viewpoint is that most people correctly identify communism with other mass murdering ideologies like nazism, so you are to right thinking folk no different to a nazi. It's not 1960 anymore and you won't be gulling idiots into yet another round of slaughter.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407941)

You have no clue what Communism is.
It isn't Leninism.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

TwoEyedJack (3712517) | about 2 months ago | (#47410433)

Hayek wrote a book about people like you. The Fatal Conceit.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 2 months ago | (#47412635)

Brilliant, and apropos to GPs sig. Thank you for making my evening!

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

c (8461) | about 2 months ago | (#47406439)

Real communism doesn't even have a "boss"

Theoretical communism doesn't have a "boss".

Real communism, as practiced by real people, has an entire class of people who are "the boss".

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407947)

"Theoretical communism doesn't have a "boss"."
false.
Of course it has a boss, just not in the watch tapping, cigar chomping miser of a boss.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

c (8461) | about 2 months ago | (#47408837)

Of course it has a boss

Um... no. Pure communism is incompatible with the entire concept of "boss", unless you're using "boss" as some kind of shorthand for "what society needs".

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405379)

ideal communist society who want to put in above-average effort

From each according to their ability...

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 2 months ago | (#47405891)

Communisum has a lot of real problems but having to "murder" people who are "motivated" is not one of them.

Er, except that's what communism has actually done, you see. In country after country.

That's the problem with your analysis.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407981)

Nope. That's what totalitarianism governments do. That is not needed for communism.

Communism is the flag totalitarian government waved to create an us/them fear.

You can have a free market AND communism. THAT'S the potential with replacing factory worker, and managers with robots.

So you can still create something and sell t, or preform publicly and so on.

The robotic Apocalypse* will be economical, and it started at the end of the 90s.

*literal sense not movie sense.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

gfxguy (98788) | about 2 months ago | (#47408191)

The problem with your assessment is that everyone wants to do music, art, entertainment, science, research and experimentation... nobody wants to clean the bathrooms, haul trash, unclog the shit in the sewers... we need all those people, too. What's their "motivation?" Let's face it, MOST jobs are shit. People might find it rewarding to create new serums, materials, hardware or software, music and entertainment... who finds it rewarding to flip burgers?

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47408481)

The problem with your assessment is that...

Is nothing. I concluded my post with the observation that there are lots of genuine problems with communism. This is one of them. You've provided an example, good job.

The hypothetical solution to this problem is mechanized labor of sufficient sophistication that it can perform these jobs. The availability of this automated labor, in sufficient quantities such that humans do not HAVE to clean sewers or haul trash etc. A post-scarcity society.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47416959)

Why should I as a smart person be obligated or interested in sharing his benefits with tards?

I'm your problem. Either you accept that I will not play in your system, or you try to kill me.

If you plan to kill me for keeping what is mine, I have no moral incentive not to pre-emptively kill as many of you as possible.

Your moralizing bullshit means nothing to me. I will kill you.

That's your problem, commutwat.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

strikethree (811449) | about 2 months ago | (#47417157)

If you disagree, kindly tell me what you do with people in your ideal communist society who want to put in above-average effort, and reap the extra rewards.

How are those *fundamentally* different from the people in my current society who want to take more than their allocated reward? Pretty sure we don't MURDER them.

Exiling the motivated will simply rapidly impoverish those that remain.

Calling them "the motivated" is a fallacy out of the gate. It has naught to do with motivation, and everything to do with them being criminals by the standards of the society.

I sincerely hope that you two are talking about two totally different kinds of people.

I know someone who is very motivated. He earns over $200k a year. That is far above average. Many different people COULD do what he does, but they do not. He does it. He does it better.

Now explain to me why he should be rewarded the same as someone who does not do what he does. Explain to me why he would keep doing what he does if can not reap the rewards of his hard work.

I really really really am hoping that you are talking about those people who inherited their money and use their position of power to reap more power rather than talking about my friend who is actually working... because if you are talking about both types of people when you say they are criminals, then you are SERIOUSLY fucked in the head.

Honestly, I am expecting that you just have no idea what you are talking about and are just wanting to "stick it to the man". +4 insightful my ass. You have no idea about the real world.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47417943)

Now explain to me why he should be rewarded the same as someone who does not do what he does

Firstly, you cherry picked your friend out of the teeming masses of people who work hard and said "hey this guys doing really great and he works really hard, why doesn't he deserve it!?" Of course he deserves it. I'm not saying he doesn't.

Now go back to that teeming mass of humanity and look at all the people who work just as hard and are living in a one bedroom apartment trying to make ends meet. Do they not also deserve better? Why does your friend deserve 200k per year and they don't?

Trust me, your friend isn't more motivated. He just got lucky. That's not to say the choices he made were not a factor, or the fact that he works hard is not a factor. They absolutely shifted the odds in his favor and he deserves recognition for the effort... but he could just have easily been unsuccessful in spite of his "hard work". Lots of people are.

For just one example of thousands, your friend could have randomly contracted cancer at a young age and it would have completely changed the direction of his life. Lets assume he's still be the same motivated hard working guy today... the years in treatment would have taken their toll, lost opportunities... time away from work and school for treatment, etc...would he have ended up precisely where he is today if he'd had a 7 year struggle with cancer in his early 20s? Its doubtful.

Secondly, the way you've phrased the question, it seems that its not merely sufficient that your friend be satisfied with the quality of his life for its own sake, but that its especially important that he get MORE than most other people? Can you explain to me why you feel its so important that everyone else not have the things your friend has? Would your friends enjoyment of his life be diminished if more other people were rewarded the same as him?

Does your friend really value getting more than you that highly? Is that really the only reason he's motivated to do what he does? Just to have more than the people around him? Is that really a positive personality trait? A virtue? Something humanity should put on a pedestal and say "be like that"?

Why?

I really really really am hoping that you are talking about those people who inherited their money and use their position of power to reap more power rather than talking about my friend who is actually working

You raise an issue here unintentionally -- that only further illustrates the level of blind luck success really is.

Not only do you have bright motivated hard working people who are not successful, we have wealthy people who have done nothing at all.

And this is the system you favor? Because sometimes, if you are lucky (or at least not unlucky), working hard pays off, but probably far less than many of your wealthy peers simply inherited? And if you get unlucky... well... sucks to be you. That's your idea of a good system?

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

strikethree (811449) | about 2 months ago | (#47419123)

Firstly, you cherry picked your friend out of the teeming masses of people who work hard and said "hey this guys doing really great and he works really hard, why doesn't he deserve it!?" Of course he deserves it. I'm not saying he doesn't.

Cherry picked? Hm. I have several other friends who have quite a few resources gathered. The one I picked was my closest friend. But cherry picked or not is irrelevant. He (a mere plumber BTW, which is why I said most people could have done what he does) is a valid example of gathering more resources based on hard work.

Now go back to that teeming mass of humanity and look at all the people who work just as hard and are living in a one bedroom apartment trying to make ends meet. Do they not also deserve better? Why does your friend deserve 200k per year and they don't?

Because hard work is not all of it. Yes, luck plays a role. I have had my share of hard luck and it sucks. Badly. Being ethical. Being trustworthy. Not being greedy. All of these are traits that have helped him to near the top of heap that he participates in. Does everyone who works hard deserve better? That is a hard question to answer. Does the assembly line worker deserve more despite how hard they might work? We are getting into the discussion of what a basic income should be if that is what you are asking. Does one assembly line worker deserve more than another assembly line worker if one works harder than the other? You bet. I have been there and done that. I definitely deserved more... and, I got more.

For just one example of thousands, your friend could have randomly contracted cancer at a young age and it would have completely changed the direction of his life. Lets assume he's still be the same motivated hard working guy today... the years in treatment would have taken their toll, lost opportunities... time away from work and school for treatment, etc...would he have ended up precisely where he is today if he'd had a 7 year struggle with cancer in his early 20s? Its doubtful.

Doubtful? Not at all. Impossible... with the caveat that in seven more years he might be where is today. Or maybe, he would have went into a different line of business. Reality is hard to predict. Furthermore, this whole line of discussion is utterly pointless. "What if" does not count in reality. The world is the way it is. We can seek to change it, but will our efforts change it in the ways that we desire? Life is full of "bad luck" but it is also full of bad decisions. We can try to minimize the negative impacts of bad luck but if we try to make everything fair despite the bad luck, have we really made everything fair? No. Reality is the final arbiter and it has no space for concepts such as fair.

Secondly, the way you've phrased the question, it seems that its not merely sufficient that your friend be satisfied with the quality of his life for its own sake, but that its especially important that he get MORE than most other people?

I think you are beginning to project your own biases here but I will respond nevertheless because I am curious: Are you saying that the only reason he works hard is so that he can keep other people poor? Are you saying the he wants to keep other people in poverty so he can enjoy his resources more? Honestly, I am unsure what you are implying but it seems that you are aiming for a VERY dark area.

Can you explain to me why you feel its so important that everyone else not have the things your friend has?

And you step deeply into it. It is not important that everyone else not have what he has. Reality says that there are limited resources. There is only so much food, only so much energy, only so much oxygen. I am perfectly fine with people carving resources out for themselves. I am not okay with people taking resources from the people who are gathering those resources because those people feel that they deserve something just for being alive. The only thing you "deserve" for being alive is another moment in which to try and stay alive. If you fail, you die. If you succeed, you live. If you succeed greatly, you achieve a greater security for the next moment.

Now, are you asking whether or not someone who is not out gathering resources at such a rate should not have the same amount of resources my friend has? Well duh. Where are those resources going to come from except from each individual going out and gathering them? To steal a line from a Steely Dan song, In the land of milk and honey, you still have to put them on the table.

So why is it important that not everyone else has what my friend has? Because they did not fucking go and get it. Simple. What are you going to do? Rob my friend to get what he gathered? Go fuck yourself. It is not that much harder to just harvest your own resources. Go do it.

Would your friends enjoyment of his life be diminished if more other people were rewarded the same as him?

Where will the resources come from to give them as much as him? If they come from him, yes, his enjoyment would be diminished.

Does your friend really value getting more than you that highly?

He is my friend. He is happy with my successes regardless of how they measure to his.

Is that really the only reason he's motivated to do what he does? Just to have more than the people around him?

Your biases are showing again. He is motivated to do what he does because more resources grant him more security and more interesting situations.

Is that really a positive personality trait? A virtue? Something humanity should put on a pedestal and say "be like that"?

Is demanding that others be inappropriately rewarded a positive personality trait? No. Heh, when I said that in my mind, I meant that poor people should not be kept poor but it also means poor people who do not gather resources should not be given resources. I love a statement that is true both forwards and backwards.

Why?

You are too far off the deep end to respond to this question. It is essentially meaningless at this point since what you are asking why about is some weird thing deep in your own mind. Come back to reality and we can talk. Yes, there are people who are keeping people poor so that they can more thoroughly enjoy their ill-gotten gains. No, my friend is not one of them. That was kind of the point of this whole discussion though since you generic words lead to taking from my friend (and me too since I am more successful than average despite my incredibly poor luck) when he has earned everything that he has based on your hatred of the aforementioned person who structures society to keep as many people poor as possible.

I can guarantee you that if you and your friends come to take what me and my friends have created, we will kill you. Thieves are weak. Builders are strong. You have no chance.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47420379)

Are you saying that the only reason he works hard is so that he can keep other people poor?

Not at all, that is not an inference that was intended at all.

It is not important that everyone else not have what he has.

But yet it IS important that he get more than an average person? Your original response made it abundantly clear that he should get more than his peers. Regardless of how much everyone else has, your friend should get MORE?

