Labour, Automation and Transition

Forward Movement advocates the establishment of multidisciplinary teams as pivotal to the transition process. These teams will emerge in their earliest forms when employees band together in their workplaces to organise themselves independently of authoritarian management. We can begin taking steps now. While some advocate a complete boycott of society’s corrupt institutions, these workplaces of the world house all the advanced tools necessary for constructing a post-scarcity economy, as well as capable and cooperative workforce.

But with such a focus, are we now guilty of placing labour at the centre of things, rather than automation? As Jacque Fresco said “Think of technology as the extension of human functionality”. No matter how automated data and material processing and delivery becomes, what sets it all in motion is labour at some prior point. So to put automation at the centre we must first put labour at the centre, then we may use our labour in seeking to automate such labour in turn.

The first task of these workers is simply to continue work in the usual collaborative sense, but having democratised the process of management as multidisciplinary teams should. In many crises of history, workers have done just this, and in doing so have turned the crisis around. Once they secure this, they will certainly be motivated to reduce their workloads, of course, so any suggestion of increased automation will naturally be adopted without debate. Maximal automation will come as a matter of course once workers are in charge of their own labour-power.

Most of employees’ roles today are either completely unproductive or produce nothing in actual need. Workers will not find satisfaction in doing such work so it will discontinue it. By organising on an inter-workplace level, workers can reorientate towards productive roles, doing away with brokers, bankers, debt collectors and such. Factories workers will only be interested in making useful things, such as the hardware and software needed to further automate other workers’ roles.

Our economy is illogical not because people don’t know any better and need someone to show them a better way, but because of the subservience of the employee to the employer and the subservience of all to the money sequence. We can rid ourselves of money and the need for extensive labour only by first ridding ourselves of the wage system. Everything our employer owns, us workers created, we are the ones deserving a say in how it is used. In unity there is strength to stand up to the boss, so get organised. Workers, unite!

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