Technology and Wages LO7481

Ray Evans Harrell (
Sat, 18 May 1996 01:33:06 -0400

[Host's Note: I believe Ray is bringing to us a conversation that started
elsewhere on the net. The previous msgs that Ray quotes are not from
Learning-org, I don't think. ...Rick]

>On Thu, 16 May 1996, Harry wrote:
>> Capital is worth nothing without labor. General Motors, without people, is
>> worth nothing - it's just a pile of rusting machinery (unless people go to
>> work to grease it down and otherwise maintain it). Peoples Capitalism would
>> indeed be a system where people stay home, watch TV, and live happily off
>> their dividends. Except that there wouldn't be any dividends.
>> Sorry Jim, it won't work.
>> Harry
>On Fri. May 17 1996 Christopher wrote:
>I believe Jim was reflecting a possible scenario "down the road a bit".
>I don't think it's too "radical" to predict an ongoing decrease in
>manufacturing and maintenance jobs (for humans) due to automation. There
>will a some point be, I believe, machines greasing themselves efficiently
>and reliably as they churn out product.

Fri. May 17 1996 Reply:

I have been following this conversation ever since I got on the net.
My questions are these:

Are we not talking about what kind of human beings
we are going to be when the full impact of
automation hits?

What will be the social contract that we work out with
each other in all the different professions and
economic classes?

One of the most interesting things that I have noticed about the
wealthy is how they seem to believe that everything is just fine,
or say they do. I always liked the Nelson Rockefeller image of
someone who was born well but was willing to help. That is hard
to find these days.

Are we not asking the basic questions about what constitutes
value and life fulfillment?

Are we seeking the answers to the effect of both natural
and human-made environments on all of the plants
and animals including our institutions,
families and individual development?

In short, does the question about what we will do and how
we will do it really depend upon who we decide we
are and what that being requires to exist, grow,
dialogue with reality and propagate?

Or do we consider that all non-human life is non-conscious
and therefore just things that live and can be
manipulated for whatever we decide is valuable
in the moment?

And once we consider other life "things that walk," how long
before we consider other cultures, classes, the
disabled, the untalented, the low IQ etc, "things
that walk?"

Have you noticed how the stories about alien abductions so popular
these days, always reduce the human to the position of a lab rat, a
dog or monkey? I even saw one that had human beings used for food.
They were stored live in chambers like lobsters or fish. If any of
this is true then the issue is moot. After all, those Aztecs did
predict when Cortez was going to land and he did. We may be making
a similar prediction based upon a way of sensing that we do not
acknowledge. Human consciousness in the web of information is
mysterious; however, the other side of this is the empathy we may
feel for the rest of the environment and what we are doing to it.
As an antidote to that uncomfortable "empathy" we create beings that
are doing the same to us. Even if they are coming, knowing that
we feel and are a part of the environment can help free us to see
when Cortez is just a Spaniard and not Quetzalcoatl.

Ray Evans Harrell

-- (Ray Evans Harrell)

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