Thursday, December 12, 2013

Capitalism & Community

Fred posted about capitalism today, noting the amazing wave of automation enabled by relatively recent advances in a broad range of technologies, and how that will displace millions of workers.

That is, of course, if we choose automation over people and communities. In some cases, the automation is welcome, innovative, and new in that it creates new business instead of disrupting existing ones (or simply solves a problem without creating a new business...not everything needs a dollar sign affixed to it).

But in most cases, the automation will be at the expense of people who held the same or similar jobs, to the benefit of people on the other end who want their widgets in 3 hours instead of 24. 

It's a choice. 

It's worth reading the blog, but even more worth reading the comments. The libertarians are of course always right and denouncing Fred's liberal tendency for actually caring about people, and the plutocrats, well, they'll let us eat what GMO-baed high-fructose corn syrup carbonated battery acid, unless we complain and then they'll shut down the Twinkie plants (yes, they shut down a profitable business at the expense of the workers but to the benefit or your coronary arteries). 
My comment is here, imperfect and off the cuff but it gets to the heart of the matter, obviously informed by people like Judy Wicks and

"Capitalism used to be the economic system in service of our democratic republic. The opposite is now true; we're a plutocracy.
But to the point: business owners will have to make the conscious choice to hire people instead of automating to squeeze every last bit of profit.
Communities are a mix of people (some employed, some not), businesses, professionals, etc. When businesses choose not to employ simply to make more profit instead of asking "how much is enough", we will see the end of our communities.
We already see this in communities around the country, whose jobs went overseas chasing profits through cheaper labor and now amazing but destructive automation.
I'm (we're) choosing not to automate (edit: as much as possible). I'm much more interested in people than profit. I love me some profit, but I'd rather live in a vibrant, strong community. To bolster that, our supply chain will be as local as possible, and together we'll build the antidote to unfettered capitalism: (maybe call it) responsible capitalism."

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