Anyone who is willing to see can clearly see that money (or whatever rewards you'd like to substitute) offers an incentive to get people to do jobs that might otherwise go unfilled. It can help prevent shortages in some career areas and gluts in others. It can help insure that trained workers are available when needed to do the job. Your idea that someone competent will always be willing to step in when needed is just wishful thinking.
Money is a good incentive for repetitive jobs. When it comes to critical or creative thinking, let alone problem solving, it inhibits people.
Its wishful thinking that someone will always be willing to step in when needed?
Millions of volunteers worldwide would disagree with that notion.
Then who is giving the charities all the billions of dollars they collect every year, in most cases from small donors? Who is giving money to all the churches? Who is buying all the $200 purses and shoes? Yes, there are people who are poor, and a great many people have been poor and then climbed out because having more things is an incentive to keep trying new options and new jobs.
How much of the donated money to charities actually goes to the said 'cause'?
At best, one would have to say 10%, maybe 20%.
'Having more things' is an idiotic pursuit that's coming from a consumer mindset of 'use and discard'.
Have you noticed just how much waste is produced like that, not to mention that we are talking about 'infinite growth' on a finite planet which is fundamentally demented and impossible (something even the 'economists' are coming to terms with)?
And those are strong disincentives to bad decision making. If we could run up huge debts without any downside, everyone would do it - all the time.
Except that a good portion of people doesn't like to be in debt... which in turn generates extra stress, forces them to take drastic measures for the sake of paying them off, etc., etc., etc.
No, the world's economy is based on making goods and services that people want. I think you might need a simple explaination of capitalism.
Fractional reserve banking (fiat-based monetary system) or should one say 'credit-based monetary system'.
The same one that took place when money stopped representing resources in 1929 when the first great depression hit the world (which was due to automation/mechanization).
I think you should get acquainted with our history and the socio-economic system we live under.
People needed stuff to survive (spears, clay pots, berries, game, clothes, huts). We came to really like having stuff, and learned to make stuff ourselves. The way to have more stuff is to make more stuff, and the more stuff you make the more stuff you have. If you're not good at making stuff you want, make stuff somebody else wants and then trade it with them to get the stuff you want. If you notice two people with lots of stuff they don't want, who want different stuff, arrange a trade for them and haul their stuff to customers, keeping a small part of the traded stuff for yourself. If you just sit on your butt and demand stuff from other people, they might give you junk, but they won't give you good stuff, so you'd better figure out a better angle or get motivated to start making something they want.
It's so simple that we don't have to teach people to do this, we just teach them how to make particular kinds of stuff. Immigrants can show up from anywhere and they'll start making stuff, and trading, and buying and selling stuff, even if they come from communist countries where trade was illegal.
When Marx and Engels would send communist agitators to the US, they'd always disappear. America became known to them as "the graveyard of communists." Then they sent more communists to track down the missing ones, and invariably found that the missing ones had realized they could open a store or a shop in America (which was very difficult in most of Europe at the time), and had immediately done so, abandoning communism completely.
Communism used banks and money - it was also imposed on people forcefully, not to mention it had a government that perceived resources as infinite (exactly like Capitalism), social stratification, etc.
It was a monetary based system.
There is a difference between human needs and human wants.
Human needs: clean air, clean water, food, clothing, shelter/housing, electricity, transportation (a lot of people use public transport as opposed to having a car even though they can afford one), relevant education and certain amenities of the modern era.
Human wants: things such as a villa, sports cars, yachts, fur coats made from animals (even though we can make synthetic ones that are just as good, if not better, + we don't have to kill any animals for it) - those (to name a few) are generated by the culture, and the desire to 'own' a 'real' one (as opposed to the synthetic one) is a pshychological difference created by the sales industry.
The desire to 'own' things stems from scarcity - because right now, thanks to Capitalism, over 90% of crimes are committed due to money or finances.
What is the premise behind stealing something if you can just have it whenever you need/want it?
Our ability to automate production eliminates need for human labor.
You are also forgetting that money simply gives you access to use things. Whats the point in owning things if you can simply have them when you need/want to use them and if everyone else can do the same?
What is the incentive behind committing a crime to steal something if they have unrestricted access to it?
That choice is part of the market for labor. To lure a worker from posting on a Trek board, Walmart has to offer more money. To lure a worker from the NFL or NBA, they'd have to offer a lot more money.
And as I said... no amount of money can stimulate a person to take a job if they are already happy with what they have and have no need for it.
I turned down such jobs before, plus I was offered various amounts of money after doing maintenance work on people's computers and ended up refusing it because I told them I couldn't care less about money - even today when I'm strapped for cash.
To you it may seem 'stupid' and maybe it is given the system we live in... but at the same time I always hated money and everything it represents (limitation, life of servitude, etc.)
I'd prefer to help people because I like doing it... not because 'money' is my motivation.
And there's the problem. Not everyone should be mopping floors at Walmart. The labor market lets those willing to do it at a certain price self-select for the job, and keeps Walmart from accidentally hiring doctors and astronauts to mop floors.
