There is a sad irony in the ridiculousness of many of the stories that get told. Paul Krugman, asking “Technology or Monopoly Power?” now cites the following:
Even so, most Americans still believe that our economy remains the most wide open, competitive, and vibrant market system the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, the stories we have told ourselves about competition in America over the past quarter century are simply no longer true.
In my opinion, the question “technology or monopoly power” also misses the point — it’s oversimplistic finger-pointing (something that Professor Krugman is quite prone to engaging in). Much more than “either / or”, it’s a case of “sowohl / als auch” — and a whole lot more. I think he is simply shocked that he has missed quite obvious facts for so long… and he is perhaps also a little overwhelmed by the realization that most economics textbooks need to be completely rewritten.
Labor is probably at least a superfluous concept, if not even a complete mirage. The days of slavish employment are numbered — especially in developed countries. Any human who believes he/she is free, yet who also seeks employment is at least a strange character and quite probably deranged.
If you are free, then you need to take responsibility for your own actions. You shouldn’t hide behind a brand name or a boss to blame. If you insist on being a slave, you will have to face rather stiff competition: robots are extremely cheap, and they do not protest. If you want to live like a robot, you should expect to be remunerated by the kilowatt hour (in case you don’t know what that is, it translates into a wage of at most a couple cents per hour).
The interesting question is: If slavery by the hour will no longer put food on the table, what will? I look forward to what Professor Krugman comes up with!