The hardest part of the automation wave coming in the next decades will simply be language. What do you call people who no longer have any purpose, in terms of producing goods and services through their labor? For as long as anyone has been alive, the very small slice of the population that has fit this definition could simply be dismissed on moral terms. The underclass is assumed to be lazy or anti-social. Trying to fix this has been a good way to keep the useless off-spring of the middle classes busy is social work.
When the numbers swell as automation eliminates the need for human labor in wide swaths of the economy, it will be impossible to dismiss the idle.
Any Russian over a certain age could answer that question about what you call the vast new unemployed on benefits.
“Plebs in a socialist system”, not “workers”, although they’ll start having to work for the dole and other benefits – unsalaried work.
When I arrived in Russia mid-90s, the “new Russia” of whitegoods, buying flats, buying cars and credit was just beginning but there was much of the old USSR left, including the State shops, and they were dire. The supply chains were dire, there was no incentive for anyone to do anything.
To the point that there were advertising billboards all over the place for a whitegoods firm I’ve forgotten the name of and the line was “All for You”. Naturally, people stopped going to that store because there were better rivals now who did not have this arrogance in its approach – thinking that they were doing you a huge favour.
There were many adjustments and Russia did not do it well, having no model to base it on. The crash of 1997/8 which I lived through there was partly due to that. There was genuine chance of starvation unless you were attached to an extended family or were western [that word meant bags and bags of untold wealth to the ordinary Russian, part of which he/she thought he/she was entitled to for some reason].
The socialist federation in blocs is still very much underway, despite Trump and Farage and even last evening I saw little fools on Twitter actually welcome a vast handout State, their Big Brother or Nanny friend who would take care of everything. They clearly had never lived under the vestiges of a socialist leviathan State.
Must people actually experience the full horror first before they wake up to themselves and oppose this handout model, plus this “Scottish “named person” model?