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Old 01-10-2012, 11:18 AM
Untoward_Parable Untoward_Parable is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 656
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
So the hyper-rich slaughter billions of threatening unemployed people. And how are they hyper-rich better off after they murder everyone? OK, they have their automated factories that can produce whatever goods and services needed, so they don't need the useless proles. And now what? They aren't any better off. And now they aren't hyper-rich anymore, are they?

Because to be "rich" you need to have a better standard of living than the guy next door. When the aristocrats kill off the peasants, they aren't aristocrats anymore, even if they have the same luxuries as before. Now the peasants are dead, and everyone on earth is a hyper-rich owner of an automated factory. How is that different than just allowing the peasants to own automated factories?

Again, automated manufacturing means that the marginal cost of production drops to zero, which means that the value of owning an automated factory drops to zero. Take a look at how products are produced nowadays. Some guy or some firm comes up with an idea for a product. They set up a factory in China. The factory churns out millions of widgets. But how much wealth stays in China? The majority of the profit goes to the designers. And this is because the factory has no leverage. If the factory tries to claim a greater share of the profits, then the company will just find another factory in another part of the world to produce the widgets.

In other words, the factory itself adds almost no value to the product. Of course somehow somewhere the company needs a factory to produce the widgets. But since the manufacturing itself is dirt cheap and a small fraction of the cost of producing the widget, the location and owner of the factory doesn't matter. The factory owners become the equivalent of day laborers who get orders to produce such and such and get paid a pittance, because there are plenty of other hungry factories who need the work.
A certain number of the poor would be kept alive for use as prostitutes, artists, informants, ect. Mostly though you don't want a large, conuming, polluting, potentially revolutionary population around. Being rich in this context will be to have one's individual desires and ambitions multiplied many times by robot labor. Though many of this new humanity would not consider themselves rich but perhaps some kind of destined minority of perfect citizens in a grand new era of democracy and prosperity.