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Are We Already At The "End Of Work"?

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The Python That Ate Your Job

We are already well into the "end of work."

The more accurate title would be "The Python (Script) That Ate Your Job." Python is a computer language whose core philosophy is summarized by "PEP 20 (The Zen of Python)", which includes aphorisms such as:

  • Beautiful is better than ugly.
  • Explicit is better than implicit.
  • Simple is better than complex.
  • Complex is better than complicated.
  • Readability counts.

(source: Wikipedia)

As I understand it (from a non-programmer POV), Python enables rapid development of scripts that may not be optimized by some metrics but which work perfectly well in terms of solving a problem in a cost-effective manner.

(Programmers can be highly partisan, i.e. emotionally attached to their preferred language, so I am trying to be as non-partisan and careful as possible here to avoid arousing the ire of either Pythoneers or Python detractors. I am just an ignorant bystander; please don't shoot the piano player, etc.)

A senior manager at a small tech company recently related a story that illustrates 1) the power of Python (and other scripting languages) and 2) the changing nature of work:

The company had some time-consuming data analysis that needed to get done on a regular basis, and the manager was considering recruiting a (paid) intern to do the work. Instead, he spent four hours writing a Python script which did the work in a few minutes. He named the program "Intern."

This story is repeated thousands of times a day across millions of tasks. Virtually all of my self-employed friends use technology to enable one person to produce output that would have taken three people in the 1980s.

As management guru Peter Drucker noted, enterprises don't have profits, they only have expenses. If you are self-employed or own/manage a business, you will immediately grasp the profound truth of this insight.

If you can replace an expensive worker (and every employee is expensive nowadays, due to the high cost of labor and general overhead) with a Python script that can be crafted in a few hours, financial fact compels you to do so: your business has no profit, it only has expenses.

This dynamic is scale-invariant, meaning it is true of all organizations, from one-person businesses up to global corporations and entire nations. A non-profit group only has expenses, and so do churches, cities and nations. Once expenses exceed income, the organization goes bust.

Could I be replaced with a Python script? In some ways, yes: a script could be written that mined the thousands of entries and essays I've written for repeating words, phrases and themes, and the script would rehash the material into "new" entries.

But since the script isn't logging "experience" in the same way as a human does, the script would not be able to replicate dynamics such as changing one's mind or taking a new direction, although it could randomly generate such behaviors to mimic human development.

Would the script be "good enough" to attract readers? Perhaps; but attracting and keeping readers is not necessarily a problem-state that can be solved with data-mining and pattern matching, as readers seek not just novelty and expressive writing but insight. Any script that rehashed existing material would not be generating new insight; it would simply be repackaging previous insights.

For highly partisan blogs, this might well be "good enough," since partisan readers actually want to read the same rehashed material again and again: in effect, a script that repackaged "it's the Demopublican's fault" with new headlines and slightly different content would closely match the human content generator's output.

I have no doubt some clever programmers have already played around with generating rehashed content and posting it as a blog written by a human being, an artifice masked by an avatar ("Hi, my name is J.Q. Public and I write about politics."). It would almost amount to sport to generate a phony history and cobbled-together quirks to fill out the illusion of personhood.

(Some readers have even wondered if "Charles Hugh Smith" is such an avatar. The answer is no, because the history and quirks of "Charles Hugh Smith" are simply too implausible to be believable. Also, the cost of maintaining such a complicated avatar isn't worth the paltry income generated by the blog. What machine intelligence would be dumb enough to maintain this idiotically complicated enterprise for such a paltry return? Only a human would be compelled to do so.)

Could a robot and standardized scripts replace everything I can do with a Skil 77 wormdrive power saw? It could certainly do a great many repetitive tasks at a work bench, but it would not be able to do non-standardized, on-the-jobsite tasks such as cutting out the rotten sections of a wood window frame. The robot might be able to execute the cuts (presuming it was light enough and mobile enough to stand securely on a scaffold or slope), but it would need a human partner to program the cuts in the real world and in real time.

In other words, "work" is increasingly a partnership of humans and technology. If one's skills and experience (i.e. labor) can be replaced with a Python script, it will be replaced by a Python script. Organizations that fail to replace costly paid human labor with a script will have much higher costs than those organizations that replace paid labor with scripts.

The paid human labor that can't be replaced by a script will increasingly require the knowledge and skills needed to collaborate with technology as an essential work partner.

We are already well into the "end of work." Digital pythons have been eating jobs for some time now, and because organizations only have expenses, they will continue to do so indefinitely until the only paid jobs left are those that cannot be fully replaced by a script or a robot operating on standardized scripts.


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Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:22 | 4236517 New England Patriot
New England Patriot's picture

A new study shows, no, we are not.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:34 | 4236565 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

Can CEOs be replaced by Python scripts?

Can Fed Heads be replaced by Python scripts?

Can Python scripts be replaced by Python scripts?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:38 | 4236596 knukles
knukles's picture

Ned Ludd was right.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:39 | 4236603 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

the lost art of shoe making

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:17 | 4236787 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

Working on a Charles Hugh Smith replacement.

A Python script and a random number generator should do the job..

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:38 | 4237390 tickhound
tickhound's picture

Any for profit system-ism by its very nature benefits from reduced costs. Human labor is a cost. For those still battling which WAGE SLAVE model best suits us, your 2nd awakening is long overdue.

The article is poorly titled... Should read "End of Labor." How an economic model based on scarcity for profit through wages and consumption survives is the "problem." But rather than change this obsolete model, we suppress technology to support the consumption side of the equation. So INVENTING jobs and SUBSIDIZING consumption will continue simply because it benefits the model.

The debate shouldn't be capitalism or socialism... Neither will "solve" our problems as both require the human wage driven consumer. Both will look to GROWTH to solve problems. Both are profit models and derivatives of monetary-ism. And monetarism is proving increasingly fantasy and obsolete.

We can't all be scientists and technicians. "It's the MODEL, stupid."

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:14 | 4237535 malikai
malikai's picture

As a programmer of python and a bunch of other languages, I can assure you that we are nowhere near the 'end of work'.

