17 votes

‘A new way of life’: The Marxist, post-capitalist, green manifesto captivating Japan

19 comments

  1. [15]
    Loire
    Link
    I can't wait to read it in English, clearly something needs to change in society and while I don't think any single author is going to have the answer, I love to see new thoughts on the matter. I...

    I can't wait to read it in English, clearly something needs to change in society and while I don't think any single author is going to have the answer, I love to see new thoughts on the matter.

    I do worry about the naiveness of suggestions like

    prioritising essential “labour-intensive” work such as caregiving

    But perhaps the bigger take away is the requirement for a kinder people oriented economy.

    6 votes
    1. [14]
      0d_billie
      Link Parent
      I think as AI becomes more pervasive and starts destroying more jobs, and if we as a global society aren't willing to entertain UBI as a solution and want to keep people going into work, then we...

      I think as AI becomes more pervasive and starts destroying more jobs, and if we as a global society aren't willing to entertain UBI as a solution and want to keep people going into work, then we need to quickly start to figure out what jobs we want people to do, or what we're going to need. Caregiving should definitely be considered a priority, simply because of how many countries are becoming demographically top-heavy (something which has been on the political agenda in Japan for a very long time already). More generally, interpersonal jobs such as carers, personal trainers, counsellors, coaches, social workers, etc... These would be (IMO) good, AI-proof areas to start training people in now, as well as trying to make them culturally more laudable and better paid. Carers in particular are chronically underpaid in the UK, despite the essential nature of the job.

      4 votes
      1. [13]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        UK unemployment is very low, so it doesn't seem like jobs getting eliminated by AI is currently a problem? Maybe it will be someday.

        UK unemployment is very low, so it doesn't seem like jobs getting eliminated by AI is currently a problem? Maybe it will be someday.

        1. [12]
          Loire
          Link Parent
          There's actually a lot of evidence that roboticization has increased the number of jobs through increased productivity rather than the reverse that was believed to be happening. It's possible the...

          There's actually a lot of evidence that roboticization has increased the number of jobs through increased productivity rather than the reverse that was believed to be happening. It's possible the same will hold true for A.I.

          3 votes
          1. [11]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            Is there evidence that robotization increases the overall size of the workforce? I wonder how that works?

            Is there evidence that robotization increases the overall size of the workforce? I wonder how that works?

            1 vote
            1. [10]
              Loire
              Link Parent
              Well for one its been going on for forty years now and there's been no appreciable loss in jobs. Obviously this source is a hair biased but it makes the point It seems to be better to think of...

              Well for one its been going on for forty years now and there's been no appreciable loss in jobs.

              Obviously this source is a hair biased but it makes the point

              It seems to be better to think of robotization akin to the industrial revolution or the digital revolution. The changes eliminated some inefficient roles but the increased productivity opened up multiple new roles to be filled.

              2 votes
              1. [9]
                skybrian
                Link Parent
                If we’re thinking about an economy as a whole, I don’t think of improved productivity as increasing the number of jobs because when the economy is good enough, the limit is set by the size of the...

                If we’re thinking about an economy as a whole, I don’t think of improved productivity as increasing the number of jobs because when the economy is good enough, the limit is set by the size of the working-age population. And looking at the statistics, Germany seems to be doing well there?

                Although, I suppose automation might be partly responsible for Germany having a good economy? Also, more immigration is likely when the economy is good, if it’s not otherwise restricted.

                For local economies, the number of jobs created or lost in the area matters a lot. I could see automation affecting it either way.

                1 vote
                1. [8]
                  Loire
                  Link Parent
                  Germany is the third most automated economy in the world behind Korea and Signapore (sometimes switching places with Japan close in fourth). This only supports the argument. Signapore, Korea and...

                  Although, I suppose automation might be partly responsible for Germany having a good economy? Also, more immigration is likely when the economy is good, if it’s not otherwise restricted.

                  Germany is the third most automated economy in the world behind Korea and Signapore (sometimes switching places with Japan close in fourth). This only supports the argument.

                  Signapore, Korea and Japan all have extremely low unemployment rates as well, so automation hasn't destroyed jobs in those countries either. Japan has its own economic malaise to speak of but it's not a problem pf unemployment.

                  While I agree in principle with your regional argument (thinking American Rust Belt here) that's a human/education problem rather than an automation problem. Logically speaking there's no reason anyone should be living in South Bend Indiana any more but human reasons keep them there decades after they should have left.

                  We can't create jobs in every city in every corner of every country. The modern economy will centralize wherever it centralizes and it's incumbent on the population to follow it and re-educate for it. If it's not automation, it's shifting resource importance or transition to service based economies or the increasing importance of secondary education centralizing the economy in proximity to universities. The government can aid in those processes but none of this has anything to do with robots causing unemployment.

                  5 votes
                  1. [7]
                    skybrian
                    Link Parent
                    Yeah, I basically agree with the idea that automation isn’t obviously resulting in unemployment in richer countries where it’s used a lot. I wonder, though, if we should look at its effects on...

                    Yeah, I basically agree with the idea that automation isn’t obviously resulting in unemployment in richer countries where it’s used a lot. I wonder, though, if we should look at its effects on countries that aren’t doing well?

                    Consider the challenge of getting industry going in a poor country. It’s obviously going to be easier when there are low-tech industries where lower labor costs matter, like making clothing. If clothing ever gets fully automated, that makes it that much harder to start an export industry.

                    1 vote
                    1. [6]
                      Loire
                      Link Parent
                      I think this is a hit or miss process that results more from globalization than automation although both are intrinsically linked at this point. Look at China, or more recently Vietnam. Western...

