In The World is Never Finished Kevin Williamson addresses the fear of AI on employment .
But if we are going to look backward, let’s look back even farther. The belief that the remorseless efficiency of capitalist production will lead to mass unemployment and consign ordinary workers to lives of misery is older than the word “capitalism” itself. It is an ancient theme in science fiction and loomed large in the mind of Karl Marx. As Star Trek fans and etymology nerds know, the word “sabotage” comes from the French word “sabot,” a kind of simple wooden shoe that workers used to destroy machinery used to automate their work. The end of work has been upon us for a very long time, but it never quite gets here.
In the real world, the balance of power between the world of politics (which is to say, the world of compulsion) and the world of the market (which is to say, the world of cooperation) has shifted dramatically.
In that article he links to an old article of his from 2012 Risk, Relativism, and Resources.
This is a gem I have not seen before. It is a bit long -12 pages- for him but it is an important article pointing out three things Conservatives need to understand about progressives:
- They are more risk averse- this is more defining that race and identity
- Inequality matters more than conservatives wish to admit.
- Progressive view people as liabilities, conservatives see them as assets.
Where Democratic-leaning Americans go wrong is that they miscalculate the welfare state’s value as a tool of risk mitigation. Americans support the relatively low returns on Social Security for the same reason that Britons and Canadians broadly support their relatively low-quality government health-care systems: because of the mistaken belief that these programs will always be there for them. Better a low-return retirement “investment” in Social Security than no retirement income at all, that line of thinking holds, or one that is subject to the inherent risks of the market. Similarly, many Americans understand that a government-run health-care system will be less innovative than a market-driven one, that it will be inefficient, and that quality will suffer — and they prefer it still, on grounds that access to health care will be guaranteed.
The article is worth the read.