"MORE" is a relative term; that only has meaning when compared to someone else. You didn't argue that your friend should be able to work hard to get the things that he wants -- you argued your friend should be able to work hard to get MORE than other people.

He is motivated to do what he does because more resources grant him more security and more interesting situations.

EXACTLY. This is what I expected.

I asked those leading questions to illustrate what you suggested with your argument, where you implied he need to get MORE. I expanded that to its inevitable conclusion. But he doesn't really need or want MORE at all does he?

So he would not care whether or not everyone had an equal share of wealth, provided he can get what he wants for himself: sufficient security, and the ability to pursue the opportunities that interest him, and so forth. That would satisfy him.

So it seems he'd be perfectly happy if the average were sufficiently higher, such that he was secure and was able to pursue those interesting situations.

Is demanding that others be inappropriately rewarded a positive personality trait? No.

Define "inappropriately rewarded". Because without context you just wrote that sharing and charity are both negative personality traits.

Reality says that there are limited resources.

Finite yes. But is there less then enough? What if there was enough.

There is only so much food

What if mechanization produced more than we all could eat?

only so much energy

What if we advanced and harnessed enough via fusion or solar or whatever to provide all we need, not just what I need, but enough for everyone to have enough?

only so much oxygen

That's a good example, of something that there currently IS enough of. Nobody has to pay for it. Do you think people who work harder should get more? Do you think layabouts should get less? Do you really have any objection to there being enough clean oxygen for everyone to breath as much they like?

I am perfectly fine with people carving resources out for themselves. I am not okay with people taking resources from the people who are gathering those resources because those people feel that they deserve something just for being alive.

Do you go around carving oxygen out for yourself? Imagine food and energy were available like that. Would you begrudge other people food and energy if you had all you wanted?

I can guarantee you that if you and your friends come to take what me and my friends have created, we will kill you. Thieves are weak. Builders are strong. You have no chance.

Wow, that was a left turn into nutjob absurdity just there at the end. Lets just pretend you didn't go there.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

strikethree (811449) | about 2 months ago | (#47421205)

Define "inappropriately rewarded". Because without context you just wrote that sharing and charity are both negative personality traits.

Forced charity is not charity.

Finite yes. But is there less then enough? What if there was enough.

It depends on your definition of enough. There is enough food in the world right now to feed everyone. Does that mean everyone should eat? No. Some should die. It sucks, but there you have it. While that food is edible, it has value. That value belongs to someone. Taking that value from someone and giving it to someone else is wrong. On a personal level, I would give some of it away, but, I would have to limit the amounts that I gave away because then it would cut into the value of what I have already harvested. Remember, I harvest for ME. If you expect me to harvest for you, you are sadly mistaken. If you can force me to harvest for you, you can expect the crappiest possible work while still maintaining the image that I am harvesting.

Insult me at this point if you want, but you can clearly see it in human behavior all around you. It is why service is so crappy EVERYWHERE. Even the prostitutes barely provide any customer service and their whole business revolves around good customer service.

That's a good example, of something that there currently IS enough of. Nobody has to pay for it. Do you think people who work harder should get more? Do you think layabouts should get less? Do you really have any objection to there being enough clean oxygen for everyone to breath as much they like?

Soon (geologically speaking), there will NOT be enough clean air full of oxygen to breathe, at that point, it becomes a scarce resource.

Do you go around carving oxygen out for yourself? Imagine food and energy were available like that. Would you begrudge other people food and energy if you had all you wanted?

I do not begrudge anyone anything they have earned for themselves. Johnny Depp has made more money in the past few years than I will in several lifetimes. He looks better than me. He is more talented than me. He was in the right place at the right time. To you, he is a criminal. To me, he is just fortunate on numerous accounts. I am happy for him.

Do you go around carving oxygen out for yourself? Imagine food and energy were available like that. Would you begrudge other people food and energy if you had all you wanted?

If you can make food and energy available like that, more power to you. Somehow or another, I expect that you want to make food and energy available like that by taking from others instead of coming up with a system that will make it available yourself.

Which is why I took the left turn at the end of my last reply. Long story short, even if food, shelter, and clothing were freely available due to some unforeseen technological advance, I would be totally happy with that. If you think that just because there is enough food, shelter, and clothing existing in this world to feed everybody that you can take it from those who made it and own it to give to everyone else, I would say you are smoking crack.

If you want help with someone or something that is artificially keeping you down, I am the man to call on to help you. If you want to steal what others have created, I am your worst nightmare. If you know how to create a free energy machine, I will be there right next to you helping to build it, after all, I benefit too. If you think that just because I am more fortunate than the average man that I will give up everything I own (to the average man hopefully, but that is not true historically) until I am at the same level of reward as the average man, you are smoking some bad dope.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47422875)

Forced charity is not charity.

That doesn't answer the question.

There is enough food in the world right now to feed everyone. Does that mean everyone should eat? No. Some should die.

I'm not necessarily a fan of everyone on the planet, but I'm not convinced "some should die" simply due to food allocation difficulties.

While that food is edible, it has value. That value belongs to someone.

Unless it belongs to everyone. Like oxygen, nobody holds individual claim to it. There is nothing "inherently right" (or wrong) about something belonging to someone. If there were enough food that you could have all you wanted, would you really wander around saying "this food is mine", "this food is mine"... is that how you treat air? Of course not.

Remember, I harvest for ME. If you expect me to harvest for you, you are sadly mistaken

I don't expect you to spend time harvesting food at all. Let the 'bots do it. Help yourself to as much as you feel like eating. Treat it like air. Now, yes, if you take more than you can eat, pile it in your cave and then jealously guard so much of it that others are starting to suffer.. then yeah... you deserve to be treated like criminal, and a nutter, because you would be one.

Imagine if you did that with air, walked into a building, and starting sucking all the oxygen out to the point others couldn't breathe, while ranting about how you harvest for you. And everyone is looking at you like you are off your rocker, because if you want some air, just breathe. There's plenty. Of course you'd be locked up as a criminal.

Soon (geologically speaking), there will NOT be enough clean air full of oxygen to breathe, at that point, it becomes a scarce resource.

Possibly. Not necessarily. But either way you are missing the point -- the point was that food and energy could become as ubiquitous as oxygen is today, not that oxygen might become scarce enough to start hoarding.

Either eventuality is possible, which one are you working towards?

I do not begrudge anyone anything they have earned for themselves.

And I don't begrudge anyone clean air, whether they've worked for it or not, and if we could support public works projects to deliver limitless energy and abundant food I wouldn't begrudge stoners and layabouts that either.

To you, he is a criminal.

Not at all. Now if we had sufficient food and energy for all and Johnny Depp decided to hoard more than he could use simply to deprive others from having enough, then he would be a criminal. Why would Johnny Depp do that though? Why would anyone? Except a criminal or a nutcase.

you can make food and energy available like that, more power to you

As a species we've continually generated more food and more energy with increasingly less effort. If the trend continues (and why shouldn't it?) then eventually the labour of one person working the equivalent of one day can through the magic of technology and science produce enough food and power for the world.

Somehow or another, I expect that you want to make food and energy available like that by taking from others

Why would I want that?

Long story short, even if food, shelter, and clothing were freely available due to some unforeseen technological advance, I would be totally happy with that. If you think that just because there is enough food, shelter, and clothing existing in this world to feed everybody that you can take it from those who made it and own it to give to everyone else, I would say you are smoking crack.

You keep circling around to it being something that you are going to be making, with sweat pouring from your brow, and god forbid anyone else touch the fruits of your labor. Jeebus, let it go, nobody wants your sweaty food. I'm not even sure why you want it so badly. In a world where enough is produced by autmated labor that it can be consumed the way we consume oxygen now -- what is the point of getting worked up over ownership. If someone takes "your food" just get some more, but why would anyone take "your food" in the first place, when they can get their own, in as large a quantity they like, just as easily?

Getting worked up over it, is like making your dinner guests promise not to steal the oxygen in your house when they come to visit.

until I am at the same level of reward

How much food do you need? Your appetite is not insatiable. As soon as we can produce more than anyone can eat, the whole concern is moot. We are certainly no where near there yet... but take a look at the long term trend.

Look at the quantity of food a factory farm generates per labour hour compared to even 200 years ago. Fast forward 200 years... George Jetson complaining about having to go to work to push one button and then go home starts to seem pretty plausible. And the year after that? We both know the button can damn well push itself.

Clean water, clean air, limitless energy, enough food... if we COULD do that, we should.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

strikethree (811449) | about 2 months ago | (#47425369)

That doesn't answer the question.

Voluntary charity is fine. There is nothing wrong with it and even if there were something wrong with it, it is not up to me to decide what you do or do not do (generally speaking. I will stop you from actively hurting others and such).

I'm not necessarily a fan of everyone on the planet, but I'm not convinced "some should die" simply due to food allocation difficulties.

Interpret however you want. I do not care. Some will die. I know what you are trying to get at and I reject it in its entirety. Almost two years ago to the day, I was facing a situation to where I could not feed myself. Did I whine or complain or try to force others to help me? No. I was prepared to lay down in my living room and die. Your next argument will be, "see? someone must have helped you or you would be dead right now.", and my response is I owe nobody anything. I have, and do help people. It is purely at my discretion if I help, and if so, how much help I give. Again, I owe nothing to everyone/anyone.

To you, he is a criminal.

Not at all. Now if we had sufficient food and energy for all and Johnny Depp decided to hoard more than he could use simply to deprive others from having enough, then he would be a criminal. Why would Johnny Depp do that though? Why would anyone? Except a criminal or a nutcase.

You assume he is required to justify his hoarding. Who is requiring this justification? Clearly, it is YOU. I agree with you that if he is hoarding it only for the purpose of ensuring others suffer, he would be a very bad person. If he is hoarding it to maintain his security in this world, as long as he earned it or created it himself, then I see no problems with that... even if *I* am the one starving. Your or my suffering does not place any a priori obligations on anyone else. Your life is yours. It is up to you to maintain it or not. My life is mine. It is up to me to maintain it, or not. Nobody else is obliged in any way concerning these issues. Yes, it is nice to help others. No, it is NOT an obligation.

As a species we've continually generated more food and more energy with increasingly less effort. If the trend continues (and why shouldn't it?) then eventually the labour of one person working the equivalent of one day can through the magic of technology and science produce enough food and power for the world.

There is already enough food and power in the world to give to everyone. Why would anyone generate more? There is no incentive to do so. As soon as their is an incentive, more food and more power will be generated. Unfortunately for your ideals, incentive in this case generally means transfer of wealth. If you have nothing to offer, nobody is willing to give anything. It sucks for the starving people in Africa who live under a dictator who steal all of the food aid, but what are you going to do? March in with an Army and steal money from Johnny Depp to feed them?

You keep circling around to it being something that you are going to be making, with sweat pouring from your brow, and god forbid anyone else touch the fruits of your labor. Jeebus, let it go, nobody wants your sweaty food. I'm not even sure why you want it so badly. In a world where enough is produced by autmated labor that it can be consumed the way we consume oxygen now -- what is the point of getting worked up over ownership. If someone takes "your food" just get some more, but why would anyone take "your food" in the first place, when they can get their own, in as large a quantity they like, just as easily?

When it gets to that level of food availability then sure. However, even with an overabundance of food, if you take food directly from someone's plate instead of getting up and walking over to the food dispenser yourself, I strongly suspect you will still end up suffering. Even when food is free, the effort to go and grab it is still an effort. Effort which I will not give away willingly. Go get your own plate and push your own damned button and stop taking the food off of my plate. I did not push the button and walk 15 feet so you could sit there and take the food off of my plate.

