…you are failing to grasp the obvious.
With full automation, wealth is no longer controlled by labor. It’s 100% controlled by ownership. If you don’t own the machines, or own stock in the companies that own the machines, you won’t get any share of the huge wealth the machines are able to produce so cheaply.
Cars will never be “free”. They will simply be very cheap. But if I own the factors and the ore mines, then the cars my machines are producing are mine, not yours. If you think I’m going to give you my cars for free because “money is not important” you are an idiot. What will you give me that will make me want to give you one of the million cars my machines just made this year? If you don’t own some resources I care about (like oil wells), then I won’t give a shit about you. I WILL NOT GIVE YOU ONE OF MY CARS FOR ANY PRICE. I would rather feed the unused car, back to the factory, so it can recycle it into something more interesting, like that resort space station I asked my robots to build for me so I could go spend a week in space next year just for the fun of it. You have nothing of value to me to trade for. I can’t even put to you work in my factories because you would only get in the way of the robots I have working for me and slow them down. I will only deal with the other rich factory and land owners that do have things I care about.
But what happens when wealth is controlled by ownership? It creates automatic monopolies. People that are own the most, and who are good at trading, will leverage their wealth, to gain ownership of even more of the limited resources. This naturally leads to the formation of a very small elite that owns the majority of all resources in the world (land, mines, energy sources, factories). The poor have NOTHING these elite need. In fact, the poor are in their way, because this small elite will want to use all the land of the earth to have their robots making things for them – frivolous things, like resort homes on mars, or an animal reserve in Africa, or the worlds biggest monster truck. Whatever still stuff they can think up, they can have their robots make for them. Because they are that rich. But those 10 billion poor people that keep having babies and demanding to be fed, are forcing huge amounts of the earth’s limited resources to be used up with stupid stuff like farms. So what will the rich do? They will buy all the land, and cut back on the food production they are willing to “give away” for free, until the poor start to die off, and in time, they will kill off all the poor, leaving a small group of rich elite fighting over the earth.
When wealth is controlled by ownership alone, there will no longer be any balance of power. The will be no way for a poor guy, to climb the ladder of success and become one of the elite. He has nothing of value to allow him to even get into the game. The rich elite won’t let him even sit at their table.
Without automation, every healthy human born is given a free stake to play in the game. They are given ownership of their own labor. And by “labor” I’m talking about both physical labor and mental labor. Anyone can trade their “god given” wealth, aka their body and mind, with others, to create greater wealth. They can “work”.
But soon, very soon, like before the end of this century (if not a lot sooner), all that will change. Automation will replace the human labor force. Worker unions will have no power, because the factory owners won’t need any human labour any more.
The more wealth shifts from labor, to ownership (capital), the more the system becomes unbalanced, and the more wealth tries to concentrate in a small minority elite. Rising tides lifting all boats becomes a joke. Rising tides sinks the majority.
Even though we are no where near full automation yet, the effect is already well underway. Wealth is shifting to the elite because most wealth is not created by the work of individual laborers anymore, it’s created by machines. It’s created by the facebook computer servers; the Google computer servers. By the automated factories making computer chips, and iPhones and cars, and automated financial trading algorithms. The people hoarding the wealth these days, are the people that have figured out how to gain, and maintain, ownership of this new “automated labor force”, and the raw materials it needs, like oil, and land, and mines.
The automation is making the world very wealthy, but the wealth is not being distributed to the people, it’s being horded by the elite. The only protection the people have from this effect, is our democratic republic. But the elite are using their growing wealth to eat away at that, by talking control of the government away from the people, and turning it over to the people who have the most money to buy the votes of the elected officials that were supposed to be voting for the people. They even got the supreme court to give corporations nearly unlimited power to buy elections – to put their sock puppets in control of who makes the laws.
If you don’t get you head out of your ass and wake up to what you are permitting to happen, you will soon find yourself totally under the thumb of the rich elite, who will no longer allow you to buy one of their “free cars”. The right wing mantra of “power to the individual” will destroy the very country and society, you thought you lived in.
Automation is taking all that power away from the people, and giving it to a small elite. And once they have it, they will NEVER give that power back to you.
Don’t get me wrong. I Love automation. I lead the charge in creating it. But in so doing, I also grasp the danger it is creating in a way that most don’t. We have to, over time, fundamentally change how the wealth created by the automation is distributed to the people in our society.
Taxation is a fundamental part of how that will probably happen. We will, in time, create a purple wage where the government, controlled by the people, will tax capital ownership and/or income, and distribute that tax revenue directly to the people evenly. We do a lot of this already indirectly though our progressive tax codes and various “free” government services that benefits everyone (like the military and legal system). But as automation (and the wealth it produces) grows, we need to do more of it. But if we keep doing it though government services, it makes the government itself grow too big, and too inefficiency. We need to get the government out of that “service” loop, and just distribute the money directly to the people, and let them spend it however they want to.