A Plan For A Post-Labor America

The WallBecause I share the concern that the Occupy Movement has no plan for change, I humbly present for consensus. . .

A PLAN FOR A POST-LABOR AMERICA

Education reform. A popular misconception about the American ED-U-SYSTEM is that it is ‘broken.’ When in fact, it is quite good at what it was designed for; creating dependable laborers for Industry. Thanks to the schooling system, youth are trained very early in how they are expected to be useful in the “REAL WORLD.” The real purpose of public education consists of three courses: one in punctuality, one in obedience, and one in rote, repetitive work.

Labor-based economy demands workers who show up on time, workers who will take orders from a management hierarchy without question and it demands men and women to slave away at machines or in offices. Rather than lament or ignore these facts we should look at this system as a necessary evil that has allowed us to develop ourselves to this present state of technological sophistication — actually paving the way for what comes next.

The creative-based economy. The key is a government subsidized social networking website linked to your bank account. The consumer will pay you a fee (fee to be determined by you, the producer) to view your page, and a separate fee to buy your content. Additionally, all content submitted to the website will be licensed as “creative commons” (or applicable term) and by buying another producer’s content, you now have permission to sample their wares for your personal projects. And it’s collaboration, collaboration, collaboration all the way down. In order to help you make the most informed purchases the website will also give you suggestions on what profiles you will like based on your: past purchases, a rating system and those stupid little personality tests everyone loves.

Since labor-based jobs, that need the ‘training’ provided by the school system, are being outsourced to foreigners and fully automated mechanical laborers — a new economy and a new school system to support it are desperately needed. We need to create a school system that incorporates speed reading and memorization techniques directly into the curriculum. We also need a curriculum that develops the ARTISTIC RIGHT HEMISPHERE of the brain alongside the rational left. There’s still a lot of details to hammer out, but we can work on it together.

Find me (R. Talmadge Lacy) on Facebook.

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  • Brad

    How do you plan to compete with the free content that already exists on all the other websites?

  • Brad

    How do you plan to compete with the free content that already exists on all the other websites?

  • Honu

    With all due respect R. Lacy, to drop a three pronged approach to a post labor America in 4 short paragraphs ending with “There’s still alot of details to hammer out…” is not worth posting.  Post a thorough plan with details so me and other readers have some meat to chew on.  Don’t mean to be mean about it but c’mon, do more than put up a sketch of ideas that sounds like you came up with at a bar drinking with friends.

  • Honu

    With all due respect R. Lacy, to drop a three pronged approach to a post labor America in 4 short paragraphs ending with “There’s still alot of details to hammer out…” is not worth posting.  Post a thorough plan with details so me and other readers have some meat to chew on.  Don’t mean to be mean about it but c’mon, do more than put up a sketch of ideas that sounds like you came up with at a bar drinking with friends.

  • quartz99

    So how do you propose people get the money to buy a computer and internet connection in the first place? And what do people who can’t write or draw worth a damn or who can’t read and don’t care to look at someone else’s pictures, what do those people do?

    People won’t pay for content. They simply don’t. Not en masse. I’m in the web business. I already work inside this scheme you’re discussing, after a fashion. If you have a service to offer, some people will pay for that (mainly while bitching and moaning that you’re overcharging them even though if you charged a cent less you wouldn’t be able to make rent). But people won’t buy content. They don’t even want to pay someone to produce the content for their ads and websites. They think they should get that thrown in for free.

  • Anonymous

    So how do you propose people get the money to buy a computer and internet connection in the first place? And what do people who can’t write or draw worth a damn or who can’t read and don’t care to look at someone else’s pictures, what do those people do?

    People won’t pay for content. They simply don’t. Not en masse. I’m in the web business. I already work inside this scheme you’re discussing, after a fashion. If you have a service to offer, some people will pay for that (mainly while bitching and moaning that you’re overcharging them even though if you charged a cent less you wouldn’t be able to make rent). But people won’t buy content. They don’t even want to pay someone to produce the content for their ads and websites. They think they should get that thrown in for free.

