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alstry (< 20)

What Happens When We Don't Need Workers Anymore?



February 14, 2010 – Comments (16)

I know, everyone needs a place to live.....but everyone needs money to live.  Millions in Africa need food......and go without.

In our system in America, and much of the world, we work for money and spend money for our needs and wants.  For the most part, most of our population was able to get jobs to keep the system working.  As a matter of fact, our infastructure is constructed and designed to have a very high employment rate earning relatively high incomes.

Incomes drove spending and taxes, and taxes drove government spending towards healthcare, welfare and defense.

What happens if technology simply displaces the need for tens of millions of jobs and billions of square feet of real estate?  Think of the tax receipt loss from no income or property taxes being generated.  It was efficient for decades to outsource factories in the rust belt to Asia and long as those jobs were replaced........will it be efficient to outsource half our jobs to technology if we have nothing to replace those jobs?

Currently, we are adopting technology at rapidly accelerating rates causing massive disruptions at a time when we are very leveraged.  Some examples include:

Netflix, the digital delivery of movies is replacing CDs and a huge profit center for BestBuy, Blockbuster and video stores in general.....not to mention a lot of consumption of plastic, paper and transportion utilization.

Skype, teleconferencing, replacing the need to travel for meetings displacing hotels, rental cars, airlines, and restaurants.

eMail replacing the need for the Postal Service.

All of the above actually create a net contraction in revenues and a contraction to GDP due to increased efficiencies.  We are in a very interesting time when progress is actually contraction.  The real question is how will we handle it as a society when few are aware of what is actually going on and it completely destroys the world as we know it?

16 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 14, 2010 at 5:54 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:

At this point, delveraging and digitization is causing massive convulsions around America but few are really aware despite mounting factual data.


Two major cities, Detroit and Kansas City are closing HALF the public schools....expect this trend to spread rapidly.

We are contructing 1/5 the new homes today that we did a few years ago.

Commerical Vacancies and Values are rising and falling respectively at historic levels.

Over 60% of architects are unemployed.

Tax receipts are evaporating while forclosures have reached record levels and growing.

In the past, many Fools thought Alstry was posting doom and gloom.....nothing could have been further from the was simply documenting the transition from the industrial age to the digital age accompanied by deleveraging of the biggest debt bubble the world has ever seen resulting in systematic Zombulation.

Each one individually is incredibly convulsive....together, we are going through the most tranformative period in human history.

Hang on, the process will be wild.........the question now is what event will trigger the publics' consciousness of the conditions????


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#2) On February 14, 2010 at 6:06 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:

Lebanese troops open fire on Israeli warplanes

Let the games begin.....mathematically, the impact of delveraging and digitization is likely to spread to every corner of the globe.

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#3) On February 14, 2010 at 6:13 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:

As I said, the changes will be CONVULSIVE!!!!!

Down economy turns cars, campers into 'homeless shelters'

Tim Barker never thought he'd have to live in his truck. Four months ago, the plumber was in a one-bedroom apartment in California's San Fernando Valley, with a pool and a Jacuzzi. Then, on his birthday in October, he and 199 other plumbers were laid off by their union, Local 761 in Burbank. Now Barker's son sleeps on the sofa of his cousin's one-bedroom Hollywood apartment, and Barker sleeps on the roof of the apartment building - or in his 2003 Ford Ranger pickup. "I'm 47, and I've never lived in my car," says Barker, a husky 220-lb. single father with sandy hair and a rapid-fire voice. In January, as torrential rains pelted the streets of Southern California, father and son were sleeping in the truck in San Pedro, next to the Los Angeles Harbor. "We were able to spend four nights in the Vagabond Motel, but for two nights we slept in the car," says Barker. "It was raining, cold, and the cat was jumping on us. We both got sick."


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#4) On February 14, 2010 at 6:38 PM, lackmind (< 20) wrote:

I know lots of people will say I'm silly or an idealist.  But not having workers is one of the greatest things possible.  By having people free to pursuit of other things.  Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a very good description of humans.  Quite simply we need physical needs met before we can move on to feeling safe, which we need to feel loved, and we need love to have esteem, and finally we are able to purse intellectual goals.

