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The Problem Isn't Robots Taking Our Jobs. It's Oligarchs Taking Our Power

The Problem Isn't Robots Taking Our Jobs. It's Oligarchs Taking Our Power

Adam Simpson

Each week workers are confronted with yet another article touting the threat of technology wiping out their jobs. A recent “60 Minutes” segment featured venture capitalist and author Kai-Fu Lee predicting that advances in artificial intelligence would “in 15 years displace about 40 percent of the jobs in the world.”

Adam Simpson has succinctly identified a fundamental and malignant dynamic in our economic lives. In my prolonged and painful attempt to change career in the 1980’s, I noticed a perverse set of circumstances that faced a student, or a worker changing jobs, or anyone at an economic disadvantage: The system expects such an individual to make a large investment (in time, money, and emotional energy) to prepare for a situation that might not be available or might not exist at all by the time that she completes the preparation. This is like telling a potential investor: “Just trust me with your savings; but I won’t let you know the likelihood that you will receive any earnings, and you might lose your entire principal”. Who would make such an investment? Only someone without power and without options.

Similarly, I think that it is unfair to expect a student or a worker in training to know that his future situation is a good fit. This is why an internship or externship is a crucial part of any vocational learning program. Some experience at the workplace, even if informal and without much authority, should begin as soon as practicable, as it serves as an introduction to the work environment to let the training individual get a feel for what she is preparing for. Otherwise, one can end up, like myself, preparing through 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and 3 years of residency (11 years altogether) only to find that the work environment is a poor and unworkable fit.


Good article - I first saw it (without Adam Simpson’s name) under a much better title on Alternet: “The future of work that will continue to disempower and devalue workers — unless they become agents of disruption themselves”. Quite correct. This is the guts of all real growth. We growth & development managers in the UN knew way back that better systems remorselessly have to be put in place (think of Microsoft, Apple, Google as systems, for creating systems, that dovetail with systems that end-users can now use) and the UN development system (with agencies worldwide) is actually setup for system upgrade. But it was the work of Clayton Christensen and the EVA guys in New York more recently that showed that new value is where all new systems should point. Adam Simpson is in effect saying that you should start with your own value equation first and develop your own systems to fit. Read up on value and especially the S-curve and what happens in its early days.

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The financialization ponzi has come full circle, the snake is chomping on its tail and the appetite is voracious. The system is now an insensate consumption machine. Note: once it exhausted the ‘growth’ potential in shifting identity from public ‘citizen’ to market ‘consumer’ it must begin to cannibalize - hence the wall street $#!t storm and global tsunami.

I at times wonder about the unspoken identity politics of ‘democracy’ and how it bounces off the walls of its ‘adversarial’ premise to guarantee polarization of the ‘body politic’. Remove the imposition of the adversarial criterion and the beneficiaries of upward suction all of life’s necessities backlash of ‘you can’t do that its communism’ has become an overflowing septic tank.

Coop models
Public State Banking
Full transparency and taxes to end the rape of the planet!


“Any desirable future” must also confront what work is worth doing. Fast food is just one example of an industry that is unnecessary and harmful.

A job with dignity not only is defined by justice for the worker, but pride in knowing that it is contributing to a better society.


“…the way the system works does not change: It demands that workers be disciplined by the threat of looming destitution. And it demands that capitalists maximize their profits…”

In other words, the vast majority are screwed in the capitalist system. We may be better off materially than 100 years ago, but the reins of power are still in the hands of (for the most part) conscience-free plutocrats.
And there’s no guarantee that material prosperity can continue, especially because capitalism is simultaneously destroying the habitability of the planet. 100 years from now will the 1% be living in space stations above an unlivable Earth? Some kind of dystopian future seems inevitable as long as we leave it up to the wealthy and their “Free Market.”

It’s time for the revolution!


Then maybe we have to say this to these techie: Do or can you have sex with a robot? Of course they will say yes. Make them feel ridiculous for accepting this as status quo.

Hey, whenever I see people go to the self service line at a market I shake my head. I would much better interract with a real person. Isn’t that the point of being a human!

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You’re a doctor? Well congratulations!

Why would an omniscient, all powerful General Artificial Intelligence take orders from a sleazy bunch of superrich idiots?

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Check out:


stop trying to save capitalism just because it’s a habit.

get rid of this system and its high priesthood. nothing less will save the lives of peasants.

it’s them or us.


Soon the time will come when those in positions of borrowed authority will realise that life has nothing to do with making a profit.
A job will be understood as to what brings value.
Infact in the future the higher the value the higher will be the pay.
Rubbish collecters,carers ,nurses,teachers and those that help us understand ourselves will be rewarded to a high degree.