  • emperorreagan

    I agree with the following premise:
    There are more people who want to work than there are jobs.  It’s a trend that will likely get worse as long as automation continues.  There are a lot of useless jobs, too – most of the banking industry, for example – that currently extract value from the system without contributing much, if anything.

    I disagree with the information-trading based solution that this guy is proposing and that Douglas Rushkoff has discussed.  They seem to blow by the necessary work in society.  Construction is hard work requiring significant human input.  Farming is hard work requiring significant human input.  There are other necessary industries to the function of the system they’re proposing which require significant human labor. 

    Until you answer the fundamental question of how to allocate all of the labor that produces abundance you propose to distribute, the rest of the discussion is bullshit.  Without first discussing the necessary labor, the argument basically boils down to: we want to reallocate wealth at the top, but it’s cool if migrant workers still pick our apples during 80 hours work weeks and our electronics are produced in Chinese factories under slave labor conditions.

    • razzlebathbone

      “There are more people who want to work than there are jobs.”

      This is true. If you assume that jobs can only exist in 40-hour a week packets.

      The solution to increased productivity is a reduction in the standard workweek.

      Consider this: If you have a teensy-weensy society with 10 people in it, and it requires 400 hours’ worth of work to be done every week, and produces $4000 worth of total income, those 10 people would have to work an average of 40 hours each and they would get paid an average of $100 a week (feel free to divide that unevenly if you want upper and lower classes; the average will still be the same).

      Now, introduce technology that doubles the productive capacity of those 10 people. There is now 200 hours’ worth of work that needs to be done every week, and it’s still worth $4000. You could fire half of those people and make the other half keep working 40 hours per week, but if you don’t set up some kind of social safety net (which takes away from the income of those who are working), you’ll see an increase in crime, because the unemployed might not be okay with the idea of starving to death.

      You could also start creating busywork to increase the total amount of work that needs to be done. You can switch from durable goods to disposable products. You can introduce planned obsolescence. You can beef up your military. And there are lots of other ways too.

      We’ve done all of this and more in our own society, on a larger scale. But we haven’t done the obvious thing, because apparently, we’re not very bright.

      Make everybody work 20 hours per week instead of 40. We’ll produce the same amount of work as we did before the introduction of the productivity tech, and we’ll have the same amount of cash at the end of the week to pay everyone. So everyone works less and gets paid the same.

      Fact is, we have the capability to do this. Eventually, we’ll have to. The question is, how long before we realize it?

      • emperorreagan

        That’s true.  I am commenting with an assumption of accepting the current economic model – which is what I see in many of these same discussions about information/creatively driven economic models.  They don’t seem to be about fundamentally changing the underlying assumptions of the current model; instead, they opt to project themselves on top.  Or they simply aren’t being clear that they want to operate from a new set of premises.

    • Reasor

      There are more people who want to work than there are jobs.  It’s a trend that will likely get worse as long as automation continues and people continue to breed like they still need to outrace Bronze Age infant mortality statistics.

      Any proposal for long term sustainability must include reproduction controls at the international level, or it’s a tacit plan to wait for resource scarcity to naturally impose a mass die-off.

  • emperorreagan

    I agree with the following premise:
    There are more people who want to work than there are jobs.  It’s a trend that will likely get worse as long as automation continues.  There are a lot of useless jobs, too – most of the banking industry, for example – that currently extract value from the system without contributing much, if anything.

    I disagree with the information-trading based solution that this guy is proposing and that Douglas Rushkoff has discussed.  They seem to blow by the necessary work in society.  Construction is hard work requiring significant human input.  Farming is hard work requiring significant human input.  There are other necessary industries to the function of the system they’re proposing which require significant human labor. 

    Until you answer the fundamental question of how to allocate all of the labor that produces abundance you propose to distribute, the rest of the discussion is bullshit.  Without first discussing the necessary labor, the argument basically boils down to: we want to reallocate wealth at the top, but it’s cool if migrant workers still pick our apples during 80 hours work weeks and our electronics are produced in Chinese factories under slave labor conditions.

  • Anonymous

    “There are more people who want to work than there are jobs.”

    This is true. If you assume that jobs can only exist in 40-hour a week packets.

    The solution to increased productivity is a reduction in the standard workweek.

