Re: ZeitGeist Moving Forward
Your continued rejection of these principles shows the lack of educational framework endemic in the Communist/Marxist movements and discounts vital information that must be considered in the responsible construction of any political ideology.
But! “AhHA! We’re not marxists!” You say.
Money is only important in a society when certain resources for survival must be rationed and the people accept money as an exchange medium for the scarce resources. Money is a social convention, an agreement if you will. It is neither a natural resource nor does it represent one. It is not necessary for survival unless we have been conditioned to accept it as such.[/quote]
Your assumption that all undesirable work can just be automated is likewise a functional lie – because it’s based on the “well, when!” technology that TZM is always parading. It’s unlikely that Iron will smelt itself, ore bodies and other natural resources (such as trees) will simply fall over and drag themselves into automated lumber yards without human volition is quite frankly, at best naivety. Idiocy, more practically.
Aaron, I think you have some valid points on the machine automation subject. It is difficult to apply industrial automation to large scale- low throughput products such as buildings and houses.
This is not to say that it is technologically not feasible, but I think it may be fair to say it may not be pragmatic. The comment about raw material production is correct, typically in industrial automation you see machines focused on repetitive, short throw tasks, and as you descend down the supply chain there are usually fewer and fewer fully automated machines. This is not to say there could not be, the capitalist society is selective about application of machine automation based upon return of investment criteria, this would not seem to be a factor for the Venus Project.
This still leaves the practical matter of the capitalist purpose of using machines, which is to displace labor to the advantage of the capitalist. If a particular type of automation does not displace worker(s) to a cost advantage – it is not done. But in a RBE economy, presumably, no such monetary limitation come into play, however you can then face the very real possibility of displacing low skill set labor one-to-one with high skill set labor, a fairly likely outcome for many types of low volume, high complexity operations.
There are machines that harvest wheat in a largely automated fashion (industrial combines), yet tomatoes are still picked by hand. There is a reason for this. It would be interesting to see how the TVP handles this type of scenario, you could end of with 100 PhD machine vision, programmers, and automation experts instead of 100 non English speaking migrant farm workers. And still not get a tomatoe that is edible.
Regarding the comments about Engels, and the quote you provided of same, I’m not sure that this is entirely congruent with the discussion. Marxist theory does spend a great deal of time discussing machine automation, but curiously, the use of this subject is at odds with (what I understand) to be the principles of Zeitgeist. Marxist theory is focused on machinery as a means to increase surplus value at the expense of the proletariat, but of course, one of the (major!) theoretical breakdowns of Marxist theory was the Law of Declining Profits, which states, that when machines are added to the means of productions, labor is displaced. However, there is a contradiction, because if labor is displaced the Theory of Labor Value specifies that surplus value can only be achieved by the direct input of touch labor, so fewer people means that there is less profit, which is clearly not the case.
At any rate, the context of the Engels quote, and the subsequent development of these ideas of machine automation by Marx is that of a negative, which is to say they are generally critical of this usage as it typifies the displacement and marginalization of labor (which of course it does).
I understand that Zeitgeist is taking the position that this is a positive, as the (anticipated) displacement of labor is to be put toward leisure time, and not to surplus and underutilized labor, which is traditionally used by the capitalist system to drive down labor costs of those that still have a job. I don’t really see the Marxist material relevant with this objective.
That aside, I guess I’d like to know more about the Zeitgeist contingencies if large scale machine automation is not practical for many, if not most of the necessary tasks to run a RBE. What of the incentive concepts, do these still hold? This (automation) is a formidable challenge, if it falls short, what are the ramifications to the overall project?
These quibbles aside, I think there are some very interesting ideas embedded in this movement. I also appreciate their effort at responding to the critiques, it is refreshing to hear new ideas and passionate debate.