The idea of total automation is not a new one. For some years now the suggestion that the majority of jobs will become obsolete, giving way to robotic occupation of our highly prized jerbs. But what will become of us? Will we be whiped out by our mechanical counterparts or is their a silver lining to being jobless in a society where everything is already done?
One term that may be the champion of the Aussie Battler is luxury communism, a far-left futuristic forward thought on the political spectrum. In an article on The Guardian, this term is explored as one of a handful of options the human race may have when it comes time to put the tools down.
“There is a tendency in capitalism to automate labor, to turn things previously done by humans into automated functions,” says Aaron Bastani, co-founder of Novara Media. “In recognition of that, then the only utopian demand can be for the full automation of everything and common ownership of that which is automated.”
With some studies of the UK job market indicating 35% of jobs being in danger of automation in the next twenty years, where we go from here is something to consider. But what would a luxurious communist utopia mean for the masses?
“The demand would be a 10- or 12-hour working week, a guaranteed social wage, universally guaranteed housing, education, healthcare and so on,” Bastani says. “There may be some work that will still need to be done by humans, like quality control, but it would be minimal.”
The term isn’t necessarily a brand newy either, with similar slogans popping up across European protest sites since the start of the noughties, with leftist groups such as Plan C citing that slogans such “luxury for all” have been popping up throughout the decades. Whilst dissertation is still needed to iron out the wrinkles
MIT professor Erik Brynjolfsson, co-writer of the The Second Machine Age, thinks likewise, “a world of increasing abundance, even luxury, is not only possible, but likely,” he says. “Many of things we consider necessities today – phone service, automobiles, Saturdays off – were luxuries in the past.”
Whilst, Brynjolfsson presents an interesting point, all of those luxuries operated and came to be hegemonic facts through a capitalist model. Will luxury communism survive within capitalism or will the entire system need to be hauled over? Just as the rich owned the first automobiles and telephones, it is simple logic that they will be the first to put their feet up in ownership of the means of automation.
What do you think?