                      I think this is a hit or miss process that results more from globalization than automation although both are intrinsically linked at this point.

                      Look at China, or more recently Vietnam. Western industry turned China from a poor, largely agrarian economy into an economic powerhouse with the world's largest middle classz all in relative record time. With that said if the corporations hadn't chosen China for their factories would the country be as developed and prosperous as it is now? It was a bit of a luck of the draw situation. We are likely going to see Vietnam follow the same path, and possibly, although less likely, Signapore.

                      With that said African nations continue to struggle. South American nations continue.to perform mediocre. Is western automation going to help these regions? Probably not, and on that you are absolutely correct.

                      3 votes
                      1. [5]
                        imperialismus
                        Link Parent
                        Singapore is in a completely different situation than Vietnam or China. It's a tiny state with barely any arable land that was founded as a trade port, and built its whole economy on trade and...

                        We are likely going to see Vietnam follow the same path, and possibly, although less likely, Signapore.

                        Singapore is in a completely different situation than Vietnam or China. It's a tiny state with barely any arable land that was founded as a trade port, and built its whole economy on trade and more recently, financial services. It didn't really have an agrarian economy to begin with, nor does it have a large population of cheap labor because it's a small country with a very high GDP per capita. It is an economic powerhouse, far more so than China relative to population, but took a very different path to get there.

                        1 vote
                        1. [4]
                          Loire
                          Link Parent
                          Ya, I didn't mean Signapore. Was thinking the Philippines, not sure how I mixed those two up. Shrodingers Signapore I refer to them as an economic powerhouse and an impoverished country in the...

                          Ya, I didn't mean Signapore. Was thinking the Philippines, not sure how I mixed those two up. Shrodingers Signapore I refer to them as an economic powerhouse and an impoverished country in the same thread. My apologies for the mix up.

                          1 vote
                          1. [3]
                            cfabbro
                            Link Parent
                            Is there any particular reason you keep saying Signapore instead of Singapore?

                            Is there any particular reason you keep saying Signapore instead of Singapore?

                            1 vote
                            1. [2]
                              Loire
                              Link Parent
                              Poor Canadian education?

                              Poor Canadian education?

                              1 vote
                              1. cfabbro
                                (edited )
                                Link Parent
                                Ah, heh. So just a simple malapropism/misspelling? I thought maybe it was a joke reference I had never heard before, or something. :P

                                Ah, heh. So just a simple malapropism/misspelling? I thought maybe it was a joke reference I had never heard before, or something. :P

  2. [4]
    patience_limited
    Link
    I'm down with Green Marxism, as long as we can throw the whole "dictatorship of the Proletariat" portion away and stick with basic human rights and a fundamental level of democratic governance....

    I'm down with Green Marxism, as long as we can throw the whole "dictatorship of the Proletariat" portion away and stick with basic human rights and a fundamental level of democratic governance.

    That being said, we're in a better position to do long-term economic planning towards a post-scarcity economy than ever, presuming adequate exploitation of energy sources.

    Solar/wind/tidal/hydroelectric/geothermal + batteries gets us most of the way towards a decentralized, community-based power distribution model that enables local control of production in a way that obviates many of the problems with traditional Marxist centralized planning on an excessively broad scale.

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      It helps but saying it gets us “most of the way” seems optimistic, considering the world’s dependency on fertilizer. And I don’t think local control changes much when it comes to every prosperous...

      It helps but saying it gets us “most of the way” seems optimistic, considering the world’s dependency on fertilizer.

      And I don’t think local control changes much when it comes to every prosperous county’s dependency on international trade. This is why embargoes are so effective at wrecking economies, even if sanctions often don’t work for achieving other goals.

      Figuring out how to build a self-sufficient economy (smaller than most of the world) where any of us would like to live is an interesting challenge, but we’re very far from knowing how to do it.

      1. [2]
        Loire
        Link Parent
        There is no turning back the clock on globalization and feasibly maintaining any sort of quality of life. What we call "globalization" has existed in fluctuating levels throughout written human...

        There is no turning back the clock on globalization and feasibly maintaining any sort of quality of life.

        What we call "globalization" has existed in fluctuating levels throughout written human history and likely before that. Globalization increased prosperity for the Mycenaeans in the Bronze age. It increased prosperity for the Romans and Carthaginians in the Classical Antiquity, it increased prosperity for Europeans during the Renaissance, and it increases prosperity for us now. I'm sure there are numerous African and Asian examples of early globalization that I am missing out on as well.

        In fact, it seems without fail, that when a culture recedes into itself in terms of a "self-sufficient" or insular economy, quality of life and general prosperity decrease.

        The challenge is not to remove international trade and connectivity. The challenge is to find a way to continue it in and equitable, and more importantly environmentally safe fashion.

        4 votes
        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          Well, yes, international trade is ancient. (Another example is the grain trade connecting what’s now Ukraine to the Roman empire.) But it seems a stretch to call it “globalization” since it wasn’t...

          Well, yes, international trade is ancient. (Another example is the grain trade connecting what’s now Ukraine to the Roman empire.) But it seems a stretch to call it “globalization” since it wasn’t worldwide. And before the early modern era, most things that ordinary people need were manufactured locally.

          I’m not saying it’s at all practical, but much as I thought Biosphere 2 was an interesting but flawed experiment, I think it’s interesting to think about how a self-contained economy might be built. Or maybe it’s not completely self-sufficient, but could go without trade for long periods?

          This is kind of the easy version of wanting to build a Mars colony. It’s still extremely hard, but at least you could pick somewhere with a nicer climate.

          2 votes