Amazon: Killing Jobs One Robot At a Time

Comments

1
I welcome our free-time-creating robotic overlords.
2
Amazon.com requires a large mid and lower class to consume the goods they distribute and the content their studios produce. If bezos brings about the demise of his customer base's earning and purchasing power, where does that leave him? I'm not arguing with CM's premise, I just wonder where Bezos' head is on this?
3
I am confident that free-time will remain as elusive as socialistic utopias.
4
A self professed Marxist calling Keynes a great economist, despite Keynes' public and private condemnation of Marxism. This is the socioeconomic realm Mudede lives in.
5
@2 has the right question
Whether Bezos comes down in favor of taxing robot labor and/or a universal basic income in the next 5-10 years is one of the most important questions facing, well, all of humanity really.
6
I can't wait for a sky full of Amazon drones.

https://vimeo.com/206366054
7
Thing is, while the "service economy" may on the wane here (if we accept Charles' observation as correct, but which I don't think is a given), it's growing by leaps-and-bounds elsewhere, particularly in so-called "third world countries" where there's an abundance of cheap labor ripe for exploiting. I suspect in the macro there will be a shift as these economies continue to grow at a relatively faster rate, while ours continues to gradually slow down - at least until some other economic driver comes along to stimulate the process locally (that is, nationally, as opposed to extra-nationally), but I'm not convinced a "post-work economy" is necessarily the direction we're headed; the American Calvinist/Protestant "work ethic" which extols hard physical labor, discipline, and self-sacrifice as moral virtues (and ones moreover that grant you a Golden Ticket into Heaven) is simply too deeply ingrained in too many of our fellow citizens to be easily subsumed, that is, barring some massive social and economic cataclysm that fundamentally upends the paradigm. Permanently putting a large segment of the population on some 21st Century version of "the dole", even if ultimately beneficial to society as a whole, just doesn't seem like it will sell here, because SOMEBODY has to pay for it, and it's a good bet that Bezos and his fellow 0.01-percenters aren't going to want to pony up, let alone Joe Sixpack, who would probably rather profess a desire to die than consider taking a guaranteed income, because - that's Socialmalism, and they're agin' it.

In any case, while it may be problematic for us here, my guess is that people like Bezos are taking a more global view in the long-term, and recognizing these other economies will continue to provide the necessary rises in incomes and standards of living to keep the Capitalist Engine chugging along for quite some time.
8
Who claimed Amazon was going to bring back jobs from China?
9
@ 2, I can only imagine that people like Bezos--who've never been truly poor nor suffered financially--think differently than the rest of us.

They don't think in terms of how they'll pay the mortgage, provide for their kids, or what they'll have to do without if/when they get hit with a huge car repair bill. Their obscene wealth and privilage means that they live in a different reality (fantasy?), so it probably hasn't occured to them at all.
10
Joe Sixpack won't have a job.
11
Mr. Mudede's argument for a post-work society (good) unfortunately runs aground against his much desired war on cars. The personal freedom enabled by such an economy would be severely hobbled by an inability to perform the mundane tasks necessary to realize it.

How would a painter transport his canvasses, easels, supplies, etc., to his studio? A guitarist could certainly take his instrument on light rail or a bus, but what's his drummer supposed to do? I would love to build wooden furniture for a (modest) living but I'd bet they won't let me take a suite of Greene and Greene style dining chairs (let alone the table) on mass transit.

His Platonic ideal pedestrian (carefree, literally enlightened) would find his new hobbyist options limited.
12
@11 Amazon delivers.
13
There is a strong belief among many that the future of automation will hit white collar jobs much harder than blue collar or service sector (those have already taken a big hit). We are near to being able to automate a lot of tech sector and human services work. A.I. has already started doing a lot of the mundane writing tasks for sports news and financial news.
14
@7

" I suspect in the macro there will be a shift as these economies continue to grow at a relatively faster rate, while ours continues to gradually slow down - at least until some other economic driver comes along to stimulate the process locally (that is, nationally, as opposed to extra-nationally)"

We've been waiting for a very long time for the economic driver in question to arrive. At this point I'm pretty skeptical that it will show up in my lifetime(I'm 40 now). The problem is that the nature of the technological advancements we have been making, by their very nature, reduce labor requirements. Also we are reaching saturation in regards to what people are willing to pay for.
15
@14:

And perhaps it won't come in the near-term. It took several thousand years to go from an agricultural-based economy to an industrial-based one, and several hundred to go from that to a service-based one. While it's possible that compression-cycle might mean whatever replaces the service-based economy is only a few decades down the road, I for one can't really envision how it will manifest itself, which is probably why I'd make a bad economic theorist or futurist.