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wonderpup

The Race To The Bottom- In Everything.

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The exact numbers don't matter the point is we work less now as a % of our life than we did 30 years ago.

You need to look at a snapshot in time ad production & consumption & taxation for all purposes is instantaneous & not stored.

so fur example (remember the exact numbers are not important)

30 years ago

Average work starting age 16

Average retirement 65

Average death 75

Average lost time in between jobs.say nil

That meant 65% of the population worked to support us

today

average work starting age 22

Average retirement 65

Average death 80

average lost time 2 years

That means 54% of the population work to support us

That's a 17% reduction already.

So some people certainly are benefiting. just not us

And Ofcourse our consumption is higher than then.

we have had some forced un productivity VIA regulation

No

You said in another post that we had increased our non working life by 22 years already and I said no we have not . The average age is not 95 it is still 80 and the people of 80 have worked for 50 years .

You then go on to give the above which are still wrong . The first set of figures is correct on ages ect. Then the second set is wrong as you are quoting the 80 year old having started work at 22 which is not the case . If the 22 year old starts work today and then retires at 65 then you can quote those figures . But at present the 22 year old is going to be retiring at 68 and that is if the retirement age does not increase any further. So the 6 years late start has already had 3 years stuck back on the end of the working life how much more is going to be tacked on the end of the working life. We will know the working life of the 22 year old when he retires not now.

Then you give out % of those supporting us and say it is now lower than before , again wrong as many pensioners might not be working but they are still paying into the system anyone with a private pension will be paying income tax any pensioner with savings will be paying tax on those and many young peeople who might not be working could be supporting us through their taxes if they have any money . But what % is working and supporting us is not what we are debating we are debating the lenght of the working life which has not reduced by the amounts that you give. Your 17% means nothing as that takes no account of the fact that many women who did not work once they have children are now working where is your % for those.

Another thing to take into account if you want to now start talking about % of life spent working and % of people working to support us ect . is the following.

Go back 50 years and the working week was much longer than it is now , it reduced dramatically over the years and so did the amount of weeks worked per year. However in the last 10 -15 years the working week for many has gone the other way and started increasing.

Edited by miko

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It struck me today that there is a common theme running through just about every aspect of the global economy these days- the race to the bottom.

In the case of Jobs it's Wage Arbitrage- in the case of taxation it's Tax Arbitrage- in the case of regulations it's about who has the weakest to encourage investment, in the case of currencies it's about devaluation to increase exports.

Working conditions and worker benefits? We need to reduce them- health care, social security- we need them gone too. Democracy? Human rights? Both need to be jettisoned as impediments on the path to some economic/social event horizon where our societies are to be sucked into a new dark age.

It seems virtually every facet of our civilisation has now become too expensive to maintain and so must be sacrificed to feed the insatiable maw of greed that the Bankers have created at the core of the system. Debt which has been conjured into existence by the dark arts of the Quants has taken on solid form and now apparently cannot be unmade.

We don't need economists, we need exorcists. :ph34r:

Thoughtful post. The spiral to the bottom continues for the masses and in reverse for the 'elite'. The gap is widening ever faster. The powers that be do not intend to waste this perfectly good crisis. The talk of 'helping' people back into work by cuts in benefits is no more than a pretext for forcing the already underprivileged into slave wages - this will be the fuel that feeds the future profits of 'private' and increasingly dominant corporate enterprises. The discomfort of hunger and cold and deprivation in education, health care and other services may eventually drive the population to emulate the events we've witnessed in the middle east. The scandal of what has been done to the UK since the Thatcher era has not been fully publicised thanks to a complicit media. If you want to really see what goes on - try some of the foreign (non-western) news channels.

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The rest of the emerging world are growing nicely (around 4-5%) at the moment though and that the standard of living of an average person in the UK (even when not enhanced by credit cards) is still extremely decent compared to the rest of the world. If you want more, you got to work, and work smartly for it.

I'm willing to bet that Mr easybetman is working smarter than most of us, earning good money and therefore screw anyone who can't follow in his footsteps. After all most of our skills are no better than those Africans, Indians and Chinese so we don't deserve a good income.

easybetman you are a great humanitarian! Let's make you priminister and we can sort out the filth of people on benefits... cut them all off and let them fend for themselves- better yet remove minimum wage and let them compete to see who can work for the lowest amount of pay and still afford to eat while they live under a bridge or in a slum..

