Amazon Robot Can Fire Employees Who Are Not Up to Snuff



"If we base our ideas of emancipation on those of a machine, rather than a machine that knows it is such (and therefore can be truly something else, because it knows culture—the source of its robotization—is plastic), we will not get far."

Must we leave our Reptilian Minds behind, too?
I'm pretty okay with that.


Charles, of course you are compensated for your work. Did you think Supermarkets have giant margins? There's no such thing a free bagged groceries under capitalism.


Today in "What Will Crash the Stock Market (And End Capitalism, This Time I Promise) with Charles Mudede:

Charlie imagines he is a distinguished primatologist, and the year is 1927.


I'm not sure about the first part, but I can well believe it's 1927. The roaring twenties can only last so long.


@4 patL: Only this time, the crash will be infinitely worse than on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929.


@4 patL: What I find particularly depressing is that the American people should have kept FDR's healthy economy with its safety nets , checks, and balances intact these past four decades. Everything has gone shamefully downhill since Ronald Ray-Gun's "voo-doo economics" and deregulation.


@6 how's that now? Poor families might be relatively poorer, but they're significantly better off then they were in 1980, when I was born. The floor has risen significantly.


@7 - Not to mention the seventies. High inflation + high interest rates. It was called the misery index. It even drove a Republican president to institute wage and price controls. It's important to remember our history accurately.


In the aftermath of a global electromagnetic pulse- say, set off by a solar flare- the immediate effect would be a sigh of relief. With the electricity gone, we would at long last be free to restore our harmony with nature. This would swiftly be followed by an absolute horrorshow. Food production at current levels is only possible thanks to modern gasoline powered farm equipment. In the absence of that, we would see rapidly shrinking global food supplies and a population that has to fight for whatever is left. A mass dying would occur among humans in the developed world. Ironically, in the underdeveloped world, things would be better, as those relying upon hunter gatherer skills never lost through economic development would be better off than those who haven't a clue how to catch a fish or what berries are safe or what mushrooms are poisonous. Even here in the West, we would see food riots in Seattle, and yet a steady state among Olympic Mountain survivalists and Makah fishermen.

Within a decade, the sixth mass extinction would end. Carbon emissions would fall so low that global warming would revert to the pre-industrial state within a century. The Amazon would reclaim recently lost territory Brazil within half a decade. Everything would return to the state of equilibrium that was lost with the use of capitalism.

Bring on that solar flare.



The earth repeatedly experienced massive ecological disruptions directly caused by the things living on it, long before those things had evolved multiple cells, never mind the ability to write polemical tracts about resource distribution. The very existence of life is fundamentally a disequilibrium, requiring large and continuous inputs of energy.

We've definitely got a problem, but the root of that problem isn't capitalism, it's that everyone -- regardless of politics or economics -- loves food, fucking, and family.


@7, I would disagree with the poor being better off now than they were in the 80's. They are definitely worse off and I would point to the massive amount of homelessness we are seeing in mediums sized and large cities, e.g., Seattle, L.A., SF, NYC. Back in the 80s', working poor, and poor people had affordable, if not great quality, housing in those cities. The SRO's that were available in those cities in the 70's, 80's, and 90's have been demolished and replaced by expensive housing only middle to wealthy can afford. The working poor and poor people that could afford those SRO's are, in many cases, now sleeping in a friend or a relative's house (on that raised floor presumably?), or a tent, a shelter, or an RV.



But they have iPhones! The ingrates!



Global population levels remained at a level below the Earth's carrying capacity prior to the advent of petroleum based farm equipment. Humans prior to that time loved food, fucking and family too. They just didn't produce offspring at the same levels we do now.

This is further exacerbated by fertility medicine. The last thing Mother Earth needs is the Octomom. Yet, childless couples are no longer content to adopt. Now, they use artificial methods to produce as many children as possible.

Humans have been eating and fucking and having families for millions of years prior to industrialization. They never reproduced at this rate prior to now

Bring on that solar flare



Human beings reproduced at a higher rate before industrialization, but their offspring were more likely to die.
You might also be interested to learn that population growth did not start with industrialization, it started with the Agricultural Revolution and slavery.
If fossil fuels were to disappear, I can only assume that there would be a dramatic increase in slavery across the globe.
It is estimated that we have over 60,000 slaves in the United States today. If modern technology were to disappear, that number would undoubtedly jump into the tens of millions overnight.


