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Automation replacing humans in the big US factories is a given because of the businesses' burden of providing health care, pension benefits etc

It is a very poor way of looking at automation. Automation should be looked at entirely from flexibility. It allows flexibility with manufacturing, ability to incorporate changes, avoid errors, etc. Price is not the only factor.


Whatever the reason for replacing human labor with the labor of automatic machines, the problem remains of what to do with the redundant part of the labor force. Should it be left to starve? Should the government support them in some way. Just who is the government that should support them: the taxpayer?

In the extreme case, when all workers have been displaced and the president each morning turns on the factory, and turns it off again at quitting time, will the population of former workers be given a guaranteed annual wage? Who would provide that wage, and why would they do it? Or would they be retrained for non-existent jobs? Or would they be abandoned to riot or starve? Was Ned Ludd right after all? No matter what is done, who would earn enough money to buy the output of the fully automated factories? No one? And if no one, why not just shut them all down?
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