It's not fair to compare British people with those from low cost Asian/ African countries because those countries have much lower tax and land prices. Our tax and land prices are both artificially expensive.

Honestly I would never work for minimum wage again in my life. I am not very well off but I work part-time hours, have a free apartment to stay in, earn around twice UK's minimum wage per hour (untaxed) and live in a country where most things are 3x cheaper. I live a reasonably comfortable life but I'm sure it's far from as nice as the lives of people like easybetman and some others on HPC who live so comfortably that they can emphathise with how others lives must be.

But I'm sure even if my life was as comfortable as easybetman, hell even if I was rich (maybe you are) then I would still be supporting my fellow countrymen who didn't get the chance I got in life whether it's because they didn't have my life or job finding skillls.

I don't think the capitalist system cares about paying a fair wage. 3 years ago Japan was a great place to teach English, you'd get 24,000 pounds a year tax free and a free apartment to live in which was pretty nice living even in a high cost economy. These days you'll get 20,000 a year and no free apartment in Japan if you are lucky. A reasonably good job offer in China now gives a higher quality of life than you would get teaching in Japan due to the difference in living costs despite the Japanese schools being substantially richer.

Supply and demand. I know one day this gig will be over for me as the global levelling of wages continue however I'm hoping I will be successful within a few years to run my own business and even then I will still be fighting the cause for people that didn't make it.

Right now in my current profession I still feel like I haven't made it but I work part-time hours (16 a week) for a full time wage and food is so cheap here that I could buy a 1kg prime rib eye steak for just under 5 pounds, the kind they use for top restaurants. I don't make as much as many people on here but I have the free time to cook, enjoy life and work on my own projects which might one day make me successful.

Oh and I have a reasonably beautiful girlfriend (maybe not to easybetman's fine standards) which I only managed to find because I have enough free time to date girls as my job isn't too tired/ long hours. My life is reasonably good, I'd like it to become the minimum standard for all British people... even though personally I'd like to become successful and live much better. But easybetman seems to be hoping people live worse not better, 'hmmph they are lucky to get anything' is the attitude you seem to be displaying.

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3 years ago Japan was a great place to teach English, you'd get 24,000 pounds a year tax free and a free apartment to live in which was pretty nice living even in a high cost economy.

Where the buggery bollcks did you get that information? I have never ever heard of Japan offering tax free work or free accommodation to teach English.

These days you'll get 20,000 a year and no free apartment in Japan if you are lucky.

You get 20k a year now because the yen is so strong. When it was 250 to the pound you'd be looking at around 13k. In any respect if you are planning to return to the UK what you need to be looking at is the amount you could save in sterling. I am not sure which country would be better in that regard.

A reasonably good job offer in China now gives a higher quality of life than you would get teaching in Japan due to the difference in living costs despite the Japanese schools being substantially richer.

What do you mean by Japanese schools being substantially richer? Do you mean public education or private language schools? The reason you will get a multiple of the average salary when living in a developing country such as China is due to demand overwhelming the supply. I would very much debate whether you would have a higher quality of life in China vs Japan, but that is my personal opinion. Whilst China is certainly cheaper, it is heavily polluted and crowded, the internet is censored, problems with food safety, life is cheap, child beggars blah blah blah. If you don't mind turning a blind eye to all that then yes, China rocks.

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I'm willing to bet that Mr easybetman is working smarter than most of us, earning good money and therefore screw anyone who can't follow in his footsteps. After all most of our skills are no better than those Africans, Indians and Chinese so we don't deserve a good income.

Nobody deserves any income (other than a very basic safety net). Nobody owes you everything, even if you are a British (and neither anyone owes anything to an African, Chinese or whoever else).

easybetman you are a great humanitarian! Let's make you priminister and we can sort out the filth of people on benefits... cut them all off and let them fend for themselves- better yet remove minimum wage and let them compete to see who can work for the lowest amount of pay and still afford to eat while they live under a bridge or in a slum..

