Technology Replacing Human Jobs
“I had an idea that got me nominated for Congress, possibly because no other Congress Person wants to tackle the difficult issue of technology replacing human jobs.” — Jason Mallory
Article by Jason Mallory
As technology makes people obsolete at most jobs it creates the problem of disrupting the economic check and balance of the consumer base owning the workforce. Meaning if the business owners also own the automated workforce, and consumers are without the economic leverage of being the workforce, then that balance is lost; and at the implementation scale of digital technology, there is the potential to break capitalism as a system (i.e. can supply using robots, but can’t demand using paychecks, so the capitalist consumer cycle can’t cycle). I had a solution idea which can maintain that natural economic check and balance of the consumer base owning the workforce, which could be legislated like this:
“Every citizen has the right to one equal share of the automated labor force, an equal vote for what it does or does not do, and a fair share of what it produces as a whole.”
This means government takes a regulatory position in automated labor similar to what the Department of Motor Vehicles is with cars, although with the additional effect of having all automated labor rented hourly, instead of owned by the business using it. So The Department of Automated Labor would determine what is “street legal” for robots, as well as regulating the rental of automated labor to businesses. This means a business can’t simply replace employees with their own robots and kill the consumer cycle. Instead automated labor is regulated in a way that gives the people effective control, and businesses can rent usage of the automation through The Department of Automated Labor, enabling efficient means to production.
In this way the doing of the work is still owned by the consumer base / the people, and the economic check and balance is maintained while enabling greater usage of automation. The consumer cycle continues to roll forward by the consumer base receiving Universal Basic Income-like paychecks for voting on what their share of the automated labor force does or does-not-do in their place.
That paycheck is funded by the hourly rate earned by automated labor, which is divided between the robot manufacturer and the displaced former-employee that can now still contribute as the consumer base, regardless of the human unemployment rate. Doing it this way eases the growing pains of transitioning society from human labor to automated labor, similar to transitioning to cars from horses a hundred years ago.
An example of this system would be if the DMV required all company vehicles to be leased, instead of company owned, and that lease payment going to both the car manufacturer and the horse that lost its job to the car…
Further, this idea is something of a “Democracy 2.0” to vote for what automated work we do and what goals we work towards, rather than having those decisions controlled solely by for-profit businesses that own the workforce. Or in other words, robots can’t refuse to do a job, or strike on moral grounds, but people can and have, and this idea continues that ability while still profiting from the use of robotics…
This system still allows people and businesses to become big and rich, but it also levels the playing field for businesses big or small to be able to access automated labor hourly, instead of only the big businesses affording to own efficient means to production, while smaller businesses can’t compete. In doing so, this idea provides a way for business to continue creation of a middle class in the economy, which strengthens the economy rather than pushing the former working class into the welfare system without access to the means of production to escape that fate.
The most gray area in this system is where the line is drawn by government regarding what constitutes “automated labor,” and there is no easy answer for that, especially when most automation is an extension of human abilities and therefore work efficiency. Like computers and other tools that make a single person using automation more efficient than multiple people not using it.
For this we could use an industry specific sliding scale, where we look at automated labor in terms like “100 Human Power,” similar to a “100 Horse Power” engine. 1 human becomes “10 human power” while using automating tools that make the person 10 times more efficient. That type of sliding scale algorithm would not work in all cases, in that automation can do some things that are impossible for humans (or infinite human power), thus we still need reasonable industry specific guidelines, potentially on a case by case basis. It is a task similar to determining tax brackets, but for the cost of labor in each industry. I believe we have the tools to do so, and even to stimulate sectors we want to subsidize with cheaper labor costs.
Although, the potential for corruption exists, and transparency and similar de-politicalization as the US Federal Reserve operates with may need to be part of the process. Possibly combined with passing labor cost regulation through a governing body like Congress, similarly to passing spending budgets. Further, clear and competent oversight of this regulation must exist. Government is organized violent power, not a business, and for the sake of freedom should stay out of the way of business, which entails government successfully self regulate to prevent encroaching on freedom and creating revolution. Again, there is no easy answer, but it is not impossible to be intelligent and reasonable.
This is just an idea. Does anyone have a better one, or an improvement to this system?
NOTE: I used this concept as the premise for a science fiction book and yet-to-be-produced movie script, titled: Proxy – When Robots Work Better. You can get a copy at Barnes and Noble, or online. More info at www.ProxyByJasonMallory.com