Totty on the tick, or should it be on the sick?


Michael Winning

Dr Gabb, our resident armchair sexual-psychoanalyst and observer of what they bloody bureaucrats gets up to with your moneys while your back is turned, commented here I expect about what I’m going to talk about. Here’s another link to the story, which has broken in 2 or 3 places today. Look, I’m sure it’s not nice to be disabled, or we’re supposed these days to say @differently-abled@ aren’t we, but if an ordinary old thug can’t claim his visits to the local brothel off his rates, then why should the diabled be able (sorry) to?

And it looks like Legiron got to the story before we did. He called it Free Sex for cripples, not sure we’d get away with that here, but he’s Scottihs I think!

Some chappy called Liz something or other said that “sexual relations and gratification is a basic human right”…try telling that to Gulag inmates.

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45 responses to “Totty on the tick, or should it be on the sick?

  1. There’s lots of things I don’t want the State spending my money on. Frankly, a bit of a bunk-up for the disabled is very low on that list. And, at the risk of going all PC, I’m sick to death of Libertarian Bloggers (not you Michael) thinking Libertarianism is some kind of excuse to be nasty. Cripples, spackers, etc, coming out in the “commentary” on this. It’s not big, and it’s not clever, people.

    Libertarianism is a great philosophy for those who can look after themselves. It always looks weak dealing with the unfortunates- young children, the insane, the senile, the severely disabled. In a total free market it would be very difficult for somebody severely spastic or severely mentally handicapped to support themself. I think often about what the answer to this might be, and I don’t know.

    But really, as things stand, I feel far less upset about my tax money going to disabled people than to quangocrats and other immensely rich parasites. In this regard, I am somewhat Marxist in sympathy, in that I would happily take our current bourgeoisie, load them into an oil tanker, sail it out into the middle of the Atlantic, and sink it.

    So, in summary, this story is a moral panic “spending our money on whores” thing, and I personally don’t mind some poor disabled bugger getting a blow job at my expense. There are worse evils committed by the State with my money every second, allowing the continued existence of Ed Balls for instance.

  2. I mean thinking about it, if I got to be Libertarian prime minister tomorrow, I’d probably follow Dr Gabb’s prescription of slashing the entire state, closing the BBC, and so on, except I’d increase the Escorts For The Disabled budget, just to annoy Harriet Harman and the Fawcett Society.

  3. Ian B, if you want to donate money to an ‘escorts for the disabled’ program then good for you, but please don’t expect me to contribute to it through my taxes.

    Frankly, when tax funded bureaucrats start talking nonsense about how sexual gratification is a ‘human right’ then we need to slap them down sharply. That sort of strange mindset is infecting our society leading to a lot of people to think they have the right to a lot of things, all at someone elses expense.

    That’s not big or clever either.

  4. I agree with Ian B. It would be a big step in the right direction if all our tax money went on buying sexual services for the ruling class and its clients.

  5. Well actually, the more I think about it, the more I want the last taxes ever extracted from us spent on that old, leaky oil tanker.

  6. The solution to this basic problem is a Guaranteed Basic Income. If Classical Liberalism had implemented this, we would have saved ourselves a raft of Statist troubles.

    Tony

  7. How do you guarantee a basic income without expropriation?

  8. To be fair, some expropriation with clear limits to its growth may be better than vast appropriation limited only by the need to avoid economic collapse.

    I’ve never bothered thinking much about basic income proposals. They look rather like Georgism or financial reform, or even Keynesianism.

  9. Sean, even if we throw our libertarian principles to the wind and support such an idea, it fails on the “clear limits to growth” problem. Inevitably, once there’s a “basic income”, the pressure to raise it every year would be immense and it would rise year on year.

  10. What are the objectives here? As I understand it, the finance used by these few disabled people to engage in sex comes from a fixed budget per case, so if the money was not spent on this it could be spent by the disabled person on something else. Consequently, banning its use on sexual services would save the tax payer precisely nothing.

    If we seek to enable the disabled to live as ‘normal’ lives as possible, this presumably would include the choice whether or not to visit a sex worker. The disabled, I would suggest, are as likely to have sexual needs as everyone else, but less likely in many cases to be able to deal with them by forming conventional relationships. Each will know their own needs better than anyone else, and it may well be that a sex worker will achieve more in aiding the disabled person achieve greater normality and confidence than many other goods or services on which tax payers’ money is spent from these individuals’ budgets. If it does, then this surely means good value for money for the tax payer.