But like the steam engines that came before us, we (programmers) will change this world.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:39 | 4236613 Rainman
Rainman's picture

Have you hugged your machine today..??

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:49 | 4236648 firstdivision
firstdivision's picture

No, but I do regularly masturbate in front of it.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:04 | 4236720 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

I hope you disabled the webcam first. 

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:19 | 4236798 beaglebog
beaglebog's picture

I hope that he doesn't disable the webcam.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:28 | 4236858 firstdivision
firstdivision's picture

Web cam on, and make sure to send emails with trigger words to before hand.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:57 | 4237002 wee-weed up
wee-weed up's picture

Anthony Weiner, is that you?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:42 | 4236945 wee-weed up
wee-weed up's picture



This article is ridiculous!

Did the "end of work" happen when all elevator operators, typewriter repairmen, punch card operators, adding machine repairmen, etc etc went away?

Gimmie a break!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:42 | 4237178 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

"The world needs ditch diggers too."

- Judge Smails

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:53 | 4237220 SeattleBruce
SeattleBruce's picture

And what will happen when peak oil necessitates that we have to start plowing, planting and harvesting fields manually again in order to eat?  Sounds like a good day's work to me...

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:40 | 4236607 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Here, use this CEO class as a template for your journeys.


class CEO : Douche

    def __init__(self, name, org, pay=1000000, douchelevel=10): = name; =  org; = pay;
        self.douchelevel = douchelevel

    def squander(self): = 0

    def steal(self): =

    def give_self_raise(self): += 1000000
        self.douchelevel += 1

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:17 | 4236793 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

My one pet peeve about Python is relying on whitespace indentation to convey semantics.  Why not use semicolons or more keywords?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:51 | 4236984 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

One day I'm going to sit down with Python, Perl & Ruby and decide which one looks more elegant or gets the job done easier.
python (and gtk used with it) seems common (in Linux), Ruby seems highly able to be integrated to c++ or vice versa & even for web pages but isn't common at all.
its developer is Japanese so maybe Fukushima will force its end or take over by someone who won't be wiped out by radiation.
Just about anyone who's used Perl swears by it & quite a lot of installs use it too.
Still on the fence as I have mostly just copied & modified snippets of any script in any script language as a situation mandates.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:59 | 4237009 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Indeed.  After spending years debugging makefiles with buggered up whitespace in them, I one day started looking at Python and said to myself "what is this fuckery?"



Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:43 | 4237072 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

[begin reply]

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Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:15 | 4237554 malikai
malikai's picture

Most elegant? Definitely not ruby.

You can write pretty code in perl if you know what you're doing.

But javascript always wants to be beautiful.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 05:08 | 4238972 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

hm, I guess my definition of 'elegant' is "easily readable, modular and one line of code"

Given that Ruby is object-oriented, and I strongly prefer that, I find it elegant.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:11 | 4237258 css1971
css1971's picture

Because it keeps it readable, and readable is more important to the reader than the writer.

Or put another way:


@P=split//,".URRUU\c8R";@d=split//,"\nrekcah xinU / lreP rehtona tsuJ";sub p{
($p{$_})&6];$p{$_}=/ ^$P/ix?$P:close$_}keys%p}p;p;p;p;p;map{$p{$_}=~/^[P.]/&&
close$_}%p;wait until$?;map{/^r/&&<$_>}%p;$_=$d[$q];sleep rand(2)if/\S/;print

is why not.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:57 | 4237482 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

yeah, this was taking a long time to run and so we went ahead and got rid of the 

sleep rand(2)

part and now it's running a lot better, so if you could go ahead and use the new version that would be great.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:40 | 4237643 GeoffreyT
GeoffreyT's picture

As someone who routinely forgets to type in fucking semi-colons at line ends (in PHP), I take the opposite view: whitespace indentation in Python is a small price to pay (for me) to just have a carriage return to end a line.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:40 | 4236608 fonestar
fonestar's picture


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:42 | 4236630 Sixdeuce062
Sixdeuce062's picture

Is fonestar a bitcoin trolling python script.......... will he be replaced with a new faster better bitcoin trolling python scipt

on can only hope

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:46 | 4237658 BigJim
BigJim's picture

You beat me to it.

Damn - are you a Python script or something?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:38 | 4238014 Scarlett
Scarlett's picture

Fonestar == Xenofrog 2.0, a fucking paid shill who hates bitcoin.  I hold a number of btc and I can't fucking stand fonestar talking about it.  And the fact that fonestar doesn't link to informative, valuable, information about btc, and just screams about it all day long, goes to show how much this shill account is moronic.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 02:39 | 4238887 fonestar
fonestar's picture

Fuck you idiot (member for 47 weeks).  I have linked to several artices and helped many people here get set up with Bitcoin.  I doubt you own any BTC at all.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:41 | 4236609 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Will Bearing Analyst Guy be replaced by SQL and statistical software?

Will Bearing Buyer Guy be replaced by a Python script?



Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:59 | 4237250 Exponere Mendaces
Exponere Mendaces's picture

Guess what, this is the precise mechanism that will replace a lot of "Financial Services" jobs as well. I look forward to the whining and bitching when the sharks actually have to work for a living. Of course, I won't be able to hear them too well, being out at sea on my boat bought with bitcoin.

The tables are going to turn, and a lot of those parasites aren't going to know what hit them.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:23 | 4237335 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

FTA: "As I understand it (from a non-programmer POV)".

Translation: "I have no idea what I'm talking about".

