Author Topic: Robots and their impact on the future  (Read 227202 times)

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5416
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1000 on: December 14, 2016, 09:18:49 PM »
The world only has something like 5 acres per person. So...if half of them want 20 acres....we need another planet the same size. And then the other half get zero each.

While technically correct, that's an optimistic scenario.  Every person in the world can have five acres of land, on the condition that a whole bunch of those folks are going to get 5 acres of the Sahara desert or the middle of Antarctica.

I'll take my five in Hawaii, thanks.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1001 on: December 14, 2016, 09:58:51 PM »
Most people in this forum are on their way to being part of those capitalists at the top.  I hope we don't end up being the petty nobility in the next French Revolution. 


No they aren't.  Almost everyone doesn't fully grasp just how extreme inequality has gotten.  The much talked about "1%" is quite literally closer to the poverty line than they are to the average 0.1%


http://www.cnbc.com/2014/03/31/the-other-wealth-gapthe-1-vs-the-001.html


http://theweek.com/speedreads/442263/chart-americas-01-percent-now-have-much-wealth-bottom-90-percent
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1002 on: December 14, 2016, 10:03:44 PM »
It is difficult for me to see how the current wealth disparity is simply a byproduct of our tax framework. There are numerous factors that contribute to why some people are wealthy and some are not: geography, culture, freedom, etc.

I do agree that if wealth can buy political influence, there is a huge problem.


Certainly it is much more than just taxes, but many of the ways are in fact enabled by government.  Corporations, owning more land than you can personally defend, patents and copyrights, none of these things exist except that government creates and enforces them.
Even if you restrict it to geography, culture, freedom, etc, that still makes a vast amount of inequality not an issue of hardwork or talent or contributions, but rather makes it (at least largely) about luck.  What possible justification is there for creating a society that enhances unearned inequality rather than correct it?
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1003 on: December 14, 2016, 10:09:01 PM »
...  There will be many that say that they earned it and that they don't want to share with the those that don't own the equities of companies. ...


Well, once there's been enough time for a full turn over of humanity (3-4 generations) then everyone alive will have never had a job, and unless the definition of "earning" is expanded to include "inherited equities", then we'll either have to go socialist or come up with a justification for a secular caste system
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1004 on: December 14, 2016, 10:13:41 PM »
The world only has something like 5 acres per person. So...if half of them want 20 acres....we need another planet the same size. And then the other half get zero each.

While technically correct, that's an optimistic scenario.  Every person in the world can have five acres of land, on the condition that a whole bunch of those folks are going to get 5 acres of the Sahara desert or the middle of Antarctica.

I'll take my five in Hawaii, thanks.


Not to mention we'd have to eliminate 100% of all habitat for anything that humans don't want to live next to.  Which, fancy advanced robots or no, completely destroying the entire non-human eco-system is probably going to have some negative effects on us
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

jordanread

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6141
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Colorado Springs
  • Live Long, Live Free, Drop Dead
    • Frugal FIRE Show
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1005 on: December 14, 2016, 10:26:46 PM »
As far as land goes, don't forget Mars. :) I'm looking forward to that part!
Join the cycling challenge!
Get in shape in 2017!
Frugal FIRE - Episode 2

"Mustachians rarely sit back and let things happen to them. Mustachians go out and happen to things."

Camp Mustache Canada - Sold Out Already!!

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 26147
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1006 on: December 15, 2016, 01:58:25 AM »
Most people in this forum are on their way to being part of those capitalists at the top.  I hope we don't end up being the petty nobility in the next French Revolution. 

No they aren't.  Almost everyone doesn't fully grasp just how extreme inequality has gotten.  The much talked about "1%" is quite literally closer to the poverty line than they are to the average 0.1%

http://www.cnbc.com/2014/03/31/the-other-wealth-gapthe-1-vs-the-001.html
http://theweek.com/speedreads/442263/chart-americas-01-percent-now-have-much-wealth-bottom-90-percent

If there was a revolution, I wouldn't count on this argument to get me out of the guillotine.  Mobs are irrational.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

jordanread

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6141
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Colorado Springs
  • Live Long, Live Free, Drop Dead
    • Frugal FIRE Show
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1007 on: December 15, 2016, 04:24:55 AM »
Luckily most Mustachians don't possess the external trappings of the rich... so I'm sure the mob would just take one look at our Toyota Tercel and continue mobbing somewhere else.

You meant our bikes, right?
Join the cycling challenge!
Get in shape in 2017!
Frugal FIRE - Episode 2

"Mustachians rarely sit back and let things happen to them. Mustachians go out and happen to things."

Camp Mustache Canada - Sold Out Already!!

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1008 on: December 15, 2016, 05:04:31 AM »
My point here is that we are already using that framework to set the wealth disparity level at an arbitrary level.  I'm not proposing we put in a new economic control measure--just that we change the target of an existing one.

I guess I am just not seeing this. The lowest person would have 0 wealth (I guess they could have negative wealth through debt) and the wealthiest person could have an infinite amount of wealth. How does the tax code set the wealth disparity?

What we see now is not even close to what the future will be when technology wipes out the usefulness of labor.  How do those who do not own the companies feed themselves, have shelter, etc. when they have zero opportunity to earn income and don't own the technology?  Taxes, laws and other government control will potentially share the wealth from these technological advancements with all citizens of the US and probably more importantly the world.  There will be many that say that they earned it and that they don't want to share with the those that don't own the equities of companies.  That is where it gets weird.  We either eliminate those that have no economic value or we support them. We do this as well.  Very few people in the US pay enough taxes if you figure it out per person.  So our taxing system is based on taxing based on a progressive system, where those that make more pay the vast majority of the total taxes collected.  If we did not have that system and forced everyone to pay their "Fair Share" then many would not be able to do so and would be acting as slaves to pay as much as they could.

Who are all the wealthy people going to sell their products too if no one has any income? It is in their own best interest to have people able to buy their products. I believe this was talk about previously as well.

jordanread

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6141
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Colorado Springs
  • Live Long, Live Free, Drop Dead
    • Frugal FIRE Show
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1009 on: December 15, 2016, 05:08:20 AM »
My point here is that we are already using that framework to set the wealth disparity level at an arbitrary level.  I'm not proposing we put in a new economic control measure--just that we change the target of an existing one.

I guess I am just not seeing this. The lowest person would have 0 wealth (I guess they could have negative wealth through debt) and the wealthiest person could have an infinite amount of wealth. How does the tax code set the wealth disparity?

What we see now is not even close to what the future will be when technology wipes out the usefulness of labor.  How do those who do not own the companies feed themselves, have shelter, etc. when they have zero opportunity to earn income and don't own the technology?  Taxes, laws and other government control will potentially share the wealth from these technological advancements with all citizens of the US and probably more importantly the world.  There will be many that say that they earned it and that they don't want to share with the those that don't own the equities of companies.  That is where it gets weird.  We either eliminate those that have no economic value or we support them. We do this as well.  Very few people in the US pay enough taxes if you figure it out per person.  So our taxing system is based on taxing based on a progressive system, where those that make more pay the vast majority of the total taxes collected.  If we did not have that system and forced everyone to pay their "Fair Share" then many would not be able to do so and would be acting as slaves to pay as much as they could.

Who are all the wealthy people going to sell their products too if no one has any income? It is in their own best interest to have people able to buy their products. I believe this was talk about previously as well.

Ah yes. The idea of a consumer-based society. It was kind of discussed earlier, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.
Join the cycling challenge!
Get in shape in 2017!
Frugal FIRE - Episode 2

"Mustachians rarely sit back and let things happen to them. Mustachians go out and happen to things."

Camp Mustache Canada - Sold Out Already!!

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1010 on: December 15, 2016, 05:16:26 AM »
It is difficult for me to see how the current wealth disparity is simply a byproduct of our tax framework. There are numerous factors that contribute to why some people are wealthy and some are not: geography, culture, freedom, etc.

I do agree that if wealth can buy political influence, there is a huge problem.


