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Monday, 15 February 2016 19:26

4th Industrial Revolution May Leave Many Workers Behind

Written by Mark Anderson
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When Vice President Joe Biden made his 10th appearance at the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, to address the forum’s central 2016 topic: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he communed with assorted elitists to salute the coming of age of automation and robotics.

Other top US officials who attended the Jan. 20-23 Davos confab included Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Chief Jack Lew, Attorney Gen. Loretta Lynch and Trade Rep. Michael Froman. They pondered the fortunes of the world alongside British PM David Cameron, Business Roundtable and Alcoa executive Klaus Kleinfeld, IMF madam Christine Lagarde and UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborn, among others.

Be they monsters or saints, the inescapable reality is that the WEF brass largely represent the investor-creditor class, whose self-appointed “mission” is to decide “the shape of things to come,” amid alleged “consent.”

The WEF poohbah is Klaus Schwab of Germany. He described this “fourth industrial revolution” in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations—a collusive policy clique long buoyed with Rockefeller money. The CFR is a “bridge” connecting the most powerful global interests with legislative chambers and executive offices.

Schwab wrote:

“The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution ... It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”

Accordingly, Biden spoke loftily of various technologies fueling boundless “exponential” economic growth, though he lamented the “hollowing out” of the middle class.

This “cavity” lies between the relatively few high-end technological (and some managerial) jobs at the top, and the low-skill service-sector jobs at the bottom — with middle class manufacturing jobs having been automated, outsourced or “in-sourced” to foreign IT workers with US employment visas.

“All of us in this room are probably going to be fine,” Biden reassured the corporate captains, oligarchs, bankers, NGO activists, celebrities and others in the WEF audience. “But we need an environment, in the wake of this revolution, where everyone has a chance to be part of the mix.”

He added: “I am not making a populist case — this is not class warfare,” miscasting populism as mere antagonism toward the rich.

Yet, Biden seemingly sought “shared prosperity” by nudging the audience to look beyond shareholders’ interests and support workers and communities.

But the exploding digital and robotic technologies comprising this automated fourth revolution will undoubtedly displace loads of workers. And that’s largely a bad thing, unless we consider some bold new thinking — something the WEF likely won’t deliver.

Among alternative economic and monetary reforms, “Social Credit” is the only documented system that has pinpointed how to broadly benefit from expanding automation.

Conceived by Scottish engineer C.H. Douglas and promoted by, among others, American academic Gorham Munson, Social Credit recognizes that humanity should not be regimented in a lifelong Orwellian “work state,” and that we’re all heirs to the earth’s natural wealth and to accumulated technological and cultural achievements.

Based upon this inherited commonwealth, Social Credit calls for a dividend, derived from debt-free newly created money, to be regularly paid to everyone in society (to supplement work earnings when applicable, with private banks’ powers greatly reduced), irrespective of whether recipients are employed or not.

The dividend’s amount would be aligned with objective production data to prevent price inflation. Other measures would even lower prices. The dividend fills the chronic gap between the paltry purchasing power on “Main Street” and the far larger and faster compilation of goods and their prices, made all the more mountainous by super-efficient automation. Hence, we have full stores and empty wallets.

Besides, as the world becomes more automated, the economy simply doesn’t require as much human labor as it used to, in order to produce goods. Thus, we need bold measures to survive and thrive.

Our coffee-table magazines and authors like Jeremy Rifkin over the years predicted humans would someday work much less and have more. Under Social Credit that can happen, as automated production increases, so does the citizen dividend, spurring increased leisure time, irrespective of class. That way, all individuals can pursue their life’s passion. (See www.socred.org)

But absent this “distributist” model, the super-rich will corner automation’s benefits and further oppress and displace the lower classes.

Social credit is neither re-distributive socialism (unlike socialism, there’s decentralized production); nor is it monopoly capitalism; rather, it’s a third way that disables the economic leverage with which the few dominate the many.

Albertan Wallace Klinck, a descendant of the province’s Social Credit government that operated in the 1930s, said: “We’ll either devise a sound distributive economy in a free society or we will have imposed upon us a tyrannical system of direct administration—essentially technocratic-dictatorial in nature.”

 

Mark Anderson is a veteran journalist who divides his time between Texas and Michigan. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Reprinted with permission from the Progressive Populist: http://www.populist.com/22.4.anderson.html

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