Do you understand?

Getting worked up over it, is like making your dinner guests promise not to steal the oxygen in your house when they come to visit.

No. No you do not get it. I would be getting worked up because the dinner guests were too lazy to operate their own lungs and were requiring me to pump their lungs for them.

How much food do you need? Your appetite is not insatiable. As soon as we can produce more than anyone can eat, the whole concern is moot. We are certainly no where near there yet... but take a look at the long term trend.

Erm, gathering and hoarding resources is NOT about filling your stomach for one day. It is about controlling your environment. If I have lots of food or other resources, I can trade them for various things like having large groups of people to defend my body or for spaceship fuel to go visit the stars, or hire scientists to research genetic manipulation, or... well, anything. Why would *I* give up that control? I would be insane to do so. Yes, some people will starve without the availability of the resources that I have hoarded. It sucks to be them. They should go gather their own resources instead of looking at mine. My work is not free for the taking as much as you and some other folks want it to be. You can use all of the moral arguments in the world or try to tug at my heart about babies dying and all I will say is, "sucks to be you."

Clean water, clean air, limitless energy, enough food... if we COULD do that, we should.

There are a LOT of caveats with that, but I generally agree. The real question is how can it be done. If it requires taking even the smallest thing from someone else, you are wrong. It is better to die than to force slavery onto others. Heh, that reminds me of Patrick Henry: Give me liberty or give me death! Another forwards backwards truism. :)

Honestly, what you want sounds incredibly awesome in theory. In the real world, what it boils down to is enforced slavery and whenever someone finds themselves in control of such a situation, the resources end up not being allocated to everyone anyways. Just stop. What you dream of will never happen until their are fully autonomous robots harvesting raw material from outside of the planet and the ability to transform those raw materials into any other configuration required. Until then, all you advocate is theft and slavery. So really, just stop.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47425749)

There is already enough food and power in the world to give to everyone.

Enough food yes, for sustenance, but we could use more. And its still produced by a lot of human labour. Far less than 2 centuries ago, but still far more than I'm suggesting we need to get to. And its not in the right places. There are a variety of deficiencies in energy to transport it, and labor to distribute it. So we need more automation, and limitless energy.

When it gets to that level of food availability then sure.

Ah, so your argument isn't that you disagree with me at all then. You merely wish to argue that we aren't there yet. But there is no disagreement there.

Even when food is free, the effort to go and grab it is still an effort. Effort which I will not give away willingly. Go get your own plate and push your own damned button and stop taking the food off of my plate. I did not push the button and walk 15 feet so you could sit there and take the food off of my plate.

Is this a problem you experience often today? You have guests over for dinner and they are too lazy to serve themselves or cut and chew their own food and they try to suck it down a straw right from your mouth?

I've no argument that with plentiful food society would still have social norms and rules, and I think we can agree they'd be expected to order their food and have it delivered to them via whatever the socially accepted process was.

I'm not suggesting a world where people are going to climb into bed with you at night with a sandwich they took out of your fridge, and its ridiculous that you even raising this sort of scenario as a reason plentiful food "won't work".

The real question is how can it be done. If it requires taking even the smallest thing from someone else, you are wrong.

It would require precisely the smallest thing from everyone.

It is better to die than to force slavery onto others.

Yes, I imagine all 30 billion people on earth dying out because not one of them was willing to volunteer to work for 1 hour to produce all the food the world would need for a year.

Hopefully someone will volunteer, even out of their own self interest, since that 1 hour produces all the food they will need for themselves for the year too.

I guess sure, if nobody steps, I'm not going to force someone to put in 1 hour of work in a year. That iteration of humanity deserves to die out.

What you dream of will never happen until their are fully autonomous robots harvesting raw material from outside of the planet and the ability to transform those raw materials into any other configuration required.

We actually don't have to get quite that far along. Productivity will reach a tipping point where charity is sufficient long before we reach full mechanization.

At some point, suppose we develop space based solar power that taps that limitless fusion reactor 8 minutes away to a degree we can't currently even imagine. Some mega-corp builds a for profit power transfer station and charges market rates for power. So far so good, I'm sure you can imagine that.

Meanwhile costs come down, they get more and more efficient, and cheaper to build. At some point they become cheap enough that wealthy individuals can buy them, and yet they produce enough power for an entire country.

A generation further down, a rich philanthropist buys few dozen, puts their maintenance in a trust fund, and provides power to the world as his legacy. hundreds of thousands of kilowatt hours allocated to each and every person on the planet.

Think its impossible? Maybe. I don't. We're seeing all sorts of things happen like this with the internet. Wikipedia for example. When the cost of providing a service falls to below the level of charity required to make it happen, it can happen.

We're a long ways out for power or food still, but if you look at the trends, we could get there.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

strikethree (811449) | about 2 months ago | (#47426795)

Look man, this is getting old. Yes, living in your fantasy world would be great. I will be helping to build the possibility that such a world exists because I want to get there too. BUT

Calling them "the motivated" is a fallacy out of the gate. It has naught to do with motivation, and everything to do with them being criminals by the standards of the society.

Is where all of this started. I merely wanted clarification on WHO you meant as being criminals. Apparently, it is everyone who makes more than they need. I disagree strongly. Everyone who creates their wealth is NOT a criminal, even if it is infinitely more than what they need.

The majority of the resources in the world are tied up by a very small "group" of people. This causes problems as there are almost no resources left for others. This is not an "earned" thing. It is a theft by power thing. As such, I would agree with you calling them criminals; however, at that level, we are no longer talking about street level morality, we are talking more "law of the jungle" type stuff. The street level morality stuff is to keep us from getting together and taking the resources back from them.

If you want to steal from Johnny Depp or Warren Buffet, you are a moron. They earned their money. They created their wealth. You are directly harming the world by taking from them.

If you want to steal from the Bush Family (as a valid example) then you are smart. They stole 3 trillion dollars and collapsed the Savings and Loan industry (yes Neil, I remember even if you can pay to have people scrub your name from history). They are liars and thieves... and relatively small ones at that!

Honestly, there is no simple and easy answer, such as stealing back from the Bush Family. Ultimately, it is about power and control. There is a drive within most everyone to be absolute ruler of the world. Some people are fairly close to achieving that; others, not so much. Some are not even trying. Regardless, when focusing on control, other things such as fairness and equality are nowhere to be found, which is the situation we find ourselves in currently. That is why despite the wealth of the world increasing in a jaw dropping manner, very few people get to actually see or touch that wealth. 35 billion dollars? LOL, chump change.

What is funny is that the bank accounts of these people who would control the world are all relatively small. 200m in visible wealth is an abnormality. Who needs money when you control trillions of dollars worth of resources and industry? Who needs to buy a personal jet when you own a controlling interest in a company that owns a dozen or more jets? Ownership of such trinkets is considered a sign of being one of the "hired help".

In short, you have no idea what you are fighting against. You sense inequality, see some wealth, and attack... not realizing that the wealth that you are attacking is legitimately earned. You think you are helping the world but in reality, you are an agent of evil, working towards the enslavement of humanity. All for something good, yes. But enslavement nevertheless.

Meh. I am done with this. I will not respond any further. Have a nice day. :)

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405053)

Atlas Shrugged much?

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#47405253)

Ayn Rand may have been batshit crazy about some things, but she also was accurate on some of her observations of human nature. In that regard, she was very similar to Karl Marx.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 months ago | (#47405759)

Ayn Rand's observations about human nature are heavily skewed toward broken people, such as she was.

This is a woman who's mother didn't love her, who lied to her to take her toys away just so she could gain some social capital by giving them to charity.

Her observations are thus very pertinent in the light of a capitalist society such as we have, because capitalism is a system that treats people like that - as something to exploit for profit, regardless of their need. This is justified by the accurate observation that the striving that results creates wealth, but it is not shared appropriately - the "out for what I can get" mentality perpetuates the notion that, for example, the selling of a product is intrinsically more worthy than the manufacture of the product, when without the manufacture of the product, both the seller and the maker would be in equal penury.

Children naturally have a sense of fairness and sharing. The main reason humans developed big brains was not to figure out the world, but to figure out other people - cooperation was the "secret sauce" that elevated us above the other monkeys. I don't think the kind of human nature that Ayn Rand observes is our actual "natural" nature, but merely something that emerges from the interaction of humans with the capitalist system, a system which is observably dominated by those who do NOT have these basic human traits - corporate officers having more than their fair share of sociopaths.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1, Informative)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 months ago | (#47406205)

I'm finding the expression of support for an ideological system that racked up the murders of nine figures worth of innocent people in the twentieth century both risible and worrying, but on the subject of broken people, Marx was a chronic lifelong alcoholic who fathered a child on the housemaid that he had kept since she was a child, refused to acknowledge paternity, squandered his own fortune and that of his wife, frequently defaulted on his many debts, was an adulterer, an anti semite and by all accounts a fairly nasty self centred piece of work, as his interactions with Engles reveal.

Perhaps that might cast a fresh light on the value of his ruminations.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (2)

Matheus (586080) | about 2 months ago | (#47407821)

Communism is not to blame for the atrocities committed by the dictators who misuse it as a means of control. Many of the greatest ideas come from the worst of people. We as rational human being are capable of distilling the idea from its source and judging on the merits.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

SillyHamster (538384) | about 2 months ago | (#47408963)

Many of the greatest ideas come from the worst of people.

Examples please.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

Matheus (586080) | about 2 months ago | (#47410085)

Here's a decent concise start for you... you can do your own Googling if you feel like getting deeper.

http://www.laurencecaromba.com... [laurencecaromba.com]

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

SillyHamster (538384) | about 2 months ago | (#47410577)

Gandhi, Lincoln, Henry Ford, Churchill ...

Those are the "worst of people"? Flawed is not the same as "worst".

Stalin and Hitler are much better candidates for being "worst of people". Does that make them any more likely to have good ideas?

And does that definition of a "good idea" involve murdering massive amounts of people?

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 months ago | (#47410781)

Communism is not to blame for the atrocities committed by the dictators who misuse it as a means of control.

Yes it is, you people are completely insane.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

DeputySpade (458056) | about 2 months ago | (#47406937)

Children naturally have a sense of fairness and sharing.

Perhaps on planet Barnowl. Here on earth, kids are naturally selfish petty greedy little buggers. The hardest word to un-teach a kid is "mine". Off all the ones I've known have had to be taught (at great frustration by the parents/teachers/etc) to share.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47408009)

You don't un-teach mine, you teach shades of gray between mine, your and ours.

And it isn't mine as in its always mine and you can never have it. as in greed. It's more like Mine., cause I want it now, but you can have it when I'm done.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 months ago | (#47405761)

Arrgh, meant to include this link to a short webcomic biography of Ayn Rand [activatecomix.com]

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 months ago | (#47405997)

Ayn Rand may have been batshit crazy about some things, but she also was accurate on some of her observations of human nature.

Batshit crazy or just a cynical and calculating con(wo)man. Either would be consistent with flattering the powerful and letting them pretend to be the victims rather than the victimizers...

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406013)

Indeed, and one of them was correct about the individuals that would be murdered by the state in the name of progress.

Oh, perhaps that was both of them.

Here is a question; and I agree with you that Rand got a lot of things totally wrong; Whose philosophy has killed more people, Communism or liberterianism (which is essentially what Rand espoused)?

Any guesses?

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407983)

"...but she also was accurate on some of her observations of human nature."
no, she wasn't.