    Consider this: If you have a teensy-weensy society with 10 people in it, and it requires 400 hours’ worth of work to be done every week, and produces $4000 worth of total income, those 10 people would have to work an average of 40 hours each and they would get paid an average of $100 a week (feel free to divide that unevenly if you want upper and lower classes; the average will still be the same).

    Now, introduce technology that doubles the productive capacity of those 10 people. There is now 200 hours’ worth of work that needs to be done every week, and it’s still worth $4000. You could fire half of those people and make the other half keep working 40 hours per week, but if you don’t set up some kind of social safety net (which takes away from the income of those who are working), you’ll see an increase in crime, because the unemployed might not be okay with the idea of starving to death.

    You could also start creating busywork to increase the total amount of work that needs to be done. You can switch from durable goods to disposable products. You can introduce planned obsolescence. You can beef up your military. And there are lots of other ways too.

    We’ve done all of this and more in our own society, on a larger scale. But we haven’t done the obvious thing, because apparently, we’re not very bright.

    Make everybody work 20 hours per week instead of 40. We’ll produce the same amount of work as we did before the introduction of the productivity tech, and we’ll have the same amount of cash at the end of the week to pay everyone. So everyone works less and gets paid the same.

    Fact is, we have the capability to do this. Eventually, we’ll have to. The question is, how long before we realize it?

  • Anonymous

    There are more people who want to work than there are jobs.  It’s a trend that will likely get worse as long as automation continues and people continue to breed like they still need to outrace Bronze Age infant mortality statistics.

    Any proposal for long term sustainability must include reproduction controls at the international level, or it’s a tacit plan to wait for resource scarcity to naturally impose a mass die-off.

  • emperorreagan

    That’s true.  I am commenting with an assumption of accepting the current economic model – which is what I see in many of these same discussions about information/creatively driven economic models.  They don’t seem to be about fundamentally changing the underlying assumptions of the current model; instead, they opt to project themselves on top.  Or they simply aren’t being clear that they want to operate from a new set of premises.

  • Ugh

    You are exactly the conformist, consumerist asshole that I thought you would be when I clicked on this. I’m sorry I doubted myself.

    This is not a plan. You have not presented any kind of solution here. This SYSTEM is broken. We can no longer work within it, it is ridiculous to continue to discuss the obvious pitfalls of the current situation. All you have said here are things that anyone who has any grasp of the situation would already know.

    “We need to create a school system that incorporates speed reading and memorization techniques directly into the curriculum.”

    Wtf? No. No, no, no, no. The only good speed reading and memorization would do anyone ANY good would be so that they can MEMORIZE useless data without connecting it to anything, then spit it back out on a test, so that you can then dump that info off. That’s how people are ALREADY getting through school.

    Then you link us to your facebook…lol

  • Ugh

    You are exactly the conformist, consumerist asshole that I thought you would be when I clicked on this. I’m sorry I doubted myself.

    This is not a plan. You have not presented any kind of solution here. This SYSTEM is broken. We can no longer work within it, it is ridiculous to continue to discuss the obvious pitfalls of the current situation. All you have said here are things that anyone who has any grasp of the situation would already know.

    “We need to create a school system that incorporates speed reading and memorization techniques directly into the curriculum.”

    Wtf? No. No, no, no, no. The only good speed reading and memorization would do anyone ANY good would be so that they can MEMORIZE useless data without connecting it to anything, then spit it back out on a test, so that you can then dump that info off. That’s how people are ALREADY getting through school.

    Then you link us to your facebook…lol

  • Hadrian999

    we need some kind of plan, we already live in a post-labor america. you used to be able to support a family, own your home and take the kids on a summer vacation and be covered by good insurance all on a single income from working in manufacturing, now you need 2 incomes to keep your head above water if you work in most labor jobs

  • Hadrian999

    we need some kind of plan, we already live in a post-labor america. you used to be able to support a family, own your home and take the kids on a summer vacation and be covered by good insurance all on a single income from working in manufacturing, now you need 2 incomes to keep your head above water if you work in most labor jobs

  • Anonymous

    Post labor? There will never be such a thing as 2 men exist, and one wants the other dead.