  11. Regardless of anything else, sending the disabled off for assisted showers in Amsterdam is a better use of our money than killing foreigners or hiring more pigs. If there was fair chance that the money saved would be left in our pockets, I’d get up and moan about sex on the rates. Since it’s a question simply of how the money will in any case be spent by the ruling class, my vote is for the assisted showers.

  12. Actually, I think I am persuaded by IanB’s second comment here, and also his first. I think Michael has perhaps over-reacted to a Daily-Mail thingy sort of thing: probably designed to produce this predticatble OTT reaction. I guess that “Escorts for the disabled” really does not matter much in the overall context of what is being pissed away by the real GramscoStalinists.

  13. I can’t, really, see anything wrong in the disabled being able to be helped to have whatever kind of sex is possible for them. I was initially on Michael’s side here, in that I cried “FOUL!” when it looked like public funds are given to some of them to be able to “indulge”, when nobody would even begin to think of doing that for me and whatever my unfulfilled sexual desires might be.

    But as Sean said, if it’s choice between giving money to the Ruling Class, to spend how they see fit, then this is possibly a very non-destructive objective.

  14. C H Ingoldby

    So, no one here sees the implications of public officials making statements that ‘sexual gratification’ is a ‘right’, with the direct implication that such a right should be the responsibility of the State.

    More and more things become ‘rights’ and all these ‘rights’ demand satisfaction by the State. That is how the State grows and liberty is strangled.

  15. C H Ingoldby – if somebody who is unemployed, for example, saves up, he/she can presumably visit a sex worker, no questions asked. What is being dealt here, however, are persons who frequently require reasonable support and enablement in the implementation of their lawful decision taking. For them, I believe that enablement is a right in a civilised society.
    As British, of course, having no constitution (aka an unwritten one) we have no rights save those Parliament inadvertently left behind when it last met. It says so on page minus 2057 of our unwritten constitution, in plain white on white.

  16. C H Ingoldby

    So, stephenpaterson, you believe that ‘enabling’ peoples sexuality is a right in a civilised society. Ok, but that is a completely non Libertarian opinion. BTW, where exactly are all these ‘rights’ derived from?

    From a Libertarian point of view, peoples sexuality is no business of the State at all.

  17. C H Ingoldby – I did not state that “that ‘enabling’ peoples sexuality is a right in a civilised society.”

    I stated that “What is being dealt here, however, are persons who frequently require reasonable support and enablement in the implementation of their lawful decision taking. For them, I believe that enablement is a right in a civilised society.”

    We are not talking here about state interference in persons’ sexuality. We are talking about enablement. It is the Daily Mail, the writer of this post and certain others, including yourself, who are inferring the need for interference. Presumably you’re all for sitting back and allowing the disabled to remain frustrated?

  18. C H Ingoldby

    Right stephenpaterson, i thought we could have a reasoned discussion but straightaway you have shown yourself to be dishonest.

    You did write that enabling disabled peoples sexuality is a right, those words are there, to deny it makes you a mendacious and dishonest person. You are a liar.

    ”What is being dealt here, however, are persons who frequently require reasonable support and enablement in the implementation of their lawful decision taking. For them, I believe that enablement is a right in a civilised society.”

    I also note that you completely ignore my question as to where these ‘rights’ derive from.

    As for your question about ‘being for’ sitting back and allowing the disabled to be frustrated. I have no problem with disabled people seeing prostitutes, i just don’t see why the taxpayer should be picking up the bill.

  19. I think you two might be at crossed purposes. As I read Stephen’s post, he’s saying that enablement of the disabled is a right. It would thus follow from that that if sexual contact is a need, it would be a part of that right.

    To use an analogy, some disabled persons require assistance to go to the toilet. If you take the view that helping disabled people to live a reasonable life is a responsibility of society (I am not saying it is, or that it is not), then helping them go to the toilet would naturally become part of that responsibility. You would not have a specific “right to be helped going to the toilet”; it would be a natural part of the general care of that disabled person.

    Should care of the disabled be a responsibility of “society”? There’s the issue. Many libertarians would say that it should be left to family, or voluntary charity. If I were caring for a disabled relative, in a purely private sector libertarian society, I would help them go to the toilet. I would also help them to visit a prostitute if they had no other means of sexuality and desired to visit one, thus enabling them to live as normal a life as possible.

    We do not live in a libertarian society. The duty of care has been accepted- or claimed, take your pick- by the State to a significant degree. In so doing, the state may find itself helping a disabled man to find sexual relief, as a private carer would do in a libertarian society. There are no grounds for treating this differently for any of the patient’s other physical and psychological needs.

