So the Walmart in my town is going under a little bit of construction. Almost a third of the register space has been closed off and the registered removed, and the floor torn up.
I went to an employee and asked what was going on. “They’re taking out most of the regular lanes,” she said, “And replacing them with self checkout services.”
“That’s cool.” I said.
“Not really. Most of us are getting laid off. I’m losing my job in a month because of those machines.”
Let me explain something to y'all. Where I live, Middle Of Nowhere, Alabama, the minimum wage is $7.50. Seven dollars fifty. That’s peanuts for the amount of work these people do. And still, the Walmart corporation is replacing them with machines because if they could have zero employees, they would do it.
Whenever someone says “if you raise the minimum wage, the companies will just automate and fire people!” Tell them that’s bullshit. If these companies could automate they would have done it already. When they can automate, they will do it with out a care to the employees.
Companies do not care about their people. Stop blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich.
automation should be the downfall of capitalism, it literally proves not everyone needs to work, and we can all survive perfectly fine, and with all to have access to education we can automate even more shit most people don’t want to do.
capitalists literally don’t want to advance our society, they want us to stagnate so we can pretend people need the threat of death to work towards bettering themselves and the future.
If you would go out of your way to argue how easy it is for capital to automate away jobs when labor costs become too high, then you should probably know that you’re giving all kinds of credibility to those of us who advocate fully-automated luxury communism. I mean, think about it: you’re arguing that so much of human labor ISN’T NECESSARY because said jobs can be done by machines, and yet you STILL want the bulk of humanity to pointlessly scrape by laboring for the capitalist class, receiving meager wages to buy the shit they helped generate in the first place. The above billboard is a THREAT. Let’s not mince words – that billboard is bourgeois propaganda designed to turn the working class against each other and against the broader goals of resource democratization. “If you fight for a basic livable wage, just know that you’re easily replaceable, peon!”
This is what leftists mean when they say that capitalism is an economic system filled to the brim with tensions and contradictions; it’s also what they mean when they say that capitalism inevitably produces its own gravediggers. Automation is one of those gravediggers, and it’s a major one at that. As more and more jobs become automated in the coming decades, the working class will face widespread dispossession, ramping up revolutionary class consciousness in the process. At that point, capitalism will either focus on generating more superfluous jobs for people to work or set about instituting a universal basic income – regardless, the point is to keep enough scraps flowing downward so that people don’t call for a broader system change. In this way, capitalism’s ruling class can maintain control over the wealth-producing means of production and imperialist capital accumulation can continue unrestrained.
For these reasons, “more jobs” and universal basic incomes are not enough. We need to democratize the broader social infrastructure and eliminate the profit system. If you recognize how possible it is to automate away human labor, then you should defenestrate yourself out of the Overton Window and use some political imagination – cut out the unnecessary jobs, automate all the labor you can, produce for human need rather than elite profit, and you end up with drastically reduced working hours and bountiful leisure time. This is the essence of fully-automated luxury communism – the natural conclusion of the conditions that capitalism set in motion.
Be wary of automation in the present climate, but always trace it back to the class struggle. Robots taking our jobs SHOULD be cause for celebration; why should we treat these potential liberators as harbingers of dispossession? Technological advancements are pushing us exponentially towards a de facto post-scarcity world, where everyone’s needs can be comfortably met alongside their desires for community and leisure and entertainment, and yet we’re held back by Empire’s insistence on keeping the means of production hoarded under the command of a superfluous ruling class. As long as we are divided into capitalists and workers, humanity will never know full liberation.
Here’s a classic big city dilemma (sorry suburban folks): It’s late at night, the weather is bad, and you’re hungry. Your favorite restaurant is less than a mile away, but you don’t want to leave the house, and you don’t want to pay a $5 delivery fee — plus tip — for a $10 meal.
So, what do you do?
Back in the old days, you would have braved the elements — or learned to plan ahead. But those days are coming to an end, at least in Washington, D.C.
A fleet of about 20 autonomous, knee-high robots recently has appeared on the sidewalks of the nation’s capital, and they’re out to revolutionize hyper-local delivery in big cities. Their mission? Bring takeout food from restaurants to hungry customers at home — while keeping the delivery cost to around a dollar.
The American working class is getting hammered and it seemingly isn’t because immigrants are taking jobs — it’s because robots,
without families to feed or children to send to college, are cheap
replacements for human workers.
In fact, that’s a major factor
contributing to the growing financial gap between high- and low-income
families, data suggests.
Just within the
last half-decade, the gap between households in the top and bottom 20%
of annual household incomes has widened dramatically, growing by $29,200
to $189,600 from 2010 to 2015, Bloomberg calculated, using United States Census Bureau data.
Meanwhile, automation trends are only predicted to increase — Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP found 38% of U.S. jobs are at risk for automation by 2030.
At least 65% of Americans said they expect jobs will generally be automated within the next 50 years, according toPew Research Center, but most workers believe their
job will be safe from automation.
Despite that optimism, about one in
10 Americans said they do worry about losing their job to a robot, Pew
found, with manual or physical laborers expressing the most concern. Read more (4/26/17)