Certainly it is much more than just taxes, but many of the ways are in fact enabled by government.  Corporations, owning more land than you can personally defend, patents and copyrights, none of these things exist except that government creates and enforces them.
Even if you restrict it to geography, culture, freedom, etc, that still makes a vast amount of inequality not an issue of hardwork or talent or contributions, but rather makes it (at least largely) about luck.  What possible justification is there for creating a society that enhances unearned inequality rather than correct it?

Currency, State and national boarders, the justice system, all things that only exist in our minds because we choose to believe them.

What is your definition of unearned inequality?

My justification is that I don't think our current system enhances unearned inequality and I dont think it needs to be corrected. Our current system runs on voluntary transactions so they only way to get unearned inequality is to force people to buy your product. That can only be done through the government from what I have seen.

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1011 on: December 15, 2016, 05:19:09 AM »
Ah yes. The idea of a consumer-based society. It was kind of discussed earlier, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.

What would you like to know? There are two sides to every transaction so you really can't have a consumer based society because someone has to produce those goods. More of a consumer/producer balance driven by prices.

Watchmaker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1012 on: December 15, 2016, 07:27:00 AM »
My point here is that we are already using that framework to set the wealth disparity level at an arbitrary level.  I'm not proposing we put in a new economic control measure--just that we change the target of an existing one.

I guess I am just not seeing this. The lowest person would have 0 wealth (I guess they could have negative wealth through debt) and the wealthiest person could have an infinite amount of wealth. How does the tax code set the wealth disparity?

I sympathize, as this is a complex issue and we're having a necessarily simplified conversation.  I'm hand waiving over a bunch of issues trying not to get stuck in the weeds (for example, I keep talking about wealth disparity but taxes largely affect income, not wealth).

So yes, it's not just taxes.  Up page someone mentioned patents, I think that's a great example of another tool which affects wealth disparity.

The disconnect between you an I seems to be that you don't think our current system affects wealth disparity.  I'm asking you to reflect on that.

We have a progressive tax system.  If we made our tax system more progressive, don't you think that would tighten the spread of (post tax) incomes?  And likewise, if we switched to a flat or regressive tax system, wouldn't that cause the spread in income to widen?  Just look at the income inequality in different countries around the world with different tax schemes if you want real world evidence (Sweden vs the US, for example).

Kriegsspiel

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1046
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1013 on: December 15, 2016, 07:32:34 AM »

What would you like to know? There are two sides to every transaction so you really can't have a consumer based society because someone has to produce those goods. More of a consumer/producer balance driven by prices.

Well, if the robots the rich people own are making everything, they will just keep the products, or trade with other rich people who own robots that make other stuff. You don't really need a mass consumer base. They'll realize that the raw materials and, more importantly, the energy required to run the robots can't be equally divided among all the people, so they box out the proles. There will surely be violence, which is good. Because it's a lot of fun to watch movies and play video games about wars.

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1014 on: December 15, 2016, 07:43:18 AM »
I sympathize, as this is a complex issue and we're having a necessarily simplified conversation.  I'm hand waiving over a bunch of issues trying not to get stuck in the weeds (for example, I keep talking about wealth disparity but taxes largely affect income, not wealth).

So yes, it's not just taxes.  Up page someone mentioned patents, I think that's a great example of another tool which affects wealth disparity.

The disconnect between you an I seems to be that you don't think our current system affects wealth disparity.  I'm asking you to reflect on that.

We have a progressive tax system.  If we made our tax system more progressive, don't you think that would tighten the spread of (post tax) incomes?  And likewise, if we switched to a flat or regressive tax system, wouldn't that cause the spread in income to widen?  Just look at the income inequality in different countries around the world with different tax schemes if you want real world evidence (Sweden vs the US, for example).

I don't think this is our disconnect. I agree. The wealth disparity could be fixed almost instantly through taxes and the current tax system keeps it from being "fixed". Arebelspy and others have shown me this upthread and I cannot disagree.

The disconnect is I do not think wealth disparity is an issue at all. The wealth of another person doesn't affect me at all so why does anyone care that I may have less wealth than anyone else?

Watchmaker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1015 on: December 15, 2016, 08:03:00 AM »
I don't think this is our disconnect. I agree.

My mistake.

The disconnect is I do not think wealth disparity is an issue at all. The wealth of another person doesn't affect me at all so why does anyone care that I may have less wealth than anyone else?

The same societal tools which controlled (assisted, limited) how wealthy that someone else is also affected you.  So while their level of wealth may not directly affect yours, the environment in which you both operated did.  And the degree to which it rewarded their harder work/bigger brain/better genetics/more luck over you is an arbitrary one which we have picked as a society.



Schaefer Light

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 829
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1016 on: December 15, 2016, 08:09:28 AM »
I don't think this is our disconnect. I agree.

My mistake.

The disconnect is I do not think wealth disparity is an issue at all. The wealth of another person doesn't affect me at all so why does anyone care that I may have less wealth than anyone else?

The same societal tools which controlled (assisted, limited) how wealthy that someone else is also affected you.  So while their level of wealth may not directly affect yours, the environment in which you both operated did.  And the degree to which it rewarded their harder work/bigger brain/better genetics/more luck over you is an arbitrary one which we have picked as a society.

Well, that reward system makes more sense than one in which we reward people for being stupid and lazy.

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1017 on: December 15, 2016, 08:23:17 AM »
I don't think this is our disconnect. I agree.

My mistake.

The disconnect is I do not think wealth disparity is an issue at all. The wealth of another person doesn't affect me at all so why does anyone care that I may have less wealth than anyone else?

The same societal tools which controlled (assisted, limited) how wealthy that someone else is also affected you.  So while their level of wealth may not directly affect yours, the environment in which you both operated did.  And the degree to which it rewarded their harder work/bigger brain/better genetics/more luck over you is an arbitrary one which we have picked as a society.

I may be wrong, but the way I read this is: Since we operate in the same govermental/tax system (environment), that system hindered me from becoming wealthy while helping someone else become wealthy due to "harder work, bigger brain, better genetics, more luck, etc."

Also, in what way have we as a society picked an arbitrary degree to which people get rewarded based on those factors? In my opinion, society rewards those that produce the most value too society. Society rewards apple for coming up with the iPhone and the updates they add by buying them. Society, in the future, will reward whoever figures out how to cost effectively: turn solar energy into electricity, desalinate ocean water, etc.

The more I read your comment the more I am confused by it and my fist response too it for that matter. Haha

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1018 on: December 15, 2016, 08:26:39 AM »
I don't think this is our disconnect. I agree.

My mistake.

The disconnect is I do not think wealth disparity is an issue at all. The wealth of another person doesn't affect me at all so why does anyone care that I may have less wealth than anyone else?

The same societal tools which controlled (assisted, limited) how wealthy that someone else is also affected you.  So while their level of wealth may not directly affect yours, the environment in which you both operated did.  And the degree to which it rewarded their harder work/bigger brain/better genetics/more luck over you is an arbitrary one which we have picked as a society.

Well, that reward system makes more sense than one in which we reward people for being stupid and lazy.

The current system does not reward that at all. You don't become a billionaire by being stupid and lazy. (Unless you inherit the money or will a billion dollar powerball. Both of which simply make you lucky.)

Watchmaker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1019 on: December 15, 2016, 09:32:05 AM »
I may be wrong, but the way I read this is: Since we operate in the same govermental/tax system (environment), that system hindered me from becoming wealthy while helping someone else become wealthy due to "harder work, bigger brain, better genetics, more luck, etc."

Also, in what way have we as a society picked an arbitrary degree to which people get rewarded based on those factors? In my opinion, society rewards those that produce the most value too society. Society rewards apple for coming up with the iPhone and the updates they add by buying them. Society, in the future, will reward whoever figures out how to cost effectively: turn solar energy into electricity, desalinate ocean water, etc.

The more I read your comment the more I am confused by it and my fist response too it for that matter. Haha

It may be that you think I'm talking about a larger change then I am.  Let me try again.

I'm not saying the system simply hindered you and assisted someone else, and that's the only reason they have more money.  People's work ethic, brains, genetics, etc are why they do better than others.  I'm not arguing we try to change that, only that we tweak the system which affects the degree to which they are rewarded for those things.

