Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

imageAs pressure mounts to raise the wages of fast food workers, advocates may want to take note that such wage increases eventually pass a threshold where it makes financial sense to simply invest in automation. As Grocery Store cashiers learned, these jobs are not a given. We are all competing not just with each other but with robots. 

One of the primary reasons that the gap between the rich and poor has increased so much in the past 20 years has been the rise in IT.  Once we purchase a computer, robot, etc. its capabilities – its output and productivity are owned by the buyer which increases the wealth generated by that person.

As people demand McDonalds pay workers $15 an hour and the government insists that they also provide health care, restaurant owners are increasingly evaluating whether to simply replace their work force with machines.  

Naturally, in 2017 when today’s “living wage advocate” is ordering their Big Mac from a friendly touch screen and having it delivered momentarily by a robot they’ll make no connection between how their beliefs resulted in more people living in poverty. Instead, they’ll blame McDonalds. They’ll blame greedy restaurant owners. But they won’t consider that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to price people out of their workforce.

More reading:

http://singularityhub.com/2013/01/22/robot-serves-up-340-hamburgers-per-hour/

http://www.thestar.com/business/2012/11/29/automatic_burger_machine_could_revolutionize_fast_food.html


Comments (Page 10)
on Aug 10, 2014

"I don't care if you all end up starving, as long as it's FAIR!!"

on Aug 11, 2014


"I don't care if you all end up starving, as long as it's FAIR!!"

You do a very good imitation of Veruca Salts.

on Aug 11, 2014


"I don't care if you all end up starving needlessly, as long as it's FAIR!!"

There, that's better.

on Aug 11, 2014

Alstein

If society can't make it worthwhile for many to have jobs- let them not have jobs and be taken care of through guaranteed minimum incomes.

That would maximize societal benefit.


 

this will happen. they know very well that hunger leads to revolutions (=/= coups sponsored by George Soros)

on Aug 11, 2014

Dr Guy

Quoting Alstein,

...


Most have been in a position of joblessness.  The difference is that most went out and got another one.  And worked their way back up.

Simple economics tell you that a company cannot stay in business paying a person more than their labor is worth.  Period.  It does not matter about any mythical "living wage".  If you do not support yourself through your labors, you have only yourself to blame.

 

 

 

If you do not support yourself through you labors you have only yourself to blame because you did not unite with others among the working poor to assault the castles of privileged power to force a rewriting of the social contract.

And corporations NEVER rig the game so as to get more out their workers.  The company store never existed.  The Pinkertons never did anything 'bad' to workers attempting to unionize.   Rockefeller never sent in the national guard to murder an encampment of workers, their family, children, babies, who and stopped working in the mines in protest of unsafe conditions and very lousy pay.  How many times must you be 'liquidated' and work you way back up?  Simple economics tell you that a group of companies acting in concert can virtually enslave / indenture entire villages.   "Yes, please sir, may I have another bowl of gruel?" Be very thankful you were not born into one of the African villages near where diamonds are mined.  Every one of those workers could be paid 100 times what they actually get, and the 'owners' would still 'make' millions.   In this day and age, with the incredible wealth generated by automated machines, etc., it is not a 'mythical living wage' that matters, its the fundamental birth right of every human to a fair portion of the wealth generating and resource extractions going on.  Palin's Alaska grants each citizen (of the state of Alaska) a portion of the proceeds from oil sales.  This type of arrangement should be universal.  The good life is now possible for all.  But only if the social contract is reinvented, and the Horatio Alger myth is placed among the fairy tales, where it belongs.   If you do not support yourself through you labors you have only yourself to blame because you did not unite with others among the working poor to assault the castles of privileged power to force a rewriting of the social contract.

on Aug 11, 2014

ElanaAhova

Simple economics tell you that a group of companies acting in concert can virtually enslave / indenture entire villages.

That is called collusion, and it is against the law.

However in the real world, companies are not working together (and those that do are prosecuted for it), and instead bid against each other for the limited resources.  When resources out strip the demand, you get what is called a Buyers Market - the buyer can pay less because more people than jobs exist.  Think illegal aliens.

But when more jobs exist than people to fill them, then it is a sellers market.  Think health care.

That is reality.  That is economics.  And that is why the job market and wages have sucked under Obama.  He is increasing supply but not demand.