It's not fair to compare British people with those from low cost Asian/ African countries because those countries have much lower tax and land prices. Our tax and land prices are both artificially expensive.

As someone who lived in an advance economy, you have lots of advantages too.

Honestly I would never work for minimum wage again in my life. I am not very well off but I work part-time hours, have a free apartment to stay in, earn around twice UK's minimum wage per hour (untaxed) and live in a country where most things are 3x cheaper. I live a reasonably comfortable life but I'm sure it's far from as nice as the lives of people like easybetman and some others on HPC who live so comfortably that they can emphathise with how others lives must be.

Not sure where you are but most average world worker don't get free apartment to live in. As I said, British standard of living is extremely decent compared to the rest of the world average. You cannot refute that, because that is true. I live in 3rd world country as a normal person (not as expat) for many years but you probabably haven't (just for your information, Japan is not a 3rd world country) and you can certainly try to emphatise who the rest of the world live before whining.

I don't think the capitalist system cares about paying a fair wage.

Neither does the capitalist system guarantee entrepeneur a fair price either. It is all about supply and demand, like it or not.

I like what Trakion said earlier - if you want to setup a business then setup a business, if you want to collect deividend then join a cooperative.

In most cases, market price is more or less the fair price.

3 years ago Japan was a great place to teach English, you'd get 24,000 pounds a year tax free and a free apartment to live in which was pretty nice living even in a high cost economy. These days you'll get 20,000 a year and no free apartment in Japan if you are lucky. A reasonably good job offer in China now gives a higher quality of life than you would get teaching in Japan due to the difference in living costs despite the Japanese schools being substantially richer.

Supply and demand. I know one day this gig will be over for me as the global levelling of wages continue however I'm hoping I will be successful within a few years to run my own business and even then I will still be fighting the cause for people that didn't make it.

Right now in my current profession I still feel like I haven't made it but I work part-time hours (16 a week) for a full time wage and food is so cheap here that I could buy a 1kg prime rib eye steak for just under 5 pounds, the kind they use for top restaurants. I don't make as much as many people on here but I have the free time to cook, enjoy life and work on my own projects which might one day make me successful.

Oh and I have a reasonably beautiful girlfriend (maybe not to easybetman's fine standards) which I only managed to find because I have enough free time to date girls as my job isn't too tired/ long hours. My life is reasonably good, I'd like it to become the minimum standard for all British people... even though personally I'd like to become successful and live much better. But easybetman seems to be hoping people live worse not better, 'hmmph they are lucky to get anything' is the attitude you seem to be displaying.

If you sound argument then make it but please avoid your personal attacks - or perhaps it is because I speak the inconvenient truth ?

Also, try go to live in China as a normal person, rather than as an expat ESL teacher. Try contact BBC "blood sweet and takeaway" team and they may able to help you experience the real 3rd world average job to help your to put things in perspective.

Edited by easybetman

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Being born British used to be more lucrative because a lot of capital wealth was held by the national state in the name of the citizens. For example the national electricity board had hundreds of billions in capital. Just being lucky and being born in Britain meant you got an equal share in that.

We have public parks in woodlands, on beaches, trails etc.. Just for being born here you get to visit them for free whenever you want.

On the other side the citizen had duties to the state. Oswald Spengler talked about how before women's liberation there was men's liberation. Where men freed themselves of the duties to nation, state, family.

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...

Honestly I would never work for minimum wage again in my life. I am not very well off but I work part-time hours, have a free apartment to stay in, earn around twice UK's minimum wage per hour (untaxed) and live in a country where most things are 3x cheaper. I live a reasonably comfortable life but I'm sure it's far from as nice as the lives of people like easybetman and some others on HPC who live so comfortably that they can emphathise with how others lives must be.

...

Is this some sort of joke/ironic post?

While those at the lower end of the pay scales in the UK may have it worse than those at the top, you are getting far more than the vast majority are in this world. Most have to work long, hard, laborious weeks, in exchange for a very basic houses to live in and food to eat.

There are many things to improve on in the UK, but attacking easybetman, while highlighting that you work part time and get a free house, borders on delusional.

Edited by Traktion

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Being born British used to be more lucrative because a lot of capital wealth was held by the national state in the name of the citizens. For example the national electricity board had hundreds of billions in capital. Just being lucky and being born in Britain meant you got an equal share in that.