And it shows.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:29 | 4237808 Offthebeach
Offthebeach's picture

Worm drive saw? Haven't seen one used in decades.
I wanted to leave some ladders, ladder jacks, OSHA staging planks up. Owner was worried 'utes would climb up the ladders after work. I said I can't get 'utes to climb ladders for pay.
Anyway, on the water, New England, working outside as many hours as I can get. Tools frozen, breakers popping, etc. Not to worried about code threats.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:22 | 4236522 rtalcott
rtalcott's picture

 time-consuming data analysis that needed to get done on a regular basis


Which is exactly what people have been using computing for for decades...nothing new here.  Python, R, SAGE the list is huge....get a real job and experience how things work and you will soon see this is nothing new.  OK..maybe the gubbermint would hire an intern or a more expensive Ph.D.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:34 | 4236585 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Why I got out of engineering in the 1980's.All the thinking had gone, and Pe's

had become overpaid data enterers.The newer engineers are helpless without their PC's,

couldn't build a teepee without  them,let alone design one.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:51 | 4236663 Jethro
Jethro's picture

I'm in the civil field, and precisely why I am willing to cover as many different "bases" as I can.  I intend to be so useful, that it would difficult, if not virtually impossible to replace me.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:57 | 4236685 Steaming_Wookie_Doo
Steaming_Wookie_Doo's picture

Well Charles, if it makes you feel any better, even the guy writing the Python script has to worry about being outsourced to Satish in Bangalore if he can't keep coming up with "money saving" scripts. The only twats that never seem to get replaced are f*cking MBAs/beancounters/serial masturbators in upper mgmt.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:56 | 4237242 css1971
css1971's picture

The MBA beancounters can be replaced too.

Most of what management does is assign resources in a top down fashion. Well we already have a mechanism to do that automatically from the bottom up.


Create an internal token money within your organisation, give it to whoever is driving the company direction/products/services; marketing or whatever,

Create "tickets" representing everyone's time and existing resources and auction them on an internal forum. Then you "tax" everyone to the value of their salary in tokens.

The people with the money need to "buy" the services and skills to achieve the goals of the company and the people with the skills and resources need the money to get paid real cash. The company will "self organise"  around the most efficient way to produce the products/services that are desired.

Many layers of hierarchcal management are removed.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:24 | 4236525 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

We are there. It has been the same shit over and over and over and over for years now.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:24 | 4236532 10mm
10mm's picture

Learn a trade and get a real skill.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:51 | 4236556 BLOTTO
BLOTTO's picture

A millenial born in 2001 says, "Im lazy, i can't construct a proper sentence, Ive been brainwashed by the illuminati controlled media and i dont fuck'n wanna fix refridgerators, lay bricks or learn plumbing or any of that other horse shit...i just wanna twatter"


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:41 | 4236928 ponyboy96
ponyboy96's picture

That would be incorrect.  Most have been brought up to believe that they should get a degree and do something better.  Shuffling paper or digital text pays more these days.  Why would I get a job laying bricks if I can get a job paying four times more in an office?  That wouldn't make much sense would it?  Besides, what would all the illegals in this country do?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:42 | 4236931 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

well give em a break he's only 12.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:07 | 4237044 W74
W74's picture

You're insulting 12 year olds?  Your real target should've been those born in 1991.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:47 | 4237197 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

I had the opportunity to become a stone mason, passed on it, and got an engineering degree, switched to programming a couple of decades ago.  I tell the kiddies to become electricians and plumbers.  It is difficult to outsource the plumber since they kind of need to be at the location and you technically need a license in most places which limits the illegals.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:52 | 4236656 fonestar
fonestar's picture

Hopefully the ideas of "trades", "work" and "skill" are better thought-out than your definition of "tangible" lol.

I have skills and they don't produce anything you can physically hold in your hand.  I guess that should all be worthless in your post-apocalyptic SHTFing fantasies.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:53 | 4237229 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

entirely worthless.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:12 | 4237960 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Yep, there just isn't really any paying demand for toilet cloggers.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 05:11 | 4238976 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

well it is the commenting fonestar is not 'american' so perhapsing 'made' in america would re-citizenize the hypothetical/hypothecating valuings.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:02 | 4237267 Exponere Mendaces
Exponere Mendaces's picture

This is precisely what I don't get about the "Shit Hits The Fan" people. Not every extreme scenario comes to pass. What if they're completely wrong? What if the greenback gives way to a new fiat currency, and everyone switches over, and the game continues? What if the actual "collapse" is engineered in such a way as to be another financial reset so the plundering can continue?

But of course, for most gold stackers, the game HAS to end, because they're so invested in the scenario, they can't see it any other way. Same for the guy that built his big survival compound out in the desert, prior to the year 2000 switch. He thought the world was going to dive into chaos too, but he was wrong.

That's the thing, the big "Black Swan" isn't the one you prepare for, its the one you never considered happening in the first place.

All the preppers, all the precious metals people - what if you're wrong? What if it all evolves where PM's still have a place, but they aren't the end-all that you seem to think they are? What if your meticulously made plans of food/guns/ammo are just collecting dust on the shelves?

Not that I expect any debate on this taboo topic, but it might as well be out there...


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:21 | 4237329 Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture

Quite frankly, I don't know where to start. Your basic understanding of economics and finance is so historically twisted and distorted, I wouldn't know where to begin. As for prepping? Some people want to be ready for anything like natural disasters, not just possible market meltdowns. 

You're the "asteroid mining" guy right? Yeah, kind of sums up your level of intelligent discourse on gold and its function as money (and collateral and CB reserves).


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:15 | 4237967 Exponere Mendaces
Exponere Mendaces's picture

@Bay of Pigs

So, you don't recognize that the best laid plans of golden mice and men could go astray?

As for the asteroids, you're saying that it is impossible to do so? If so, I wonder why serious money is being spent to do just that, and not for Gold necessarily (but I doubt they'd turn away a rock that had a substantial amount of it), but for water "waystations" so interplanetary trips make more sense, most likely to Mars at first for colonization.

So back to the main issue you skirted, what if the impending disaster unfolds in another way than you expect? Is it impossible? Or are you going to hide behind "I just can't talk to you" nonsense.

Your move.


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:51 | 4238051 Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture

Sure, anything can happen. Look at the Shit Show going on right now.

So riddle me this Mr. Asteroid, serious question, why would we mine asteroids, when vast amounts of minerals and metals lie in the ocean beds....and if we cant succesfully mine our sea beds how in the hell do we mine an asteroid? Not to mention the cost of doing so at current PM prices. It cannot be done.

Does that sound rational enough for you? Or is it just moar "nonsense"?

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 05:09 | 4238970 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

I'll say it's impossibe to do so. Requires more fuel than we have available to get materials we already have & can recycle for far less fuel cost. For many asteroids they are so far away any trip would be a one-way trip.