  • Redacted

    Post labor? There will never be such a thing as 2 men exist, and one wants the other dead.

  • Johnmars3

    Wow, you have seriously lost touch with reality. My friend you cannot eat web content, you cannot drive, clothe or do anything with it in the real world.

    a) most people do not own a computer
    b) very few people will pay for something they can get for free
    c) “government subsidized” and where do they get the money from? 
    d) “collaboration, collaboration, collaboration all the way down” pyramid schemes do not work
    e) As for outsourcing:

    “In the 21st century the US economy has only been able to create jobs in nontradable domestic services. The hallmark of a third world labor force.Prior to the advent of offshore outsourcing, US employees were shielded against low wage foreign labor. Americans worked with more capital and better technology, and their higher productivity protected their higher wages.The result is a lose-lose situation for American employees, American businesses, and the American government. Outsourcing has brought about record unemployment in engineering fields and a major drop in university enrollments in technical and scientific disciplines.

    Outsourcing is rapidly eroding America’s superpower status. Beginning in 2002 the US began running trade deficits in advanced technology products with Asia, Mexico and Ireland. As these countries are not leaders in advanced technology, the deficits obviously stem from US offshore manufacturing. In effect, the US is giving away its technology, which is rapidly being copied and captured, while US firms reduce themselves to a brand name with a sales force.” 

  • Johnmars3

    Wow, you have seriously lost touch with reality. My friend you cannot eat web content, you cannot drive, clothe or do anything with it in the real world.

    a) most people do not own a computer
    b) very few people will pay for something they can get for free
    c) “government subsidized” and where do they get the money from? 
    d) “collaboration, collaboration, collaboration all the way down” pyramid schemes do not work
    e) As for outsourcing:

    “In the 21st century the US economy has only been able to create jobs in nontradable domestic services. The hallmark of a third world labor force.Prior to the advent of offshore outsourcing, US employees were shielded against low wage foreign labor. Americans worked with more capital and better technology, and their higher productivity protected their higher wages.The result is a lose-lose situation for American employees, American businesses, and the American government. Outsourcing has brought about record unemployment in engineering fields and a major drop in university enrollments in technical and scientific disciplines.

    Outsourcing is rapidly eroding America’s superpower status. Beginning in 2002 the US began running trade deficits in advanced technology products with Asia, Mexico and Ireland. As these countries are not leaders in advanced technology, the deficits obviously stem from US offshore manufacturing. In effect, the US is giving away its technology, which is rapidly being copied and captured, while US firms reduce themselves to a brand name with a sales force.” 

  • Talmadge613

    Here’s some reactions to
    ‘A Plan For A Post-Labor America’
     
    How do you plan to compete with the free content that already exists on all the other websites?
     
    By providing incentive with the ‘collaboration’ perk. By buying another person’s content you now have permission to sample their wares for your own content.
     
    The only good speed reading and memorization would do anyone ANY good would be so that they can MEMORIZE useless data without connecting it to anything.
     
    Good point. The new ED-U-SYSTEM will also have to provide CONTEXT for what people are learning by developing the right hemisphere of the brain that processes information holistically.
     
    I disagree with the information-trading based solution that this guy is proposing and that Douglas Rushkoff has discussed.  They seem to blow by the necessary work in society. Construction is hard work requiring significant human input.
     
    This assumes the creative-based economy is an all or nothing endeavor; that America will no longer accept a labor-force. To say nothing of the fact some people LIKE their labor-based jobs and wouldn’t want to be ‘creative’ for a living. That’s fine, in fact it’s great because we still need people to do things like construction. A Plan For A Post-Labor America is designed to appeal to Americans who enjoy creating content.
     
    Very few people will pay for something they can get for free.
     
    But if YOU can get paid for your content then why not pay someone else for their content? This plan not only provides creative people with the means to make money off their work, but also provides incentive for non-creative types, who’ve always hated their jobs, to try something ‘different.’
    So how do you propose people get the money to buy a computer and internet connection in the first place?
     
    Have it subsidized by the Government.
     
    What about people who can’t write or draw worth a damn, what do those people do?
     
