Re: Science and Unemployment...

Mathew Shember (
28 Jun 1995 17:03:27 GMT

In article <3sindm$>, (Madhudvisah dasa Swami) writes:
|> (Stephen S. Lee) wrote:
|> >In article <3sfj5e$>,
|> >Madhudvisah dasa Swami <> wrote:
|> >>And why is that? Because science has produced so much wonderful advanced
|> >>technology and abolished the jobs they used to do... If the society
|> >>provided jobs they could do these people [who are now unemployed] would
|> >>work and be fine upstanding citizens... They would be paying tax, they
|> >>would be consuming... they wouldn't be a burden at all. But how can they
|> >>be productive? Your machines are doing all the work! It is a great
|> >>paradox... you are making "advancements" but your "advancements" are
|> >>putting people out of work. You then have to pay them social security
|> >>[which comes out of your own pockets] As you "advance" more and more so
|> >>many more become unemployed as a result... Thus science destroys the
|> >>society...
|> >You don't seem to have any idea that the work machines do is perfectly
|> >legitimate work.
|> Yes. But they don't consume any of the production... That's the economic
|> problem.
|> > Who built the machines; who maintains them; who
|> >supplies them with the electricity and parts they need?
|> More and more it is other machines... Of course every machine needs
|> someone to press the "start" button and there are still some things
|> machines can't do so you need some workers, and of course everything has
|> to be maintained...
|> But take for example desk-top-publishing. [BTW it is wonderful and we
|> can't uninvent it now...] It doesn't require anything new... There are
|> plenty of mac's and pc's out there. You just type your stuff into
|> PageMaker and automatically produce the printers imposition with another
|> program and output everything to film on an A1 image-setter... Then you
|> just take the films to the printer and he makes the printing plates
|> directly from the films... It's great... But mind you it just destroyed
|> the typesetting, the film-planning, and the pre-press industry...

I will take this one. My wife is a Graphic Designer who learned all of the
"hand's on" aspects of her trade. She has also learned all of the "new" ways
of doing her trade. Any Graphic Designer of any merit does not rely on these
programs as you have mentioned. They still use typesetting shops,etc. Yes,
much of this business went away but it is not going to die as you have asserted.

Again "advancement" is a fact of life. The computer destroyed the typewritter
industry and trade. Are you going to tell me we would be better off with
typewritter pools?

|> There are no new machines to maintain [and even if there are a few PC's a
|> two-year old can do that]... There are no new jobs, the people who were
|> publishing the magazine before now just type it into PageMaker or Quark
|> instead of MSWORD... So from a social point of view it is a problem. What
|> to do with all those film planners and pre-press workers? Retrain them of
|> course... But retrain them as what?

Monotonous manual labor should be automatted. It is a disserve to people to
have to perform the same task over and over again for the rest of their lives.

The workers can retrain to whatever they want. They may have lost a job they
"loved" but when it falls to advancement.... Its either adapt or parish.

|> > It's no
|> >different than having the help of tools such as a hammer or a plow.
|> They're very big hammers and plows...
|> >But let's get to the point. Let's go back to the Good Old Days (tm)!
|> I have never said anything about the "good old days". Clearly we can't go
|> back to the "good old days"... But we have to consider realistically where
|> we are heading...

Lets see space travel, establishing colonies on other planets, etc,etc.
sounds pretty fun to me....

|> >Why not remove all the technological devices that are taking up our time
|> >and attention these days, and simplify, simplify, simplify. Let us turn
|> It might be forced on us... Many things could happen. Our technology
|> depends on oil, the computer chips have to be manufactured, it all
|> requires the economy to be stable... If the economy crashes and we can't
|> get the computer chips any more where would we be?

Ahh the eternal question of "What if?!." Sorry there are too many avenues..
Chips materials change, you assume they never do. Oil yes that is an issue but
people are started to look at other avenues of power. The gas combustion engine
is based on the worst source of energy. It is time for a change(ah oh,
technology advancement oh my).

|> >the clock back to before 1400 or so when this whole modern technological
|> >mess got started.
|> >Yes, let us revert to those good old days when half of all children died
|> >before the age of seven.
|> Your language is very colorful and emotive and I understand your point.
|> But I suggest today we are not in a better position. The same "emotive
|> language" can be used to describe the hellish life many of people face in
|> our big cities. Not everyone is comfortable. There's the pollution, the
|> noise, the violence, the murder, the stress, the traffic jams, the
|> unemployment, the poverty, the homelessness...