    You can argue against state support for the disabled in general, or in favour of it. But care, once accepted by anyone- an individual, a charity, or the State, has to be inclusive and respond to the real needs of the person being cared for.

  20. Ian B, i do not accept that because the State provides some care for the disabled it therefore has a total responsibility to ‘be inclusive and respond to the real needs’ of the disabled. That is arguing that because the State helps people, therefore it is totally responsible for their lives. I could argue that the State has a responsibility to act as a carer of last resort to the disabled, that is very different from arguing that the State has a duty to care for every aspect of a persons well being.

    Many people on unemployment benefit are too poor to afford prostitutes and may be too unattractive to find a sexual partner. By your logic, because the State is caring for the unemployed person, it is the States responsibility to provide prostitutes for those unemployed.

    That is a very dangerous path to head down. I am surprised at the reaction here that so fails to see the problems and implications of a ‘right to sexual gratification’ being propounded by the State.

  21. C H, the cases of the unemployed and the physically dependent are different. An unemployed person is simply in temporary distress; under normal conditions, i.e. off benefits, they can afford a prostitute and, indeed, if they save their pennies can probably afford one on benefits, and nobody will be any the wiser.

    A dependent disabled person- and I’m talking somebody here with profound, permanent disability- not some stereotypical workshy scrounger on the sick- is in a permanent state of dependence and will always need somebody to support them and assist them. So they really are different things.

    So by “my logic”, a healthy unemployed person has no right to “special needs” under any system. You just give them some money to keep them going, either by voluntary charity, or from insurance payouts (the libertarian preferences) or, under socialism, from the State. A disabled person’s life needs become inevitably a problem for their carers- family, charity, insurance, or the State. They aren’t going to get better, unlike an unemployed person. Neither is their condition their own fault, or anything they can do anything to fix.

    So this isn’t about some general “right to sex”. It is about how society, or individuals, or “we” wish to care for the disabled. You can give an unemployed person a bare minimum, or nothing at all, to encourage them back to work. You can’t apply that to those who are intrinsically dependent.

    Getting away from sex; I would not for instance, as a charitable individual, want to pay for holidays for unemployed people. But for disabled people, I would be happy to, for the reasons given above. When somebody cannot escape their condition by any means, one simply has to be kind if one has taken responsibility for them. Libertarianism has something of a problem in giving good answers as to how the permanently dependent can be supported. That’s an interesting and useful discussion to have. But for me at least, answers that are based on “a bare minimum of sustenance, but no fripperies” aren’t very good answers at all. This is nothing to do with some generalised right to sexual gratification, because those with the capacity for independent action can get it for themselves, either through relationships or paying for it. A person with a lifelong financial dependence on some other agent cannot.

  22. Ian B, making a distinction about who is physically unable to look after themselves is a start, but i would remind you of the many millions who are officially considered to be ‘invalids’ by the social security system.

    As for the needs of the disabled, i think a reasonable case could be made that the government could be the last resort provider of support. It could provide minimal support as you so disparagingly put it and then anyone else who wants to help would be perfectly welcome to. There are all sorts of organisations, associations and groups out there, let alone friends and families.

    The idea that if someone is disabled they should be a complete ward of the State and have every need provided for by the State is both unnecessary and a disturbing principle.

  23. Those are good points CH. There’s a distinction to be made though between how we would like things to be, and how they are. Currently we live under a system of state philanthropy. It’s not socialism in the commie sense, it’s the Victorian Philanthropic Principle, enacted by the State. I despise that more than words can say, but that’s what we’re dealing with.

    Under Libertarianism, everything would be different. The State would not be there to bulldoze private sector solutions out of the way. At the moment, everything the State does- disablity care, health care, education- has been reduced to a private sector rump by the mammoth “free” State alternative. So to imagine a Libertarian alternative, we have to imagine all the variables changing; charity on a totlally different basis, non-cartelised health insurance and other financial schemes and, come to that, a vibrant sex industry with brothels equipped for special needs clients publicly operating and competing :)

    My greatest hatred of the State comes not from its theft from me (hate that as I do) but that it destroys alternatives, and by doing that stops people helping themselves, and helping each other. I fervently desire to live in a Libertarian society. But I don’t.

    As such, under the system we have, these people are dependent on the State. I simply find it hard to begrudge them a little pleasure, when there are so many more worthy targets of libertarian ire.

