Monday, 7 March 2016

Cruise Control

They are going to carry out a trial with driverless lorries on British roads. Soon. Ten-truck, computer-controlled convoys will take to the M6 in Cumbria and if the trials work out the job of ‘lorry driver’, as has happened with so many blue collar jobs, will go the way of the wheelwright and the cooper. Once were factories and fields teeming with workers who needed no skills other than the common human ability to copy and carry on. The future appears to teem with technology replacing people and throng with ever more humans without means of making a living.

Oh sure, we’ll all become programmers, controlling the robots, except that even parts of that job is already being done by the machines themselves. Remember the Three-Day Week? Under the last days of Ted Heath’s government the industrial base of Britain was compulsorily reduced to working just three days a week from the start of January and into the first week of March 1974 to conserve fuel. This was brought about by miners working-to-rule and was indicative of the fear in the country one year before the first EU referendum; back then the Common Market offered some hope of being free of the union stranglehold. No wonder Labour swept into government on the gamble of a promise of a vote to leave. And no wonder the unions were all for pulling out.

Times change, and how. But one thing that hasn’t changed was the prospect of men being displaced by machine and what would we do when it happened? Job-sharing was seriously considered, effectively doubling the jobs available and offering a life of leisure supported by a mere three working days a week, but of course, only half a wage would be due. Back then, a labourer could support a family of two or three children on a single man’s pay packet without direct assistance from the state. The power of the unions in negotiating pay deals was demonstrated when in 1974 Labour increased miners’ wages by 35% and then again – another 35% - in 1975. The source of that power was their ability to withdraw labour – no wonder management wanted/wants more machines.

There was once some dignity in manual labour – a hard day’s work for a fair day’s pay. But those days are gone. Now we have broken unions, a glut of the low-skilled, with subsistence reliant on the ‘charity’ of higher-rate taxpayers. Nobody earning less than £30k even pays in tax their own simple share of the burden; the ruinous cost of the state is what it is largely because of the economically sub-optimal. If you won’t countenance population control then you have to consider how long we can go on like this. The national debt will never be repaid in your lifetime – at what point will we just throw in the towel? At what point will those who truly fund the economy ‘go Galt’ and abandon Britain altogether?

The EU has exacerbated the population problem but at least we have the Channel (for now). The French of course, are terrified of a Brexit because then they will be left to pick up the funding gap, so they are threatening to actually load the inhabitants of the Calais ‘jungle’ onto ferries headed for Britain, who will be under no obligation to take them, but will anyway. We seem to be incapable of preventing the rush toward a future where ever increasing numbers of economically functionless people rely on a dwindling pool of net taxpayers; a socialism where everybody gets progressively poorer.

The EU Juggernaut rolls on...

It is hard to imagine that this is the intention of the EU, but it is where their policies and intransigence appear to be leading. By the time the union is abandoned as an insupportable failure, the whole of Europe will have been lost to a ruinous idealism. We must get out before it is too late, while we still have the tiniest chance of wresting back control. Driverless lorries seems an apt metaphor for the unelected leaders taking us down the road to ruin.


  1. We have had the Luddites and the levellers the doom sayers still and even as technology has advanced and taken jobs away it has increased them much faster by opening up other opportunities. Maybe there is a limit to how far technology can progress and the same will occur.

    Normally I would say that it is limitless except the prospect of AI that can not only do our work for us but our thinking as well makes me less sure. In fact it could be that when that situation comes about we will become superfluous and even a nuisance and thinking machine will terminate us.

    1. You only have to look at the numbers enslaved in non-jobs, made-up jobs and forever on welfare to see how the population is unbalanced in comparison to the needs.

    2. These non and make-up jobs and welfare is what society has decided to spend the nations surplus wealth on. You and I may believe that it is unwise to do so and that the surplus measurement is wrong and so we are grossly overspending. In our estimation it has to be because we believe taxes are too high and some of that surplus has come from heavy borrowing and those jobs and welfare are there because of mostly social problems self inflicted.

      If AI does take over then the majority of us will be in non and made-up jobs or on welfare because productive jobs will no longer be there.