She wasn't crazy, she was just wrong.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#47409063)

"The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

Do you agree that she made a valid point, or do you disagree with everything she states here?

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 months ago | (#47405173)

Since communism is meant to be a stateless society, who would be doing the whole murder part?

You sound like one of those people who think that the socioeconomic system that existed in, say, USSR is communism. It wasn't, and not even Soviets themselves claimed that it was (that's why it was called Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, not Communist Republics).

what you do with people in your ideal communist society who want to put in above-average effort

For starters, communism is not about "average effort". It's about what effort every particular person can and is willing to put in - "from everyone according to their ability".

and reap the extra rewards

"To everyone according to their needs".

What happens if you claim more than what your needs are, attempting to justify it by increased contribution? Well, communism is only possible, even theoretically, in a society where the vast majority embrace the underlying notions. So what you'd get in that case is them simply not sharing with you. In a society that does not recognize private property, even without the use of force, you'd basically only be able to claim that which you possess at any given moment - anything beyond that would be beyond your claim, as there is no state to enforce your property rights against other people's claims (that's what many ancaps get completely wrong - they think that the abstraction that is private property beyond personal possessions can exist without a state to back it).

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406003)

Good grief you people are stupid.

"Since communism is meant to be a stateless society, who would be doing the whole murder part?"

You have no idea what you are talking about. Stateless? Communism is 100% state! There is nothing more important to a communist than the collective, and he gets to be the manager of the entire thing! Stateless? WTAF?

Dude, go back and read your Marx, and your history. And add in some Locke and a few documents we call the federalist papers.

You are a fucking idiot.

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 months ago | (#47408265)

I actually have some idea what I'm talking about, precisely because I have read my Marx and my Engels. Have you?

"The interference of the state power in social relations becomes superfluous in one sphere after another, and then ceases of itself. The government of persons is replaced by the administration of things and the direction of the processes of production. The state is not “abolished,” it withers away."

"The society which organizes production anew on the basis of free and equal association of the producers will put the whole state machinery where it will then belong – into the museum of antiquities, next to the spinning wheel and the bronze ax."

Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405835)

The murder part of communism is a necessary component to deal with people who don't want to play along. That's why it happens all the time. If you don't want to play by the rules of a society that has anything resembling a market economy, the outcome is well known: Your standard of living slides down to the lowest your fellow citizens will tolerate seeing.

If you don't want to play by the rules of a society with a Marxist economy, well, abject poverty is always an option there, too. A rather common one. But if you want to work for yourself, and keep a significant portion of the fruits of your labor? Well, sorry, that's where the murder comes in. Against the fundamental rules of the society, you see.

The irony is everything is the exact same with "capitalism" -- if you don't want to keep a significant portion of the fruits of your labor, there is always abject poverty. If you don't want to play by the rules, your standard of living slides down to the lowest your fellow citizens will tolerate seeing.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1, Insightful)

daninaustin (985354) | about 2 months ago | (#47404797)

Unfortunately? I'd say it's quite fortunate and well deserved. The 94 million victims might also disagree with you (well, they would if they hadn't died from starvation, firing squad, etc.)

Re:more leisure time for humans! (2)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405361)

That was a dictatorship wearing a thin veil of communism. Don't confuse Leninism with Marxism

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 months ago | (#47406221)

Nope, that was Stalinism and Maoism, which were more true to the communist manifesto and Marx than any smoked salmon socialist.

Just out of interest, which first year course disgorged you? I would like to know for Reasons.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47408213)

well, it seems you didn't even get a first year course.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47413449)

I went college for a technical degree, not a liberal arts degree, so I haven't had any courses on the subject at all.

I wasn't sure exactly which "94 million" you were referring to, and assumed you just meant all the people killed by the USSR in general.

Stalin might have have killed more people, but it was Lenin that started it all. That's why I called it Leninism.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

daninaustin (985354) | about 2 months ago | (#47406481)

Don't confuse a philosophy class with real life.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

detritus. (46421) | about 2 months ago | (#47404885)

Imagine what fulfilling roles people might accomplish rather than soldering. Same thing was said about telephone operators, secretaries, assembly line workers in auto plants, etc. Evolve. Learn a new trade or skill. It's how it's always been and always will be.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 2 months ago | (#47405517)

Absolutely - it's call redistribution of labour.

The labour that is now tied up making widgets (of questionable real value) are freed to use their labour for some other task.

This "it will create unemployment" argument seems to occur all the time and I'm yet to witness any significant long term real world unemployment event due to automation. I doubt we ever will.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (2)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405555)

All of the people displaced by automation now have jobs in the "service" industry, but that can't continue indefinitely, especially as automation begins to creep into that field as well,

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407631)

Sure it can. Our social betters can hire us as furniture. We'll stand around their mansions holding paintings and potted plants all day. We won't do as good a job as an end table, but this service will give our employers a sense of opulence and power.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 months ago | (#47407597)

What happens when all the jobs have been automated away except those that require real ingenuity? Self driving cars, robot factories, self checkout, automated fast food restaurants, the list goes on and on. Doing the same thing over and over again will not be an option. Eventually the only jobs left will be those that will having people actually have original thoughts. Based on my experience in the workplace and the world in general, there is a high percentage of people who are probably completely unable to do such a job. From the beginning of the industrial revolution until now, we've only seen the tip of the iceberg as far as automation goes. Using robots/machines to completely replace human workers will lead to a very high percentage of people out of work. Perhaps not in developed countries, but in developing countries. If the automation happens before they can develop infrastructure, and their entire economy is still built around manufacturing when to machines take over all the manufacturing, they will have very few job opportunities, and no infrastructure to get them to a position where they can do non-manufacturing jobs.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 2 months ago | (#47411749)

This may only be true in some warped utopian view of the world, but I expect the issue is not the automation or job losses, it's the disproportionate distribution of the spoils of automation.

If we're all fed and don't need to work then I don't see an issue with being unemployed - we can instead pursue personal pursuits for the sake of enjoyment etc.

If we're not all fed then their will be opportunity for employment in creating food for us to eat, etc.

I'm probably wrong, but it seems reasonable.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404941)

Except that Marx and you have it 100% wrong. The lowest unemployment rates are in the top economies with lots of automation, and highest are the worst countries with low tech.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405357)

Give it another 50 years or so, things will be different then.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 months ago | (#47404957)

The final end result of mass mechanized production is that the available workers will far outnumber the available jobs, and this is the problem that communism was intended to solve.

People have been spouting this nonsense for centuries and it keeps not coming true.

Surplus labor dissipates into increasingly bushy tech trees and middle-men ultimately resulting in whole new categories of garbage on store shelves for everyone to waste their money on.

Unfortunately, communism has earned a fatally bad reputation after being misused by so many dictators during the 20th century.

No one ideology be it capitalism or communism has ever been worth a hill of beans by itself. Lack of evolutionary pressure is central reason too much communism turns everything it touches to shit.

Problems stemming from globalization, over-aggregation of wealth and instabilities in reserve labor market are real and important challenges for the world yet simply Invoking communism as solution is a cop out.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47408257)

"People have been spouting this nonsense for centuries and it keeps not coming true."
It's happening now. We turned that corner at the end of the 90s.
It's math, and it's happening.

"Surplus labor dissipates into increasingly bushy tech trees"
you see to be under the false impression that tech advances have just an organizational impact and not a societal impact.
If I have a robot that replaces workers, then all companies will have their workers replace.

We make far more complex machines with fewer people then we did in the 70s.

". Lack of evolutionary pressure is central reason too much communism turns everything it touches to shit."
False.

" simply Invoking communism as solution is a cop out."
Some socialistic system will be needed. Communism is one that specifically can be used for when necessary workers are replaced with automation.

Negative income tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404967)

With so many replies, I don't have much hope of having this read. But, anyway...

A negative income tax. Enough said.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 months ago | (#47404975)

Karl Marx saw this coming over 150 years ago

The final end result of mass mechanized production is that the available workers will far outnumber the available jobs, and this is the problem that communism was intended to solve.

Unfortunately, communism has earned a fatally bad reputation after being misused by so many dictators during the 20th century.

That is because you can't put all the power into the hands of the few. Doesn't matter which type of government you run, if you leave the power in the hands of the few, corruption will happen, always.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47408279)

True, but you can have Communism,, AND elected official you can toss out AND a form of the free market.

As a side note: What happens when the few is replaced by a machine designed to maximize progress and leisure time?

Re:more leisure time for humans! (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about 2 months ago | (#47404989)

The final end result of mass mechanized production is that the available workers will far outnumber the available jobs

That assumption is not borne out by history. If it were true, we should already have arrived at that point long ago, since it used to be that 95-98% of human labor was dedicated to agriculture, and the number is more like 2% today. How is it that anyone has work to do? We dramatically expanded some jobs and invented lots of new ones, many of which would be utterly baffling or even ludicrous to farmers of a few centuries ago. What will people do in the future to add value? If I knew that, I could undoubtedly make several fortunes. But what I do know is that they'll do something. Perhaps the economy will mostly be service-based, driven by peoples' desire to be served by people rather than machines. Perhaps much of it will be highly-specialized, custom-tailored creative manufacturing, producing one-off, hand-made items. Maybe a lot of it will be creative or artistic, a world of painters, storytellers, etc. Maybe it will mostly be about designing and rushing to market the next mass-produced faddish gewgaw (this seems very likely to me). Some of it will definitely be around the design, care and feeding of the robots, even if much of that work becomes robot-assisted.

What I do know is that as long as there are people there will be something person A wants from person B and vice versa, and with that basis for trade there will be an economy, and something akin to jobs.

this is the problem that communism was intended to solve.

That's revisionist history, ludicrously so. Marx never foresaw anything of the sort. He believed firmly in the labor theory of value, and as such all economic power derived from human labor, not from mechanical power. Communism was about combating the concentration of economic power in the hands of a few people who owned the means of production, at the expense of the masses who provided the labor (and hence the real value).

His view was misguided in many ways, not least in that it almost completely ignores the value of intellectual work; the guy who figures out the right way to apply labor to raw materials is fantastically more effective than the one who does it the wrong way, and in fact this applies at all levels of the chain, up to and including the allocation of capital. Communism is inherently horrible at effectively allocating resources since it lacks the price signals that bundle cost and relative value and communicate them in a way that enables efficient allocation of resources to maximize what people collectively perceive as good, which is why communist economies always fail, and will always fail, even in the presence of automated systems that produce and distribute all of the essentials of life to everyone equally, even if said essentials include what we'd call luxuries. Those essentials will become the baseline expectation, much like oxygen, and economic competition will be around something else.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405807)

I have no doubt that we could find productive things for people to do. There are a lot of people whose skills are being wasted on low-skill jobs because they didn't have the education, opportunity, etc. If even a fraction of them could be trained as scientists and medical researchers, we could start focusing on serious improvements in our overall quality of life.

The question is, how to do pay for people to work on this stuff? Taxes would be one way, but it would require a shift in societal attitudes. There's the capitalist approach, where R&D focuses on medical treatments that will make a lot of money, but then you get people griping about the high cost of health care. Many companies don't have sufficiently long-term vision to fund basic science research, either.

As for creative works -- the reality is that there are an awful lot of starving (low paid) artists/actors/etc out there. Mass media allows us to pick the "best" screenwriters, actors, musicians, game developers, etc. We benefit from having a large pool of talent where the best rise to the top, but it also means that a lot of people in the field go home empty-handed. Slashdot has some hipsters who say that locally-produced music is simply better than mass-produced tunes, but that doesn't reflect the majority of people -- although perhaps the "let's go support indie music" crowd is what makes the vast number of "not top 40" artists able to eke out a not-entirely-starving living.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 months ago | (#47406059)

What I do know is that as long as there are people there will be something person A wants from person B and vice versa, and with that basis for trade there will be an economy, and something akin to jobs.