  24. Ian B, i don’t begrudge these people the pleasure, that’s really not my point. I appreciate what you say about the organisation of the State and how we must work with reality rather than what we wish were the case.

    However, i think there is still a point that is very important here. The State has decided that sexual gratification is some sort of ‘right’ and has taken it upon itself to fulfill that right. In a sense the State is taking over disabled peoples lives, not just providing care for them but directing and controlling there most personal and private matters.

    Certainly, let the State in its present form give disabled people care and some money. If any of those people then choose to visit a prostitute then they can, at their own expense as it were. Of course some assistance might be required for travelling to and from and such like, but it would be entirely a matter for the disabled person to decide for themselves.

    Instead, we have the State expanding the definition of ‘rights’ which automatically equate to an expansion of the State to meet those ‘rights’, coupled with a control and direction of the disabled people, we are seeing the Nationalisation of private lives.

    That is a dangerous precedent and principle, that ‘rights’ can be simply conjured up out of thin air and then used to justify ever more government control of peoples lives.

  25. Howard R Gray

    Isn’t it something to do with slopes and slipperiness? Grant one positive right to be human or animal, then where do you stop? It is an old trick, find a hard case, say some sort of disability, declare they need extra help then dip into someone else’s pocket to pay for it. Label anyone who disagrees with this policy as hard and mean, one more trick out of a very old socialist bag, then pick some poor fools pocket via his tax return and redistribute as per your particular socialist whim.

    There are infinite possibilities of putative positive rights that might be conjectured, free sex aids and bird seed for crows in the park are among a few that might garner support. The problem is that some form of social burglary has to be committed somewhere to pay for positive rights. At what point do you draw the line?

    Charity functions on one fundamental principle that is giving with consent, not by imposition or sequestration. The only moral way out of this one is to recognize, in a high tax society, even infinite taxation won’t cover all human wants, reducing and abolishing taxes might put more money back in people’s pockets to choose to spend it as they wish. Charity is only possible with disposable income; social burglary will reduce the impulse to give both in money or physical assistance.

    Human rights are very fragile entities, add a pinch of political correctness and soon the concept becomes ambulatory from basic negative rights to be left alone on the one hand, to massive peculatory schemes more akin to robbery or burglary on the other. When was the last time you got a job from a poor man? Tax the rich you soon find that there aren’t any jobs. Granting open ended rights to positive gifts, at the expense of others, will soon collapse the structure of wealth creation. Since when did dead mythical geese produce golden eggs?

    Human rights only exist if they are enforceable, for many in this world it is a luxury to live in a place where basic rights are enforced. Positive Human Rights are a bane as there is no limit. If on the one hand you grant basic liberties then proceed to grant positive rights with infinite calls on resources sooner of later force and dissention will follow as to where the margins and limits are to be defined. Positive human rights are predatory. The basis of negative human rights is to prevent predatory government power over the individual not encourage it.

    The idea of a human right is more academic than real for most on this earth. The right to housing is a point in issue favoured on the left. What are we talking about, a house or a mobile home? Perhaps all should be housed in replicas of Buckingham Palace? Dream on!

  26. The origin of positive rights is in justice, and the origin of justice is fairness. “Socialism” is ownership and control of productive resources by the State, and has little to do with justice or fairness. Most ‘socialists’ want a society where people can have what they want and do as they like. They share this orientation with most libertarians.

    As for propertarian laissez-faire:

    “The toad beneath the harrow knows
    Exactly where each tooth-point goes.
    A butterfly, upon the road
    Preaches contentment to the toad.”

    Tony

  27. Intelligent machines will increasingly do the work, at prices that no worker could live on. So we had better work out how best to ensure that people get a Guaranteed Basic Income, or the economic and social systems will break down.

    Henry Ford visited his car factory with Walter Reuther, head of the Autoworkers Union. Ford gestured towards the production lines and said: “Walter, one day all your workers will be replaced by robots!”
    Reuther replied: “Maybe, Mr. Ford, but robots don’t buy cars…”

    Tony

  28. What you’re missing there Tony is that every working hour displaced by a machine is a working hour available for some other productive effort. That’s where you get economic growth from. Your argument would claim that tractors, by displacing agricultural workers, will destroy the economy. In fact, it freed those workers to go and make and do other things, thus creating economic growth. That’s how the free market functions. Nowadays, hardly anyone works on the land, and a bloody good thing that is, for all of us.

  29. “How do you guarantee a basic income without expropriation?”

    How do you guarantee any _particular_ system of property rights?

