Boldly Going Where Star Trek Has Gone Before

It’s kind of interesting how wage stagnation has forced companies to become more productive (in order to sell a cheaper product) and in doing so have made wages remain stagnant and even worse, labor lax, perpetuating the problem.

A friend wrote: “We are entering an interesting time in human history, government supply of jobs is a necessity with technology replacing jobs so quickly.”

I love going back to Star Trek replicator technology. It is the absolutely most awesome piece of technology in any science fiction setting we have ever read or watched, but it’s not thought about as much. Replicator technology is the ultimate in cheap production. It is the most productive piece of manufacturing tech imaginable.

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/File:Coffee_replicates_then_mug.jpg

A replicator malfunction causes the coffee to replicate before the mug.

With a replicator, there will never be a need for anyone manufacturing, not even robots. We will never want for anything because the price of replication will be near zero, if not zero. All it takes is energy, which by the time we have that kind of technology, will be cheap and easy to come by, and waste matter. We would be living in a world with an incredible level of productivity.

In the Star Trek universe, there is a lot of leisure time because of this. People work, but mostly for the advancement of society and not for personal advancement (money). There is no need for money.

We still live in a society where we do need money, though. We still want things. As productivity rises, we can choose to either have more leisure time or we can increase macroeconomic activity using whatever means we have (monetary/fiscal) and ensure that we maintain the same nominal growth trend we had before that productivity increase.

So people can take a long vacation, if they can afford it, or work in whatever jobs are available. We haven’t bothered making sure we maintain that growth trend, though, so the jobs aren’t available. We can’t blame productivity alone for this need for monetary/fiscal policy. Jobs being shipped out to low cost regions is a good thing, but we still need to make up for that gaping hole in available jobs so that those who cannot afford leisure can continue working.

That’s what people don’t get about productivity increases: it’s great, as long as people still have jobs. We can have both, but the power elite are choosing to not make it happen.

I wager it’s because they like weak labor. They don’t want to see wages increase as they must, even though it would actually benefit even the wealthy if our wages increased. With those wages, we buy their cheap garbage.

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