What if we STRUCTURALLY have more people than there are jobs?

Discussion in 'Economics' started by gnome, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. Industry has always tried to get more "productive"... more product per man-hour of labor...

    Machines to make things in great quantities at low cost.

    Machines to take the place of many workers.

    What is left for displaced workers to do?

    And when our economy settles out after this "adjustment", we may find economic activity some 20-40% BELOW the 2007 "borrow and spend" peak.

    We may find that there are not enough jobs available, regardless.

    What is to be done about the permanently unemployed?
  2. A big war.

    Before nuclear weapons you had wars to cull the excess males.

    Nuclear weapons broke this natural cycle.

    Without the occasional brushfire you have economic disaster.
  3. I hope people don't think that's a flippant response... lot of truth in it.
  4. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy_pr.html

    "On the other hand it is possible that human control over the machines may be retained. In that case the average man may have control over certain private machines of his own, such as his car or his personal computer, but control over large systems of machines will be in the hands of a tiny elite - just as it is today, but with two differences. Due to improved techniques the elite will have greater control over the masses; and because human work will no longer be necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden on the system. If the elite is ruthless they may simply decide to exterminate the mass of humanity. If they are humane they may use propaganda or other psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the elite. Or, if the elite consists of soft-hearted liberals, they may decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human race. They will see to it that everyone's physical needs are satisfied, that all children are raised under psychologically hygienic conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to keep him busy, and that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes "treatment" to cure his "problem." Of course, life will be so purposeless that people will have to be biologically or psychologically engineered either to remove their need for the power process or make them "sublimate" their drive for power into some harmless hobby. These engineered human beings may be happy in such a society, but they will most certainly not be free. They will have been reduced to the status of domestic animals.1
  5. Cashier-less checkout lanes is just the start:

    Workers all over the globe are all losing out to these guys, who are themselves having a hard time hanging on to their jobs, even though they're working hard and efficiently for 49 cents an hour:


    And in the very near future, this guy will basically work for free (assembling things and driving the hi-lo, and not just spot welding):


    Interviewing for IT/White Collar job, also: [​IMG]
  6. gucci


    Now we are cooking. You are not far away from the most important problem that has to be, can be, but won't be solved.

  7. Wow, a neo-Luddite movement!!!! Next thing you know we're gonna start breaking the robots and quoting Malthus again!

    Isn't this sorta question normally addressed in MacroEcon 101 (see Miles and Scott, Section 6.5)? The main counter to the argument is that advances in technology don't necessarily have to mean that output and demand remain constant.
  8. On an off topic note, a scary resemblance:

  9. gucci


    Can you elaborate on the " main counter"?
  10. Retief


    There are plenty of jobs. The problem is that wages are too high. How many people would you hire if you could get them to work for you for $1/day?
    #10     Feb 25, 2009