The end of private ownership in the means of production

Discussion in 'Economics' started by Matt Houston, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. Hi,

    This is something that has been niggling me, it's not really trading related except maybe it impacts how much longer financial markets may actually exist.

    I apologise for the Marxist sounding terminology in advance.

    The way I see it, the majority of people on this planet do not own property, or any of the means of production, they only have their labour to sell in order to purchase the things they need to survive.

    If I look back at the past 20 years, how far technology has progressed, I can't help wondering how long it will be until the vast majority of jobs can be done by machines. Sure more high tech job will be created along the way, but will they be enough to absorb the mass of unemployed checkout clerks, train drivers, data entry processors, various manufacturing jobs etc. Can most of these people even be retrained to do highly skilled jobs?

    So once we get to a stage where most jobs are mechanised I foresee a small class of comfortable property owners (assuming the government continues to protect property rights through this process) and everybody else with no market for their labour, and not even property on which to make a subsistence living. Sure maybe the welfare state will increase massively, but then isn't it logical with the majority of people eking out a living however they can and a small property owning class living in relative luxury some sort of revolution is inevitable and the collectivisation of the means of production the logical conclusion.

    Or maybe it will be a case of evolution rather than revolution, with the state just slowly enlarging and taking up the slack, eventually crowding out any form of free enterprise. Maybe before this process even concludes the "Capitalists" will find they don't have a big enough market for the products they produce and give their factories up to "Democratisation".

    Maybe the process is even more advanced than I realise and certain interests, e.g. labour unions, are putting up resistance.

    What do you think?
  2. Just to clarify I see State Socialism as the road to serfdom and am not a proponent, but am in the uncomfortable position of seeing it as inevitable.
  3. The poorest races have the highest birth rates. The richest races are also some of the most prude.

    Do you see the logic in not having offspring until you own at least some means of production (an education in the mechanization of the means of production, for starters)?
  4. Well I do, but I can't speak for the rest of the 6 billion people on this planet :)
  5. Oops, just checked and the Earth's human populations seems to have crept up another billion without me noticing.
  6. Check out a book called "The Lights in the Tunnel" by Martin Ford, who has a pretty detailed take on this question.

    My guess is that there will end up being some sort of minimum annual income provided to anyone who cannot find work due to machine displacement (at least in the developed world) in exchange for limited or no right to reproduce. Although I think that it is wrong to take from some to subsidize others, it happens. The primary problem is not so much supporting that first generation of individuals who get those subsidies, it's supporting the geometric growth of their offspring. Cut off that geometric growth and the system becomes more sustainable. Reversible birth control devices ought to do the trick, so that if someone then decides to pursue work again and forgo the guaranteed income, they can reproduce, if they choose. But, if they then go back to the guaranteed income option, the income is not raised solely because that person now has children.
  7. Some thoughts for you:

    I believe that I read that every democracy has ended in facism with an average lifespan of about 200 years. Monetary debasement has led to the downfall of many (if not all) of them.

    The biggest change was the movement off family farms into government dependence. It is not clear to me if it was intentional or not. Society is now dependent on political capital (worth even less than money). Your job loss society started there.

    The internet gives the government a shot at the ultimate form of fascism, especially given the intelligence of the population. (The amount of intelligence is a constant, unfortunately, population increases constantly.

    zeitgeist movie dot com (in particular moving forward) may be of interest to you.

    I began to think about the end of jobs when I was making Printed Circuit Boards in the 1980s and observed the accelerating evolution of the electronic industry as I worked and thought about just what I was really doing for society. I moved into computers and saw the evolution continuing there much to my surprise. I think that much of today's problems ultimately stem from the movement off of family farms into modern city society.

    I think a long term sustainable society lies in planet resource management and not creating better iphones. I have no idea how to get there, but I think we will not like the transition when we do get there.

    Of course, I have been wrong before ....
  8. I reckon it is the end of any kind of benefit. They cannot pay it anymore. What will happen is there will be loads of people not eligi ble for anything wondering the streets, it is already happening. Eventually it will affect enough people to do something about it and the land owning rights will change. By then of there will be a huge loss of life and total poverty for up to thirty percent of the population.
  9. None of your scenario's are correct. There are people in powerful places putting the final touches in place on a plague that will wipe out about 75% of the human population. It is a modified much more highly communicable form of Ebola.

    That will bring things back into balance in the world. :D

    The whole "meek shall inherit the earth" and half the things in the bible were to train people to be sheep. Sheep they shall be to the slaughter.

    The poor shall die and the rich shall live on.
  10. Thanks, I'll take a look at the book. I hear you about redistribution, it's not ideal giving somebody/group the power to redistribute the fruits of labour of others but it's a necessary evil I suppose. I only recently learned that the first welfare state was not created by social democratic parties as I thought but by the Prussian head of state to prevent a worker revolution.

    I don't know about the right to have offspring idea, you can't stop people having kids and you can't tell people that because they had kids they aren't going to get any support and let them starve to death.
    #10     Jul 29, 2012