    The people own the country. They choose the raising of revenues and disbursement.

    Tony

  30. Ian B:

    Increasingly, machines can displace every kind of worker, at rates that no-one will be able to compete with. We’ve never had this problem before. It gives us the opportunity to recreate Ancient Greece without the slaves. The polar alternative is immiseration and starvation on an increasing scale.

    Tony

  31. I don’t know if I’d care to live under Pericles.

    One way of looking at it is that as production rises towards infinity, prices fall towards zero.

  32. C H Ingoldby

    The idea that machinery will simply replace people is Luddite nonsense.

    As nations deindustrialise services have risen, standards of living have risen. Economies are most certainly not based on the output of machines in factories, that view was outdated when it was held by the Bolsheviks in 1921. To use that false idea as an excuse for the State control needed for ‘minimum incomes’ nonsense is a backdoor to State tyranny.

  33. In China, right now, machines are replacing people on production lines. Intelligent machines will increasingly be able to do almost anything. They already do, from landing planes to surgery. Automated courts will make lawyers redundant. For a few cents an hour. Good luck if you think you can compete with the price of electricity.

    Prices will tend towards lower levels because fewer and fewer people will have incomes to spend.

    This transformation is already happening: we are not making much progress in meeting the challenge. To say it again: intelligent machines are new, and present novel problems. Luddism smashes the machines in a vain attempt to halt programmes. Hopefully, libertarian reformers will use the machines to set us free. Free of bosses; free from going to crummy jobs we don’t want. (95% of Brits are in jobs they don’t like; and the Tories want to force everyone into jobs no matter how unsuitable or repellent.). Too many “libertarians” want to reduce the power of the State while increasing the power of the boss class. No future worth having in that, you’ll find.

    Tony

  34. C H Ingoldby

    Tony Hollick, your scenario simply doesn’t mesh with reality.

    The idea of ‘intelligent machines’ replacing law courts and surgeons is not even remotely on the horizon. All better machines are doing is freeing people from drudgery.

    Japan is pretty much the most mechanised society on the planet and they are suffering a labour shortage.

    I would compare you ideas to science fiction, but that would be unfair to science fiction, which is at least predicated on some plausibility.

  35. Howard R Gray

    One tiny problem with machines doing it all is the Luddite response as Tony Hollick points out. The problem is how to distribute the wealth to those who don’t or won’t work. That wasn’t quite the problem with cottage industry weavers and their resistance to factory textile production methods. The weavers cottoned on to the idea that they would be phased out and replaced by unskilled labour, a rather nasty change in their perception of the fabric of their own reality. This is the core of the problem about human beings. If we don’t work or are not “needed” then what?

    Will robots, cyborgs, and androids have humanoid rights and a right to a fair days pay? Perhaps we will all be shareholders of intelligent machine companies (slave owners?) rather than feudal copyholders, or is it the same old thing slavery by the back door, except that sentient machine minds won’t have rights since they can’t “feel” that they are being expropriated or exploited and that will be OK for the rest of us?

    The distribution of the largesse of fecund production is a very volatile issue. Socialism created wonders, such as the dole, to pay people to “not work” and look how well that idea turned out? Theodore Dalrymple has catalogued the underclass, created by social justice freaks, bent on some mythical heaven on earth, paid for out of some else’s money. Substituting a class of bosses, with the wealth of many modern nation states, does not solve the problem either; it merely moves the goal posts. Corporations are often socialistic mini dictatorships that have little incentive to share the wealth.

    Perhaps, the rich will do as they always have done, sponsor solutions to create fulfilling ways to improve human life. While it is in every ones interest to solve the problem, don’t look to socialism for any answers here, it isn’t going to cut it, they tried their ideas, trust me, they don’t work…ever! The problem is way too subtle for any collective solution. The reality is that there will be many solutions to the need to create relevance for human beings; it will be as much about art as about science in the process of generating a range of solutions.

    Freedom, liberty, free trade and natural progress, whatever you want to call it, will encourage the invention of ways to deal with these issues. It isn’t impossible to solve human relevance and continue to make life worthwhile. Until we actually face these problems, real solutions will be scarce as the need isn’t there yet. If you are optimistic you won’t worry about these eventualities, if you are a pessimist you might want the government to solve the problem now, like global warming and look where that gets us! Only clever, and probably unborn, minds can figure this one out. Take a leaf out of Alfred E Newman’s rag “mad Magazine” “What me worry”?

