Technology & the end of capitalism as we know it?

This video by the always-fantastic CGP Grey is more far-reaching than most of his videos, and hits on several items we’ve discussed on Dean’s World in the past. For those of you still around (I’d guess well under 100% of what this site was at one point), I would merely note that this hits on something I’ve said many times before: we do seem to be getting into territory where we no longer even understand the economy let alone have a way to fix it:

I honestly have to wonder if the “socialist revolution” envisioned by Marx won’t become a reality not because anything Marx said was right (in fact I’m inclined to think he was wrong about most things) but because we literally hit a place where there are almost no jobs left even for bright talented people, and we are faced with whether to accept a situation where all available resources are owned by a tiny fraction of the populace, or whether we start entering a Star Trek-y future in which resource scarcity is no longer what drives society and “competition” becomes an almost meaningless concept, and we have some form of socialism-by-default because the only alternative is mass revolution and complete social collapse.

The horse analogy here is much more uncomfortably close to how I see the future than a lot of my friends seem willing to even look at:

What will we do when there really are hardly any jobs requiring humans for much of anything except to say “please give me stuff?”

I’ve thought for some time now we should start thinking about these questions more. Alas, most people seem content to either watch the TV, play video games, or engage in pointless partisan left/right questions instead.

I’ve spent much of the last 10 years being told I’m crazy when I mention these things, or accused of having an ideological agenda, which has been rather crazy-making,  as I sit and watch these trends unfold and when I say, “No, I really don’t have an agenda, I really do think this is what’s going to happen and I don’t know what to do about it but we ought to be thinking about it.

Nor do I have an answer now, except to say that I’m really pretty sure that the human species is now facing questions much bigger than anything, and I do mean anything, it has ever faced before. One possiblity is dystopia. Another is utopia. Likely it’ll be somewhere between those two, but I honestly don’t know what will happen, except I think all the old economic models will pretty much collapse.

  • http://web.elastic.org/~fche/ Frank Ch. Eigler

    See also Marshall Brain’s Manna.

    As for capitalism, as long as there remains scarcity of -something-, mutually beneficial voluntary trade can continue in it. Perhaps human-to-human contact time?