There is, however, an important difference between working to get food and working to get concert tickets. Current economy is ultimately based on coercion: work or die, or at least be extremely miserable. A society where all basic production is automated could guarantee an unconditional middle-class income to its members, so working would be strictly a matter of personal ambition.

Then again, we could already have an unconditional minimum income - and likely end up with a more efficient economy, since it's the coercion-based hierarchy that's the main source of inefficiency in corporations - yet don't do that for ideological reasons. So that suggests we'll see the nightmare scenario of ever-increasing wealth concentration and worsening dystopia instead.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 2 months ago | (#47408209)

Current economy is ultimately based on coercion: work or die, or at least be extremely miserable

That's not the correct use of the word "coercion", and it's a misuse that indicates a bias regarding economic policy. Coercion indicates the use of force or threat of force by one against another. A person in the wilderness must work or die, and no other person is there to coerce him to work. The fundamental law of economic scarcity is here proven, and the fact that a person has neighbors, yet still must work to satisfy the need to deal with economic scarcity, does not mean coercion has entered the scenario.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 months ago | (#47410977)

That's not the correct use of the word "coercion", and it's a misuse that indicates a bias regarding economic policy. Coercion indicates the use of force or threat of force by one against another. A person in the wilderness must work or die, and no other person is there to coerce him to work.

You do realize that the entire point of civilization is to make things different from being alone in the wilderness, right? So if they aren't, then the civilization has failed miserably. Also, the conditions in wilderness are not under anyone's control, while the conditions in civilization are.

And I absolutely have a "bias" regarding economic policty: I believe economy exists to serve human needs and as such must address not just efficiency, but also fairness and security. Our current economy fails with all three.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 2 months ago | (#47412461)

That's not the correct use of the word "coercion", and it's a misuse that indicates a bias regarding economic policy. Coercion indicates the use of force or threat of force by one against another. A person in the wilderness must work or die, and no other person is there to coerce him to work.

You do realize that the entire point of civilization is to make things different from being alone in the wilderness, right? So if they aren't, then the civilization has failed miserably. Also, the conditions in wilderness are not under anyone's control, while the conditions in civilization are.

And I absolutely have a "bias" regarding economic policty: I believe economy exists to serve human needs and as such must address not just efficiency, but also fairness and security. Our current economy fails with all three.

That's fine, and you're entitled to your opinion. I'm calling out the redefinition of words a la Hegelian Dialectic or some other nonsense to suit an appeal to emotion.

In fact, the socialist avenue is the one that uses coercion, and thus is the violence-espousing approach, as opposed to voluntarism or similar libertarian or free-market approaches.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#47406165)

That's a very pessimistic view. I for one hope that technology eventually makes the 40 hour week unnecessary, and that we can move towards a Star Trek style economy where people for for pleasure or to better themselves.

The hard part will be handling the transition.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406457)

The hard part will be handling the transition.

And you'll be all ready for that, won't you AmiMoJo, with your gulags on the one hand and your secret police on the other, purges ready for any unbelievers.

Oh yes, I know who you are.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47408339)

That assumption is not borne out by history. If it were true, we should already have arrived at that point long ago,

Economist are talking about how that has already happened. About 15 year ago is when it started to turn.

", and something akin to jobs."
ah, so now you change the definition of jobs.

Just so you know, what they are talking about is necessary jobs. Manual labor, factor working, and management.

Yes, some people will paint, or make music. Ditch digging, burger making, thing built i factories. We are talking about 10's of millions of job that wont exist. The companies that provide those robots will be , well, robotic. SO they won't need more people as they ramp up.

It will be in full effect when robots are building robots.

You should, probably stopping going on like you are from 1975 and actually read the research.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 months ago | (#47409439)

That's revisionist history, ludicrously so. Marx never foresaw anything of the sort. He believed firmly in the labor theory of value, and as such all economic power derived from human labor, not from mechanical power. Communism was about combating the concentration of economic power in the hands of a few people who owned the means of production, at the expense of the masses who provided the labor (and hence the real value).

It is not very hard to re-frame Marx in terms of the knowledge worker, where the owner of the means of production like the [e-tail site/online bank/search engine/social networking site] exploits the individual developers who produce the system but alone are insignificant and replaceable leading to a race to the bottom where providing the labor is greatly underpaid while stock owners and other capital holders make off with the profits. That does of course not exclude the possibility that capital owners will pay off unique individuals and start-ups that threaten to shift the competitive landscape or compete with the existing companies, but more of a global mutual interest among all companies to depress wages.

Even in the absence of formal collusion it's not hard to reach a form of unwritten understanding in direct and transparent competition of substitute goods. For example on the way to work there are two gas stations quite literally across the road from each other, if one drops the price of course the other will follow. So what makes them profit most, both high or both low prices? Now apply the same to store clerk wages, of course neither has an interest in raising the general wages. It is really the same when you see Google/Apple/Microsoft/whatever involved in anti-poaching agreements, surely they could just poach back but it'd raise the wage costs for everyone so better if they don't.

I do agree though that he thought the actual value lay with the labor, not the machinery but I guess you can equally apply this to software, doesn't really all value of the code stem from the one who developed it? Granted, he got paid for it but whether that pay is fair is another matter. Remember, Marx never claimed the workers were forced to work anywhere at gun point. What he said was that all the choices were bad ones and workers were exploited no matter who they worked for. It's not like market economists dispute that companies would lower labor costs if they could either, they just refuse to do something about it. If the supply and demand don't add up to a wage you're comfortable with do something else.

Of course we won't run out of jobs as such, but when there's more people wanting jobs than there are jobs, real wages start trending downwards as workers undercut each other. The relative wealth between those with capital and those who work for a living diverges and it becomes harder and harder to join them as their holdings increase faster than any savings you can make. As long as human labor remains essential to the function of society, we can still unite and strike for higher wages though. If we're no longer essential and the system runs on robotics, software and a few scabs until we go back to work, well then we're in deep shit.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

jwhitener (198343) | about 2 months ago | (#47425867)

Yet through the Ag revolution, the industrial revolution, and now, what has remained constant is limited energy, limited resources, and limited time. If those limits begin to disappear, then I think we'll see a big shift in life.

Super far in the future stuff, yeah, but just imagine what a world will be like with for all practical purposes unlimited free energy, unlimited resources, and even farther in the future, unlimited time (no aging, or time dilation, etc..).

About the only thing of scarcity that will remain, will be physical space. However, even that disappears once space flight, and further in the future, personal space flight, become a reality.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 months ago | (#47404997)

And yet in 150 years he's been essentially proven wrong on that point - he certainly understood the battle between capital and labour, but he underestimated the ability of people to adapt. We needed Karl marx to help grasp the consequences of too much wealth perpetually flowing to capitalists (as compared to aristocrats who were essentially capped at owning 100% of the land). But we can also have people add a lot more educated value and decision making to manufacturing. When he looked at the world he saw a collection of illiterate masses being replaced by machines with no where to go.

When robots make everything and they don't all need to be nearly exactly copies we'll need specialists to help us individually understand what meets our requirements, send off and order for a custom design of everything and off you go. Oh, you're 197 cm tall sir, but want to drive a car with a sun roof? No problem. We'll design one for you, and have it built and delivered by the end of the week. Oh madam, you're 150 cm tall, and married to the 197 cm tall guy - and you want to be able to see over the dashboard in his car, and for him to have headroom in yours? No problem we can make one like that for you. What about you sir? 180 cm tall and 170Kg, well no problem sir, we can custom design the seat for a man of your size, rebalance the car for when you're driving to get optimal performance and safety.

Individualization and customization is the future of manufacturing. That will change the requirements for people certainly - but it won't cut people out of the process. It will just make them into specialists making more sophisticated choices about more complex things.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 months ago | (#47405259)

When robots make everything and they don't all need to be nearly exactly copies we'll need specialists to help us individually understand what meets our requirements, send off and order for a custom design of everything and off you go.

How many of those specialists are you going to need? Surely not one for every customer. What are the rest going to do? More importantly, what are their customers going to do?

You can't just handwave automation away. Like it or not, but most people who are in the labor force today work in jobs that do not require any creative input that machines either cannot handle already, or won't be able to handle in near future. Yes, previous advances in technology have created more work openings than they destroyed, because the needs of the world (and therefore the potential market size) have still outstripped the supply capacity. But we're rapidly approaching the point where that is no longer the case. When a single man can run (program, maintain etc) a factory that can supply thousands of people, in a fully self-contained cycle complete from mining raw materials to packaging and delivery, what are those thousands going to do? And where are they going to get the money to pay?

Simply put, automation decreases the cost of labor, and the limit - never achieved, but getting exponentially closer - is zero. On the other hand, the amount of labor that a single man can offer is bounded (basically, you can learn to do more complicated things, but the capacity to learn is limited). Therefore, at some point an economic system that is based on trading labor for goods is going to fail.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406271)

Good luck finding someone who can afford the customised anything that you've promised, since about 98% of us are unemployed - having been replaced by robots - and thus have no income to spend on shit like that. Almost all of the remaining 2% would be those who maintain the robots, and the remainder will have almost all of the money, and they will own all the means of production.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 months ago | (#47405015)

How many times do you have to hear someone say "hey I have a great idea", and listen to him, and then watch a million people starve to death, before you're just being an idiot for listening to them?

Appealing to some mythological communism that apparently hasnt been gotten right after some dozen attempts and some 100 million dead in the process doesnt engender a whole lot of trust that you'll pull it off the next time.

And for the record, int he past 150 years (or even the past 50 years) the average salary, standard of living, level of education, and level of technology have all drastically risen. We havent hit a problem yet despite 150 years of luddites decrying the end of the world as we know it.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

daninaustin (985354) | about 2 months ago | (#47405377)

Exactly.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406291)

Exactly.

Hopefully you're going for the irony thing, because even a few seconds thought will show you why such a statement is complete idiocy.

For example, much wealth in the early days of the US was built on the backs of the slaves. That's not capitalism.

Your present system, and the one you're forcing on so many other governments around the world, is based around an ideology developed by a paranoid schizophrenic. It's been in operation for something like 40 years now and all that's changed is the wealth concentration.

Right now, my boss earns around $100k/year and I earn $8000/year in spite of that not coming close to the legally mandated minimum wage. He's stealing from me (literally stealing my wages), stealing public funding, and yet those who govern are not interested in prosecuting him. I do keep getting lectures on how lazy I am, though. If I weren't lazy, I'd be the one earning the money!

Except that really isn't how it works. In a few months, he's going to be sorry he stole even one hour from me, because he's given me the proof I need to begin a criminal action against him - and he doesn't even know it.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 months ago | (#47406547)

For example, much wealth in the early days of the US was built on the backs of the slaves. That's not capitalism.

...And wiped out in the great depression, and rebuilt in World War 2. That IS capitalism.

For the record, the North had quite the booming economy even without slave labor, even before slavery was abolished.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405603)

The world wasn't (and still isn't) ready for communism. Any attempt to establish communism before the means of production can support it is doomed to spectacular failure.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 months ago | (#47406539)

Communism relies on a breed of human that doesnt exist: One that is perfectly rational, selfless, and lacking any sort of vice.

