Gwynne Dyer on the Future of the World – “what you do not want to end up with is a future that looks like Bladerunner”

Gwynne Dyer on the Future of the World – “what you do not want to end up with is a future that looks like Bladerunner”

Summary:
– military historian & former naval serviceman in 3 navies
– automation will eliminate work – how to put real money in people’s pockets
– discusses the US rust belt states & the betrayal of workers in the economy – employment & wage stagnation /declines in real wages in manufacturing
– official & unofficial unemployment rates are discussed – in particular the discrepancy
– simplest thing to automate is assembly line jobs & this has been occurring since mind 1990s
– scapegoats – “evil foreigners”, but what about the role of American capital?
– jobs are no longer going off-shore (which has been occurring since the late 18th century) – the jobs just do not exist any more
– “re-shoring” – jobs that once went off-shore are now coming back – just the number of jobs coming back have reduced by 90%
– there is an estimate he cites at 47% of existing US jobs will disappear in the next 20 years due to automation – I.e. the old full-employment industrial society is going
– cars – electric cars are common in Europe & increasingly in China
– he thinks they are bound to be dominant – they are easier to make than internal combustion engine cars (the bugs of which have only been “ironed out” in the last 25 years)
– UK & France are making petrol cars illegal by 2040
– this will have implications for the oil producing nations such as the Saudis & Russia – the market for oil will collapse
– will there be implications for Islam
– self-driving cars: should see a reduction in the number of cars – based on Uber model – used when needed – only 1/4 of the current number of cars should be needed
– he says this will have implications for human drivers / transport industry
– retail jobs are in jeopardy
– shopping centres/malls – closing in the US
– will new IT-based industries need people?
– leaving work / losing work – from well-paid, regular hours to zero hour contracts, low-paid work until you “age-out” & are unemployed [the new trajectory]
– UBI – Universal Basic Income – a “possible rescue” for an otherwise “grim existence” – comfortable lifestyle, but not lavish – free to take work – if there is any to obtain – guarantees no starvation or begging; no humiliation of losing work (not seen as “a loser” – like the old age pension – no humiliation; it narrows the gap between the rich and the rest – it is available to everyone)
– he believes the anger in society is due to the gap between poor & rich
– is it affordable?
– money for nothing? People do not like this – unless there is a good, plausible reason
– will it allow more time for looking after others
– note: the economy – 7 million jobs lost in the US in the last 25 years while at the same time, industrial output has doubled & wealth in the economy as a result
– UBI – acceptance of it as a concept – is a process & will most likely only be accepted when the number of people unemployed in a society is a majority
– as he says – what you do not want to end up with is a future that looks like Bladerunner
– he says it is an extension of the welfare state concept

& what about democracy itself? Given the state of crisis besetting it – is it up to the task?
– worldwide phenomenon
– he does not think the last 250’years – the democratic project – is finished
– he believes mass communications has changed everything
– he notes even the worst dictators pay lip service to democracy & hold elections
– are humans democratic in their nature?
– ape ancestors – drives for domination/submission
– humans invented civilisation & egalitarianism going back 40,000 years
– we have intelligence & language
– individual dominance – we may strive for it, but equality is the more prudent option & is infectious once obtained
– reverse dominance hierarchy
– the socially lower band together to overthrow the dominant dictator (hunter/gatherer society)
– tall poppies are cut-down

– he believes the top issue facing the world is climate change – he says we have 5 years – before climate impacts are locked in with outcomes likely in 30 years

Source: ABCRN | conversations | podcast date: 19 September 2018

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