    I don’t know the answer, but I believe there is one. Much like Julian L Simon, what appears to be a problem with resources running out, turns out to be no problem at all. Human fulfillment and novel arrangements have yet to happen. I trust that they will.

  36. It is simple in principle even if the application to human affairs is complex because of our inherent dishonesty.
    Tony is mostly correct, and why not? The machines set us free from the drudgery. A right to work is a false goal. Who wants a “right to work”, in truth. All one wants is food, clothing, shelter, etc, to various degrees of luxury, thus an income. (Puritan morality might dictate that one ought to work for it. But that is the issue of morality/guilt, not reality).
    Technology sets us free. Some of us can move on and do other things. But if the machine has taken 100 jobs, and production has remained the same, what is the problem. Let the work-freed workers have the money. Or not. It’s not the problem. If the state people stopped stealing about 50?, 60?, 70? per cent of the wealth to distribute to the PC faithful on various extreme luxury, there would be lots to go around, and all this would not really be too much of an issue.
    But I am sure the solution would not need to be directed, enforced or empowered. If, very simply, the false protections afforded to fraud, deception and theft were lifted, the natural balance would restore us to a very happy and wealthy state of affairs.
    We do not need to make anything happen. We simply have to stop enforcing fraud. Lift the enforcement of evil.
    How does one do that without force?
    Simply by rejecting coercion.

  37. Surgery is already being mechanized. Very successfully.

    Have a look at the Court Service’s Money Claims Online (MCOL) for illustrations of how civil claims are being mechanized. It’s increasingly impossible to keep up with technological advance.

    Tony

  38. Surgery is most certainly not being mechanised.

    You appear to be substituting your what you wish were true for what is true in your belief system. The fact that technological progress is thankfully moving ahead and that people can fill in forms online does not mean that people are being replaced by machines.

    Interesting article in todays paper, wage rises in China due to labour shortages are a concern to the government.

    Stop with the Luddite shit, please.

  39. CH Ingoldby, perhaps you tend to impute your assumptions/prejudicies to what other people say.
    Perhaps something different is actually being said?
    The world does not have to be forced to see sense.

  40. John B, when i see that what people are stating is FACTUALLY incorrect then that is not my ‘imputing’ anything.

    Fact number one : Surgery is not being ‘mechanised’ or automated in any way at all.

    Fact number two: Wages are rising very rapidly in China.

    Nothing to do with prejudice there, those are facts.

    As for not ‘forcing’ the world to see sense. What a pointless comment. What is the purpose of discussion if it is not a process of attempting to see sense? Would you prefer it to be merely a process of self reinforcing of pleasant delusions? If that is what you want then i am not going to cooperate with you.

  41. Who is suggesting that any technology be smashed up?
    Why the reference to Luddite?

    Further, it is my experience that all one has to do for truth/reality to triumph over lies, is simply to present the truth. One does not have to “fight for the truth”, or ram it down anyone’s throat, as such.

    Truth presented dispels lies, as light does dark. It takes no more force than presenting the facts.
    Sure, some people may try to stop you dispelling their lies, and may use force in the process against which you make have to stand firm.

    But no force is needed to present the truth.

    (PS, we had this discussion something over a year ago! :) )

  42. The most useful thing that history tells us is that future prediction is usually very wide of the mark. People extrapolate the world of today into tomorrow, and get it wrong, hopelessly wrong.

    What we do know right now is that we are not running out of work-to-be-done. We know that because most of the world’s population is much less wealthy than it desires to be; thus that there is a very great desire for increased productivity. In this type of economy, machines thus do not “put people out of work”; they free people up to be more productive.

    If at some future point, and I hope it comes, the productive capacity of humanity actually does exceed demand, then people will simply work less and the oft dreamed of “leisure society” will arrive. Say’s Law. The economy naturally balances. If people are out of work, it is because they haven’t turned their hand to producing something that somebody else desires. That is all.

  43. Ian:
    And if everyone’s got all they want? Or if one cannot work out what to provide?

    But, as you say, the future turns out differently than we can one can imagine from the present.
    I suppose if there is more than enough to go around then it will cease to be a “scarce resource” that one has to fight over. And it will just not be an issue. Working for a living might cease to be a relevant concept?

  44. oops, sorry: than one can

  45. I track the advance of the mechanization of joint surgery. Don’t take my word for it: ask the BMJ.

    It’s pointless telling people to find goods and services to provide when these are already provided at little more than electricity prices.

    China has a vast reservoir of peasants making $350 a year or less.

    Tony