Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum

Is The Average Human Brain Immune To Creative Destruction


Recommended Posts

I think wonderpup's point is (and I am sure he'll correct me if I have this wrong) that if you cannot afford a self replicating food dispenser and a self cleaning house because you have no value in the marketplace then you won't get to do those things.

Not quite. My point is that those things only have value in the context of human desire.

Automation can produce everything except value- and more automated production becomes the less value it creates.

Which sounds like a contradiction but is not.

The reason is that value is created by human desire, and human desire can only be an input if it can be expressed via purchasing power.

The more we automate production the more we eliminate wages the more we reduce purchasing power.

So the closer we approach capital's dream of labour free productivity the closer comes the day when the output of that productivity reaches a zero value.

So there seems to be a basic contradiction in our model of value regarding productivity. We are told that increasing productivity will increase the overall value of the output and make us all better off.

In reality the more productive we become the less value we create since we have eliminated the human input into the process that gives the output it's value.

In a world where all production was automated the value of the products would be zero. Either because no one could afford to buy them or because the concept of buying anything at all would be meaningless.

So the thing we seek to eliminate from our productive process is the one thing that adds value to that process.

Not that I'm against automating production- I just observe that automation is not compatible with capitalism- despite what capitalists claim.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not quite. My point is that those things only have value in the context of human desire.

Automation can produce everything except value- and more automated production becomes the less value it creates.

Which sounds like a contradiction but is not.

The reason is that value is created by human desire, and human desire can only be an input if it can be expressed via purchasing power.

The more we automate production the more we eliminate wages the more we reduce purchasing power.

So the closer we approach capital's dream of labour free productivity the closer comes the day when the output of that productivity reaches a zero value.

So there seems to be a basic contradiction in our model of value regarding productivity. We are told that increasing productivity will increase the overall value of the output and make us all better off.

In reality the more productive we become the less value we create since we have eliminated the human input into the process that gives the output it's value.

In a world where all production was automated the value of the products would be zero. Either because no one could afford to buy them or because the concept of buying anything at all would be meaningless.

So the thing we seek to eliminate from our productive process is the one thing that adds value to that process.

Not that I'm against automating production- I just observe that automation is not compatible with capitalism- despite what capitalists claim.

There is no "we".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not quite. My point is that those things only have value in the context of human desire.

Automation can produce everything except value- and more automated production becomes the less value it creates.

Which sounds like a contradiction but is not.

The reason is that value is created by human desire, and human desire can only be an input if it can be expressed via purchasing power.

The more we automate production the more we eliminate wages the more we reduce purchasing power.

So the closer we approach capital's dream of labour free productivity the closer comes the day when the output of that productivity reaches a zero value.

So there seems to be a basic contradiction in our model of value regarding productivity. We are told that increasing productivity will increase the overall value of the output and make us all better off.

In reality the more productive we become the less value we create since we have eliminated the human input into the process that gives the output it's value.

In a world where all production was automated the value of the products would be zero. Either because no one could afford to buy them or because the concept of buying anything at all would be meaningless.

So the thing we seek to eliminate from our productive process is the one thing that adds value to that process.

Not that I'm against automating production- I just observe that automation is not compatible with capitalism- despite what capitalists claim.

You seem to be talking about a post scarcity world, where anything can be created with no effort by humans.

While I would dispute that this situation could ever happen in its entirety, as - like you point out - humans need to be involved in requesting things to be made. The machines can't know what people want, without asking them.

However, if it ever did happen, then it would be pretty amazing! Why fear a world where we can have any material good we can think, at zero effort?

Ofc, (as ever) you're angling at the free market not being able to function in such a world, so therefore we need people with guns to boss people about instead. That's nonsense though, as a market is only needed where there is scarcity in the first place. A tool is only useful, when there is a need for it.

Edited by Traktion
Link to post
Share on other sites

We are the ghost in the productivity machine- without that ghost there may be production- but there can be no fulfilment.