 

Econ 101.

on Aug 11, 2014

Dr Guy


But when more jobs exist than people to fill them, then it is a sellers market.  Think health care.

That is reality.  That is economics. 

 

Well without dragging things too far off-topic.....imo healthcare shouldn't be in the business of 'doing business' but hey......if the last developed country in the world without 'public healthcare' refuses to see that I wouldn't be surprised if other sectors in your economy don't have any real insight into their specific areas either. 

on Aug 12, 2014

the_Monk

imo healthcare shouldn't be in the business of 'doing business' but hey.

So how would you do it?  Healthcare free?  Then how do you distribute a limited resource with an unlimited demand?  Well, some would say that doctors should be slaves - work for no profit and at the whim of government.  Some say the government should pay for everything.  So everyone should have access to million dollar procedures.

So where do the resources come from?

The problem with those who say as you do is simple.  Economics.  How do you distribute a limited good with an unlimited demand.

Those 'countries' with a 'public health care' have the same problems.  If you follow the news, you hear the horror stories.  Surgeries taking years instead of weeks.  People put on waiting lists and dying to gin the metrics.  Simple procedures never done because your number is not up.

Wait, that is the VA - government run health care.

on Aug 12, 2014

Frogboy

I wasn't worth it because I did everything half-assed.

Sorry...lmao at that one. 

on Aug 12, 2014

Dr Guy

So how would you do it? Healthcare free? Then how do you distribute a limited resource with an unlimited demand? Well, some would say that doctors should be slaves - work for no profit and at the whim of government. Some say the government should pay for everything. So everyone should have access to million dollar procedures.

No one said doctors should be slaves.  I know enough in the medical community here and none of them feel like 'slaves'.  There is a difference between providing basic healthcare for all and providing for 'million-dollar procedures'.  Besides, if a procedure still costs 'millions' then maybe its tech etc. needs to be 'changed' (resources better allocated) to find a way to provide a similar service that doesn't cost anyone 'millions' or introduce a two-tiered system where a person can choose the 'free' but possibly inferior procedure or pay for the possibly better procedure.

 

Dr Guy
The problem with those who say as you do is simple. Economics. How do you distribute a limited good with an unlimited demand.

Those 'countries' with a 'public health care' have the same problems. If you follow the news, you hear the horror stories. Surgeries taking years instead of weeks. People put on waiting lists and dying to gin the metrics. Simple procedures never done because your number is not up.

 

The problem with those who say as you do is simple.  Sociology.  How do you keep filling jobs no one wants when those who would do those jobs get sick and die.

These 'countries' with a 'public health care' have a solution to that.  If you follow first hand accounts, you hear the truth.  The collective of the nation is healthy enough to work, to pay bills/taxes and to help the nation through these tough times.  Putting the nation ahead of the individual is certainly not everyone's ideal but the overall results speak for themselves.

My first-hand experience with such a system is this.  The wait-times are atrocious.  For non-emergent care (ie. a tetanus shot at the hospital) you could be waiting 8 hours or more on some days.  My wife recently had to wait 8 months to get an MRI of her ankle (which is filled with arthritis and the local orthopedic surgeon has told her fusion is the only thing he can do for her......she isn't happy to hear that).  When I was in a bad MVA with a drunk motorist many years ago and got ejected from the vehicle the various surgeries necessary to put me back together were sub-par by American standards I'm sure.  I am alive however, and I can walk again etc.  When my grandfather passed away at 90 he passed away just a month shy of the scheduled heart surgery date that had been set about a year previously.  In all fairness his family is confident the surgery likely wouldn't have extended his life much.

The point of all of this 'experience'?   Not my wife, I or any of my grandfathers other family would want our 'public' healthcare currently being offered to our citizens to go away.  Are the wait-times atrocious?  Sure.  Are there abuses within the system?  Yes.  Is there room for improvement?  Always.   Many people I'm sure would support a two-tiered system as referenced above if it could be implemented properly, but I'd be absolutely shocked to find anyone would actually support our current system to be abolished and be replaced by the American system.

 

Healthy people make a healthy workforce.  Should that not be the objective of every nation?