@11 I agree with you. My mother was able to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies while making just over $5 an hour in 1986. Then my sister and I got part-time jobs at fast food restaurants to supplement our "needs" while we were in high school. A single mother making minimum wage with two teenagers today in the exact same situation is far worse off, since rent is astronomically more expensive and federal minimum wage is barely over $7 and we're talking over 30 years later. The wealth gap between the poor and the wealthy has gotten so obscene it is literally killing people and our country as a whole (read: the government elected to serve the people) literally does nothing to help and works every single day to make the situation worse (see tax cut scam that made the wealthy more wealthy and is hurting the working class more than ever). Anyone who believes we are better off today than we were thirty years ago has never known poverty, ever. Even in the late '90s I was able to live in NYC on a salary of $18k,then $22k, and (no longer needing a roommate) on $32k a year. All of that is not even a remote possibility now. Even the $45k I was making at my last job in Seattle before I got sick and had to leave would not be enough to live without a roommate in a normal apartment and live my life in Seattle now.

And when the white supremacists push through their citizenship question on the census government funding will go way down since millions of people will refuse to participate out of fear. We are in a shit show of epic proportion and it has taken us decades to get here and if anyone believes it will get better anytime soon they are delusional and deranged, just as much as the current resident squatting in the WH is.


@15: Oh yeah, take a way cost of living increases and yesteryears are eternally rosier.

It would take a totalitarian regime to cement in place just the right economic times you lust for. Maybe that's what you want.


I mean like, it's like when grandma used to say how she went down see a talkie for a quarter.


@16 I guess you missed the part about federal minimum wage being just over $7 an hour. how has that IN ANY WAY increased in line with cost of living? oh right, it hasn't. your sarcasm does not change the fact that everything costs more and people's wages have remained stagnant for decades, and yet the rich keep getting richer. denying reality and facts don't make them disappear.


@18 xina: Agreed, seconded, and well summarized. Sadly, raindrop (@16 & @17) is currently on another defiant sugar rush. I keep warning him about his dangerously high triglyceride levels, but he never listens--and probably won't until his entire brain turns into soggy Kellogg's Corn Pops.


@18: You were making more than minimum wage when you living in NYC and going to Broadway shows. So don't go hanging your hat on that. Minimum wage jobs have been typically filled by the teenagers living at home, and yes - the working poor. Nevertheless, the middle class makes a lot more than the minimum wage. That's was true in your golden yesteryears as it is now.


@16 Since the Reagan Revolution of 1980, the United States has ceased to be a functioning Democracy, and is an Oligarchy run exclusively by and for the top 10% of the wealth hoarders. Like many working class people, I'm actually fine with a few decades of America being a totalitarian Socialist state, using force and bloodshed to redistribute the wealth equally, and abolishing the destructive system of Capitalism world wide. What good is "Freedom" when you don't have the money to buy it from your masters?

Oh, and shit for brains, Grandma wasn't paying a quarter to see a talkie. She got a 4 four hour plus program of a news real, a "b" movie, a cartoon, a short subject, and then the Feature Presentation all for a mere quarter. Another nickle got her a big bag of popcorn and a Coke at intermission. As prices have gone up, quality and quantity of our products have gone down even faster. The only good Capitalist is a dead Capitalist.



I never thought I'd see the day when people on the left expressed fond nostalgia for the economy of the Reagan years. Good grief.


@19: Your schtick aside, I must give you credit, dearest Auntie, for your adherence to good health. My triglyceride level is currently 87 mg/dL, and the normal rage is 0 - 150 mg/dL. Yours is probably even lower, and you should be proud of that.


@20 I was making $8.65 an hour (but I was not paid hourly, I was a salaried employee). After federal, state, and city taxes that comes out to less than the federal minimum wage, but keep on pounding on your drum.