Get to ONE asteroid which happens to have nothing in it of value or lose ONE rocket-ship mining rig & you probably will lose the entire finance of the operation considering you'd need to amortize it across many successful mining trips to break-even, and that's even if you measure only in units of MASS of needed elements, and fuel, rather than dollars.

Gold atoms thrown INTO MASSES from supernova ejections are how gold ARRIVES somewhere, impact to asteroids, moons & planets. We'd be MUCH MORE likely to find gold on the moon for that reason than an asteroid. There's lots of empty space around it & if passing gold DIDN'T IMPACT it you'll find NONE in the asteroid.

You think it's hard finding high-grade ore NOW, HERE?

Try 100000000x harder mining deep space for that ONE lucky asteroid.

We'd consume all the fuel on Earth just trying and coming up empty. That fuel is more important than EVERYTHING except water & shelter - for the sake of blurring lines I'll include all food as fuel since it is for us now (bodies) and can be (for machines) converted (though that would foolishly starve people)

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:51 | 4236657 fonestar
fonestar's picture


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:57 | 4236677 BLOTTO
BLOTTO's picture

A tradesman or tradesperson is a skilled manual worker in a particular trade or craft not in the liberal arts, "learned professions" or agriculture.[1] Economically and socially, a tradesman's status is considered between a laborer and a professional, with a high degree of both practical and theoretical knowledge of his or her trade. In cultures where professional careers are highly prized, there can be a shortage of skilled manual workers, leading to lucrative niche markets in the trades.




Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:25 | 4237115 Ourrulersknowbest
Ourrulersknowbest's picture

Might not fit in with the demographic on this site but I am a toolmaker.i don't make huge money but as dipshitty as it sound I MAKE things and that is important to me.i don't begrudge people in professions that get well paid to do fuck all productive,best of luck to them.i made a conscious decision a few years back to stay in my chosen job when I could have went elsewhere better paid but stuck in front of a computer dripping bits of my soul out every day.
It works for me and feeds my old fashioned sense of being a man and able to make,design and repair interesting things.
We don't make things anymore and that is sad as well as a removal of a sound base for an economy.
Just my view I thought I'd share it

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:14 | 4237299 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

might I ask, what kind of tools do you make, and what tools do you use to make them?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:32 | 4237364 Ourrulersknowbest
Ourrulersknowbest's picture

I'll answer your question assuming you're not taking the piss.
I make moulds for plastic parts.a mould is a tool.
Look around your house and see how many plastic items you own.your phone has at least 15 inside and out.
These moulds are made on machines.some are red some are blue.
That last line is if you are taking the piss.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:53 | 4237683 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Making stuff is cool, and anyone who 'takes the piss' is a twat and, if they own any material possessions, a hypocrite.

Having said that... you might want to get that chip on your shoulder looked at :-)

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 05:04 | 4238967 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

no, I was quite serious. The reason I wanted to know was to conjecture the manufacture & use (now I know, of the moulds) vs the use of 'intangible' work like computers, coding, etc., for QA testing, mass-manufacture, customization from templates, etc. (now I know, of moulds). I would imagine there's plenty of opportunity, I'm curious if you've found particular benefit doing so.

I'm sure my phone (a flip phone with real buttons) is made almost entirely of moulded plastic parts (minus the obvious battery, circuits, LCD screen 1, very primitive camera & antenna 2)

1 though I suspect the screen itself is moulded while the liquid & crystals themselves are obviously not which are within the layers

2 yes, one could just include that as 'circuits' in all fairness.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:25 | 4236534 SMG
SMG's picture

Maybe I understand why the chinese emporer executed the guy who built a flying machine and bulit a wall around his kingdom.

And so I guess this is why all the peasants must be killed in WWIII.  Unless we all find a different way.

What a time to be alive. :-(




Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:25 | 4236541 Mercury
Mercury's picture

If we're at the end of work how come the government keeps getting bigger and bigger?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:29 | 4236550 F-Tipp
F-Tipp's picture

You consider what they do to be work?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:36 | 4236572 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Is that a human generated sentence?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:56 | 4237241 plane jain
plane jain's picture

We're at the end of work.  That is why the government keeps getting bigger and bigger.


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:27 | 4236548 F-Tipp
F-Tipp's picture

The logical extension of this kind of sentiment (not that the author argues for it, but so many people just run with it) is that we should get rid of our washers and dryers so people can have jobs. I understand the author's point that skilled, non-automated labor will be essential moving forward, but the majority of people never read past the first idea that "Robots are taking our jobs! Stop them!"

Technology has been substituting for labor for thousands of years. It will continue to do so.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:31 | 4236558 New England Patriot
New England Patriot's picture

Ban structural unemployment!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:33 | 4236576 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

eventually mankind will realize its highest and best use...protein

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:49 | 4236646 Jethro
Jethro's picture

Yes, I agree.  The writing is on the wall, and plain for all to see.  Anything that can be automated, will be.  We have a fairly extensive, recent history of this going back to the assembly line.  As machines become more capable and "intelligent" more pressure will be put on the bottom rungs of skill sets, until even the fairly skilled workers begin to be replaced.  What we are left with is redundant workers...excess humans if you will. 

This corresponds rather elegantly with the emergence of drug resistant microbes, and pending lethal epidemics.  Nature always finds a balance. 

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:23 | 4237334 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

this article is rayciss against buggy-whip manufacturers.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:28 | 4236549 frankTHE COIN
frankTHE COIN's picture

The HFT's beat them to the punch.

But the writing on the wall is getting clearer. We have now had 2 double POMO buying days and the Mkt could'nt go higher.
We have a Budget Deal and the Mkt is getting slammed.

I'd have to say a Canary Massacre is here.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:28 | 4236553 joego1
joego1's picture

Obama is already replacing health care with a giant python.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:17 | 4236784 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

Both have the ability to crush the average middle class person.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:30 | 4236555 AmericasCicero
AmericasCicero's picture

A lot of gov't workers can be replaced with code, but no one in the gov't can write the code to do it.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:50 | 4236654 Count de Money
Count de Money's picture

Having some experience with this, I wholeheartily agree with you.