When you find one of those, maybe we can start talking about communism.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407557)

There is nothing at all rational about being selfless.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47408361)

that what we ARE talking about. They are called 'Robots', you clod.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47408355)

Because we just now are at the point where systems maintain systems
That why economist are now looking back 2 decades and seeing the trend. IT's at the core of why we have jobless recovery. You can not have a jobless recovery without replacement of the workers by more efficient and automated systems.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 months ago | (#47405107)

Dictatorship is an innate characteristic of communism. I'm not sure how you learned otherwise. It's not like they keep it a secret. Communists are quite proud of the fact.

"You are dictatorial." My dear sirs, you are right, that is just what we are. All the experience the Chinese people have accumulated through several decades teaches us to enforce the people's democratic dictatorship, that is, to deprive the reactionaries of the right to speak and let the people alone have that right.
-- Mao Zedong

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 months ago | (#47405233)

Dictatorship is an innate characteristic of the (claimed to be) transitional period to communism, as described by one particular branch of Marxism, namely Marxism-Leninism.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47408377)

Dictatorship is an innate characteristic of communism.
no, it is not. You can have the economic policy of Communism, and still have a democratic governance.
Also, you can have form or the free market.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 2 months ago | (#47405131)

It has earned it's reputation because it completely failed to address much less solve one very crucial factor: HUMAN GREED. Communism assumes the system will be for the equal benefit of all, while human greed dictates that one person or a group of persons will want to consolidate as much wealth and power as possible. So what happens is the people assuming power take as much wealth and power as they can, leaving the people they were supposed to represent poorer and with less freedoms than they had before. There is no way Communism can work unless the human element is taken out of the equation. Essentially, we'd have to delegate Governance and resource allocation to an AI.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405209)

Karl Marx saw this coming over 150 years ago

The final end result of mass mechanized production is that the available workers will far outnumber the available jobs, and this is the problem that communism was intended to solve.

If you allow economic change, you will have jobs that go away. Marx certainly wasn't the first to make the mistake of thinking there wouldn't be replacement work nor is he obviously the last to make that mistake. If a 100 years ago, I told you that 95% of the jobs in agriculture would be gone in a few generations, I am sure you would have said the same thing.

Unfortunately, communism has earned a fatally bad reputation after being misused by so many dictators during the 20th century.

Hard to believe it, but it turns out that if you describe a utopian dictatorship where one "class" will rule another that evil aspiring dictators will use that as an excuse to use violence and death to gain power. Yea when you kill tens of millions and remove human dignity from billions of people, it can give you a "fairly bad reputation".

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405449)

"Fatally bad" not "fairly bad"

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

whereiswaldo (459052) | about 2 months ago | (#47405325)

Commoditizing certain human labour. It's been happening for decades - you don't see gangs of people digging ditches anymore.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

fellip_nectar (777092) | about 2 months ago | (#47406091)

The final end result of mass mechanized production is that the available workers will far outnumber the available jobs...

Not a problem! Just create more red tape to compensate... Soon, everyone will be a Lawyer!

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47406167)

Karl Marx saw this coming over 150 years ago

The final end result of mass mechanized production is that the available workers will far outnumber the available jobs, and this is the problem that communism was intended to solve.

Unfortunately, communism has earned a fatally bad reputation after being misused by so many dictators during the 20th century.

Saying that dictators give communism a bad reputation is like saying that dying gives burning alive a bad name.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47407701)

Marxism.

Marx took a scientific view of Communism(a Form of socialism). Sally, Lenin twisted it into Leninism.

However, ti's going to happen. The question is(to me), will it happen during a US cycle of forward thinking, or in a cycle like we currently have where people are trying to make everything like it was*

*in there mind; wihch is inaccurate protrayel of the actual history of the US

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408045)

The common criticism of Communisim is that it created a bourgeois right out of the gate, in Stalin/Mao's bureaucratic class. The USSR was not about worker control of industry and instead served the interest of the bureaucrats. Worker cooperatives are seen as a possible alternative to bureaucratic control, and we are seeing the rise of them in Cuba. The benefit of coops is you can even start them in a Capitalist society! If productivity increases and demand remains the same then workers can simply decrease the amount that they work without a reduced standard of living. So far, altruism seems to be the only motivator to start a cooperative business but legislative solutions requiring employee ownership could help encourage cooperative behaviour.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

SillyHamster (538384) | about 2 months ago | (#47408887)

Karl Marx saw this coming over 150 years ago

That economic illiterate thought value was measured by labor-hours. Anything he "saw coming" is by chance.

The final end result of mass mechanized production is that the available workers will far outnumber the available jobs, and this is the problem that communism was intended to solve.

Jobs aren't zero-sum. Cable guy didn't exist as a job 200 years ago. Modern plumbing and all the jobs needed to support the infrastructure didn't exist until recently.

The idea that there's a fixed number of jobs out there is stupid. It scales with the level of technology used and the number of people consuming goods.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

EuclideanSilence (1968630) | about 2 months ago | (#47413985)

Karl Marx saw this coming over 150 years ago

The final end result of mass mechanized production is that the available workers will far outnumber the available jobs, and this is the problem that communism was intended to solve.

Unfortunately, communism has earned a fatally bad reputation after being misused by so many dictators during the 20th century.

So instead of 1 person working 40 hrs a week, you have 5 people working 8 hrs a week either and everything costs 1/5 as much because it is made by robots.

The real danger is the government creating a privileged class of those who are allowed to use robots for production. It will start as a "protect the worker" campaign but it will end up like all the other privilege legislation. Another serious danger is increase in taxes and inflation (the money supply) occurring simultaneously with the automation progress and cancelling all the progress.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47423869)

I don't think we'll make much progress until we figure out how to control greed. That doesn't sound like a trivial problem.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 2 months ago | (#47404733)

This is great news! Zero income means zero income taxes. How much food can I buy with zero dollars?

Whatever your yearly stipend from the government will get you.

(Hey, if it works for Alaska [csmonitor.com] , it could work elsewhere -- just fund it by taxing cheap robot labor instead of petroleum)

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404841)

Whatever your yearly stipend from the government will get you.

How do you plan to fix the social stigma of "benefits scum"? A basic income works in theory, but in practice people are competitive idiots who insist that life is a sport and money is used to keep score. A government stipend makes you "useless" because you didn't earn that money by playing a role in a position on a team.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 months ago | (#47405215)

It actually would necessarily require that everyone be given the same stipend. Those who want more work. Those who do not don't work.

Transitioning to such a society would certainly be painful though.

If humanity does eventually mechanize most of the labor required to run society, this transition will eventually become a certainty. We're far from that point though.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405331)

It actually would necessarily require that everyone be given the same stipend. Those who want more work. Those who do not don't work.

What about those who want to work but can't find work? How will they distinguish themselves in society from those who don't want to work? Should the ambitious receive larger stipends because they desire higher social standing than the unambitious?

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405423)

Since when is work the only way to distinguish yourself from other?

Be a better painter, be a better musician, be a better flower arranger. Distinguish yourself by being better what YOU want to do, not what someone else wants you to do. There is more to life than being a "hard worker"

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405469)

The work itself is irrelevant. The money keeps score, see.

Better painter: "better" means "makes more money"
Better musician: "better" means "makes more money"
Better flower arranger: "better" means "makes more money"

"life is a sport and money is used to keep score"

Doing what you want to do with your life will not improve your score unless you make MONEY doing it.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 months ago | (#47497915)

There will always be people who do not have the skill to contribute to anything others find meaningful. Life isn't fair, and to those life isn't fair to: deal with it.

(Note, I may sound insensitive, but I have terminal cancer. Life wasn't fair to me, but I deal with it rather than complaining.)

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | about 2 months ago | (#47404879)

Why opponents hate basic income but love individual retirement accounts is beyond me.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (2)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405473)

Basic income means that everyone lives at the same economic level, retirement accounts allow you to live at a higher economic level than everyone else, depending on how much you save.

Some people just aren't happy unless they are better-off than everyone else, no matter how comfortable the "average" might be.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

badkarmadayaccount (1346167) | about 2 months ago | (#47419737)

You mean most of them?

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408811)

privatized basic income based on stocks and bonds

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404849)

survival of the fittest works quite well. the poor and sick will die first. i'll take my chances.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405441)

It works quite well, only because you happen to be on the winning end.

Social Darwinism is unnecessary in an age where we can literally afford to burn corn to power our cars.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

dudpixel (1429789) | about 2 months ago | (#47404863)

I would like to see a world where Foxconn is free to do this but is forced to find equivalent/suitable work for any employees that are made redundant. If a company is "hiring" robots specifically to save costs, and human jobs are made redundant in the process, then the company should be responsible for those humans.

But alas, I'm probably dreaming and it'll never happen :(

Greed and profits always seem to win out over basic humanity...

Re:more leisure time for humans! (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47405041)

I would like to see a world where Foxconn is free to do this but is forced to find equivalent/suitable work for any employees that are made redundant

I would like to see a world where companies are not expected to be their employees' mommy.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405341)

I would like to see a world where Foxconn is free to do this but is forced to find equivalent/suitable work for any employees that are made redundant

I would like to see a world where companies are not expected to be their employees' mommy.

Did your mom replace you with a robot?

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405351)

You already live in such a world.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405435)

I would like to see a world where companies are not expected to be their employees' mommy.

Why?

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47406807)

I would like to see a world where companies are not expected to be their employees' mommy.

Why?

Aside from the philosophical reason that people should be free individuals, responsible for their own lives, there are also practical reasons: requirements that companies take on various mommyish responsibilities, cause companies to hire fewer people in the first place. Countries that put a lot of mommy requirements on companies (such as France, Italy, Greece), tend to have higher unemployment and lower economic growth. In the long run, this hurts the very people that the mommy policies are designed to help. Many real mommies also figure out that being overprotective can have negative consequences.

Re:more leisure time for humans! (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 months ago | (#47404995)

I dont think you have the knack of how technological progress interacts with standards of living. You seem to think that increased efficiency necessitates an increase in poverty, when historically the opposite has been true.

Alternatively: Panama canal engineers deign to use heavy machinery rather than workers equipped with spoons! How will ditch diggers make a living?!?!?!

Re:more leisure time for humans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405103)

I'm sure all the people over the last decade who lost their high paying jobs and were replaced by minimum wage fast food jobs would love to have a word with you.

I'll enjoy this.... (3, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 months ago | (#47404543)

Hey, for those of you who insist that you deserve $15/hour for your shitty, replaceable, skill-less role in some fast food establishment, you might want to pay attention.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404559)

Crime rates will increase until cost of living decreases.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 months ago | (#47404589)

and maybe soon in GOP GA that may be the only way to have a doctor.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/... [dailykos.com]

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 months ago | (#47407117)

You mean aside from the steady decrease in violent crime rates that we've witnessed over the last 30 years or so in the US?

Wait, what was your point again?

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (2)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 2 months ago | (#47404569)

Yes, let's just starve everybody to death! That's what Jesus would do! [I hope I don't need to explain why I'm conflating things.]

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405105)

no your ignorance is quite self explanatory

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 2 months ago | (#47405911)

Uh oh, somebody got his contradictions/hypocrisies rubbed the wrong way. :)

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

MikeTheGreat (34142) | about 2 months ago | (#47405499)

Best. Sig. Ever.!

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 2 months ago | (#47405899)

Thanks. Btw, did you try to factor it? :)

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

MikeTheGreat (34142) | about 2 months ago | (#47406873)

What do you mean by 'factor it'?

I did recognize the tr command, and then plugged it into Cygwin's bash to see what it did.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 2 months ago | (#47411293)

For extra nerdiness, 0x853204FA81 is prime.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

MikeTheGreat (34142) | about 2 months ago | (#47413317)

Oh! Factor like in math. For some reason I assume factor like refactoring code.

