Laura Chimera on Fri, 11 Nov 2016 11:23:41 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> What is the meaning of Trump's victory?

> Automation, offshoring and the cynical exploitation of the
> most defenceless immigrant workers are expressions of pure
> capitalist principles (profit at any cost). Pure capitalism is
> self-destructive, unless it is tempered and corrected by a social
> democracy that changes some of its basic axioms. I agree with Eric
> that the real question is how to do this tempering and correcting.
> It's not so simple as rejecting the entire system.

I absolutely agree with you. But I just had this (somewhat obvious)
epiphany: when people worry about automation (robots are coming to
take our jobs!) they always seem to imply that the robots are going to
be owned by somebody else. The truck driver that sees their livelihood
replaced with a self driving truck cannot rejoice in the technological
progress. The value generated by carting goods around used to be
split between the driver and the trucking company, now the company
can reap all the benefit without sharing with anybody else. To me
this seems, at heart, an issue of ownership: is it really unthinkable
that the fleet of self-driving trucks be collectively owned by a
(former)worker's co-op?

Which brings me to my next epiphany...

> I don't think Basic Income will do it. The US, like the UK before
> it, is losing its empire and cannot pay with expropriated money to
> make up for the injustices of its core principles.

I find Basic Income to be problematic for many reasons, a major
for me remains that it will always be framed as citizens receiving
money without them producing anything of value. A lot can be said
of course for creating the opportunity for community care, culture
production, open source software development and other things we'd do
if only we had Basic Income. Still, the paradigm is: free money from
the government. Here's a crazy idea: what if the government were to
participate in the ownership of the value-generating machines, and
redistribute the revenue as Basic Income? It wouldn't be any different
than the current owners (shareholders) of corporations owning such
machines, who are extracting value by owning a piece of it.

Thank you Brian for your excellent analysis, and I hope you'll excuse
the naiveté of these ramblings.



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