Information / Technology vs. People

One aspect of economics that — in my opinion — people often misunderstand is one of Karl Marx’s central theses: Capital / investment in technology actually competes with labor. I find it odd that so many people say Marx was wrong about this, when it is plainly and obviously clear that huge machines and vast energy resources are used in many developed countries in order to reduce the amount of labor input required. Maybe the only thing even more comical than that is when politicians say capitalism is the answer to any / all evils, and then in the same breath promise to create more jobs. That is so ridiculous that it’s almost like you couldn’t make it up.

Just now I saw someone write a reply to some so-called “newsworthy” story that the person should share it with reporters. Why? I see no reason to share anything with “reporters”. I can speak, write, etc. myself — I am quite literate (and so was the person being addressed); there is no need for a reporter.

We live in an age in which special classes of people who are supposed to report news are no longer necessary (at least not for people who have acquired a certain level of literacy). Anyone who thinks a person is needed for this function is living in the past.

And yet I do admit that many people still appear to believe that “expert information” is something experts (i.e., people) should be consulted for. Well: Good luck finding a cheap book if you expect to buy it from such an expert. On the other hand, if you have an ISBN, then perhaps a robot will deliver the paper with ink stains in a paperback or hardcover casing to your front door sometime soon.

You might not even need an ISBN. Maybe you can type in the word “book”, “novel” or maybe “stories”, “poems” … and maybe a topic like “love” or “career advice” (especially in case up to this point in time you were hoping to work as a “reporter”).

As long as machines do not blow toxic chemicals into our faces, as long as they do not harm our environment, we should welcome the work they do. Indeed: We need to acknowledge both the positive and negative impact of machinery (and this was precisely Karl Marx’s point). Instead, many people today often stick their head in the sand and simply say something like “capitalism will solve everything”. If they added “when hell freezes over” then I might be willing to admit that there is at least some sort of logic to that statement. ;)

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