Your argument is fundamentally misdirected in much same way as zeno's declaration that the hare could never catch the tortoise. Its all about asymptotic limits and that fact that close-to-zero and close-to-infinity cannot be approximated to zero/infinity respectively, which is essentially what you, like zeno, are doing to square the circle of flawed reasoning.

Since you are obviously a bit hard-of-logical-reasoning I will spell it out for you: yes its true that as productivity approaches infinity due to automation then demand for labour and thus wages approach zero, however this is offset by the fact that prices also approach zero. Thus all these factors are entirely self cancelling which leaves us to simply reap the benefit of the fact that the level of productivity needed to meet our basic needs is constant and therefore met by an ever smaller amount of our labour leaving us to enjoy the ever increasing surplus of time and products. Just like the ever increasing but self cancelling time and space subdivisions leave the hare to trot leisurely past the tortoise.

Edited by goldbug9999
Link to post
Share on other sites
You seem to be talking about a post scarcity world, where anything can be created with no effort by humans.

While I would dispute that this situation could ever happen in its entirety, as - like you point out - humans need to be involved in requesting things to be made. The machines can't know what people want, without asking them.

However, if it ever did happen, then it would be pretty amazing! Why fear a world where we can have any material good we can think, at zero effort?

Ofc, (as ever) you're angling at the free market not being able to function in such a world, so therefore we need people with guns to boss people about instead. That's nonsense though, as a market is only needed where there is scarcity in the first place. A tool is only useful, when there is a need for it.

No- scarcity is a given. Capitalism can be viewed as a scarcity management mechanism- in a world where not everyone can have everything who gets to have what?

Capitalism is a response to this question- it is a way to determine who gets to be rich, who poor ect. And it has worked well in the past because the interests of capital and labour have aligned- capital needed labour so therefore labour could command a wage.

But if the rules of creative destruction can be applied to the average brain it's probable at some point that technology will make a large number of people redundant- at which point the alignment of labour and capital diverge- capital will no longer need large numbers of average people to make it's production work.

My argument is that this reveals a paradox- that the drive to enhance value through automation actually does the opposite because value is a quality that can only come from human involvement in the process. It's the input of labour that creates value in the output- and as that involvement declines the value of the output falls as the gap between production costs and pricing power of the manufacturer closes.

This effect can already be seen in the production of TV's- the margins are so compressed that profits are disapperaing;

Televisions have become so inexpensive that the profits have largely been squeezed out of them, a result of a huge increase in manufacturing capacity that has led to an oversupply and continued downward pressure on prices from low-cost manufacturers and online retailers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/business/tv-prices-fall-squeezing-most-makers-and-sellers.html?pagewanted=all

So as the cost of producing TV's has fallen the profitability of doing so has nearly been eliminated- which seems to contradict the idea that more efficient manufacturing will increase profitability.

So it seems to me that as we eliminate more and more labour from production we will find that contrary to expectation profit margins will shrink not grow.

It seems that value in production is inextricably bound up with the involvement of human beings both as consumers and makers- and the more we eliminate human input the more we erode the value of the output.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Your argument is fundamentally misdirected in much same way as zeno's declaration that the hare could never catch the tortoise. Its all about asymptotic limits and that fact that close-to-zero and close-to-infinity cannot be approximated to zero/infinity respectively, which is essentially what you, like zeno, are doing to square the circle of flawed reasoning.

Since you are obviously a bit hard-of-logical-reasoning I will spell it out for you: yes its true that as productivity approaches infinity due to automation then demand for labour and thus wages approach zero, however this is offset by the fact that prices also approach zero. Thus all these factors are entirely self cancelling which leaves us to simply reap the benefit of the fact that the level of productivity needed to meet our basic needs is constant and therefore met by an ever smaller amount of our labour leaving us to enjoy the ever increasing surplus of time and products. Just like the ever increasing but self cancelling time and space subdivisions leave the hare to trot leisurely past the tortoise.

Actually I think it's you who are making a logical error here in assuming that a very small value is practically the same as a zero value.

You are not taking into account the binary nature of employment and income. What would happen in the real world is not the incremental decline toward zero you describe but a growing number of people whose income situation would abruptly go from 'on' to off'.