The problem is not the ability to write code, that's the easy part. The problem is what the code is supposed to accomplish. And that requires understanding of the underlying purpose of what you're writing. And that sometimes requires the programmer to make a judgement call. The problem is that people who work for the government are not paid to make decisions, they're paid to follow rules.

When I worked on a defense project, my government counterpart explained it this way. If you don't follow the rules, make a call, and you're right, there's no benefit. If you're wrong, there's hell to pay. If you just follow the rules, right or wrong, nothing can happen to you.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:16 | 4236789 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

A lot of gov't workers can be replaced by an empty chair, as Clint Eastwood demonstrated.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:28 | 4237353 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

try this:


since the functional outcome will be identical this must be it.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:31 | 4236562 Relentless
Relentless's picture

We are only in the end of work in the sense that we have a system that is making fewer people do more work. so, for those people who do not have jobs, then yes there is less work, but for those that do have jobs, there is considerably more. Consider the drop in prosperity over the last few decades. People who do work, work longer, for less in order to survive (buy food, fuel, housing, etc.) and also buy those disposable unnecessities that are designed to break and "need" replacing.

Your comments about scripts and robots simply point to change in the skill criteria required in today's society. The Spinning Jenny may have put a lot of old fashioned weavers out of work, but it didn't reduce the work load of society, neither did the Industrial Revolution. It just required that workers posses new and different skills.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:32 | 4236567 OwnSilverPlayMusic
OwnSilverPlayMusic's picture

Someone really needs to write a script teaching robots to watch football or we're fucked

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:37 | 4237382 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

look up robocup soccer.
That's right. Adapt to football, take away the robot control & replace with EBT-purchasing over the internet & swilling beer down a pipe right to the drain, augmented by the fed printing moar welfs.
Oh ya.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:34 | 4236583 yofish
yofish's picture

The is the central issue going forward: fewer workers needed. The current record corporate margins point the way and even more 'fat' can be wrung out. 

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:48 | 4236966 moneybots
moneybots's picture

"The is the central issue going forward: fewer workers needed. The current record corporate margins point the way and even more 'fat' can be wrung out."


What will the margins be when there is no one left with any income to buy the product or service the corporation is providing?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:37 | 4236587 Bunga Bunga
Bunga Bunga's picture

OT: Street blockades and riots in Italy. A mass protest of over a million people is expected next week in Rome.

And spot the non-Italian language news coverage in the media:

Complete blackout so far.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:40 | 4236610 edifice
edifice's picture

Automation is a wonderful thing.  I have automated several time-consuming processes at work (not with Python, but with AutoIt), saving thousands of man-hours.  And, it's accurate 100% of the time.  As for it replacing any jobs, it hasn't--the guys who formerly ran the processes have been retasked and, I get to maintain and add features to the scripts.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:44 | 4237432 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

well, depends.
For some tasks that have constantly changing routines it's a bugger.
Or visual recognition that only a human can do as PART of the task. A real pain.
But still, using scripts, macros, etc., where you can helps a ton.
I do for my job all the time.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:40 | 4236611 Count de Money
Count de Money's picture

This is nothing new. In fact, I spent my entire career doing exactly what the author points out. This has been the case ever since technology was invented, way back when man invented the club because it extended his reach and force. He may not have understood the underlying physics but he sure as hell understood the results.

Technology has always given us the ability, if not do more with less, to do more with the same and by definition is deflationary. Here's how the idea works: For the most part, work is inherently miserable (that's why it's called work). Someone comes up with a technology to make someone's life easier. That someone is now given more work so that their life is just as miserable as it was before. And that's what's called productivity.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:13 | 4236762 TPTB_r_TBTF
TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

so now i have to learn python?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:39 | 4236614 dick cheneys ghost
dick cheneys ghost's picture

Modernity is slowing choking us to death

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:38 | 4236912 W74
W74's picture

I disagree, if you want to hold down innovation to keep labor working on the assembly line then by all means feel free to join a union.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:51 | 4236978 Apply Force
Apply Force's picture

I don't think you have thought this all the way through...

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:42 | 4237358 MagicMoney
MagicMoney's picture

On the contrast, the goal of every economy is to eliminate work, because we want leisure, not work. We value the goods, not the actual work. Humans have a want, or want to achieve an ends. They don't work for the sake of working, working is the means to an ends. If you read about marginal utility, particularly that of Carl Menger, people have essentially a never ending desires, or wants. Once individuals satisfy their previous, and current wants subjective on the person's part, he immediately moves to other wants, & seeks other ends that are not yet satisfied. No way a agrarian society would enjoy the wants, and achieve the ends of a advance society that has past it's agrarian state with enhanced productivity, & division of labor.

A wheat grower who tries to sustain himself naturally wants wheat to sustain himself to live as the first want. If he grows plenty of wheat to sustain himself, such as for making bread, then he has plenty of wheat for sustain himself, he then turns his ample supply of wheat, portions part of it for the production of vodka. You see the first, more apparent wants were ranked first before the later wants. Time is part of the equation. Once he satisfied his need for wheat for the purpose of bread, the marginal unit for bread deceases, is valued less than that of vodka. Vodka is of higher value, thus becomes the next want of the indigenous wheat grower. That's how man economizes. His utility changes based on the circumstances of his wants being satisfied. Labor is an input in the factors of production, the means. The means isn't the goal, the ends is the goal, the actual good that is the product of the want, then the means, then the ends (satifisfaction). Basic marginal utility stuff.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:51 | 4237458 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

that's silly.
No person has endless wants because you can't want a thing you don't even comprehend.
That which can't be known can't be wanted, and it can't be known if it can't be comprehended.
Also the limits of wants are set by time & sensory perception - one can't want more than they can take in, even if they tell themselves they can. It can't ever be so because of the limits of time & the human body, of perception.
In the end people just tend to bitch & gripe but that doesn't count. They couldn't 'spend' resources on those 'wants' if they had them all.
Look at how the richest live & you can see it. They want but it isn't endless.