    The Creative-Based Economy doesn’t just apply to “artists,” but to people who CERATE CONTENT in general: bloggers, vloggers, film critics, models, porn stars.
     
    People won’t pay for content.
     
    This is simply untrue. There are literally millions of websites that sell content. From self-help gurus to avatar designers for SECOND LIFE there is a very real content economy. Even the music industry is still making some money. The issue is to remodel the educational system so everyone can stake a claim in the creative-based economy.
     
    The website that will fuel the creative-based economy will utilize a system of payment called ‘micro-payments.’ The idea is that a little adds up to a lot. Content producers charge a fee just for looking at their work and another fee to buy it — that means the person who bought it can now sample the content  for their project. So really you’re not buying content simply to possess it — but rather you’re buying the rights to use it for your personal projects.
     
    The creative-based economy is not a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme, the idea is to make a livable income. It will require hard work, determination, talent and an extremely litigious mentality from content producers. And at first some people may have to keep their old jobs. But for others this will be better than nothing. For example, in the 90’s Newt Gingrich proposed the government give laptops to the homeless. Now imagine the homeless documenting their lives via the website we’re proposing. However, there are still many details to hammer out, so raise your concerns and doubts about the creative-based economy — it’s the only way we can work together to create a thorough enough plan to present to the establishment.

  • Talmadge613

    Here’s some reactions to
    ‘A Plan For A Post-Labor America’
     
    How do you plan to compete with the free content that already exists on all the other websites?
     
    By providing incentive with the ‘collaboration’ perk. By buying another person’s content you now have permission to sample their wares for your own content.
     
    The only good speed reading and memorization would do anyone ANY good would be so that they can MEMORIZE useless data without connecting it to anything.
     
    Good point. The new ED-U-SYSTEM will also have to provide CONTEXT for what people are learning by developing the right hemisphere of the brain that processes information holistically.
     
    I disagree with the information-trading based solution that this guy is proposing and that Douglas Rushkoff has discussed.  They seem to blow by the necessary work in society. Construction is hard work requiring significant human input.
     
    This assumes the creative-based economy is an all or nothing endeavor; that America will no longer accept a labor-force. To say nothing of the fact some people LIKE their labor-based jobs and wouldn’t want to be ‘creative’ for a living. That’s fine, in fact it’s great because we still need people to do things like construction. A Plan For A Post-Labor America is designed to appeal to Americans who enjoy creating content.
     
    Very few people will pay for something they can get for free.
     
    But if YOU can get paid for your content then why not pay someone else for their content? This plan not only provides creative people with the means to make money off their work, but also provides incentive for non-creative types, who’ve always hated their jobs, to try something ‘different.’
    So how do you propose people get the money to buy a computer and internet connection in the first place?
     
    Have it subsidized by the Government.
     
    What about people who can’t write or draw worth a damn, what do those people do?
     
    The Creative-Based Economy doesn’t just apply to “artists,” but to people who CERATE CONTENT in general: bloggers, vloggers, film critics, models, porn stars.
     
    People won’t pay for content.
     
    This is simply untrue. There are literally millions of websites that sell content. From self-help gurus to avatar designers for SECOND LIFE there is a very real content economy. Even the music industry is still making some money. The issue is to remodel the educational system so everyone can stake a claim in the creative-based economy.
     
    The website that will fuel the creative-based economy will utilize a system of payment called ‘micro-payments.’ The idea is that a little adds up to a lot. Content producers charge a fee just for looking at their work and another fee to buy it — that means the person who bought it can now sample the content  for their project. So really you’re not buying content simply to possess it — but rather you’re buying the rights to use it for your personal projects.
     
    The creative-based economy is not a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme, the idea is to make a livable income. It will require hard work, determination, talent and an extremely litigious mentality from content producers. And at first some people may have to keep their old jobs. But for others this will be better than nothing. For example, in the 90’s Newt Gingrich proposed the government give laptops to the homeless. Now imagine the homeless documenting their lives via the website we’re proposing. However, there are still many details to hammer out, so raise your concerns and doubts about the creative-based economy — it’s the only way we can work together to create a thorough enough plan to present to the establishment.

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