To man whose income is zero, prices- no matter how low- do not matter- which is why it's important to distinguish between a very low value and a value of zero.

You also fail to realise the perturbation involved in the process I describe- it would not be a case of everyone in society gently descending a price/income curve- there would be winners too- people whose skills and intelligence would allow them to command high wages- which would accentuate the wealth gap between the have's and the have not's.

In short ,while the utopian vision you describe is possible in theory- our society would tear itself apart long before we got there. Capitalism is primed to self destruct to the degree that it seeks to eliminate labour both as an input and-as a consequence of that- as a consumer of it's output.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually I think it's you who are making a logical error here in assuming that a very small value is practically the same as a zero value.

You are not taking into account the binary nature of employment and income. What would happen in the real world is not the incremental decline toward zero you describe but a growing number of people whose income situation would abruptly go from 'on' to off'.

To man whose income is zero, prices- no matter how low- do not matter- which is why it's important to distinguish between a very low value and a value of zero.

You also fail to realise the perturbation involved in the process I describe- it would not be a case of everyone in society gently descending a price/income curve- there would be winners too- people whose skills and intelligence would allow them to command high wages- which would accentuate the wealth gap between the have's and the have not's.

In short ,while the utopian vision you describe is possible in theory- our society would tear itself apart long before we got there. Capitalism is primed to self destruct to the degree that it seeks to eliminate labour both as an input and-as a consequence of that- as a consumer of it's output.

Doesn't make much sense, given the evidence - until very recently vastly more people from the worlds total population were excluded from any capitalist activity and capitalism didn't end.

People who cannot afford stuff don't get stuff made for them and that's no problem whatsoever.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No- scarcity is a given. Capitalism can be viewed as a scarcity management mechanism- in a world where not everyone can have everything who gets to have what?

Capitalism is a response to this question- it is a way to determine who gets to be rich, who poor ect. And it has worked well in the past because the interests of capital and labour have aligned- capital needed labour so therefore labour could command a wage.

But if the rules of creative destruction can be applied to the average brain it's probable at some point that technology will make a large number of people redundant- at which point the alignment of labour and capital diverge- capital will no longer need large numbers of average people to make it's production work.

My argument is that this reveals a paradox- that the drive to enhance value through automation actually does the opposite because value is a quality that can only come from human involvement in the process. It's the input of labour that creates value in the output- and as that involvement declines the value of the output falls as the gap between production costs and pricing power of the manufacturer closes.

This effect can already be seen in the production of TV's- the margins are so compressed that profits are disapperaing;

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/business/tv-prices-fall-squeezing-most-makers-and-sellers.html?pagewanted=all

So as the cost of producing TV's has fallen the profitability of doing so has nearly been eliminated- which seems to contradict the idea that more efficient manufacturing will increase profitability.

So it seems to me that as we eliminate more and more labour from production we will find that contrary to expectation profit margins will shrink not grow.

It seems that value in production is inextricably bound up with the involvement of human beings both as consumers and makers- and the more we eliminate human input the more we erode the value of the output.

If you're not talking about a post-scarcity world, then I'm struggling to see your point.

If TVs became unprofitable to make, no one would make them. However, there is barely a house in the land that doesn't have one and many have several. I don't see the telly going the way of the dinosaur any time soon, as there is demand for them.

The reduction of profit, can also be seen as a reduction in rent - this is not 'contrary to expectation'. There is a point at which there is only enough profit to pay for the labour involved, with little more. That is why capitalism is good, as it removes rent seekers, if the market is allowed to have (read: not legislated against) enough competition.

I really think you are barking up the wrong tree with this line of reasoning.

Link to post
Share on other sites
If you're not talking about a post-scarcity world, then I'm struggling to see your point.

If TVs became unprofitable to make, no one would make them. However, there is barely a house in the land that doesn't have one and many have several. I don't see the telly going the way of the dinosaur any time soon, as there is demand for them.