Imagine two people, A and B, living in the the society.

A is a good employee and diligent, but not exceptionally so.
B is a brilliant, hard working person who creates a whole new industry through their technical and business innovation.

I want B to be rewarded for their efforts more than A, as I'm sure you do too.  But it isn't a binary choice of rewarding someone for their accomplishments or not; we also must make choices (as a society) that affect how well they will be rewarded.

Let's say A has a job making $50,000 a year.  And B founds a company that makes him $50,000,000 a year. now imagine three different tax situations:

1. A flat tax of 20% of each person's income.
2. A progressive tax system which taxes A's salary at 15% and B's salary at 40%.
3. A even more progressive system which taxes A's salary at 0% and B's at 70%.

Holding everything else constant, it's obvious that the gap in their post tax income will be largest in situation 1 and smallest in situation 3.   

In the US we are currently closest to situation 2, but in the past have had marginal income tax rates higher than situation 3.  I don't see an argument for why situation 2 is better, or in some intrinsic way more right, than situation 3 (or vice versa).

So, since we're already using societal tools to affect that gap, why should it be off the table to modify the settings of those tools?

« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 09:53:46 AM by Watchmaker »

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1020 on: December 15, 2016, 09:51:39 AM »
Thank you for that reply. Everything is much clearer.

I am now wondering what studies have been done to analyse various tax structures and incentives they provide for economic and standard of living growth.

Another point would be a moral one. Is it moral for a third party to decide how much reward someone should get based on voluntary transactions?

Watchmaker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1021 on: December 15, 2016, 10:04:53 AM »
Another point would be a moral one. Is it moral for a third party to decide how much reward someone should get based on voluntary transactions?

I think that's reasonable to ask, but again since we are already making decisions that affect how much reward someone gets (through taxes, IP laws, minimum wage, etc) I don't think my suggestion is altering the morality of the situation.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1022 on: December 15, 2016, 10:20:23 AM »
Currency, State and national boarders, the justice system, all things that only exist in our minds because we choose to believe them.


Yes, exactly, and there are some more things without which no one could ever become a billionaire.
Currency in particular, but even more so Corporations, owning more land than you can personally defend (title deeds), patents and copyrights, none of these things exist except that government creates and enforces them.

Quote
What is your definition of unearned inequality?
Any difference in wealth due, in whole or in part, to anything other than differences in talent, creativity, and work ethic.  You seem to have the underlying base assumption that the reason some people are richer than others is 100% because rich people earned more wealth through innovation, while most of the others in this thread acknowledge that may be a factor sometimes, but believe it is not the only one.

Quote
My justification is that I don't think our current system enhances unearned inequality and I dont think it needs to be corrected.
An entity like WalMart could not exist without government protection.  WalMart makes deals with lawmakers, gets (anit-competitive) tax breaks, moves in and, due to its size and policies, is able to undercut local stores and still make a profit, eventually running them out of business.  The local stores may have sourced locally, and/or paid more than minimum wage, and at the very least was owned by an individual, probably doing well for them self but not rich.  Now all the employees as well as the owner have to get new jobs, and the primary employer left is... the WalMart.  Any customers previously loyal to the local shop now have to shop at WalMart.
They are an easy and popular target, but retell the same story for any of the 100s of nationwide chains, and notice that almost every strip mall in America has the same set of names on the signs.


Without Adam Smiths "perfect competition", transactions aren't really voluntary anymore.  If there are only 2 or 3 affordable sources of food a reasonable distance from home, you have to get your food from one of them.
Without government issued corporate charters, this would not be true, and small business people could actually compete in a free market.


If you own 20 houses and 3 apartment buildings, you can easily afford to buy more.  And more.  Until you have a rental empire, and go from merely wealthy to rich.  If you have zero property, and have to pay rent, it is a lot harder to even buy your own house to live in than it is for the land mogul to expand.  It takes more hard work and innovation just to get the basics, to not be spending most of one's income on making someone else rich. 
But without government issued land title deeds, this situation would never happen.


These are two examples of the government distorting the market.  If we really had a free, competitive market, then everything you are saying would make sense, but we don't.


And this is without even getting into inheritance - around half of the top richest people in the country (as well as our president elect) received tens or hundreds of millions - in some cases billions- of dollars just for being born to the right person.  Some took those hundreds of millions and leveraged it into billions, but that is still (mostly) unearned wealth.  Its about ten million times easier to become a billionaire when you get handed ten million dollars compared to if you have to earn that first ten million yourself, through hard work and innovation.


The wealth of another person doesn't affect me at all so why does anyone care that I may have less wealth than anyone else?


Of course it does!  There isn't a supply of infinity dollars in the world.  Money represents (however loosely) actually resources in the real world.  And at any given moment, there is a finite amount of them.  We can increase the value of it with technology and labor, but it will never be infinite.  That means the it is simply a mathematical reality that the more one person has of the pool, the smaller the pool is for everyone else. 



So lets say the top 1% were helped in getting rich via market distorting government actions (this is much more true of the 0.1%, but its harder to find good infographics for them).
One thing this chart is telling us, it there would be (on average) twice as much available in the pool for the lower 40% if the 1% weren't hoarding so much of it for themselves.




To tie it back to the initial topic:
Imagine someone owns a factory with 100 workers, each making $20 per hour.
A new robot is invented that can do the work of 10 workers, at a cost of $10,000 each.
The factory owner can make back the cost of ten robots in a little over a week.
Now there are 99 unemployed people (income changed from $20 an hour to $0), one robot technician (income goes from $20 and hour to $100), and a very rich factory owner (profit just increased by $4 million per year).

That factory owner did not just make that 4 million a year by having a better product or working harder, he did it by making a purchase. 
Now envision a different type of culture, one that values society as a whole:
Same robot is invented. one is need
Each employee learns robot maintenance, but only is needed at a time.  So each one cuts back to one hour every two and half weeks of work - and gets a raise to $2000 an hour.
Now every employee makes the same take home pay in each check, but has a whole lot of free time to spend with family, art, learning, whatever they want.  The factory owner is still making whatever profit he was to begin with, but with a much more relaxed and happy workforce.


Explain why the second scenario is worse for everyone?
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

dougules

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 885
  • Location: AL
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1023 on: December 15, 2016, 11:19:15 AM »
The world has been through this issue already to some extent.  Automation has been happening for 200 years now.  In the 1890s you had the robber barons getting ridiculously rich, but several changes evened inequality out a bit.  I'm sure there are some lessons there, especially for government policy. 

Most people in this forum are on their way to being part of those capitalists at the top.  I hope we don't end up being the petty nobility in the next French Revolution. 


No they aren't.  Almost everyone doesn't fully grasp just how extreme inequality has gotten.  The much talked about "1%" is quite literally closer to the poverty line than they are to the average 0.1%


http://www.cnbc.com/2014/03/31/the-other-wealth-gapthe-1-vs-the-001.html


http://theweek.com/speedreads/442263/chart-americas-01-percent-now-have-much-wealth-bottom-90-percent

I wasn't saying that people here are anywhere close to the top in terms of income or wealth.  I'm just saying that post-FIRE folks are earning money the same way that the super rich are, through capital instead of labor.  That means if labor were worth nothing then people that have hit FIRE would still be in the same place.  It would probably actually be better since COL would go way down. 

Luckily most Mustachians don't possess the external trappings of the rich... so I'm sure the mob would just take one look at our Toyota Tercel and continue mobbing somewhere else.

You meant our bikes, right?

I hope you're right.  Well really I hope our economic system adjusts itself peacefully and democratically. 

In the worst case nightmare scenario, though, having a half-way decent house and good nutrition could make you look rich, less yet a new bicycle or even a fancy Toyota Tercel in half-way running condition. 

One other issue is that this will play out differently in different countries.  It's possible that even countries that adjust to a new economic system well might be dragged into problems by next door countries that don't adjust so well. 

Let's hope the masses around the world revolt with ballots not with torches and pitch forks. 

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1024 on: December 15, 2016, 12:08:49 PM »
Your only looking at the 100 workers.