Nice!!!!!!

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404585)

Hey, for those of you who insist that you deserve $15/hour for your shitty, replaceable, skill-less role in some fast food establishment, you might want to pay attention.

So, your economic world view says there should be millions of unemployed, starving and dying in the streets while the people who run corporations give themselves huge bonuses for lousy outcomes and government cuts their taxes?

I sincerely hope you experience some form of life altering event, and get to discover fist hand what your vision brings the world. You sound like someone who deserve to find out what being destitute means.

Couldn't happen to a nicer person.

Ah, Ayn Rand, the philosopher of the morally bankrupt.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47404659)

I don't know how you get that from what he said.

I took it as pay attention, if you cost more than automation would cost, you will likely be training your replacement. If a 20,000 dollar robot can do your job for years on that 20,000 and you are insisting on being paid $28,000 a year- well simple math tells you which is more cost effective. And that doesn't even include taxes and crap you have to pay on a live person.

SO i guess what you can take from that is if you want paid more, provide more value or perhaps another job that cannot be replaced by robots.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404801)

And what AC said is that your narrow view of the world doesn't fit with reality. There's far more workers with robots-capable jobs than any other kind of workers. Unless you think we can convert the whole planet's population to creative jobs?

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 months ago | (#47405413)

SO i guess what you can take from that is if you want paid more, provide more value or perhaps another job that cannot be replaced by robots.

So what happens when there are no "other jobs", and the ones where you could ostensibly provide more value than a robot are all filled?

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 months ago | (#47406731)

At least then we'll have solved the worldwide starvation issues.

"Soylent green"

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47410461)

They are likely going to have to work more jobs for less pay or find something that makes them worth more than a robot.

I'm not advocating the replacement of workers with robots and I do not think the GP was either. It's just an economic truth that if I can get the same performance and quality from two different sources, the cheapest of the sources is the most profitable one. If a robot costs $30,000 to purchase and $30,000 to instal and maintain over three years, that's $60,000 over three years or $20,000 a year on average. So an employee making around $10.50 an hour and not counting taxes the employer has to pay,- like their portion of the payroll tax or medical insurance or workers comp and unemployment insurance, they more or less break even with the robot (about 20k a year working 38 hour weeks 50 weeks a year) assuming the robot can do the job just as well.

We may have to reign ourselves to the fact that if robots can replace unskilled workers, some people will need to be supported by the public somehow.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 months ago | (#47410627)

I'm not advocating the replacement of workers with robots and I do not think the GP was either.

But why not? Clearly, if a robot can do hard labor instead of a human, that should be preferable on humanitarian grounds. If it can also do it for cheaper, then, as you rightly note, it should also be preferable on economic grounds. The only argument to the contrary is that people who are pushed out of jobs by robots (and this will clearly keep encroaching, so a laborer can only "retreat" by re-qualifying etc so far) are out of their source of income. But if the sole reason why we give them jobs is to provide them with income, then it's basically just a thinly veiled form of the broken window fallacy.

We may have to reign ourselves to the fact that if robots can replace unskilled workers, some people will need to be supported by the public somehow.

That was the point that I was trying to make. Automation is inevitably going to drive down the cost of labor so much that selling it to obtain basic income will cease to be a realistic proposition for a significant part (long term, probably the vast majority) of the population. At that point we'll need to come up with some other arrangement.

Note though that the long-term proposition is not "some people supported by the public". It's the reverse - "the public" supported by a few people (those who would still have jobs - like programming the robots). In fact, it's not even clear what "support" would mean, since, if most of society is basically on free welfare, then money is not really a universal medium of exchange anymore... the few people who still work - whom would they get the money for their work for, and what would they spend it on?

Hell, get that proportion high enough, and you'd probably have people competing to get a chance to do "real work" - for free.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47411007)

But why not? Clearly, if a robot can do hard labor instead of a human, that should be preferable on humanitarian grounds. If it can also do it for cheaper, then, as you rightly note, it should also be preferable on economic grounds. The only argument to the contrary is that people who are pushed out of jobs by robots (and this will clearly keep encroaching, so a laborer can only "retreat" by re-qualifying etc so far) are out of their source of income. But if the sole reason why we give them jobs is to provide them with income, then it's basically just a thinly veiled form of the broken window fallacy.

I'm not advocating it because I personally do not care about it. It's not my decision to make and my job will not be replaced in my lifetime. For those who will suffer this either in reality or by fear of it becoming reality, I feel for them. But it is not my decision.

And no, the reason we give them jobs is to trade labor for value. They provide value in creating wealth in which they get compensated.

That was the point that I was trying to make. Automation is inevitably going to drive down the cost of labor so much that selling it to obtain basic income will cease to be a realistic proposition for a significant part (long term, probably the vast majority) of the population. At that point we'll need to come up with some other arrangement.

agreed.

Note though that the long-term proposition is not "some people supported by the public". It's the reverse - "the public" supported by a few people (those who would still have jobs - like programming the robots). In fact, it's not even clear what "support" would mean, since, if most of society is basically on free welfare, then money is not really a universal medium of exchange anymore... the few people who still work - whom would they get the money for their work for, and what would they spend it on?

Hell, get that proportion high enough, and you'd probably have people competing to get a chance to do "real work" - for free.

It may sound silly, but a moneyless society like in Star Trek might be something we are eventually forced to evolve to. OF course when you have a machine that can pretty much make anything you want, it's a lot easier forgetting about the means to get what you want and need.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407421)

At the end of the day you need to realize that jobs that cant justify a living wage shouldnt exist.

But lets not pretend fast food service jobs are in that category yet. Fast food chains make massive wads of cash off these people's labor. The issue isn't that their jobs arent productive enough, its that the corporation that hires them is exploiting their labor and not paying them a fair wage, and since the entire market is distorted due to labor having a do or die requirement to be employed, there is no where for them to turn aside from unionization (which is brutally demonized by the establishment for exactly that reason).

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47410593)

At the end of the day you need to realize that jobs that cant justify a living wage shouldnt exist.

Wrong.. Jobs that are getting the headlines should not be jobs people are making careers out of. They are the type of jobs kids get to have some work experience before going on to a real job. Fast food workers should not be trying to live off their job. The bagger boy at the grocery mart should not expect to be a bagger the rest of his life and retire from that job.

There is a serious problem in this country when the job prospect is so bad due to whatever and government that people have turned to these jobs as careers instead of experience launchpads or extra money devices as they traditionally have been. When countries like those in Europe are counting illegal activities like drug dealing and prostitution as part of their GDP in order to pad their numbers, we can assume this problem is not just in the USA too.

But lets not pretend fast food service jobs are in that category yet. Fast food chains make massive wads of cash off these people's labor. The issue isn't that their jobs arent productive enough, its that the corporation that hires them is exploiting their labor and not paying them a fair wage, and since the entire market is distorted due to labor having a do or die requirement to be employed, there is no where for them to turn aside from unionization (which is brutally demonized by the establishment for exactly that reason).

Well, it looks like they might be turning to the unemployment line if robots/automation really can do their jobs. But the problem is not companies taking advantage of these people, it is that they have little to no where else to turn. In my day, if you showed you have held a job for 1 years time, you were almost a sure hire for whatever job you applied for (assuming you were qualified). Employers looked for gaps in employment that weren't explained (FMLA or school or something) and over looked your applications for people who prove they will stick with a job. You then got hired and received raises and promotions based on your performance and if you weren't happy with what you received, you looked for another job. Of course in my time, unemployment was low. We had several presidents that didn't overly burden business and jobs were growing. Of course it took a while to get going under Reagan and soared under Clinton.

Hell, I can still make $1000 or better per week if I wanted to driving a truck. Why can I do that? Because I didn't flip whoppers for a career, because I wanted more and more was actually available. We don't need to fix this by inflating salaries, we need to fix this by inflating opportunities and get these jobs back to being stepping stones for children while the adults do real work for real pay.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47404609)

What fast food place pays it's base-level workers $15/hour? A lot of places don't even pay shift managers that much.

Also, the poverty level (at least in Minnesota anyway) is currently $1000 per month for a single person, which works out to just over $11.50/hour at 40 hours/week.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404681)

Seattle

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

hrvatska (790627) | about 2 months ago | (#47404757)

Not yet. The $15/hr minimum wage will go into effect over several years.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47404741)

$1000 per month for a single person, which works out to just over $11.50/hour at 40 hours/week.

What? 40*11.5 is $460 a week. 4 weeks to a month gives us something like $1840 a month. Almost double the poverty level you brought up. $1000 a month comes out to about $6.25 an hour on a 40 hour week.

You want fries with that?

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

The Snowman (116231) | about 2 months ago | (#47404895)

What entry level, minimum wage worker gets 40 hours per week? Employers might have to pay benefits on top of the extra wages!

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405117)

Doh, I typed it into the calculator wrong.

It's actually less than $6.25 even, because there are 52 weeks in a year, not 48 ( which is 4.33 weeks per month), which works out to $5.75/hr

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about 2 months ago | (#47405851)

365 / 7 = 52.14 weeks. 366 / 7 = 52.29 weeks. The workers might appreaciate having a few more bucks.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 months ago | (#47405123)

Fast food workers don't get 40 hrs per week in anything but extremely rare circumstances. They keep them as part time for a reason.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407097)

What would be take home after taxes for 11.5, assuming single HOH, no dependents, no deductions?

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47410371)

I think this might be of help to you.

http://www.suburbancomputer.co... [suburbancomputer.com]

I did it for two different states and got an answer of around $361/week take home assuming 40 hours a week. The differences between the two states I checked is about 1 dollar so I didn't bother doing a comparison.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47404745)

What fast food place pays it's base-level workers $15/hour?

$15/hr is the minimum wage in Seatac, Washington. There is political pressure to raise the minimum wage to $10-15 nationwide, and one likely effect of that is to increase incentives to automate those jobs out of existence.

Also, the poverty level (at least in Minnesota anyway) is currently $1000 per month for a single person, which works out to just over $11.50/hour at 40 hours/week.

The poverty rate is based on households, not individuals. So if you are single and making $11.50 or less, you might want to share the rent with some friends rather than getting your own place. Not every job needs to pay enough to allow a teenager to buy a house and start a family.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 months ago | (#47405133)

$15/hr is the minimum wage in Seatac, Washington

Wrong. It won't be $15/hr until 2017.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 months ago | (#47406777)

Not sure how this materially affects the main point.
Sure, it won't be $15/hour until 2017.
Do you think the cost of electronics/processing power/etc will go up or down over that time?

If anything, that $15/hour job (=$30k/year) will buy a far more capable robot in 2017 than today, so replacing that person will be even more attractive. For $30k/year you can have:
- a high-efficiency robot that is able to work 24/7 (ok call it pessimistically 20 hours a day assuming significant maintenance downtime), can be instantly programmed fleet-wide to conform to new standards/processes perfectly, or
- a low-intelligence, low-motivation, nearly-skill-less slacker who not only can work very limited hours in a day, but also wants vacation, smoke breaks, toilet breaks, will forget to wash their hands (e coli for everyone!), and will eventually whinge that they need more money, more benefits, and nicer uniforms before quitting the moment they ever develop any actual positive work habits, motivation, or determination?

Compelling choices, indeed.

Re: I'll enjoy this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47410855)

Read Fast Food Nation. Fully automated fast food joints failed in the past because people didn't like eating in them.

