Monday, June 19, 2017

On the Age of Robos and Economic Collapse w/Thoughts from Kannafoot on the Right

As a foundation, we have a social system which is grossly-distorted in terms of how wealth has swung far to the right; we have the Age of Robos eliminating jobs at a pace which is more or less alarming depending on perspective; we have the harbinger of the job destruction with the way in-store retail has been collapsing ever since Amazon.

The precipitant for any current thinking about the matter was Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods which the Rockhouse regarded as an excellent and inevitable step for incorporation into that specific supply chain.  While Whole Foods was highly-affected in presentation and price, Amazon is not.  Any aspect of the Whole Foods business model is not likely to survive but their storefronts will and Amazon wants them.

In reaction to that, someone wrote, "Great to see now that Amazon destroyed retail they will destroy grocery shopping as well."

That thinking elicited generally the same reaction from the Real Right (i.e. absent any neos) and the Socialist Left (i.e. also absent any neos).

The following is verbatim with nothing added nor removed except name changes to protect identities because that's how the Rockhouse plays.  Kannafoot is specifically not an anonymous since I've known him for over fifteen years and worked closely with him for almost ten of those.

Silas:  I saw somewhere there was a slashing for Amazon for killing retail and now those vultures turn to grocery stores. It doesn't appear people are thus far taking so well to evolution in action.

Kannafoot:  Yeah, I've seen that as well. I'd say the move to online is inevitable, though. All retailers should have learned from Borders Books. Regardless of product, if you want to compete then you must establish an online presence and be prepared for online sales to become the dominant source of revenue. Amazon would've been foolish to avoid moving heavily into the food industry, especially since it augments their Prime Pantry service that's already established. (There are canned food items I've been buying from AMZN for over a year, now.)

Silas: As we have reviewed and I look forward to it since I anticipate a fundamental restructuring of society for the good as a result of it since it that won't work while continuing to ignore substantial components of society. Facebook is my biggest concern in that regard since people are never wrong here and neoliberals are among the worst since they go full Mennonite with their shunning for any opposition. No need to flog it but I've said multiple times the primary parties aren't the problem; it's the neos who buggered it all up.

Kannafoot: You may be far more optimistic about the end result than I, unfortunately. That we are headed for a dramatic social order adjustment due to globalization, automation, and, well, technology in general, is something we both agree is inevitable. Where I think we differ is that I don't see the end result as benefiting the "have nots." My challenge to you is to think about a few solutions to that problem from the perspective of those with wealth and power. Looking at it through that lens, you may see the extremely pessimistic picture I'm seeing.

Remember, the French Revolution was a revolution by the lower class, as compared to the American Revolution which was a revolution by the wealthy upper class. Where the latter imposed order and stability following its conclusion, the French Revolution resulted in the Reign of Terror followed by the Napoleonic era. Victor Hugo captured well the post-Revolutionary mood and conditions in France when he wrote Les Miserables. 

No, I'm not at all optimistic about the near future. I foresee oppression, the loss - if not elimination - of civil liberties, strict government control over birth rates, and a return to a caste system. As government revenue diminishes with the loss of jobs, expect to see an increase in the tax burden and an elimination of any programs that do not serve the best interests of the elite. It will be many generations before the wheel returns to one in which the interests of the lower classes are considered, but that's going to require a lengthy period of extreme oppression and strict government control.

Mind you, I do not advocate that future, it is merely the future I see unfolding given the economic, technological, and political direction the world appears to be following.

Silas: I agree that's all possible and I see social network Mennonism as a large contributor since they won't look at anything even if it may conflict. If it openly conflicts then they will swarm to destroy it and that type of thinking can't even handle minimal change much less the radical things we can likely anticipate.

The part I typically leave out of my thinking is how much the state will resist and that applies to any since we have seen it will exert any effort to crush resistance whether that's Jean Valjean or whomever although his revolution was a little different.

My general rationale is the state will go with whatever needs to be done so long as there is sufficient justification and support for it but there's no need for examples to show that's often not true since you have seen for yourself.

The Rockhouse cheerfully notes he said my view is optimistic, contrary to that which you may have heard elsewhere.  Ha.

I do believe it is optimistic but not Pollyanna optimistic since we don't need fantasies; we need solutions.

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