We have public parks in woodlands, on beaches, trails etc.. Just for being born here you get to visit them for free whenever you want.

On the other side the citizen had duties to the state. Oswald Spengler talked about how before women's liberation there was men's liberation. Where men freed themselves of the duties to nation, state, family.

People have no duty to the state. No one ever signs a contract agreeing such and the government has no right to force you to agree, leave or otherwise.

Others investing in stuff for themselves (or out of altruism for those born later) is fine. However, they didn't ask for it, nor did they agree to it. Therefore, forcing some sort of duty onto them is wrong, just as taking out a loan on behalf of the unborn is wrong.

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I see what you're saying, however I think whether definition is required depends on the amount of land available. The Libertarian ethos that land can be claimed by a pioneer fencing it off is fine when land is plentiful as it was in the early history of the USA, or in Ireland where everyone was (presumably) happy with the arrangement because they could feed themselves and their families. In these scenarios no-one is losing out because of the system employed. When land needs to be shared amongst a large population the situation surely becomes quite different.

I suppose it's a similar discussion as to whether having no state is viable, especially in a globalised world - one can imagine arrangements among small communities, where resources are plentiful, working well, but when populations are large and resources scarce?

If we consider that much of Ireland was likely 'owned' at the time, I'm not sure it was any different back then. If anything, they likely relied on the land to produce more food then, than they do now (with a global trade of food now common).

IMO, some land will always either be common, communal or private.

With common land, there is no natural owner. People just use/share this sort of land.

With communal land, it is owned by a group of people. They pool the resources to buy it and then share it. This could be like a non-profit company/organisation owning forests etc.

With private land, it is owned by a single person. They do with the land as they wish. This could even by a variation of the above, if they divide it up and rent it out (a bit like a lease hold, I suppose).

I would have thought most land would fall into either of the last two in a modern country. As grazing land can be relatively cheap, I would say that there are always options to avoid being forced into an expensive area, due to land monopoly, i.e. you could start a new village elsewhere, on random farm land etc. However, the threat of you doing this, would likely keep the prices of the land close to amenities down (within reason, anyway).

Ultimately, getting from having a few large, land cartels, due to monarchy and theft, to where would be ideal would take time. However, evidence suggests that cartels always melt away in the end, if there is a free market. Time would be a healer, as they say!

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Found this today and the unit labour cost in UK has been increasing in all except 1 quarter since 2008.

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/49/1/48727543.pdf

Unit labour costs (ULC) measure the average cost of labour per unit of output and are calculated as the ratio of total labour costs to real output.

A positive number means that labour cost rises faster than productivity, which basically contradicts the claim that as labour becomes more productive, they got paid less (at least not in UK). They are getting a larger share of the output quarter over quarter...

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Found this today and the unit labour cost in UK has been increasing in all except 1 quarter since 2008.

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/49/1/48727543.pdf

Unit labour costs (ULC) measure the average cost of labour per unit of output and are calculated as the ratio of total labour costs to real output.

A positive number means that labour cost rises faster than productivity, which basically contradicts the claim that as labour becomes more productive, they got paid less (at least not in UK). They are getting a larger share of the output quarter over quarter...

Sorry but this proves nothing. Labour productivity will naturally decline during recessions as sacking surplus labour will always lag declines in demand. The inverse is true during booms.

It also says nothing about how those labour costs are distributed. If for example the majority of the wage increases are siphoned off into the hands of a small minority, then the real unit labour costs of the majority have decreased while not being reflected by the flawed metric you quote. And this is exactly what has happened, between 1997-2007, ~40% of income growth went to the top 10%, 55% went to the top 20%. In 1980 16% of GDP went to the bottom 50% as wages, in 2010 it was 12% of GDP, the differential is even greater if bonuses are factored in.

But Kudos in picking one single metric and building a whole argument around it without doing any critique/analysis of it.

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Sorry but this proves nothing. Labour productivity will naturally decline during recessions as sacking surplus labour will always lag declines in demand. The inverse is true during booms.