@22 I in no way was expressing fond nostalgia. I was providing an example of how being dirt poor in the 1980s was not as extreme as it is today. What began with Reagan has us where we are today. So much wealth has been shifted, permanently, to the one percent and the government has been starved of so much tax revenue that in order to even come close to rectifying the problem and creating any kind of equality, radical, permanent, extreme progressive taxation of the wealthy and corporations and huge increases in wages that actually create livable wages have to happen, simultaneously and the chances of that ever happening are slim to none.


@24: Ahh, now you're complaining about taxes. You're making progress.



We have firm evidence of episodes of human population expansion long before agriculture, most notably the "migration out of africa" 100,000 years before any evidence of agriculture appears in the middle east.

And in that particular expansion (not migration-- Africa remained populated), Humans did enormous damage to the environment, hunting all magafauna to extinction in every new region they colonized.

120,000 years ago.

Our fundamental problem isn't agriculture, it isn't industrialization, and it isn't capitalism. Our fundamental problem is our instinct for and long-running success at reproduction.


@11 did you live in Seattle in the 80s? Ballard and the U-District and Belltown and Capitol Hill and Chinatown/ID were crawling with street homeless. Pioneer Square was a non-destination. Things were significantly worse. Today's WORST Seattle neighborhoods are safer and nicer than Ballard was in the 80s.



We're not discussing human population expansion in a void. We are discussing Agriculture and its relationship to nutritional stability and the dramatic changes that caused in human society.
Humans in prehistory may have caused the extinction of megafauna, but the humans hunting those megafauna did not have 9 children living in their households, as many American farming families did before the Industrial Revolution.

My post was in response to #13's claim:
"Global population levels remained at a level below the Earth's carrying capacity prior to the advent of petroleum based farm equipment. Humans prior to that time loved food, fucking and family too. They just didn't produce offspring at the same levels we do now."
The fact is that pre-industrial Americans reproduced at a rate higher than they do now.

That's it.
That's all.
Your false equivalency about humans hunting megafauna to Extinction in prehistory has nothing to do with that.
Pre-agricultural Human Society may have been dangerous for a few species, but Human Society was not a danger to itself until the advent of agriculture.


@28 is correct. We even had mattress and dumpster fires downtown.



Try telling that to Denisovans or the Neanderthals.

Humans have been the most deadly threat both to their own environment and to themselves for far, far longer than they've been growing crops, or building machines, or writing 1000-page books about economic theory.

There is nothing remotely false in this.



The agricultural revolution was a mistake. I do wish we could go back to the hunter gatherer social organizational method on a planetary level, however, this is unlikely to occur, barring a catastrophe.

Carbon emissions went off the rails after industrialization. Capitalism co-occurred, and contributed to the problem by placing a social emphasis on producing stuff in excess of need. The Medievals did not have the ideal society at all, but, they didn't have plastic baby diapers or carbon belching SUVs, either. We went from doing donuts in a horse and buggy on the cliff's edge to slamming the gas and aiming directly for the canyon.

There issue here is not mere expansion or extinction, its about the Earth's carrying capacity. If the gas went away tomorrow, could we survive as a species? I think some of us could, and those persons would be the societies who still live somewhat in tune with nature's rhythms. The Makah and the Amish don't have a lot in common, but the one thing they do share is a better chance of survival in the absence of petroleum. Neither is living in the Stone Age, either.

Peak Oil could very well be real. Even if it isn't, oil reserves concentrated in places where the locals have atomic weapons and a long history of killing invaders means we've got to get off the sugar tit. I just don't think alternative energy can sustain the number of humans as well as petrol can, so the only sane option is to reduce the number of humans. Ethically, removing existing humans is immoral. Preventing new humans from entering the world is far more ethical. Not everyone should have kids, some folks are terrible parents. If you hate children, please do not have any. And if you do like kids, adopt. The streets are clogged with homeless youth who would love a caring home to grow up in. But please stop reproducing at such insane levels.

Barring that, I'm hoping for that solar flare. Before we cook ourselves to death in carbon emissions, before we release more of whatever it is thats killing the bees and thus endangering the food supply, before we get to an atomic war and surviving the post apocalypse, before we stupidly fail to vaccinate against some horrific plague, let Sol Invictus save his children by reigning them in before they kill themselves.