There is value in the factory owner being able to assemble the parts and pieces necessary to start the factory in the first place.

If the factory owner is not allowed to upgrade to the new robot, someone else will because they will be able to offer the same product at a lower price. This will eventually put our factory owner out of buisness costing us all of the 100 jobs.

Lets not forget about that other factory that makes the robot. If we don't allow our owner to upgrade all those jobs are lost also.

That doesn't include the 100's of millions of people that buy the product and must now pay higher prices than they otherwise would. What about the jobs that would benefit from the extra money they can spend on other products?

Money flows to what is most profitable. If our owner finds a way to make more profit other players will enter the market to get in on that profit.

Other topics:

My base assumption is not that 100% reward is based on hard work, talent, etc. People win the lottery. There is an element of luck in alot of things and your not going to be able to legislate that to fairness by getting rid of the wealth disparity.

I think Wal-mart is a good example. I agree, Wal-mart in its current form would not exist without government intervention. That's why I think the governement shouldn't be able to hand  favors in the first place. The government picking winners and loser is wrong. That doesn't take away anything from Sam Walton and the systems he put in place to increase turnover and lower prices for everyone.

I absolutly think transactions are voluntary. If the cost for you to travel farther away for cheaper food exceeds the prices at our 2-3 stores you should be thankful those stores are there because if they weren't you would be paying even more. Maybe you could start your own small store, keep overhead low and offer even lower prices to your community.

You housing and apartment example is silly to me. Yes it is hard to save money. Yes it is easier to grow wealth if you have it. I guess I dont understand your point?

The Fed can print as many dollars as they want so they are technically infinite. Reguardless, the fact that someone is wealthy does not mean I am less wealthy. What do they do with their money? Some gets spent on goods and services. Some gets invested in stocks and bonds which fuels innovation and growth. The money isn't stagnant, it continues to move through the economy.

If someone gets rich through market distorting government actions that is wrong. We should limit the ability of the government to do these things.

I think I responded to every one of your points and I very much appreciate the discussion. Thank you.

tomsang

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 970
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1025 on: December 15, 2016, 01:25:09 PM »
Your only looking at the 100 workers.

There is value in the factory owner being able to assemble the parts and pieces necessary to start the factory in the first place.

If the factory owner is not allowed to upgrade to the new robot, someone else will because they will be able to offer the same product at a lower price. This will eventually put our factory owner out of buisness costing us all of the 100 jobs.

Lets not forget about that other factory that makes the robot. If we don't allow our owner to upgrade all those jobs are lost also.

That doesn't include the 100's of millions of people that buy the product and must now pay higher prices than they otherwise would. What about the jobs that would benefit from the extra money they can spend on other products?

Money flows to what is most profitable. If our owner finds a way to make more profit other players will enter the market to get in on that profit.

Other topics:

My base assumption is not that 100% reward is based on hard work, talent, etc. People win the lottery. There is an element of luck in alot of things and your not going to be able to legislate that to fairness by getting rid of the wealth disparity.

I think Wal-mart is a good example. I agree, Wal-mart in its current form would not exist without government intervention. That's why I think the governement shouldn't be able to hand  favors in the first place. The government picking winners and loser is wrong. That doesn't take away anything from Sam Walton and the systems he put in place to increase turnover and lower prices for everyone.

I absolutly think transactions are voluntary. If the cost for you to travel farther away for cheaper food exceeds the prices at our 2-3 stores you should be thankful those stores are there because if they weren't you would be paying even more. Maybe you could start your own small store, keep overhead low and offer even lower prices to your community.

You housing and apartment example is silly to me. Yes it is hard to save money. Yes it is easier to grow wealth if you have it. I guess I dont understand your point?

The Fed can print as many dollars as they want so they are technically infinite. Reguardless, the fact that someone is wealthy does not mean I am less wealthy. What do they do with their money? Some gets spent on goods and services. Some gets invested in stocks and bonds which fuels innovation and growth. The money isn't stagnant, it continues to move through the economy.

If someone gets rich through market distorting government actions that is wrong. We should limit the ability of the government to do these things.

I think I responded to every one of your points and I very much appreciate the discussion. Thank you.

Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Ford, Rockefeller and others would have 100% control of this world if the government did not restrict them.  These were not just savvy businessmen, they were crooks under the current law.  If we roll back the taxes, laws that "stifle" growth and prosperity to the .1%, we may be creating a new batch of Robber Barons.   

The Robber Barons of the future will be the ones that control the technology/AI/Robots.  How government mitigates this is very important.  How the wealth of society has always been important, but the future I believe is different as people will not be needed for labor.  So what value do they provide to those that own the technology?  Why would they just give resources to them if the government says that they don't have to do that?

Technology as we have seen over thousands of years is great for society as society changed with the fairly slow in todays terms of change and everyone owned the benefits in society.  The AI/Robot technology leaps will be impossible for anyone to keep up.  Those on the lower end of the education will be wiped out first, but there is not a programmer, scientist or engineer that can compete with technology that is a billion times more powerful than today.  I am sure that I am not using the correct multiplier, but the exponential growth in computing power and technology year after year makes it difficult to say how much more powerful technology will be in 20 or 30 years.  I am sure it will have the ability to make everyone's lives much better if they laws, taxes, and benefits of this cool windfall are shared.  I believe that laws need to be set up now, for things in the future. 

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1026 on: December 15, 2016, 01:40:20 PM »
I think I responded to every one of your points and I very much appreciate the discussion. Thank you.

well, no, you skipped the last one, with the direct question:
"Each employee learns robot maintenance, but only is needed at a time.  So each one cuts back to one hour every two and half weeks of work - and gets a raise to $2000 an hour.Now every employee makes the same take home pay in each check, but has a whole lot of free time to spend with family, art, learning, whatever they want.  The factory owner is still making whatever profit he was to begin with, but with a much more relaxed and happy workforce.Explain why the second scenario is worse for everyone?"

Quote

Your only looking at the 100 workers.

Yes, because it is simpler to explain.  Expanding it doesn't change the overall point though.

Quote

There is value in the factory owner being able to assemble the parts and pieces necessary to start the factory in the first place.

which is why he is allowed to own the means of production, and get all of the profit the factory produces.  He is likely richer than all his employees, which is his reward for being an entrepreneur.

Quote

If the factory owner is not allowed to upgrade to the new robot, someone else will because they will be able to offer the same product at a lower price.

Yes, again - looking at one example in order to explain.  The same thing happens across ALL factories, and you scale up the 100 workers to tens of thousands of workers.
The fact that this is how it works at all is what I am suggesting society could change.  We aren't fated to devolve to the lowest common denominator. 
This argument is exactly like saying we should repeal the minimum wage, all OSHA related rules, and all environmental protections, because other nations have no worker or ecological protections, and we need to be able to compete.  So then the whole world ends up looking (and smelling) like Beijing, and we have a lot of amputee former laborers.  Great, we're competitive.  Or maybe instead of doing something just because if we don't someone else will beat us to it, we change the rules so that EVERYONE does what is best for everyone instead.


Quote

 This will eventually put our factory owner out of buisness costing us all of the 100 jobs.


Notice, in my scenario #2 I wasn't suggesting that the robots not be purchased.  I suggested that the productivity they generate, (which was created by an invention of technology, not by the factory owner) be shared among more people, instead of benefiting one person at the expense of others.  You are responding to that with a false dichotomy which wasn't even one of the options I presented (either firing everyone or not upgrading with robots at all)

Quote

Lets not forget about that other factory that makes the robot. If we don't allow our owner to upgrade all those jobs are lost also.

Seriously?  You think the robot making factory can't make robots to build the robots?  That's literally what they do.

Quote

That doesn't include the 100's of millions of people that buy the product and must now pay higher prices than they otherwise would.

Nothing I said has any relation to raising prices.  The implication is that the cost savings would be passed on to the consumer, but were that the case wealth inequality would not have been dramatically outpacing inflation for the past couple decades.  A significant portion of the labor savings gets skimmed off by owner and stock holder profits.  In perfect competition, yes, profits for all companies are zero, because everyone sells at cost, in order to compete.  In the real world nearly every corporation has a non-zero profit margin.  So people are already "paying higher prices than they otherwise would" if the owners of the means of production weren't skimming so much off of each transaction.