That is the choice people make. They can move. Life in the city is not that
bad. I have done it. Some people maybe faced with that, but there are avenues
to get out!

|> > Let us return to an age of greater equality,
|> >for did you know that even the nobles and kings of the time ate less well
|> >than the poor of America today?
|> That can change too. You have to have rain to grow your food... Even if
|> you eat meat there has to be rain to grow the food for the animals. What
|> if the rain doesn't come? What will you eat then? How will your big
|> tractors and computers help?

again "What if?!"

|> >Let us go to an age when people did not
|> >know about sanitation and people constantly died of infection. Let us go
|> >to an age when people were often hungry, since there was a famine every
|> >*decade*.
|> Some people knew about sanitation and infection... Study the Vedic culture
|> of India... [and even now if you visit the small villages you will not
|> find many problems... The problems are in the big cities...]

I am glad you have said some. I would ask that clarify your contries. You
have mentioned big city and know I am getting the impression you are talking
about "lessor developed" countries....

|> There are still hungry people in the States. Lots of them! You may not
|> have noticed but I spent some time staying in the Hare Krishna temple in
|> Brooklin and there are plenty of hungry people living on the street there.
|> I don't think they are more comfortable than the people you are talking
|> about... And there could be MANY more of them in the future... (the
|> original poster was talking about Social Welfare creating a "class" of
|> people dependant on society... But science has created this...

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Science did nothing to create this!!!!!!!! Business
created this. It was men who made the decissions to do this. You are blaming
the tool and not the man who is using the tool!

|> If you stop
|> the Social Welfare just imagine what would happen. New York[and the rest
|> of the States for that matter] would become a very uncomfortable place
|> indeed...

Again "What if?!" you have to retrain peoples ethics. My mother was a divorsed
woman with two children in a time where it was considered unthinkable. She
never did the welfare thing. She refused. She worked hard in learning a
profession(nursing) and survived. We suffered yes. I know what it is like to
have barely enough to eat. But we are beter people for it. That appreciation

|> And as the trend continues more and more jobs will be done by the machines
|> and more and more people will be on Welfare... How long can you afford to
|> pay them all? And what happens when you can't?

There are plenty of jobs. The service sector is the fastest growing industry
around. Just look at all the miny malls that are popping up.

|> >Banish the printing press, so that all may go equally
|> >ignorant;
|> Mostly, nowadays, the printing-press is used to keep them in ignorance.

You made a mistake. How many people actually read.... I think you meant the
"idiot box" known as TV.

|> Don't banish it though. Use it to print spiritual literature, to give
|> people knowledge about the real purpose of life, to engage in the service
|> of God...

Why just God? There are many more things than that. Science, literature, poetry,

|> > the electric light, so that we may restore darkness to its
|> They had so many other sources of light...
|> >proper position; the assembly line, to restore incredibly slow and
|> >inefficient production; and the modern sewage system, so that we may return
|> Mostly the assembly lines are producing useless rubbish people have been
|> convinced they "need"... We need food, shelter, clothing. These things can
|> be easily obtained if one has some land, some cows and bulls and grains.
|> Building materials can be collected from the land, the bulls can be used
|> to plow the fields, grains, fruit and vegetables can be produced from the
|> land and the cows can be milked. You can keep some sheep and grow some
|> cotton for clothes... And all this can be done with much less stress and
|> strain than modern society...

Yes and no. Some people are meant for this kind of life and that is fine. Man
was made to be an explorer. We have forgotten this path. We need to rethink our
ways and start exploring the oceans and space(wow jobs would be created by this).

|> >>Of course this is a great credit to the intelligence of the scientists but
|> >>has anyone given a thought to the direction we are going... the
|> >>consequences of such a policy... Everything automatic, everything
|> >>computerized and everyone unemployed!!!
|> >Hey, this is not exactly a novel idea. Get thee hence to a history book,
|> >wherein you should read about the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, and
|> >a group of people known as Luddites. People have often thought that a
|> >given new invention meant the End of the World (tm), but time and time
|> >again they have been shown to be wrong. (These inventions include the
|> >printing press, the factory, the railroad, the atomic bomb, the computer
|> >...)
|> Yes... They've just been working up to it... Now we can do it. We have the
|> technology...
|> >Besides, I'm not unemployed. Hey, I've even had jobs before in the
|> >computer industry, which, in case you hadn't noticed, accounts for a lot
|> >of jobs in modern industrial societies.
|> Yes. I was in the computer industry too. I used to develop commercial
|> applications in COBOL... But have you met many COBOL programmers lately?
|> Things have changed. Many of the systems we were developing then could be
|> wipped up in a few minutes using todays tools... Have you seen Delphi from
|> Borland... They've almost eliminated computer programmers too...

Well that is a supply and demand thing. It has been said a COBOL programmer is
a "dime a dozen" Take a look now. Main frame programmers are no longer needed.
The workstation industry is booming. My company which is small to medium sized
has had opening for about 30-40 programmers for 5 months now....

|> Thank you. Hare Krishna!
|> Madhudvisah dasa Swami
|> (
|> Quotes from His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
|> (c)Bhaktivedanta Book Trust