The reduction of profit, can also be seen as a reduction in rent - this is not 'contrary to expectation'. There is a point at which there is only enough profit to pay for the labour involved, with little more. That is why capitalism is good, as it removes rent seekers, if the market is allowed to have (read: not legislated against) enough competition.

I really think you are barking up the wrong tree with this line of reasoning.

What you are missing is the fact that from the viewpoint of Capital all employees are rent seekers- and it will seek to remove them all.

The closer is gets to this objective the more unstable it becomes because-of course- the wages these employees seek to extract are what gives value to it's output.

All value is derived from humans- the more we eliminate humans from the production process the less value that process can create.

A planet populated only by robot factories churning out products day and night for a million years would create vast amounts of product but create no value whatsoever. The stuff would move from the end of the production line directly to the landfill and it would be worthless.

Machines can be producers- but cannot be consumers- which- I know- is a really obvious point to make. But the implications are quite profound I think- not least because the dream of Capital to achieve labour free production is clearly a suicide pact with the future.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What you are missing is the fact that from the viewpoint of Capital all employees are rent seekers- and it will seek to remove them all.

The closer is gets to this objective the more unstable it becomes because-of course- the wages these employees seek to extract are what gives value to it's output.

I fail to see why this is a problem. If fewer and fewer people are needed, to create more and more stuff, whose value becomes cheaper and cheaper, you are heading towards a post-scarcity world. You said this wasn't your assertion, but this seems to be what you're driving at.

All value is derived from humans- the more we eliminate humans from the production process the less value that process can create.

A planet populated only by robot factories churning out products day and night for a million years would create vast amounts of product but create no value whatsoever. The stuff would move from the end of the production line directly to the landfill and it would be worthless.

Machines can be producers- but cannot be consumers- which- I know- is a really obvious point to make. But the implications are quite profound I think- not least because the dream of Capital to achieve labour free production is clearly a suicide pact with the future.

Which is why it would never happen. What point would it serve?

What would be far more likely to happen, would be for the machines to churn stuff out, which was practically free to make, but had at least some sort of value to people. Again, this would essentially be a post-scarcity world and I still can't figure out why you fear the idea so much.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Simples, they are talking rubbish. When a job is replaced by automation there's nothing to replace it. In some industries like CAD, before computer aided design existed there would be thousands of people all working on one design. This is example I read years ago on HPC, now at a company which once employed 1000's of people the same or larger workload is performed by just 10 people.

That's why I made it my job to learn automation. Then nothing can replace me. If you have automation skills then you can focus your intelligence on the non automated aspects and 'plan out' your automation strategy. Until an artifical intelligence comes along which can think smarter than you then you should be good for a few years.

Sadly China is proof that you can have a 1000x income gap between rich and poor and still have a thriving domestic economy, most of the products and services are aimed at the rich so you just end up in a situation where peoples jobs are servicing the rich peoples demands/ desires. We would have the same thing in Britain if there wasn't artificially high living/ rental costs so instead we just have very high unemployment/ banana republic.

Edited by Saberu
Link to post
Share on other sites
I fail to see why this is a problem. If fewer and fewer people are needed, to create more and more stuff, whose value becomes cheaper and cheaper, you are heading towards a post-scarcity world. You said this wasn't your assertion, but this seems to be what you're driving at.

If you have zero income then cheap prices do not help you in any way- so for you scarcity is 100%

Which is why it would never happen. What point would it serve?

None.

What would be far more likely to happen, would be for the machines to churn stuff out, which was practically free to make, but had at least some sort of value to people. Again, this would essentially be a post-scarcity world and I still can't figure out why you fear the idea so much.

In a capitalist system a man with zero income will starve amidst plenty. Unless he abandoned capitalism of course.

What capital wants is to eliminate labour cost- which it identifies as potential rent seeking- in practice reducing labour costs to zero reduces labour income to zero.

You keep confusing small values with zero values- they are not the same. A very very low price is not a zero price.

What I am saying is that any system that has as a primary objective the elimination of the sole reason for it's own existence is likely to extinguish itself. So the closer that Capital get's to labour free productivity, the closer it gets to imploding.

