Roger Marolt: The road to socialism is paved by capitalists
I am convinced the end game for pure capitalism is pure socialism. Unchecked, it is inevitable. It turns out the final chapter for Atlas Shrugged was never written. Who knew? Galt’s Gulch was destined to become a commune for short-haired hippies in penny loafers.
I was thinking of something to write and whether there still might be a Major League Baseball season while a vacuum cleaner robot kept bumping into the legs of my chair and generally driving me nuts. It used to be interesting. Now it’s annoying, but it does take care of the light cleaning.
This got me thinking. In a headfirst dive into a rabbit hole so wide I didn’t bump the walls on my way down, came a thought that someday there won’t be anything that artificially intellectualized machines won’t be able to do better than humans. I am not talking only manual labor. I’m saying trained professional service jobs, too.
After all the databases in the world are connected, can you imagine the legal argument an e-attorney could put together? Your smartphone presents its case to a judgment computer along with your opponent’s and the completely unbiased verdict from an accumulation of historically perfect knowledge of justice, analysis of all precedence, and application of pure logic is rendered within milliseconds. There’s no sense appealing because the inarguable answer would be the same.
The same for digital doctors. Your watch provides your vitals and body chemistry analysis for a machine to compare to billions of snippets of everyday lives and it knows what you have and how best to cure it before you can pick up a magazine in the waiting room. Surgery? No problem. Perfect diagnosis, precise incisions, and X-ray vision make for great results.
How about fighting fires with drones and bots and transporting patients to the hospital in driverless ambulances with mechanical EMTs on board and computerized lawyers chasing them?
I thought about this on a bike ride that took way longer because of it, and the only job I came up with that might not eventually be done better by a machine is an artist. And, I am not totally convinced of that. Show a computer enough great art and it will figure out what makes it great and then might produce stunningly moving pieces on its own.
At the bottom of the rabbit hole was a package from Amazon. That’s when it clicked. This company went from selling books on the Internet to making it nearly impossible to live our lives without them in it in some shape or fashion almost every day. They did this in less than twenty years. Is it out of the realm of possibility to find them producing and providing every single good or service the world demands with machines and computers before this century is out? I bet yes. Eventually nobody will be left to compete with their gazillion dollar monopoly.
But, that’s not even what I’m arguing. The interesting thing is that, if Amazon does everything and does it all with machines, what the heck are the rest of us going to do to make our livings? And, even more importantly, if we don’t have any ways to make our livings, how are we going to buy all the stuff they produce? Checkmate! We all got nothing.
The only way this ultimate capitalist dream plays out is for Amazon, as its own computerized government, to tax the crap out of itself so that it can give every non-working citizen (i.e. everyone) a monthly stimulus check for doing nothing so that we can continue to buy all it produces (i.e. everything), so its sole owner can continually get richer even after paying income taxes at a rate of around 99.999%.
In this perfectly artificial intelligent capitalistic society, nobody works and everyone lives off government welfare. Since nobody produces anything, everybody gets the same stipend. At this stage, nobody can take down The Company. On the plus side, we get up when we like, recreate every day, eat well, and maintain consumerism since paying us enough to do that is what keeps the world’s solitary business model viable.
Now, I know what you are thinking, because I was thinking the same thing as I cleared the dog hair from the side brushes of my robotic vacuum cleaner – this could not possibly be how capitalism plays out. I don’t know what to tell you. Like I said, when Atlas passes gas, it’ll stink.
Roger Marolt is looking for new opportunities as a robot. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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