Quote

 What about the jobs that would benefit from the extra money they can spend on other products?
You mean all the other products that are also made by robots, (or outsourced if its cheaper)?

Quote

My base assumption is not that 100% reward is based on hard work, talent, etc. People win the lottery. There is an element of luck in alot of things and your not going to be able to legislate that to fairness by getting rid of the wealth disparity.

no, but you can diminish it, or, conversely, you can enhance it.  You can make it easier for money to make money, or make it relatively easier for labor to make money.  For example, we tax unearned income at half the rate of earned income (capital gains versus wages), without even counting SS or UI. 

Quote

I think Wal-mart is a good example. I agree, Wal-mart in its current form would not exist without government intervention. That's why I think the governement shouldn't be able to hand  favors in the first place. The government picking winners and loser is wrong.

It isn't about them picking individuals.  Its just a system designed that whoever has a head start can dominate.  That lottery winner, or the person with the inheritance, or the guy with one lucky break as a businessman, then has an automatic advantage in increasing the gap.

Quote

That doesn't take away anything from Sam Walton and the systems he put in place to increase turnover and lower prices for everyone.

Sam Walton has been dead for 24 years.

Quote

I absolutly think transactions are voluntary. If the cost for you to travel farther away for cheaper food exceeds the prices at our 2-3 stores you should be thankful those stores are there because if they weren't you would be paying even more.

You apparently have a different definition of "voluntary" than I do.  That people choose the best option of artificially limited options is inevitable, but the fact of artificial limitation means it isn't true freedom.  The entity limiting those options is coercing a choice.  Yes, one could hypothetically "choose" the worse option for themself, but that doesn't make doing the lesser of several bad options a real choice.

Quote

 Maybe you could start your own small store, keep overhead low and offer even lower prices to your community.
Not if I don't have the capital to start my own robot factory or a factory in China.

Quote

You housing and apartment example is silly to me. Yes it is hard to save money. Yes it is easier to grow wealth if you have it. I guess I dont understand your point?
  It is hard to save money BECAUSE the government defends land deeds.  It is easier to grow wealth if you have it BECAUSE of that, plus the issuance of corporate charters.  If the government only recognized the right of a person to own the land they personally lived and/or worked on, then it would be very east to buy your own home, and therefor to save money and begin accumulating wealth.  If no (or very limited) corporate charters were issued, it would be much easier to start a comptetive small business.

Quote

The Fed can print as many dollars as they want so they are technically infinite.

False. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation_in_the_Weimar_Republic
If money is not tied to GDP in anyway, it quickly becomes worthless.


Quote

Reguardless, the fact that someone is wealthy does not mean I am less wealthy.

Well, I don't know how to be more clear on this.  There is roughly 100 trillion dollars of value in the world.  Not infinity.  It grows slowly over time due to technology, but at any given time it is a fixed amount.  The more any one person has from the pool, the smaller what is left.  That's just mathmatical fact, it isn't really subject to opinion or interpretation.

Quote

 What do they do with their money? Some gets spent on goods and services. Some gets invested in stocks and bonds which fuels innovation and growth. The money isn't stagnant, it continues to move through the economy.

Relevance?  Are you saying everyone in the world is equally wealthy, whether they live under a freeway or in a mansion, because money is always changing hands?  At any given moment, the wealthy are holding more money.  Yeah, I guess if someone spent 100% of there income on services and experiences, and had no accumulated wealth in any form, then there fortune would not diminish the world supply and they would only be creating jobs for others.  Even in that case, though, it is possible to envision a world where everyone had more disposable income to spend on experiences more equally.

Quote

If someone gets rich through market distorting government actions that is wrong.

My point is that this is the ONLY way anyone gets rich (aside from inheritance, which is even more unearned)

Quote

We should limit the ability of the government to do these things.

Well, finally, we agree on something!

« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 01:42:50 PM by Bakari »
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

pdxmonkey

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 256
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1027 on: December 15, 2016, 05:43:06 PM »
So uh....when all the factories upgrade they start competing on price....and the $4 million additional profit goes away and society benefits from lower prices. Yay. Problem solved. We already have anti-monopoly and anti-collusion laws. So the above will happen. If it doesn't...then there's likely either price collusion which is illegal or someone has established a monopoly, which is also already illegal in most advanced countries. So uh...problem of the $4 million profit already solved using existing laws?

Problem of 1 robot repair man and 99 unemployed people. Not solved so much.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1028 on: December 15, 2016, 06:41:05 PM »
So uh....when all the factories upgrade they start competing on price....and the $4 million additional profit goes away and society benefits from lower prices. Yay. Problem solved. We already have anti-monopoly and anti-collusion laws. So the above will happen. If it doesn't...then there's likely either price collusion which is illegal or someone has established a monopoly, which is also already illegal in most advanced countries. So uh...problem of the $4 million profit already solved using existing laws?

Problem of 1 robot repair man and 99 unemployed people. Not solved so much.


There are few monopolies, but many oligopolies.  They are not illegal, and don't necessarily lead to out right price fixing, but they do lead to less competition which in turn means more of the product of efficiency increases goes to profits.


If the rate of increased productivity was really passed on to consumers via lower prices, then everything would get cheaper and cheaper, and the cost of living would decrease.  In reality we always see inflation.  Sometimes faster than others, but overall the price of goods goes up.


If it were not true that profits were increasing then the class that gets most of its income from profit (dividends, CEO pay, company ownership) would remain relatively constant compared to wage earners.  This is not the reality we see.












This growing gap has occurred alongside the rise of globalization and automation and corporate consolidation, 3 things companies do to make themselves more profit and reduce workforce expenses. 


Goods are not cheaper than they were a few decades ago, which means a flat or nearly flat line for income (adjusted for inflation) is equal to a decrease in purchasing power parity.


But even if this theory was valid, someone who is completely unemployed still has no income even if the stuff in the new WalMart is cheaper than the old local store, so it isn't necessarily that helpful. 

Quote
Problem of 1 robot repair man and 99 unemployed people. Not solved so much.
But see, that's my point: that's the same problem.
The robots are supposedly going to reduce prices by the amount the save.  The 99 unemployed people don't benefit overall from slightly reduced costs of whatever the factory produces enough to make up for the loss of a job.  Those 100 people ARE "society". 

Here's a real life example:  A friend of mine was just layed off.  The law firm he worked for was bought out by a larger law firm.  They eliminated all redundant positions.
A law firm has no product, they are strictly a service industry.  So "buying" one essentially means taking over clients and cases.  In other words they purchased the jobs themselves, and then saved on labor costs by having fewer people do the same work. 
There is no benefit to the clients in this transaction, nor to the employees.
In contrast to pooplips' assertion, this was not a voluntary transaction for either the clients nor the employees.


This is perfectly legal, since they aren't the only law firm in the country, it is not a monopoly.  But it is unquestionably anti-competitive.  The entire point of buy-outs is to be anti-competitive.  And it never results in lower prices.

The theory you are suggesting only works under perfect competition.  As soon as you have corporations, you can not have perfect competition.  Adam Smith would roll in his grave if he knew how his theories would be used in the literal opposite of the context he applied them to.


« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 06:53:35 PM by Bakari »
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1029 on: December 15, 2016, 06:49:16 PM »
Sorry I didn't directly answer that question. In the second scenario everyone is worse off because it can't happen unless the government owns the means of production and that had turned out poorly everywhere (Russia comes to mind). If our owner automates and shifts worker schedules to no additional profit someone else will elimate those workers and undercut our owner by passing off those profits. Not to mention, the owner wouldn't automate if there was no additional profit because there would be no pay back period on his capital investment.

Yes it does. Not looking at the bigger picture causes you to only look at the 100 jobs and not 1000 jobs your plan eliminates due to second order effects.

Yes we should get rid of min wage, OSHA, etc. Unions/collective bargaining can hand these issues just fine. We would not look like Beijing because the American people would demand cleaner products.

