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Old September 7 2012, 05:52 PM   #76
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Why isn't Internet free for everyone yet?

Deks wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post

I can't say that anyone I know has ever actually believed this. The closest I've ever heard is "money is the only motivation for mercenaries," which isn't really the same thing.
I've also predominantly met people in my life who don't ascribe to this rule necessarily... but, that doesn't change the premise that the system we live in operates on it.
Does it?

Considering we live in a country where growth in wages hasn't kept up with the rate of inflation in nearly 20 years, that appears NOT to be the case. There's a whole class of industry consultants called "efficiency experts" whose primary job is to figure out how to make workers do the same jobs for less money, or do more work for the same amount of money.

Your evaluation of our "system" is simplistic.

If I live in a socio-economic system where I have to have money in order to survive (let alone do anything else), I'd probably pick the higher paying option so I can ensure I have enough to live and maybe secure some kind of savings in the long run for other things.

That choice is a mere byproduct of a system I live in and doesn't demonstrate anything besides the premise that a person goes for the higher paid option simply because it offers more access than a lower paid option so they can ensure they don't have to worry about those things in the first place.
Which completely obliterates your strawman that "the system believes the only motivation is money." ALL of us here know better. There is, in fact, a hierarchy of motivations for workers, the most basic of which is SURVIVAL: you have a roof over your head, you have food on your table, you have electricity and clean water.

The basic problem is that someone has to grow your food, someone has to generate electricity, someone has to build your house, someone has to run the waterworks. All four of those someones have basic needs of their own, and all four of them in turn depend on four other people to provide those needs. The only good way for everyone to get what they need is for everyone to exchange what they have in exchange for what they don't have. The monetary system exists in the first place to make this exchange simple and convenient; if you eliminate the system, the problem still remains.

If you eliminate money from the equation though completely and base an economy around access abundance and user-ship, if there's a need to mop a floor of a Wal-Mart for an hour or two, fine, I'd do it (and with high enough rotation of people, you'd only need to do it for a fraction of the time, which would take say an hour depending on the size needed to be cleaned) - even though it would be unnecessary since that can also be automated.
Which is, in the end, a centrally-planned economy: a committee decides how much you need and sees that you get it at regular intervals, with the implicit understanding that you will work hard whenever you are asked to do so. No money needed, everyone is taken care of.

Historically, this hasn't worked so well in any of the countries that have tried it, for three main reasons:
1) The committee isn't always fair.
2) The people don't always keep up their end of the bargain
3) Automation requires a significant investment in technology and education, which the committee may not necessarily prioritize, even if they can afford to.

The flaw in the monetary system isn't that people aren't motivated by money. The flaw in the system is that the people who ARE motivated by money are driving the agenda for everyone else. Unless you can think of a solution for THAT problem, even a centrally-planned economy is doomed to fail.

The purpose of implementing automation to its maximum potential is to free people from the notion of being required to work so they are free to pursue whatever it is they want to do in life
And what if "whatever they want to do in life" is work?

To pose a question... are there things besides work in your life you expressed an interest in doing? Doesn't have to be re-education or travel.
To pose an answer: I would very much like to fuck a Puerto Rican stripper. I'd like to get a different one every day of the week so I never fuck the same girl twice. Maybe even get two or three at a time. It would also be awesome if I could pick up those strippers in a helicopter and fly them to my mansion in Southern California. And because automation is going to make all of that possible, I don't have to worry about how I'm going to pay for any of that; the mansion, the helicopter, the helicopter pilot, the aviation fuel, the strippers, and a year's supply of birth control pills should all be totally free, because I don't have to work and I don't need money.

To pose an answer from the opposite extreme: my 20 year old cousin dropped out of college two years ago. She has no job, no skills, no recognizable ambitions. She sleeps until noon every day, gets up and eats, then sits on the couch until 2AM playing video games, browsing tumblr and facebook. She is content to do this for the rest of her life if she had a choice; she is in the habit of being useless.

Your non-monetary system assumes universal altruism and moderation from all people. It totally breaks down in the presence of a the Greedy Son of a Bitch, or the Lazy Piece of Shit. You continually refuse to acknowledge the basic fact that many people choose to work, not because they need money (which they do) but because they need to be useful.

People wouldn't waste away doing nothing.
You would be shocked and amazed by how many people would do EXACTLY that. There is an entire population of people in the inner cities who are defined by their ability to consume goods without producing anything of value to anyone.

One option on how to get there would be to for example... increase automation over the next 5 years to the level where people would be required of working 2 to 4 hours for 5 days in a week - without decreasing wages... and in the next 5 years, you further decrease the work hours.
Which has the immediate consequence of reducing everyone's wages, making the problem WORSE, not better. "But newtype, why would that reduce wages?" you ask. Because our economic priorities are set by greedy sons of bitches who ARE motivated by money: if automation reduces the cost of doing business, they don't pass those savings onto their workers, they KEEP IT THEMSELVES and screw everyone else.

You want a real solution to the problem you descibe? It's this: set the minimum wage to $20 an hour. I guarantee you that will IMMEDIATELY have the effect you're aiming for: people will work fewer hours, they will not have to worry about money anymore, they will spend more time doing things they really like outside of work, AND they will depend more on automation for all the stupid stuff they don't want to have to do anymore (that kind of salary can buy a lot of roombas).
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