This seems really obvious to me- why do you think it's not the case?

Link to post
Share on other sites

If a regiment of soldiers form a square- is the square real or is it a delusion?

It's a gestalt.

There are no soldiers, there is no square - it's a limit of your brain, which you can only get past by using higher cognitive processes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Simples, they are talking rubbish. When a job is replaced by automation there's nothing to replace it. In some industries like CAD, before computer aided design existed there would be thousands of people all working on one design. This is example I read years ago on HPC, now at a company which once employed 1000's of people the same or larger workload is performed by just 10 people.

That's why I made it my job to learn automation. Then nothing can replace me. If you have automation skills then you can focus your intelligence on the non automated aspects and 'plan out' your automation strategy. Until an artifical intelligence comes along which can think smarter than you then you should be good for a few years.

Sadly China is proof that you can have a 1000x income gap between rich and poor and still have a thriving domestic economy, most of the products and services are aimed at the rich so you just end up in a situation where peoples jobs are servicing the rich peoples demands/ desires. We would have the same thing in Britain if there wasn't artificially high living/ rental costs so instead we just have very high unemployment/ banana republic.

I think you're right that for work that requires real creative thinking people will continue to be in demand- which why I focused on the average person. Most jobs are not creative but routine- and these are the jobs that will increasingly be automated.

I doubt that China will continue to prosper for much longer- it seems to be just another ponzi scheme bubble waiting to pop.

What happens when all those labour intensive factories relocate or automate to avoid rising wage demands- will the workers just quietly starve to death as the rich glide by in their luxury cars? I doubt it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
It's a gestalt.

There are no soldiers, there is no square - it's a limit of your brain, which you can only get past by using higher cognitive processes.

If this is true there is no 'me' either- the self is but another delusion-correct? An artefact of- and not the source of- consciousness.

And that means there is no you either. :lol:

The good news being that all your angst regarding the 'State' has now been rendered moot- since it too is merely an artefact of consciousness.

Or maybe patterns are in themselves legitimate candidates for our concern? (Being patterns ourselves of course.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

If this is true there is no 'me' either- the self is but another delusion-correct? An artefact of- and not the source of- consciousness.

And that means there is no you either. :lol:

You aren't making a great case for yourself here.

The good news being that all your angst regarding the 'State' has now been rendered moot- since it too is merely an artefact of consciousness.

Or maybe patterns are in themselves legitimate candidates for our concern? (Being patterns ourselves of course.)

What did you think I am talking about and fixing here?

A solution to it certainly isn't in the bodies of the people who these memes have infected.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have zero income then cheap prices do not help you in any way- so for you scarcity is 100%

None.

In a capitalist system a man with zero income will starve amidst plenty. Unless he abandoned capitalism of course.

What capital wants is to eliminate labour cost- which it identifies as potential rent seeking- in practice reducing labour costs to zero reduces labour income to zero.

You keep confusing small values with zero values- they are not the same. A very very low price is not a zero price.

What I am saying is that any system that has as a primary objective the elimination of the sole reason for it's own existence is likely to extinguish itself. So the closer that Capital get's to labour free productivity, the closer it gets to imploding.

This seems really obvious to me- why do you think it's not the case?

So your point isn't that everyone's labour will fall to zero, but that some people's will?

Assuming this is true (you're being slippery), then it's a different problem to market failure due to no one having a job.

The solution to a problem of some being displaced from jobs by technology, is to remove as many barriers to entry as possible into the markets and industries. Additionally, you want to remove as many rent seekers off their backs as possible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Why he fear? Why the fetishisation of "jobs"? If I dont have to work, so much the better for me. If stuff I want is produced in huge amounts, so much the better for me.

There is already a lot of non-monetary economy out there, people getting food and goods in return for sexual favours, people scavenging for expired produce at the back of the supermarket, "food banks", squatters, etc.

A reduction in the social pressures to "work" and an increase in the amount of "stuff" being produced will help this sector of the economy expand.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.