No one would buy robots with no additional profit motive. Why invest the capital? By you suggesting the owner is getting rich at the expense of the 100 you are once again ignoring second order effects. You are choosing to protect the workers at the expense of the hundreds of millions of people that would benefit through lower prices.

Where did you get the idea that in "perfect competition" profit margins are zero? Why would anyone produce anything is they couldn't make money doing it? Profit margins eb and flow over time as preferences for product change they do not stay stagnant. Competition drives down prices until new capital can get better profits elsewhere in the market.

I agree that unearned income should not be taxed less than labor income. I would get rid of all taxes and institute a national sales tax and a profit tax which puts corporate profit tax liability directly on the shareholders to pay. I believe I have said this elsewhere.

I don't see someone having a head start as being a problem. People have head starts or advantages in billions of different ways. If some guy got lucky, so be it.

Please tell me what true freedom is? If there are no stores you only option is to grow your own food. That one option doesn't sound like a whole lot of freedom based on your implied definition.

Property rites are the base for our society. Eliminate that and it will crush us.

Just because they would be worthless doesn't mean we can't print money forever. The problem is you still think money is real. Money is nothing more than a promise for claims on future goods. The government can change that in a instant.

Value is not finite. How much value did oil have before human knew how to use it? Zero. Yes, at any one instance value is finite but in the very next instant it can double triple ...

What I am saying is that the wealthy are not hoarding money to your detriment. Unless they have $100 bills under there mattress, that money is out in the economy being used for productive purposes. It is providing loans for small businesses, mortgages for people, etc.

I do not believe that government intervention is the only way people get rich. I personally know people that are wealthy in spite of government intervention, not because of it.

I am glad we agree on one thing. Haha. It is much harder to respond on a phone vs a desktop.

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1030 on: December 15, 2016, 07:00:31 PM »
Looking at household income data doesn't paint an accurate picture. Households vary by size across incomes over time. It's much better to look at real income per cap.

It's also better to look at individual incomes over time vs a snapshot. The same people are not in the same quintile over time.

For example, over 50% of Americans will be in the top quintile of incomes at some point in there lives. 95% of individuals starting in the bottom quintile moved out of that quintile over the course of the 15year period that the study looked at. People are getting wealthier as they move through time.

tomsang

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 970
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1031 on: December 15, 2016, 07:24:58 PM »
I do not believe that government intervention is the only way people get rich. I personally know people that are wealthy in spite of government intervention, not because of it.
I am glad we agree on one thing. Haha. It is much harder to respond on a phone vs a desktop.

I don't think anyone has said that people get rich only because of the government, but government can keep the playing field level or minimize the outliers.  IE, They make sure that monopolies are not allowed to continue, they make sure that taxes are coming from taxpayers that are in the best position to pay the cost of society, they can make sure that all the spoils of the universe don't go to a select few, they make sure that companies don't pollute our environment, etc. 

Without government it would be the wild west and those with power would squash anyone that got in their way.  The Robber Barons are a good indicator of what happens without government intervention.  Every person should have the opportunity to succeed.  Without the estate tax, other forms of taxation and various laws, the richest families would take over the world because they have the financial ability to dominate those weaker then them.  Their kids would become royalty and continue this way forever.  The government is what mitigates this.  Our taxes have dropped significantly in the past thirty years which has expanded the inequality and the new Trump/GOP tax laws are projected to accelerate the inequality now and into the future. 

Kriegsspiel

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1046
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1032 on: December 15, 2016, 07:34:11 PM »
Robots now unbeatable in tic tac toe.



Our time is short.

pdxmonkey

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 256
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1033 on: December 15, 2016, 07:41:07 PM »

If the rate of increased productivity was really passed on to consumers via lower prices, then everything would get cheaper and cheaper, and the cost of living would decrease.  In reality we always see inflation.  Sometimes faster than others, but overall the price of goods goes up.


The cost of living does typically decrease over time when ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION. Inflation isn't caused by greedy people raising prices. It's caused by an ever increasing money supply and the way the federal reserve runs the monetary system since moving to FIAT currency.

Here's an example http://inflationdata.com/articles/2013/03/21/food-price-inflation-1913/ Yeah...food prices are way up because of inflation...you know what else is way up...up even more? INCOME.

Popular comparisons that are easy to find data for are things like housing, cars and gas. Those are going to show that those things now cost more. But that's not really comparing apples to apples whereas looking at food literally is. Houses now are way bigger, better insulated, etc. Cars are much safer and have many additional costly mandated safety features. Gas is a non-renewable commodity that inflation adjusted has remained nearly the same in price for 100 years even though the oil used to produce it continually gets harder to extract as there becomes less and less of it.

I'd be interested to see data on things other than food that are directly comparable, but I don't think there are many.

pdxmonkey

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 256
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1034 on: December 15, 2016, 07:57:03 PM »
Looking at cars I think it's pretty easy to argue they're cheaper today as well. I'd say the cheapest cars in the world today are probably better than a Model T was. A model T was something like $300 in the 1920's. Incomes are over something like 40x what they were in the 20's. These cars are a bit over 10x for the cheapest.

http://www.therichest.com/luxury/auto/the-top-10-cheapest-cars-in-the-world/

I am unaware of what the cheapest car was in the 20's so feel free to make a better comparison if you feel there is one.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 08:07:19 PM by pdxmonkey »

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1035 on: December 15, 2016, 07:57:26 PM »
Great point pdx. Cars, computers, clothing, aswell as a to. Of other things have gone down in cost including higher quality.

Looking at this issue through the concept of Yeild Purchasing Power also shines some light on how bad people are getting killed by artificially low interest rates.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 26147
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1036 on: December 15, 2016, 09:49:33 PM »
Robots now unbeatable in tic tac toe.



I had to watch it twice, then couldn't help laughing.

Well played, Robot.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1037 on: December 15, 2016, 09:58:18 PM »
Looking at household income data doesn't paint an accurate picture. Households vary by size across incomes over time. It's much better to look at real income per cap.


True, but that's the data that is most readily available.  Household  income makes it look better than it really is, because over the past 50 years an increasing share of households have become 2 earner households.


The cost of living does typically decrease over time when ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION.





http://www.mybudget360.com/cost-of-living-compare-1975-2015-inflation-price-changes-history/


see also https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-4/pdf/the-cost-of-basic-necessities-has-risen-slightly-more-than-inflation-over-the-last-30-years.pdf






Quote
Inflation isn't caused by greedy people raising prices. It's caused by an ever increasing money supply and the way the federal reserve runs the monetary system since moving to FIAT currency.
I agree completely that this is a significant part of it, though (in theory) the Fed is supposed to balance the increase in money supply to more or less match the increase in GDP, with some wiggle room to affect interest rates (and therefore growth).
This is why Pooplips assertion that money is infinite is wrong.
However, it is also true that profits have increased over time




http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/corporate-profits


"CORPORATE profits are at their highest level in at least 85 years. Employee compensation is at the lowest level in 65 years. The Commerce Department last week estimated that corporations earned $2.1 trillion during 2013, and paid $419 billion in corporate taxes. The after-tax profit of $1.7 trillion amounted to 10 percent of gross domestic product during the year, the first full year it has been that high. In 2012, it was 9.7 percent, itself a record."


https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/05/business/economy/corporate-profits-grow-ever-larger-as-slice-of-economy-as-wages-slide.html







http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/11/corporate-profit-margins-vs-wages-in-one-disturbing-chart.html


Quote
Here's an example http://inflationdata.com/articles/2013/03/21/food-price-inflation-1913/ Yeah...food prices are way up because of inflation...you know what else is way up...up even more? INCOME.
I already posted charts in my last post, showing inflation adjusted income being flat or even negative for a majority (about 60%) of the population.  There is also the one directly above, with average wages over time.

Quote
Popular comparisons that are easy to find data for are things like housing, cars and gas. Those are going to show that those things now cost more. But that's not really comparing apples to apples whereas looking at food literally is. Houses now are way bigger, better insulated, etc.
New houses are bigger, yes.  Houses built in the 80s, 70s, 60s, 50s, back to 1900 and before still exist, mostly at thier original sizes, and are generally more expensive now then when they were new, even adjusted for inflation.


