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Εγχειρίδιο χειρισμού κρίσεων λόγω πολιτικών ΔΝΤ από τη CIA! / Already confirmed: Civil liberties under attack! / Greece's creditors gone completely insane! / How the global financial mafia sucked Greece's blood / ECB's economic hitmen / Η Μέρκελ επιβεβαιώνει τα σχέδια των γραφειοφασιστών! /Greece: the low-noise collapse of an entire country/ How the neoliberal establishment tricked the masses again, this time in France / Ενώ η Γερμανία προετοιμάζεται για τα χειρότερα, η Ελλάδα επιμένει στο ευρώ! / Ένας παγκόσμιος "proxy" πόλεμος κατά της ελευθερίας έχει ξεκινήσει! / McCarthyism 2.0 against the independent information / Ο επικεφαλής του "σκιώδους συμβουλίου" της ΕΚΤ επιβεβαιώνει ότι η ευρωζώνη είναι μια χρηματοπιστωτική δικτατορία! / Venezuela case as an emphatic example of why the mainstream media propaganda in the West was so successful in previous decades / Δημοψήφισμα για Grexit: η τελευταία ευκαιρία να σωθεί η Ελλάδα και η τιμή της Αριστεράς / Populism as the new cliche of the elites to stigmatize anyone not aligned with the establishment / Δεν γίνεται έτσι "σύντροφοι" ... / Panama Papers: When mainstream information wears the anti-establishment mask / The Secret Bank Bailout / The head of the ECB “shadow council” confirms that eurozone is a financial dictatorship! / A documentary by Paul Mason about the financial coup in Greece / The ruthless neo-colonialists of 21st century / First cracks to the establishment by the American people / Clinton emails - The race of the Western neo-colonialist vultures over the Libyan corpse / Επιχείρηση Panama Papers: Το κατεστημένο θέλει το μονοπώλιο και στις διαρροές; / Operation "looting of Greece" reaches final stage / Varoufakis describes how Merkel sacrificed Greece to save the Franco-German banks / France officialy enters the neo-Feudal era! / The US establishment just gave its greatest performance so far ... / A significant revelation by WikiLeaks that the media almost ignored / It's official: the US is funding Middle-East jihadists! / Οι αδίστακτοι νεο-αποικιοκράτες του 21ου αιώνα / How to handle political unrest caused by IMF policies! / Πώς το νεοφιλελεύθερο κατεστημένο ξεγέλασε τις μάζες, αυτή τη φορά στη Γαλλία / The international usurers return to the crime scene called Greece!

15 June, 2017

Automation and the planned obsolescence of the Proletariat

Garry Glass discusses how advances in automation are disrupting class relations.

Part 4 - Universal Basic Income


Universal Basic Income (UBI) is the proposition of a new social contract whereby states essentially print money and give it to citizens in order to keep money circulating through the economy. This is also known as a negative income tax.

Jobs for all was a slogan of organised labour yet under Capitalism unemployment is a necessary part of maintaining an abundance of cheap labour. UBI is surely an advance on the current system of welfare where people are forced into the humiliation of pretending to be actively seeking employment in a labour market where there is often not any meaningful work.

UBI is being hailed by many on the left as a progressive measure, which when compared to workfare and austerity it undoubtedly is, yet UBI citizenship is little more than an allegiance to a system of rationing. With higher unemployment comes the loss of the bargaining power of labour. Whilst UBI may be a valid concession for the left to aim for, it must not be an end goal.

The power workers have established through union militancy has been eroded over the course of the 20th century through Thatcher’s anti-union policies, globalisation and the restructuring of industry. Automation and UBI point to what is essentially the planned obsolescence of the proletarian subject. The Transport for London dispute is a case in point where driverless trains are being introduced removing what leverage unions such as the RMT might have had by resorting to industrial action.

Similarly the ‘Uberisation’ of the service sector whilst it has lead to huge profits for those in the business of peer to peer networking of service users and providers has diminished the power of workers to demand decent pay and conditions.

The strategic challenge for the left is to get beyond stop gap measures such as UBI and advance a critical public discourse around the way money mediates our lived activity as a society. Prior to 2008 it was anathema to even discuss the illusory power of money, nowadays it is commonplace to question it from fundamentals, not least in the capitalist metropoles themselves. The printing of new money is an exercise in typing a number into a computer and being confident you have the correct order of magnitude before pressing enter.

It is undoubtedly an ethical imperative to remove the drudgery of hard labour where machines are available to do the heavy work. With this comes the question of towards what productive ends it is oriented. Industrial production has been a revolutionising process that results in the reshaping of our world towards yet more industrial production. Ultimately industry, left unmitigated, will leave a world littered with derelict factories.

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[1] [2] [3] [5] [6]

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