ETERNAL RECURRENCES

monitize

For in much wisdom is much vexation,
and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
Ecclesiastes 1:2

Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
Everything is awesome when we’re living our dream.”
from The Lego Movie theme song

The Powers That Be (PTB) used to use labor to create wealth. They used laborers to make the things, who then would buy them with wages they were paid. But this wasn’t enough for the PTBs. Laborers could only spend what they got in wages and the capitalist PTBs weren’t going to give them any more than they had to to keep them alive enough to work, content enough not to revolt.

The trick the PTBs came up with was to loan the laborers cash to spend in excess of their income. The propaganda system was already in place to convince the laborers to go along, so they did. And as an added benefit, the interest charged on these loans and make even more money. Win/win, unless you are a laborer.

Of course, this was soon enough not enough, so the PTBs found a way to profit multiple time on a single debt; they sold it over and over again among themselves. This is speculation not investment; think of an inverse musical chairs where you want to be holding the cash not the debt when the music stops. But as long as the stuff the laborers bought was recyclable at at profit when repossessed, their exuberance seemed rational, until 2008, that is. Not to worry though, because the government by, for, and of the PTBs bailed them out.
Enter technology. First, it makes labor is become less and less useful as new machines nibble away at the work people were at one time needed to do. Therefore, as fewer laborers are needed and for the PTBs (not laborers) just recovering from the ’08 recession increasing their wealth by recycling it though labor doesn’t seem as rational as before.

Second, and this time to rescue the “poor” PTPs from its first entry. Technology in the form of algorithms that can gather and read the big, but finely granular, data concerning what humans buy as well as exact where and when such opportunities for sales will exist in almost real time. Sellers, i.e. the PTBs—more and more the buyers, as well—will pay a lot for that and they do.

So far. so bad. But, now consider what could happen next. Eventually all human activity making stuff for the marketplace will be done by machines. This is not all bad as executive decision making algorithms could put a lot of upper management on the street too. We will then all be out of work, so how will we determine who gets to get what stuff?

One extreme would be that the algorithms making choices will direct the machines to continue to make stuff for us and distribute it equitably per the old commie line, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!” The other scenario is that they stop making stuff for us and we’ll be sent back to the stone age where with survival of the fittest, red in tooth and claw, etc. we will start our crazy race all over again.

I suspect the latter is more possible—contrary to what the TV futurists say—given that the algorithms so far have been designed by and for the PTBs more to take care of themselves and not the rest of us. Why would this change when those algorithms write themselves? Will the algorithms, evolving on a digital plane, pay no attention to us as we evolve again on our human plane or will they interfere for the fun of it? Are they already doing this?

Notes…

Ecclesiastes is full of great quotes, e.g.: “all is vanity” “to everything a season” and this, 10:19 “A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.”

The irony of the song explained here: http://www.ibtimes.com/how-lego-movie-everything-awesome-parody-creeping-everyday-fascism-1555165

On robotics: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rob-high-ibm-watson-mit_us_56c87423e4b0928f5a6c0b89

Rather: “From each according to the capitalists’ needs, to each according to the capitalists’ greed.” from http://www.politicalaffairs.net/you-might-be-a-marxist-if-you-believe-in-from-each-according-to-their-abilities-to-each-according-to-their-needs/

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