What fantasy world do you live in?
People are often forced to work on jobs they hate now because they have no other choice.
You have people with university degrees and professional experience who have a hard time finding jobs at all (are unemployed for years) or are working in positions that are considered 'menial' by society.
And before you utter some sort of nonsense how its their fault or that they should move to an area where they can find a better job... uhm... in order to move anywhere (let alone a different country for example), people need to spew A LOT of money in order to get the necessary papers.
If they are barely surviving as is... do tell, how are they supposed to get the necessary money to move to a place where the market is 'better' (that's assuming of course they gain the legal right to move and work elsewhere in the first place).
What about re-education programs funded by the government for the unemployed?
Only limited amount of individuals can attend those programs (if they qualify in the first place), and NONE are guaranteed they will find a job once they finish the course (or that they will be able to keep it for a long amount of time).
But we implement automation where it makes financial sense to use it. As its cost drops and capabilities increase, we'll use it in more places.
I happen to do automation for a living. I can tell you all about robotics projects, automation, and its effects. Robots aren't actually as good as most automation, just more versatile (humans aren't as good as a specialized machine for most things, like shredding tobacco, spreading pavement, digging canals, or powering ships - all of which could be done with robots, which would be like using thousands of human slaves, but with power cords and no toilets).
Most child labor used to be employed in glass blowing (as gathers). Then what is now the world's largest glass company developed a bottle making machine that eliminated both the gathers and the glass blowers from the operation. A few dozen men could provide enough glass battles for a small country. A single ribbon machine could make enough glass light bulbs to supply the entire world. Bottles and light bulbs became very cheap, but people still worked, because staring at a Coke bottle and thinking it's a sign from the heavens isn't a very productive activity.
80% of the global workforce is in the service industry... one which is completely unproductive to society at large.
What about people who make money off movement of money such as stock-brokers?
Why are they perceived as more 'valuable' to society than say a working man who does physical labor for 12 hours per day and makes minimum wage?
Automation as you said is implemented in industries as soon as they become financially acceptable to companies to employ because a machine can do a work of a human being x times faster, better, it doesn't require sick days, pensions, or rest in order to do so.
And companies are already doing that, because they are coming to the realization that human labor is just way too expensive to keep and cannot justify such an expenditure when they can spend less on a machine.
Its already happening.
And that's another clue that you're heading for failure. Our economy doesn't consider just tons of options, it considered hundreds of millions of options every day.
The decisions on using a robot instead of a laborer is considered constantly. The only time we use a robot is when the robot makes more sense considering the development and installation cost, project schedule, benefits, support, training, retooling, and total life-cycle costs. Thousands of people are making that decision even as we speak. They are scheming to use a robot to take over the market for product X, where X is a vast range of things that perhaps could be made much more cheaply with automation.
Other methods are even much better than robots, and we use those too. For example, back in the 1950's the Air Force had a big program trying to make the construction of complex electronics easier by pre-building units out of discrete components. Having ladies soldier together thousands of resistors, capacitors and transistors to build complex electronics was a bottle-neck. Nowdays you could use robots (pick and place machines, which are amazing), but instead we developed the integrated circuit and just side-stepped the problem by putting hundreds (later tens of millions) of components on a single chip in one operation.
The electronic industry didn't just retire en masse and live a money-free existence, even though their physical output had jumped a million-fold or more. The engineers didn't just devote themselves to hobby projects, although they did go nuts on hobbies, quickly turning those hobbies into Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, and < insert vast list of multi-billion dollar corporations started in garages and bathtubs >.
Our system is always moving forward, redefining our lives in the process. Your system is a retirement home where the people finger-paint till they die. You can build a society with your system, and our workers will go there to take pictures and buy their local arts-and-crafts, just like milionaires vacationing in Kenya.
Oh yes, I can see how the economy considers hundreds of millions of options every day...
Where was that approach when one of the larger depressions began back in 2009?
Why did the 'stimulus' go to the instigators of the problem (banks)?
Only a small portion of new jobs (a lot less than 50%) was 'generated' as a result of the stimulus.
Why is the US spending 1 Trillion $ on the military undercutting practically every other sector for that matter?
The decisions to use robots and automation are considered in times when companies need to cut their expenses.
Recent large layoffs by large IT firms in USA alone only reinforce that notion.
Today we also have machines building machines... pre-fabrication, etc... all of which are used.
Automation isn't used on-masse exactly because it would cause a very large economic downturn too fast.
You need to do it gradually in order to stave off the drop in purchasing power... however, that's just not doable anymore because computers and technology are becoming so cheap for companies, and its faster to simply program a computer/robot to do a specific work, instead of training a human (which takes a long amount of time) who will just be replaced by a robot anyway.
No one is irreplaceable today... and if you think you are... then you are living in the past.
As for your comment that a resource based economy is a retirement home where people finger-paint until they die... lol... you are merely projection false/biased notions onto a system that is far away from your concept of understanding (because you've acclimated to the capitalist system... you benefit from it, and you couldn't care less about anyone else but yourself - if your responses are anything to go on).