Yes, I acknowledge that improved technology largely makes up for increased profit margins by making better stuff more efficient to produce. 
Indeed, as has been suggested, perhaps the outcome of a employeeless world will be UBI enough to survive, while those who owned everything during the transition live like kings.  Then we can debate if the average person has it better than the did in 2016, since they can afford a cool internet brain implant that didn't even exist in the old days, or because they can afford teleporter based -transportation.  Some of us feel that having everyone be comfortable is inherently better than one class of have-enoughs-plus-some-cool-gadgets and another of have-as-much-as-they-could-possibly-ever-use-and-then-some.

I still haven't gotten any replies to why my scenario #2, where the wealth created by the robots, is shared equally with everyone, is not the better option.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 10:00:57 PM by Bakari »
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1038 on: December 15, 2016, 09:59:00 PM »
Robots now unbeatable in tic tac toe.



I had to watch it twice, then couldn't help laughing.

Well played, Robot.


lol, yeah, it took me a second view too!
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1039 on: December 15, 2016, 10:39:27 PM »

Oooh, I missed this one!

Sorry I didn't directly answer that question. In the second scenario everyone is worse off because it can't happen unless the government owns the means of production and that had turned out poorly everywhere (Russia comes to mind).
??  Government imposes many rules on employers today without owning the means of production.


Quote
If our owner automates and shifts worker schedules to no additional profit someone else will eliminate those workers and undercut our owner by passing off those profits.
Not if everyone else was held to the same expectations.




Quote
Yes it does. Not looking at the bigger picture causes you to only look at the 100 jobs and not 1000 jobs your plan eliminates due to second order effects.
I addressed those 2nd order effects, and they point to those other 1000 jobs also being replaced by robots.

Quote
Yes we should get rid of min wage, OSHA, etc. Unions/collective bargaining can hand these issues just fine. We would not look like Beijing because the American people would demand cleaner products.
the EPA is HOW American's demand cleaner products!!  One person alone can not change corporate business practices.  So we collectively vote in governments that will act on our behalf, and force cleaner products to be produced.  The People of the US, via government that they elect, have collectively created OSHA.  You think unions alone could have the same effect with no government, you really need to learn more about the history of labor in this country...
What is it about Americans that you think is so qualitativly different than the Chinese that they accept bad conditions, but we somehow could "demand" anything without the collective power of government?

Quote
No one would buy robots with no additional profit motive.
And no one would ever donate to charity, or help anyone if they weren't being paid.  No one would ever vote for a tax increase that affects them personally, and everyone would commit murder if only it was profitable and they could get away with it.
But is this human nature, or is it a result of us structuring society this way? 


Are you aware of open source software?  People with programming experience, one of the better paying professions, have developed so many high quality programs and apps and given them away for free that it is easy to do every task you could want a computer to do without paying for any software. Why do people take the time to code, and then pay for their own server space to host downloads of something which will never make them any profit, and then go on to provide (free) updates and support?

How about we modify my hypothetical slightly:
The workers all take a 10% pay cut, and only make 1800 every 2 weeks (for 1/2 hour per week work).  They have plenty of free time to try to find other work to make up the loss if they want / need to, and the owner gets (slightly) higher profit, enough to make back the investment, and eventually much more.




Quote
By you suggesting the owner is getting rich at the expense of the 100 you are once again ignoring second order effects. You are choosing to protect the workers at the expense of the hundreds of millions of people that would benefit through lower prices.
Prices don't drop as fast as wages do, when this scenario is played out among every company at once.

Quote
Where did you get the idea that in "perfect competition" profit margins are zero?
Um, Adam Smith, the Father of Economics?


Quote
Why would anyone produce anything is they couldn't make money doing it?
Salary is not part of profit.  Profit is what is left over after paying everyone's salary.  Everyone includes management.  So each person is still making money.

Quote
Competition drives down prices
Exactly.  And perfect competition drives down prices exactly to the point where supply and demand meet, and margins are exactly zero. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_competition#Profit

http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/031815/why-are-there-no-profits-perfectly-competitive-market.asp
http://www.economicsonline.co.uk/Business_economics/Perfect_competition.html


Quote
I agree that unearned income should not be taxed less than labor income. I would get rid of all taxes and institute a national sales tax and a profit tax which puts corporate profit tax liability directly on the shareholders to pay. I believe I have said this elsewhere.
Hmm, interesting idea.  I'd want to see some numbers before deciding whether to vote for it. 


Quote
Please tell me what true freedom is? If there are no stores you only option is to grow your own food. That one option doesn't sound like a whole lot of freedom based on your implied definition.
Why is the alternative to a handful of nationwide chains a lack of any stores?  I'm suggesting ending corporate mergers, and going back to having tens of thousands of individually owned retailers and factories and everything else, not ending all business!

Quote
Just because they would be worthless doesn't mean we can't print money forever.
Well, yeah, ok, but that isn't creating new value.  What is your point?  We could launch nuclear missiles.  We could burn all remaining forests.  We could do anything. 
Quote
The problem is you still think money is real. Money is nothing more than a promise for claims on future goods. The government can change that in a instant.
not if their goal (as elected representatives, and as human members of society themselves) they want to make life better, instead of worse.

Quote
What I am saying is that the wealthy are not hoarding money to your detriment. Unless they have $100 bills under there mattress, that money is out in the economy being used for productive purposes. It is providing loans for small businesses, mortgages for people, etc.
It would be out there doing the same thing if it was distributed among the other 99.99% of people, it would just also be buying them all more goods and services along the way. 

Quote
I do not believe that government intervention is the only way people get rich. I personally know people that are wealthy in spite of government intervention, not because of it.
Show me anyone who got rich without using any form of currency.  Who never held a land title deed, or a corporate charter, or a stock certificate. Who never used a road or telecommunications network.  Maybe if they inherited it - but wait, no, then they would sill have used at least currency, and probably FDIC insurance and/or stocks or bonds.

Quote
I am glad we agree on one thing. Haha. It is much harder to respond on a phone vs a desktop.
Fair :)
« Last Edit: December 16, 2016, 08:27:19 AM by Bakari »
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1040 on: December 16, 2016, 07:01:45 AM »
Based on your definition all discoveries for the rest of time are the result of government. Really we should say thanks to that cave man that began using fire for his benefit. In reality all new discoveries are based off the advances of the past and people operate with whatever resources are available at the time. That doesn't mean that their discoveries are not theirs.

Your scenario won't work because there is plenty of history to showing it won't work. To control labor to that level you will need to control imports and ultimately prices. Every instance where that level of control has been tried, it's ultimately ended by leaving people it was designed to help worse off than before.

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5311
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1041 on: December 16, 2016, 07:32:19 AM »
Robots now unbeatable in tic tac toe.



Our time is short.

Nice...
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

MustacheMathTM

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1042 on: December 16, 2016, 08:21:19 AM »
To control labor to that level...
All we needed to end the standard of 80-100 hour work weeks was to institute overtime laws after 40 hours.
The movement to shorten work hours developed, not coincidentally, in the interval between the industrial revolution and the great depression, and during the time of the great robber barons.
What history tells us is not only that limiting work hours can successfully distribute the gains of technological advancement through the labor force, but that it can do it so successfully and thoroughly that anyone who doesn't know the history of American labor will just assume it is (and always has been) naturally this way.


Based on your definition all discoveries for the rest of time are the result of government.
No, but all patents are.
The person who invented fire did not have a court and police system to prevent any other human from making a fire without paying him first.  And yet, he (or she) went ahead and invented fire anyway, and went on to teach others about it.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2016, 08:30:18 AM by Bakari »
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1043 on: December 16, 2016, 08:44:16 AM »
Many salary workers put in over 40 hours a weeks without overtime. So to say labor rules eliminated 80-100 hr work weeks is false.

What is the appropriate amount of hours to work? And at what end goal? Should someone be allowed to decided how many hours another person is allowed to work and for what wage? If we limited the work week to xx hours we could have a job for everyone. Except not everyone has to skills necessary. If we limit brain surgeons hours do we even have enough people capable? Those changes would cause a huge hit to efficiency and productivity which I believe would leave everyone worse off.