And the thing you are point at is known as the “singularity”.  Read more at  It’s a hypotheses that we will reach a point in which everything changes dramatically from before!  And it’s the one thing we need before we can reach a point in which we can look beyond yours and mine to ours.  Think Star Trek and how there society is about improving the individual and the society.

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#5) On February 14, 2010 at 7:28 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


I normally agree with you, but I have to call you out whenever I hear you imply that technological progress hurts job creation.  You sound like Eleanor Roosevelt, and that's not a compliment.

David in Qatar

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#6) On February 14, 2010 at 7:41 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:


Reasonable minds can agree to disagree on both conclusions and implications.

It is the adoption of the current technology that is displacing massive numbers of workers and real estate.  While we were developing it, it created a large number of jobs and absorbed a lot of capital.

It is simply a fact about the consequences and impact of current ADOPTION.  No judgment is being applied to the future and implications of technology.

Combine the above with deleveraging and we have compounding convulsive effect about what is going on right now. 

In my opinion, many are missing the current dynamics as this process only gets more volitile.

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#7) On February 14, 2010 at 7:52 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


Displacing, ok I can agree with that. And you did say that.  But I still wanted to make an Eleanor Roosevelt dig, so I'm not taking it back :)

David in Qatar

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#8) On February 14, 2010 at 8:05 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:

To be fair...I should have been clearer and qualified for the current and foreseeable time frame....further, like usual, my title was a bit extreme and should have been qualified with "as many workers" as opposed to implying "any" workers.

But the key combination of deleveraging with displacing technological changes....when money runs runs out.

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#9) On February 14, 2010 at 8:10 PM, weg915 (< 20) wrote:

David, I usually agree with you- but Eleanor Roosevelt - even if you disagreed with her, she was one of my heros growing up :) 

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#10) On February 14, 2010 at 8:44 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


Haha, well her economic fallacies were legendary and humurously eviscerated by libertarian writer Henry Hazlitt on several occasions. Most famoulsy her "machines cause unemployment" idea, which he took up in his book Economics in One Lesson.

Apart from that, she did have something nice to say about the Marines:

"The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!”  - Eleanor Roosevelt

And thank you, Eleanor from a former Marine.

I have no incite on the hilarious line from the movie Wedding Crashers where the grandma claimed she swung both ways :)

David in Qatar

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#11) On February 14, 2010 at 8:47 PM, tkell31 (47.06) wrote:

Well, you got half of it right.  Technology will make working obsolete for the majority of people it's just a matter or when not if it will happen.  Of course you see it as a disaster waiting to happen which is not surprising since you are probably the most negative writer I've ever come across.  Why not look at it as an evolution of sorts and think about all the things it makes possible?  Intellectual endeavors, focus on developing peaceful relations and who knows what else.  Then again, maybe humanity needs to struggle in order to have purpose.  Personally I give us more credit, but we shall see where it goes.

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#12) On February 14, 2010 at 9:26 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:

I don't see disaster waiting to is happening all around us right now....but I also see potential for the future.

What is amazing is the fundemental unfairness and emasculation of the principles that formed the foundation of our nation and the complacency of the citizenry as they get sheepled by the self chosen few.

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#13) On February 14, 2010 at 10:06 PM, tkell31 (47.06) wrote:

Get a clue buddy, compared to history we are in a golden age that the world has never seen before.   Do us all a favor, and if you are serious about all the "disaster" going on right now, go study different periods of history to see what that really means.

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#14) On February 14, 2010 at 10:39 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:

Please provide any period in Economic History that was worse than now?

If you are talking about plague or war.......I can think of many.

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#15) On February 14, 2010 at 10:43 PM, russiangambit (28.93) wrote:

#13 - thanks for a good laugh, it is so true.But if you look at it from the perspective of only 20 years in the US history, which is what most people remember, the current situation is a disaster. So, you are both right.

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#16) On February 14, 2010 at 11:00 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:


Again, find me any period in US economic history that was worse than now....I can't think of any from an objective data standpoint.

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