 

...and to finally take this back 'on-topic'.  Yes.  Keeping a robot cashier and/or a 'burger machine' healthy costs a lot less than doing the same for a human.  So I guess all of the above is quickly becoming moot anyway! 

on Aug 12, 2014

the_Monk

Besides, if a procedure still costs 'millions' then maybe its tech etc. needs to be 'changed' (resources better allocated) to find a way to provide a similar service that doesn't cost anyone 'millions' or introduce a two-tiered system where a person can choose the 'free' but possibly inferior procedure or pay for the possibly better procedure.

Are you kidding?  This is so generic it's banal.  What you're trivializing away as "just change it" is an entire modern industry with thousands of minds and billions of dollars trying to accomplish this very thing every single day.  

Clearly, we should just "better allocate resources".  Solves the problem.  

How do we "better allocate resources" to make heart transplants, one of the most expensive treatments going, cheaper and more common?

You do realize that virtually every procedure we take for granted as common and "cheap" today was at one time exclusive and expensive, right?  That's how technology progression works at it's most fundamental level. 

on Aug 12, 2014

I, for one, welcome the new robot age. More people to do other stuff in society. I'm not too worried about unemployment as I live in a fairly progressive socialistic country (Sweden). In a 100 years I absolutely expect guaranteed basic income to be a thing (in practice it already is).

on Aug 12, 2014

Heavenfall

In a 100 years

YOu expect to live well past 100?  You are indeed an optimist.

on Aug 12, 2014

the_Monk

No one said doctors should be slaves.

You cannot say that.  I said "some say" and some do indeed say that.  They do not use the word 'slave", but they insist that doctors work for nothing and are at the beck and call of the patients.  IN this world, when one works for others with no control over their own lives, it is called slavery.

the_Monk

I know enough in the medical community here and none of them feel like 'slaves'.

They make a profit.  Again, what part of "some say" do you not understand?  I never said "YOU SAID".

the_Monk

Besides, if a procedure still costs 'millions' then maybe its tech etc. needs to be 'changed' (resources better allocated) to find a way to provide a similar service that doesn't cost anyone 'millions'

Fine - invent it.  I am sure you will make lots of money.  I am not talking about Eden. I am talking about reality.  The world as it exists.  NOW.

the_Monk

These 'countries' with a 'public health care' have a solution to that.

Try rereading the comment again.  And this time quote it all.  It was a bit of fun on my part.  I spoke of "some countries" and the US is one of them.  The system described is the VA - a government run health care system in the US (although I can see your confusion since the problems exist in all government run health care countries).

the_Monk

Putting the nation ahead of the individual is certainly not everyone's ideal but the overall results speak for themselves.

Congratulations!  You are now part of the some.  That is called communism, or socialism (the former in practice, the latter in theory).  And it is making people slave to the states.  The state cannot risk freedoms as people do not always want to do what is best for the whole.  So they must be controlled.  You would have done well in the old USSR.  Unfortunately, it is not longer around.

the_Monk

Not my wife, I or any of my grandfathers other family would want our 'public' healthcare currently being offered to our citizens to go away.

Great for you!  Please allow me my wants as well.

on Aug 12, 2014

Dr Guy


Quoting ElanaAhova,

Simple economics tell you that a group of companies acting in concert can virtually enslave / indenture entire villages.



That is called collusion, and it is against the law.

However in the real world, companies are not working together (and those that do are prosecuted for it), and instead bid against each other for the limited resources.  When resources out strip the demand, you get what is called a Buyers Market - the buyer can pay less because more people than jobs exist.  Think illegal aliens.

But when more jobs exist than people to fill them, then it is a sellers market.  Think health care.

That is reality.  That is economics.  And that is why the job market and wages have sucked under Obama.  He is increasing supply but not demand.

 

Econ 101.

 

Yes, it is against the law, now, in some countries.  However, contrary to what you say, many companies 'collude' to get what they want. And calling it 'economics' does not make it right, correct, ethical, nor humane.  All it makes it is legal.  And many things that are legal are things you would choose not to do.  The basic problem is many people in the west have been sold on the idea of markets, etc., forgetting that the market place is not, I repeat NOT. guided by the impartial invisible hand.  The marketplace is dominated by very large, bohemith corporations.  And regular people have little hope against them, unless the government of the people forces changes in how the market operates.  Saying its 'economics' is bailing out on your responsibility to make this a better place for us all.

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