Were it so then no savings would ever be in excess for hoarding or lending.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:10 | 4237503 MagicMoney
MagicMoney's picture

People who save, or don't spend all their money are satisfied with their current wants. Savings inevitably translates to exchange for goods in the future. Savings are lent on the individual valuations of goods in the present versus those of the future. Thus it's a natural provision for future production of newer wants being satisfied, new products that come out. Not every consumer has to know what it wants to find something they come across as something useful, or valuable. What consumer before the invention of the computer would of thought a computer would be useful today? People are always looking for higher satisfaction, in that way, yes desires, and wants are basically limitless.


 The more supply of a good, the tendency for the lower valuable of the marginal unit of that specific good. This is why diamonds are exchanged for higher value than that of water, even though water has far more use than diamonds. Value is subjective. I am not sure to make sense of the rest of your post.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 04:55 | 4238959 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

'higher' and 'more' and incremental changes aren't 'endless'.

I'm being very specific for a very good reason.

Diamonds are traded to idiots: they are as common as dirt & wholesalers who KNOW this pay a mere fraction what anyone else would pay as they KNOW this.

Ask scrap gold refiners what they pay: nothing. They rip diamonds out of gold rings and TOSS Them in the GARBAGE and go refine the gold. They have essentially no resale value, they are not worth the effort. A nice ring or bracelet AS-IS that can be re-sold that happens to have diamonds is fine - if it won't sell it's going to melt & the diamonds are going to the bin.

Limitless, endless, unending - this means the ability to fully comprehend what you want and a means to get it and to understand what it is once you have it. It can't mean anything else or you don't want it any more than you want a yacht by just wanting a PICTURE of a yacht or PROXIMITY to a yacht.

If you don't know what the real thing is you don't want it - you want a proxy or facimile and they are worlds apart in experience and cost.

No one has endless wants. There a slight possibility some people have endless stupidity, and happen to like it, that's about as close to 'endless wants' as I have ever seen in this world.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:41 | 4236619 letterkenny
letterkenny's picture

If you like your python script can you keep your python script?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:49 | 4236650 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

is that a Python script in your pants?

or are you just happy to employ me?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:04 | 4236697 James-Morrison
James-Morrison's picture

Python scripts aren't forced to buy Obamacare healthcare policies.

Maybe I should become a Python script.

Although Python might be under the Obamacare mandate. Who knows, no one has read the whole bill yet!

They don't pay taxes either.

That's it. I'm a Python script.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:10 | 4236750 TPTB_r_TBTF
TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

that guy didnT build that python script.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:53 | 4236664 HRamos_3
HRamos_3's picture

Go Away Or I Will Replace You With A Very Small Shell Script

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:54 | 4236666 enloe creek
enloe creek's picture

there's pytons in florida but they can't only eat little gators not the big uns they doesn't tastes so good does they precious

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:08 | 4236740 TPTB_r_TBTF
TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

those Florida pythons only eat little sheeple not the big uns.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:58 | 4236676 monad
monad's picture

Python? Word processors were the first killer app, goodbye typo pool. Spreadsheets made this kind of number crunching convenient 30 years ago. 

In the beginning, Steve Jobs said that automation would usher in the 4 day work week. Instead Bush, Clinton & friends created the fiction of endless bailouts to justify raising income taxes to absorb that 5th day's revenue. Can't have the proles sitting around thinking about how badly they are getting fucked, can we? Now (excluding zombies) most people work/study at least 60-80 hours/wk just to keep up. With the rate of automation, the work week should be 3 days, because before Obamacrime most people work until May just to pay their frauduelent social-engineered tribute. Then they work til June to pay the legitimate taxes. With Obamacrime, they will work until August just to pay crony vig.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:36 | 4236903 W74
W74's picture

I'm with ya on that Monad.  God forbid the sheeple have a few extra hours a week to start thinking politically.  Can't have citizumz going down to their county legislatures and sitting in on the council meetings, or randomly popping into courtrooms to keep an eye on corrupt-as-fuckall judges.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:59 | 4236691 AustrianJim
AustrianJim's picture

I have crafted a script to grab the previous commenter's comment and rearrange it slightly to appear as my own. However, if I am the first commenter, it crashes. I am writing another script to rectify this.


This comment generated by Python.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:02 | 4236705 PoorByChoice
PoorByChoice's picture

At what point does the business run out of customers earning enough to buy it's products?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:25 | 4237593 wtf1369
wtf1369's picture


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:07 | 4236731 seek
seek's picture

I have Python to thank for a great deal of my wealth today. I came from the coding world into my present profession so I've always done coding for mundane tasks, and with the advent of the web and some clever programming you can have a firehose of data related to anyting of interest with a few day's effort.

This really shouldn't be viewed as a negative -- it frees people up to do more engaging and creative things. Seriously, if you're doing something so repetitive that a script or robot can do it, it's dehumanizing work.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:33 | 4236887 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

+1 for the Oreilly critter avatar

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:00 | 4237019 seek
seek's picture

My original inspiration though I have shelves full of O'Reilly critters here.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:09 | 4237051 Herkimer Jerkimer
Herkimer Jerkimer's picture





But that's just it. Most of the world's workers are not so fortunate to be able to amuse themselves with the idea that there is engaging and creative. Most of the workers of the world are engaged in dirty, monotonous, repetitive, dehumanizing work.


Like teaching inner city kids, working for an insurance company, ad nauseum…



Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:15 | 4236776 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

I am a little bit confused. Could one of these pythons start eliminating retirees particularly if they are in hospital beng treated?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:15 | 4236779 W74
W74's picture

So the solution is 20 hour work weeks?  I'm down.  Isn't the whole point of technology to minimize our workloads and time spent doing labor so that we can focus on other persuits (like a book, time in the park, actually raising our kids, etc.)

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:30 | 4236860 Dre4dwolf
Dre4dwolf's picture

I vote for 10 hour work weeks.


Paid week-ends.

It's only logical.