Sure, an occasional robotic sandwich joint shows up in subways etc but the vast majority of people still prefer people around since we are social animals that prefer to see humans, not Turing machines.

Those crummy service jobs is where the growth is. Not the high tech industry..

Re: I'll enjoy this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47423783)

Fully automated fast food joints failed in the past because people didn't like eating in them.

Right, but the smart money isn't on a sudden move to "fully automated". Prior attempts were apparently motivated by people who expected that jet packs, flying cars, and moon bases would have been commonplace by now.

We're almost to the point where replacing just the burger assembly and fry cooking would be preferable for a burger franchisee. The automated system wouldn't even need to handle custom orders (e.g., hold the onions) - just keep one low-level employee on hand for that during rush periods, and let the cashier and/or shift leader handle it during the relatively dead periods. As long as customers interact with a human during ordering and fulfillment, few of them will care how it gets done on the back end. This is even more applicable to drive-through only joints like Rally's. FWIW, I used to be a manager at a burger chain.

Grocers and retailers have been augmenting their cashier staff with automated checkouts. Consider whether you would have guessed ten years ago that some department/grocery store customers would actually prefer those over human cashiers. Low-skilled jobs are going away eventually, except where human interaction is the deciding factor, whether due to practical concerns or simple resistance to automation (as in those awful automated systems for phone customer service).

Where no human interaction is needed at all, even many skilled jobs will disappear. For example, that flexible circuit board inside your smart phone was very likely inspected by an automated system. I've worked on the software for one of those systems. The only routine human involvement is loading up a big roll of flexible circuits, setting the parameters via a a PC kiosk running proprietary HCI process control software, and removing the inspected roll off the other end. That was 15 years ago. It wouldn't surprise me if the entire process, from photolith, through separation, to inspection, and final cutting were automated by now, if not in the facility where I had consulted, then at others.

When low level agricultural workers were replaced, industry was ramping up and readily absorbed the displaced farm workers. However, most of those factory jobs required only a little more skill than, for example, threshing wheat with a scythe. I would guess that a fair number of farm workers were mentally capable of skilled labor far beyond harvesting wheat, so the fact that many factory jobs required a bit more intellect was irrelevant. However, we're slowly but inexorably getting to the point that robots are able to replace some forms of skilled work. The problem is that as higher levels of skilled laborers become displaced by automation, the subset of those who have the intellectual capability to fit into the next higher tier of jobs becomes smaller. Consider, if nearly every job which can be satisfied by those with an 80 IQ (not a good representation of skilled work, but good enough for illustration) has been automated, what does than mean for the unemployed? What about at 90 IQ, or 100 IQ? Sooner or later, we're going to be forced to deal with a disruption to the way our economy works, hopefully at an evolutionary rather than revolutionary pace.

- T

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47405141)

In Minnesota, its $1000/mo for a household of 1, that's what I meant when I said "for a single person"

Even if you have roommates, they don't count as part of your household unless you also share food costs. Just sharing rent (or sharing a house) doesn't count, so you are still considered a household of 1.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47407171)

Even if you have roommates, they don't count as part of your household unless you also share food costs.

I see. So if four people live together and buy their own food, they are poor. But if they take turns shopping, and share the food, then they are middle class. So encouraging people to pool their shopping seems like a really easy way to eliminate poverty. Too bad it won't make any actual difference in their lives.

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 months ago | (#47404661)

plenty of jobs that really could be replaced by machines haven't been on any scale yet. when it happens it won't even be a matter of buying such machines, they'll be rented for 6-8 hours per day but work 24x7 and maintained weekly or something like that; each one putting 2 to 4 people out of work. it will really suck to be a person without specialized skill

Re:I'll enjoy this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404777)

plenty of jobs that really could be replaced by machines haven't been on any scale yet. when it happens it won't even be a matter of buying such machines, they'll be rented for 6-8 hours per day but work 24x7 and maintained weekly or something like that; each one putting 2 to 4 people out of work. it will really suck to be a person without specialized skill

The workers haven't been replaced yet because of the massive upfront capital costs of acquiring robots to replace the workers. If someone started a leasing company which built, maintained and leased out custom robots then you would see the workers disappearing as fast as the leasing company could build the robots...

And, scarily enough, up till now it was cheaper to hire humans to do the jobs (in China) then what the robots would cost...

Why is it cheaper in China? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 2 months ago | (#47404549)

Obviously, labor-intensive tasks are cheaper in China because of low wages. Tasks that produce lots of toxic chemicals (such as wafer fabs) are cheaper because of reduced environmental requirements.

But an assembly line manned by robots? Why should that be cheaper in China? Is capital that much cheaper?

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404565)

That's where the expertise, components, and shipping channels are.

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (2)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47404593)

The cost of labor is increasing rapidly in China, especially in terms of US dollars.

http://news.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

The lax pollution controls still make it cheaper to produce things in China though, despite the narrowing labor price difference.

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47407133)

That won't last. They'll eventually get tired of swimming in their own sh%t and start creating/enforcing pollution controls with the associated monetary costs.

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404603)

good question actually

capital is cheaper here... if you can get it (from the Fed).

Although one must remember they are not replacing the entire production cycle, so they still need humans in the meantime, hence keeping them in China.

Once the line is fully automated, they can easily replicate the plant in many countries, closer to the demand.

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (3, Funny)

Teun (17872) | about 2 months ago | (#47404617)

Nothing to do with up-front cost, they have been programmed not to jump off the roof.

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 months ago | (#47405071)

You are joking, but if you really thought that was a problem then you would be cheering for the workers to be out of jobs you consider unhealthy for them.

So the fact you are not cheering, why is that again?

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (1)

Teun (17872) | about 2 months ago | (#47406521)

Why do you think these bots will cause the working conditions for the remaining several hundred thousand workers to improve?

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 months ago | (#47412793)

Doesn't matter, fewer people suffering is still better than nothing. The fact you don't care about the actual number of people supposedly suffering speaks volumes about what you really care about - i.e. Hating Apple, not some guy in China just happy to have a good job.

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (4, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | about 2 months ago | (#47404693)

But an assembly line manned by robots? Why should that be cheaper in China? Is capital that much cheaper?

Even if wages and other costs were equal, the location advantage is substantial. It's not that it's cheaper in China, but that it's cheaper in the huge manufacturing hubs. You have suppliers and manufacturers for just about every single component you need without long-distance shipping, and a deep pool of design and manufacturing expertise working in the area.

That's not to say you can't manufacture efficiently elsewhere (we have plenty of recent examples such as the Raspberry Pi), but that the advantages has as much to do with the concentration of resources as with the cost of labour and regulations. And of course, as this inudstry becomes ever more automated, it no longer matters much for jobs where it happens any longer.

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404877)

Because of the push for higher wages (exploiting Chinese workers in the news) that robots are more desirable. They are cheap in the long run, never stop working, and don't increase in cost (compared to rising wages), and have do not have a big negative impact on public opinions compared to the Chinese workers that toil for ridiculous hours which is considered the norm. Consistency is also something to consider.

Robotic manufacturing is a question of when rather then why. It's unfortunate that there are very big issues in terms of jobs if everything is created so easily with our current economic structure. If 1% of the population can make far more then the rest of the 99% want or need, what are the 99% gonna do when the 1% are already doing it?

Why robots at all in the last several years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47404939)

Robots seem like a resurgent fad in the last several years. Considering that robots have been around for over 3 decades now. It has also been in the last several years that rising wages have made chinese manufacturing less competitive. Instead of moving to Vietnam and Indonesia, the talk is about using robots. Are these companies trying to be pro-china, instead of squeeze low wage workers?

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 months ago | (#47405001)

Think back to how Nixon opened closed China up to the free West.
Think about the tax status of the emerging industrial parks in China.
You had low cost workers, low cost local inputs for all the regional products.
Then you had the costly cutting edge science from West Germany, Japan, the US, South Korea been installed with local partners to escape their own taxes and costs.
Decades later the owners have two options: find more cheap workers in a Laos or Indonesia or other nations that provide lines of cheap, steady, skilled hands to put together tiny parts to make a final product. vs.
New robots on the old sites in China as all the services are in place.
China is also changing. It wants its own brands globally and not just be the factory floor for value added outside brands.
The cost and complexity of saving costs on every tiny gap and space in new product is slowly getting more costly with human hands than with new robots.
Its cheaper in China as many interests who make products sold out long ago. Everything is in place and ready.
In other nations you have to lobby for breaks in federal, state, city taxes and request discounted site services. Only to find out the government got voted out and your tax break was not legal and the site is been fined until full payments are made.
Communism offers todays entrepreneurial capitalist some certainty for a set price.

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 months ago | (#47405227)

China manipulates their currency so that converting USD into Yuan is a net positive for the Chinese business. The rate is higher than the Yuan is worth, so when they convert the Yuan back into USD, they make money for nothing.

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (1)

jovius (974690) | about 2 months ago | (#47405241)

Robots allow for developing the production lines. Consistent precision and quality, and quality that's easier to control and fine tune. Human workers can only be exploited to a certain level, and electronic products are becoming more complex. It's about future profits.

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 2 months ago | (#47405303)

Chinese robots are cheaper.

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408193)

Loose environmental laws.

Need to burn some hazardous chemical? No problem.
Want to dump your chemical waste into the river? No problem.
Storing chemicals in unsafe containers/buildings? No problem.
Disregard worker safety? No problem.

Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 2 months ago | (#47408277)

Labor intensive tasks were moved to China because the labor cost difference between US labor and Chinese labor was sufficient enough to justify the increased capital expense of setting up plants and assembly lines. We lack the capital infrastructure to support the robots in the US, hence why it's cheaper to install them in China since it's basically dropping them in place of workers. To do it in the US we would need to spend $20,000 per robot and spend the millions of dollars purchasing land and building the plants.

So, how long before the suicides? (5, Funny)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | about 2 months ago | (#47404557)

I, for one, will be curious how long it takes before there is a mass android-worker suicide where they leap off the buildings.

Re:So, how long before the suicides? (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 2 months ago | (#47405315)

If the robots are controlled by iPhones, then they will probably just not wake up after new years eve, or daylight saving time.

Re:So, how long before the suicides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405579)

With the remaining humans to follow, now that the robots have ripped a hole in those safety nets.

Re:So, how long before the suicides? (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 2 months ago | (#47405809)

I feel for you. I also remember a time when words like "cyber" and "android" referred to robotics, instead of just boring electronics for consuming entertainment.

Re:So, how long before the suicides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47405845)

He said the robots are currently in their "final testing phase."

They are furiously testing for this very eventuality.

Re:So, how long before the suicides? (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47406349)

I'm thinking after assembling about 30,000 phones.

Re:So, how long before the suicides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47409307)

I, for one, will be curious how long it takes before there is a mass android-worker suicide where they leap off the buildings.

It is 30 years away, just like sentient AI.

The pubic school system (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 2 months ago | (#47404567)

I hear the pubic school system is also run by Foxconn beings. There takeover began when spell checkers was installed.

Re:The pubic school system (1)

Dynedain (141758) | about 2 months ago | (#47404725)

I hear the pubic school system is also run by Foxconn beings. There takeover began when spell checkers was installed.

Literary irony, or subtle joke?

Re:The pubic school system (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | about 2 months ago | (#47405877)

I hear the pubic school system is also run by Foxconn beings. There takeover began when spell checkers was installed.

Literary irony, or subtle joke?

The latter. (You missed another one - and a grammar error as well.)

If everyone loses their jobs... (5, Insightful)

Mistakill (965922) | about 2 months ago | (#47404583)

If everyone loses their jobs, who will be able to buy the products?