It also says nothing about how those labour costs are distributed. If for example the majority of the wage increases are siphoned off into the hands of a small minority, then the real unit labour costs of the majority have decreased while not being reflected by the flawed metric you quote. And this is exactly what has happened, between 1997-2007, ~40% of income growth went to the top 10%, 55% went to the top 20%. In 1980 16% of GDP went to the bottom 50% as wages, in 2010 it was 12% of GDP, the differential is even greater if bonuses are factored in.

But Kudos in picking one single metric and building a whole argument around it without doing any critique/analysis of it.

Ah..sorry...Sure, things are not as rosy as 1980 (for lots of reasons), but things are not that bad relative to other countries (e.g. Korea in Asia, US in North America, Spain/Estonia /Sweden etc in Europe where unit labour costs are actually falling. It is also definitely much harder to fire anyone in Sweden). In fact, British minimum wage increases probably have a lot to do with this, allocating the fruit to those on minimum wages while total production stays static. - which is a good thing in the short term)

These are data for about 4 years, at least some catchup in the lags should have been done and if your catch up argument is correct, there would have be a good few quarters of negative numbers there when the firing caught up, so I don't find this convincing either. e.g. Spanish demand have been falling even faster and it is harder to fire in Spain than in UK and yet their per unit labour cost is falling.

Increase in per unit labour cost simply means that owner of capital is now getting less as a % of the production, compared to 2008. The argument that more and more fruit of labour is going to the owner of capital is therefore flawed ( Yes, I recognise that a majority of the share goes to public sector (which are not minority) and skilled labours in private sector but how labours split the pie is another topic )...

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One of the oddities in discussions about the 'labour market' is the fact that while there are many people quite happy with the idea that labour should (and must) be treated as a commodity- there is a lot of resistance to the follow on argument that this may lead to a situation in which the market value of some people's labour falls to zero.

Surely if labour is a commodity then there is nothing inconsistent in pointing out that this can create a situation where that commodity can become of no exchange value?

And given our cultural obsession with productivity and efficiency it seems we are intent on placing more and more people in this position.

So the question then arises- what exactly is it we expect these people to do- crawl away and die? How does a market based social model deal with the fact that as a by product of it's progress it creates a class of people who are literally surplus to requirements?

It seems to me this question is one that will need to be answered at some point soon before the critical mass of those excluded from the work/wealth paradigm grow large enough to represent at real threat to the stability of the system.

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More data... it is NOT a one way street/race to the bottom:

Share of Labour income from total output (OECD Stats). It is up and down but broadly stable, and now on uptrend again. Strangely, uptrend always seem to occur during

recessions when capital cannot 'run' as quickly. Certainly not one way street.

1993 : 0.704

1994 : 0.693

1995 0.688

1996 0.672

1997 0.671

1998 0.684

1999 0.689

2000 0.701

2001 0.707

2002 0.699

2003 0.697

2004 0.692

2005 0.695

2006 0.692

2007 0.691

2008 0.683

2009 0.711

2010 0.713

Further, UK has the 4th highest Labour share of output out of 40 OECD countries. The lowest is Mexico where labour share is just 40%.

Now I hope you feel better that you are born in UK rather than Mexico. (Poland is 54%)

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So the question then arises- what exactly is it we expect these people to do- crawl away and die? How does a market based social model deal with the fact that as a by product of it's progress it creates a class of people who are literally surplus to requirements?

It seems to me this question is one that will need to be answered at some point soon before the critical mass of those excluded from the work/wealth paradigm grow large enough to represent at real threat to the stability of the system.

That is a good question. But a caveat here - people is not commodity and people can adapt. Therefore, people can never be surplus to requirements (the severely disable excepted - which society will have a duty to care for them), although their skills can be.

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That is a good question. But a caveat here - people is not commodity and people can adapt. Therefore, people can never be surplus to requirements (the severely disable excepted - which society will have a duty to care for them), although their skills can be.

People may not be a commodity, but if their only means of survival is to sell themselves as a commodity the distinction is meaningless in practical terms.

To say that people can never become surplus to requirements is really a luddite position, when you think about it. The adaptability argument is also misleading; consider the fact that even today huge amounts of money are being spent trying to create artifical intelligence systems that might- if all goes well- be as smart as a border collie dog.