90% of "work" is "bullshit" anyway.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:24 | 4237587 wtf1369
wtf1369's picture

I agree but people look at me like I'm trying to get something for nothing when I discuss 4 day work weeks. If not that than what damn good is all the technology I manage?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:40 | 4236930 redux2redux
redux2redux's picture

That includes the time at work when I am reading ZH, correct?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:12 | 4237538 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

SRSLY I'd get an extra 20 hours a week to do that, unpaid?
Um.... how about just 5 hours of that unpaid... I do need things to do which aren't just melting my brain, staring at the clouds or something.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:16 | 4236782 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

Amusing that the author makes the typical mistake that a writer cannot be replaced by a machine (or scripts).  Probably a self justification for his penchant for leaving spelling and grammar errors in his writings...

AI has progressed to the point that it can do quite close to that.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:18 | 4236791 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

 The futuristic promise of automation has been that we might all be able to get along doing less work, and the better for that.

Of course the full-time work week may need to be re-defined

as something closer to 20 hours per week.

(Historically, at one point 70 hours per week was the norm)

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:32 | 4236872 Sokhmate
Sokhmate's picture

ZH is not using python, is it?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:35 | 4236894 ItsDanger
ItsDanger's picture

We're only in the early stages of this phase.  Many companies do not have the management with the appropriate foresight to reduce labor in every aspect.  its coming though.  Software capabilities still havent been fully utilized.  Robotics will destroy a huge chunk of the jobs as well.  In most situations, there are recommendations to be made to handle this, but I have none for what could happen.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:58 | 4237014 moneybots
moneybots's picture

"We're only in the early stages of this phase.  Many companies do not have the management with the appropriate foresight to reduce labor in every aspect.  its coming though.  Software capabilities still havent been fully utilized.  Robotics will destroy a huge chunk of the jobs as well."


Wait until robotics can do anything.  No need for any jobs.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:14 | 4237297 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

yes, but who gets the return on the robots' labor?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:21 | 4237331 aardvarkk
aardvarkk's picture

The universe in which the majority of Isaac Asimov's early, pre-Foundation fiction takes place envisions a place (on the Spacer worlds, at any rate) where nobody DOES have a job, except what they decide to do because they feel like it.  Robots take care of everything, everybody has their own little villa, and it's considered barbaric to even meet someone face-to-face.  In the cities, there are teams of robots going around demolishing buildings that have never been used in order to replace them with newer ones.

That seems like the perfect job for government.  They already have the thought processes down, they just need the right Python scripts.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:18 | 4237564 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

hold on a sec, I read those books.
Just ONE world, Solaria, is like that, and the other worlds were quite different (though none packed in like Sardines as on Earth, who also had lots of robots, and instead were hyper-scared of the outside world since only robots went out there).
And much much later in the Foundation novels they returned to Solaria and not much had changed there socially.

I can't entirely recall & don't have the book in front of me but I don't think planet Aurora (Robots of Dawn) actually had either of those problems. It had problems but not those problems.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:46 | 4237669 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

except designing new robots. Robots can only serve humans when directed to do so for our ever-changing needs which we decide on the spot.
OR, they serve no one, not our needs, and it's Terminator/John Connor.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:39 | 4236916 chistletoe
chistletoe's picture

you (all) need to go back and read "The Midas Plague",

written by Frederik Pohl and published in 1954....

it covers this whole scene even better than Orwell did ...

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:43 | 4236939 tamqntvjssjwrixkzegz
tamqntvjssjwrixkzegz's picture

They can teach the monkey how to ride the miniature bycycle. Have yet to see the monkey able to FIX the miniature bycycle.

My background is in aircraft maintenance. Some 20 years. The new birds are amazing. The software can actually diagnose a failure mode in flight and call ahead to the next base to make parts available there. This actually works a lot of the time for the most common failures.

Until it does not. When theres a problem with the software, I go to work in disaster control mode.

We all have to upgrade our skills all the time. Its a race with the machines. A race we are LOSING.

I completely agree with PBC's comment. Who can afford a ticket when the good jobs are replaced by machines?

Reminds me of a bit in the "Judge Dredd" comic wherein thousands are lined up to apply for the job of 'Canary Person' at the Rodentine gas plant.

Canary person? whats that?

Oh thats someone who walks around the gas plant in search of a leak of the deadly rodentine gas. When the canary person drops dead, the robots know where to fix the leak.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:47 | 4237177 swedish etrade baby
swedish etrade baby's picture

Judge Dredd is a great comic. The Judges make me think of the guardians in The Republic by Plato.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:41 | 4236940 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

In my business we can find thousands of eager Python writers, MatLab gurus, LabView geeks, Synopsys writers, and all sorts of tool jockeys.  It's extremely hard to find anyone who can think, understand, and communicate.  Too many students today are jumping into tools without learning the basics of the three Rs or even their own professional disciplines.


Thu, 12/12/2013 - 04:52 | 4237700 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

those are outdated, now we use thumb-drives, SSD's and the Cloud.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:43 | 4236941 NEOSERF
NEOSERF's picture

Peak Work Bitchez!!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:46 | 4236963 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

"Would the script be "good enough" to attract readers? Perhaps; but attracting and keeping readers is not necessarily a problem-state that can be solved with data-mining and pattern matching"

case in point: I'm sure one of those scripts is used to generate 90% of content & 100% of issuances of Goldcore zerohedge articles.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:50 | 4236981 flacorps
flacorps's picture

Player Piano, Kurt Vonnegut, 1952

The question is do we need to become Luddites or is there a better way?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:49 | 4237207 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

Nice reference.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:03 | 4236987 tamqntvjssjwrixkzegz
tamqntvjssjwrixkzegz's picture

Maybe the Amish have it right?



"The Merchants War" Frederik Pohl 1984 is a solid read

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:10 | 4237049 css1971
css1971's picture

Highly recommend learning python, it has to be one of the easiest programming languages to learn. If you have to do anything with spreadsheets then you can probably keep your sanity better by doing it in python instead.