Schaefer Light

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 829
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1044 on: December 16, 2016, 09:23:31 AM »
Many salary workers put in over 40 hours a weeks without overtime. So to say labor rules eliminated 80-100 hr work weeks is false.

What is the appropriate amount of hours to work? And at what end goal? Should someone be allowed to decided how many hours another person is allowed to work and for what wage? If we limited the work week to xx hours we could have a job for everyone. Except not everyone has to skills necessary. If we limit brain surgeons hours do we even have enough people capable? Those changes would cause a huge hit to efficiency and productivity which I believe would leave everyone worse off.

What he said.

Watchmaker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1045 on: December 16, 2016, 09:45:35 AM »
Many salary workers put in over 40 hours a weeks without overtime. So to say labor rules eliminated 80-100 hr work weeks is false.

Sounds like an argument for more regulation, not less...

tomsang

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 970
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1046 on: December 16, 2016, 09:56:18 AM »
Based on your definition all discoveries for the rest of time are the result of government. Really we should say thanks to that cave man that began using fire for his benefit. In reality all new discoveries are based off the advances of the past and people operate with whatever resources are available at the time. That doesn't mean that their discoveries are not theirs.

Your scenario won't work because there is plenty of history to showing it won't work. To control labor to that level you will need to control imports and ultimately prices. Every instance where that level of control has been tried, it's ultimately ended by leaving people it was designed to help worse off than before.

I think a lot of people forget or don't want to admit that Government/Society is a major factor in deriving discoveries and economic growth. Their success is directly correlated to the government and society.  The vast majority of companies that are inventing things are using a work force what was educated and trained using public resources.  Public schools from kindergarten to PhD's are funded by federal and state dollars. Without an educated workforce it would be difficult to develop anything of value.

Our government provides reliable and cheap energy to society.  Without government and society it would be difficult to develop anything that does not rely on electricity or gas.

Our government provides roads, highways and infrastructure to move goods and services around in an efficient manner.

Our government invests billions a year in R&D that is utilized by private companies that make money.  Think GPS, internet, computers, telephones, biotech, solar, etc. 

Our government provides laws and protections that allow our companies to invest long term knowing that their investments will be protected.

Our government provides protection if you take a risk and fail.  You can leave your debts in the past and not do jail time for failing to pay back your creditors.  Investors take gambles knowing that the worst case scenario is starting back at zero and the best case scenario is being a billionaire.  Think Trump!

Our companies use people to make them money. In the past companies provided income for life.  Now it falls on Social Security for most people as most people don't understand investing, compound interest, etc.  They are thinking short term survival and living vs. long term survival.

Our government provides Food Stamps, Healthcare, and other services for people that don't make enough to survive.  Think of the Wallmarts and other minimal wage type of companies that make billions off of people and push the problem on to the government and society to deal with the people that are affected.

As mentioned earlier, the government and society provide patent protection that gives companies a monopoly on the inventions for a period of time.

I am having a hard time thinking of an industry or a person that did it all on their own.  They received significant help from the government and society.  It is expensive to fund this platform that is so beneficial to those entrepreneurs.  The tax structure currently in place does not cover all the costs of running one of the most successful societies in the world.  Those that gained windfalls by taking advantage of that provided by government and society have a duty to carry it forward to the future through paying taxes.  Currently we are not taxing enough to cover the costs of society.  The future is going to need a new way of looking at taxation as the citizens stop or reduce working due to technology taking over their work. 
 

robartsd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1007
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1047 on: December 16, 2016, 12:11:01 PM »
It may be that you think I'm talking about a larger change then I am.  Let me try again.

I'm not saying the system simply hindered you and assisted someone else, and that's the only reason they have more money.  People's work ethic, brains, genetics, etc are why they do better than others.  I'm not arguing we try to change that, only that we tweak the system which affects the degree to which they are rewarded for those things.

Imagine two people, A and B, living in the the society.

A is a good employee and diligent, but not exceptionally so.
B is a brilliant, hard working person who creates a whole new industry through their technical and business innovation.

I want B to be rewarded for their efforts more than A, as I'm sure you do too.  But it isn't a binary choice of rewarding someone for their accomplishments or not; we also must make choices (as a society) that affect how well they will be rewarded.

Let's say A has a job making $50,000 a year.  And B founds a company that makes him $50,000,000 a year. now imagine three different tax situations:

1. A flat tax of 20% of each person's income.
2. A progressive tax system which taxes A's salary at 15% and B's salary at 40%.
3. A even more progressive system which taxes A's salary at 0% and B's at 70%.

Holding everything else constant, it's obvious that the gap in their post tax income will be largest in situation 1 and smallest in situation 3.   

In the US we are currently closest to situation 2, but in the past have had marginal income tax rates higher than situation 3.  I don't see an argument for why situation 2 is better, or in some intrinsic way more right, than situation 3 (or vice versa).

So, since we're already using societal tools to affect that gap, why should it be off the table to modify the settings of those tools?
For wage earners our tax rates are plenty progressive, but it they not nearly as progressive for the truly wealthy (individuals pay 15% tax on capital gains / qualified dividends). Of course if one considers the corporate taxes paid before dividends or reinvestment in capital, the effective tax rate on corporate profits may be similar to the effective tax rates on the highest wage earners; but even the lowest income shareholder effectively pays their share of the corporate tax.

What if we treated all capital gains and dividends as ordinary income, but shareholders could claim a personal tax credit for their share of corporate taxes paid eliminating the double taxation argument that is so often used to defend the low capital gains tax rate? Then we could effectively increase the taxes on the wealthy while reducing the burden on those who are working to accumulate wealth.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1048 on: December 16, 2016, 12:44:35 PM »
Many salary workers put in over 40 hours a weeks without overtime. So to say labor rules eliminated 80-100 hr work weeks is false.
Labor laws changed it from 80-100 hours being the default for everyone to anything above 40 being an exception for a few particular, usually very highly compensated, positions. 
The average salaried worker in the US today works 49 hours.  Not 80-100.  The reason it is so low is tied to the social expectation of 40 being the default.

Quote
What is the appropriate amount of hours to work?
It would make sense to tie the point of overtime requirements to increases in productivity.  If productivity per worker has increased 40 fold since 1940, we might be at 1 hour a week today.


Quote
And at what end goal?
The equal distribution of the gains in productivity to everyone in society.




Quote
Should someone be allowed to decided how many hours another person is allowed to work and for what wage?
No.  Just like today.  The government dictates that employers must pay extra after. a certain number of hours.  There is no law against accepting overtime, and there is no law against taking a 2nd job.  Aside from minimum wage, there is no dictation of wages - however, the more jobs are limited, the lower wages fall, the more that labor is limited, the higher they go.  Simple supply and demand.  Overtime laws create more positions, raising average wages without any need to dictate what employers pay.


Quote
If we limited the work week to xx hours we could have a job for everyone.
Agreed!  I didn't even say that part, but yeah, that's the idea.


Quote
Except not everyone has to skills necessary. If we limit brain surgeons hours do we even have enough people capable?
I for one don't want an exhausted brain surgeon who works 100 hours a week and never gets enough sleep, never mind recreation.
In the long run people tend to choose career paths based on available jobs.  30 years ago there were not over a million computer programmers.  200 years ago 90% of everyone worked in agriculture.  No one had the skills to run any part of modern society.


Quote
Those changes would cause a huge hit to efficiency and productivity which I believe would leave everyone worse off.
You "believe" it, based on your ideology.  All the data suggests differently - the 0.1% would be "worse" off (although, one can lead just as nice a life as a multimillionaire as a billionaire, so it wouldn't really make them any worse off) - but most of us (and especially people poorer than most of us) would be a lot better off if that wealth concentrated at the top were distributed more equally
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1049 on: December 16, 2016, 01:44:01 PM »
Many salary workers put in over 40 hours a weeks without overtime. So to say labor rules eliminated 80-100 hr work weeks is false.

Sounds like an argument for more regulation, not less...

Only if you think it's right to be able to tell some how much they can work and for what pay.