Meanwhile all over the world a huge numbers of bio computers that far exceed this intelligence level are left to rot in unemployemnt because they are too expensive to employ.

The reality is that a random person off the street will kick the butt of the most advanced AI system in the world in terms of adaptability yet we happily throw millions on the scrapheap anyway.

So no 'adaptability' will not save people in a world where micro chip brains are cheaper to employ and come with no irritating overheads like wages, pensions and rights.

Edited by wonderpup

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People may not be a commodity, but if their only means of survival is to sell themselves as a commodity the distinction is meaningless in practical terms.

To say that people can never become surplus to requirements is really a luddite position, when you think about it. The adaptability argument is also misleading; consider the fact that even today huge amounts of money are being spent trying to create artifical intelligence systems that might- if all goes well- be as smart as a border collie dog.

Meanwhile all over the world a huge numbers of bio computers that far exceed this intelligence level are left to rot in unemployemnt because they are too expensive to employ.

The reality is that a random person off the street will kick the butt of the most advanced AI system in the world in terms of adaptability yet we happily throw millions on the scrapheap anyway.

So no 'adaptability' will not save people in a world where micro chip brains are cheaper to employ and come with no irritating overheads like wages, pensions and rights.

We will have to see... we have survived the agricultural revolution (50% in agricultural then, now 1%), the steam ship revolution, the automobile revolution (jobs related to horses gone), computer revolution, the internet revolution and most people still have a job. Even in StarTrek Enterprise, they still need science officers, medical officer, engineers and Jean Luc Picard..

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Even in StarTrek Enterprise, they still need science officers, medical officer, engineers and Jean Luc Picard..

You do realise that 'Star Trek' is some of the least realistic SF this side of 'Doctor Who'? The USS Enterprise is simply a WWII Navy vessel in space.

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People may not be a commodity, but if their only means of survival is to sell themselves as a commodity the distinction is meaningless in practical terms.

To say that people can never become surplus to requirements is really a luddite position, when you think about it. The adaptability argument is also misleading; consider the fact that even today huge amounts of money are being spent trying to create artifical intelligence systems that might- if all goes well- be as smart as a border collie dog.

Meanwhile all over the world a huge numbers of bio computers that far exceed this intelligence level are left to rot in unemployemnt because they are too expensive to employ.

The reality is that a random person off the street will kick the butt of the most advanced AI system in the world in terms of adaptability yet we happily throw millions on the scrapheap anyway.

So no 'adaptability' will not save people in a world where micro chip brains are cheaper to employ and come with no irritating overheads like wages, pensions and rights.

In a free market, people aren't going to work if it isn't worth their while. Therefore, no one is going to work for free or even close to it. Why would they? They would be better off working the land instead.

If AI does the jobs for us, then there will be less for us/them to do. That's no bad thing either. Working less and enjoying life more would be a great thing, IMO. Ofc, 'growth' and 'GDP' don't value free time though - these figures rely on the tax livestock being productive.

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If AI does the jobs for us, then there will be less for us/them to do. That's no bad thing either.

How long will the AIs keep the humans around if those humans merely consume resources while providing nothing of value in return?

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How long will the AIs keep the humans around if those humans merely consume resources while providing nothing of value in return?

That's a completely different debate. We may as well discuss what happens if aliens land and try to conquer us.

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That's a completely different debate. We may as well discuss what happens if aliens land and try to conquer us.

No, it's not.

You're suggesting that a world where AIs do all the work would be wonderful, when in reality there is no reason why AIs who could do all the useful work would want to be slaves to big blobs of carbon who do nothing useful... at best you'd have to hope for an Iain Banks style future where the AIs keep humans as pets, but I consider that about as realistic as 'Star Trek'.

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No, it's not.

You're suggesting that a world where AIs do all the work would be wonderful, when in reality there is no reason why AIs who could do all the useful work would want to be slaves to big blobs of carbon who do nothing useful... at best you'd have to hope for an Iain Banks style future where the AIs keep humans as pets, but I consider that about as realistic as 'Star Trek'.

The chances of AI becoming this advanced are about as likely as alien attack. I'm sorry, but I see no point debating this further; I'll leave that to those who enjoy hypothetical, circular arguments.

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  • 317 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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