Thing is, you have to know the why and the what. No point "knowing python" or any other language if you don't know what to do with it.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:12 | 4237062 deerhunter
deerhunter's picture

Give 20 engineering students a sheet of notebook paper and ask them how to make it travel the farthest.  All 20 will make and airplane.  If you wad it into a tight ball you can throw it farther every time.  We no longer teach critical thinking.  It doesn't matter if the kitchen is on fire if the kitchen is on a sinking ship.  Our society is screen and game addicted.  Try look someone in the eye on the street or in a store or a shop.  Smile and say hello to someone.  These interactions seemingly are dissappearing.  It is not selfpreservation it is our humanity being leeched out of us by the I gadgets.  My plumber charged me 300 dollars to spend 45 minutes installing a new exterior valve for my garden hose with a fancy shutoff for winter time inside the house.  Shame on me for not asking up front.  I don't know what you all do for a living but 300 dollars for 45 minutes is less than I pay my dentist for cleaning and Xrays.  Maybe the Amish do have it right and they probably can lay bricks, build barns,  butcher livestock cut and wrap it and fix thier own plumbing.  That is during the day.  At night,  maybe make cheese, butter,  jams and jellies and can the fruit and vegetables of their fields and gardens.  Maybe the Amish will run the country someday when we truly are burning our currency to keep the house warm.  Just some thoughts.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:02 | 4237726 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

so, they're no good at making paper airplanes? The kind I make out-travel a wad-ball of paper every time.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:27 | 4237128 UrbanBard
UrbanBard's picture

It's odd to see an article about an age old concept like "productivity" which doesn't use its name. Productivity is about producing more output with fewer labor inputs. This is the true cause of increasing wage rates, because the remaining work requires more skill or knowledge.

Will we ever get to the point where human labor is no longer needed? No. Why? Because human beings have infinite desires. This sparks new needs which creates more jobs. But these are better jobs; jobs which the market never had before. Or they may be old technologies which didn't quite work, like Fracking, because they needed new methods. The price may not have been right to warrant using them, either.

Machines, as workers, are never as flexible as people are. They cannot adjust, as well, to changing market conditions. Most of the dirty, dangerous, mind-numbing and drudge jobs in the world economy have already been replaced by technology. 3-D printing and robots will replace even more.

The only condition, in an economy, where there are fewer jobs is when a government outlaws them through minimum wage rates, onerous taxation or excessive regulation. Those three are really deterrents to work designed to jack up the wages of some workers (unionized workers, for instance) at the expense of others.

Obamacare, for instance, is causing the majority of doctors to leave the field. It will wreck the existing insurance based system, put in place in World War Two. Those Doctors will be replaced by technology. Lower paid Nurse Practitioners using computer programs will replace most routine medical services and minor surgery through cash only "Doc-in-a-Box" stores.

It is the Insurance based system which causes medical costs to be so high. The American Medical Association is a cartel; there is no competition. When patients must pay directly for the benefits they receive, then they become discriminating shoppers. This lowers the price and encourages cost savings.

Government medicine will never work; only the desperate will use it. It's a real killer.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:30 | 4237141 Took Red Pill
Took Red Pill's picture

Which is why the Zeitgeist Movement makes sense. Let technology and robots take over and do almost all the work, leaving humans to persue those things we enjoy.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:11 | 4237288 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

It's at least alluring on a very cursory level...  however, to say that it makes sense is a bit of a stretch...  let me know when they solve the paradoxes of capitalism and socialism...  when a lack of marginal incentive to produce doesn't create shortages...  where humans lose self interest and any regulator or power structure remains perfectly neutral...  good luck.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:54 | 4237476 Took Red Pill
Took Red Pill's picture

Valid points. I doubt it would work on a global scale. It would be something interesting to try on a smaller scale. I think eventually we'll wind up with a number of different systems (after TSHTF).

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:13 | 4237755 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

It happens every day on a smaller scale...  in rural america, this is life for many small groups of folks...  some neighborhoods are similar...  hell, I'm sure plenty of hippies managed to find something similar on the na pali coast.  The problem though, is that: (a) they're talking about universal application; and (b) it ONLY works on a small scale.

In the end, self interest demands power and control...  and power and control consolidates until it gets too big to manage...  after TSHTF, we'll be in the consolidation phase again, as everyone jockies to fill the power vacuum, however there will already likely be plenty who already have enough of a headstart not to lose it.  The folks in the zeitgeist or anything like it will be hit with a steamroller eventually, as what they're suggesting tends to threaten the power structures by offering competition to the company store.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:47 | 4238669 UrbanBard
UrbanBard's picture

There is no paradox. Human nature is a constant. There will always be thieves and power seekers.

A shortage is defined as a governmental action which forces the price of a good or service below that of the market clearing price.

The problem is that the lies of the power seekers periodically catch up with them. They consume more wealth than the society produces. In desperation, the mob will turn on the elites. In Europe, this usually means that a fresh tyrant is enthroned.

In America, we've tended to throw the power seekers out. The question is whether we have become too much like Europe. Or will the Tea Party overturn the Progressives?

We live in interesting times.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:48 | 4237884 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

but that's not what zeitgeist is.
Robots can only follow the direction of humans. They can't meet our desires without them being expressed.
The purpose, explicit in Zeitgeist, is to tell YOU what you want, to tell YOU what is "abundance", not to let you decide.
The purpose of the robots is to restrict you from having any say or control in actually making anything so you can't dismantle it if it goes wrong because you'll have no idea having never touched the actual workings before.
And the economics is the worst:
by taking away all ownership, all resources for all people on the planet, removing all semblance of an economy, they'll call it a "resource-based economy" though it is the opposite.
You have no resources, you may only beg & if the robots (and the few humans on Earth at the top) controlling them deem it fit, you'll get them.
Actually that's an anti-resource anti-economy.
Sharing is mandatory, ownership is never permitted.

you have to actually watch "Moving Forward" (youtube) all the way to the end to get that part of the message.
It's at about offset 1 hour 42 minutes. Jump to it and listen.
It's robo-marxism planetary dictatorship.

if something's truly abundant I don't need a boss or boss's robot to tell me so. i don't need a boss at all for that.

If there is one I can be sure it 's NOT abundant - yet Peter Joseph Merola, Zeitgeist's leader, says abundance is removing everything then giving you only what he deems fit.

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