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Jacque Fresco - Technology & Unemployment - Dec.12, 2010

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You know the book 'End of Work'? -Rifkin? -Rifkin, yes. Jeremy Rifkin said: "Madagascar.... Certain islands produce vanilla flavor. It's one of the most popular flavors for ice-cream and candy. They get about $25 a pound for vanilla but it takes a lot of nurturing and work." A scientific group began to make vanilla synthetic vanilla, same atomic structure. They can make it for about $3 a pound versus $25. That's going to wipe out all the island's survivors the farmers, you understand, in Madagascar. It's going to wipe out all those people. There are always people that think they won't be wiped out because they're the managers. Japan is making program managers that program sequences of car production. They get all the workers together to work as a team and they move the machines at a certain speed. Then they pick it up a little to get the guys working faster. The guys complain. If they complain too much, they're canned. They keep running the machines faster until a person slows up. When he slows up there's a light that blinks at his station so the other guys say "Pick it up!" There's a lot of stress in Japan, emotional stress because they work them continuously; they order them. It's team work and they love the company and after hours, they have company dinners and affairs. The worker hardly ever sees the members of his family. Years later, after they retire they usually degenerate because they've been worked to the limit. They have no hobby, thinking or anything else and they're lost without the company. Do you understand? There are psychological problems. (Intv) The company is like their 'family' more than their real family. - Yes, the company pushes and shoves to see how much it can get out of them. What you have to remember is that the company will not succeed unless it's faster than General Motors better than Toyota. You know what I mean? They can't. The whole world today depends on how efficient your production is. If you have machines doing most of the work then the help has to be like computer programmers. They all make recommendations and they familiarize all the workers with every aspect of production. They are 'generalists' in the automobile production field, not in thinking. Their devotion to the company is like a mother. Without that mother, they'd have no jobs. There's new organizations forming in Japan that try to counteract that, but that doesn't bring any money to Japan so it won't be too successful. You can't counteract something unless you bring something new. (Intv) They don't give many social services over there either, do they? -They do have some. The Japanese that have been laid off and those affiliated with good will and all that to a limited extent. Japan doesn't have the social services the US has, yet. When they get laid off there is no future. There's nothing they can study unless they study computer programming and they have a hell of a lot of computer programmers in Japan. Do you understand? The programmer operates the sequences whereas the foreman used to do that. He used to say "The wheels come on. Now they go to painting." Now the computerized program does that. The guy in charge used to be in the front office. Now his desk is right in the shop next to the working man. They dress like the working man; they wear the same clothing and that's to make them feel that they're all one. American engineers went to Japan to study their system and they're installing it in America. That's what 'time-and-motion people' are. They get more motion out of people in less time. If you assemble certain things using a straight assembly bench if you bend it, all the parts are nearer and so you can assemble things faster, but you don't get paid more. Do you know what I mean? So 'time-and-motion men' are also engineers who try to get the most motion in the least amount of time out of most people. As their job is to get to do that, their job is not to benefit people. There should be psychologists to study stress levels and stop [it] at a certain point. That does not help the company, do you understand? That's why they don't have psychological fatigue studies but we would have that because that means more hospitalization. If you don't have fatigue studies the company doesn't pay for it, the worker pays for it so that's his problem. If he gets sick or has a nervous breakdown and has to go to a psychologist or to a hospital. The company does not study that because it doesn't do them any good to find out what the level is. I think it would do them good, but they don't understand that. All they have are charts of production levels. If it goes up higher, whatever the production line is that's getting that high mark called exponential curve. They try to put that on all levels. Japanese companies do not share ideas with other Japanese companies but they do welcome visits to their plant and people make notes and walk away with the same thing. The supermarkets (I don't know if you notice this) don't have all the cashiers working. They have certain aisles open and they put more load on the girls, [it's] tabulated. They have new machines that measure the phone calls that the help makes while they're on the production line. If a phone call runs over a certain amount of time, it's noticed. It's printed out so the executive managers of the supermarkets know how much time you spend on the phone, even though it's your family. If you take more than four days off a year, they tend to can you. When I say capitalism is inefficient, it hurts itself because the more people you lay off eventually they won't have the money to pay taxes or buy the products. Do you understand what I'm saying? If you don't you're supposed to interrupt me. Capitalism was OK maybe a hundred years ago because we didn't have any other systems, but it's socially offensive today. People have higher stress levels, most normal people because their company tries to get them to take their work home and think about it. (intv) But you've been around a while. Would you say stress levels...If you think back once, 20 years ... -Even among the executives... (Intv) Let's say when you were a child, do you think back and remember if people had just as much stress then as they do now or less? -They had less because they weren't laid off as much. Today you work for a company, you get laid off and you look for the same job again and it's gone. Automation is being installed very quickly and the rate that automation is being installed is going up like that. It isn't a slow, long curve. If they build automation plants you don't need heating in the winter because machines don't need that. When you've got humans working there, you need heating daylight and electric lamps. You don't need that with machines. You also have to give a little insurance on the working people. You have to have a nurse and a first aid station. You don't need that with machines. With machines it's called 'lights-out manufacturing'. A factory could be dark, as long as it's automated. That's why... Human systems go on strike, they smoke they go to the bathroom, they fuck off which is all normal but with machines there's no fuck off. They work hard all the time and make no demands. If I say we're moving toward a machine world it isn't a wish that I have. It's a natural direction of technology. An engineer's job is to tighten up systems and make things work better. The engineers don't know that they're hurting other people. They say "Well, why don't you become an engineer?" until they get laid off. Until you have a...You have a monitor in a supermarket that works with a cashier that measures the time. If a person calls up and says "Are you having any specials on beans today?" If they spend too much time on the phone, they're moved out and so their phone calls are monitored. The more you know about people and their bank accounts the more you know that we're going to have a good business year if a lot of people have savings in the bank. Banks do monitor what you buy and how much you withdraw and how much you put back in. The more banks know about you (there are certain things they're not supposed to do that are against the law) but their lawyers say "Well listen, we want to know whether a person is an agitator, or a communist"... The more information you get on people: their savings, habits, hobbies the more you know about them, the more you can predict. What science is about is predictability. You know if you go hunting Wednesdays you're going to catch more deer than Sunday because everybody's out there hunting on a Sunday Do you know what I mean? If you keep a record of that you have to do that for yourself in order to catch a deer Does that make sense? If you share your idea "Always go Wednesday because it's least crowded" or a guy says "Instead of taking Saturday off from work I'm going to work Saturday and hunt Wednesday because there's more deer." He doesn't tell everybody in the plant that because everybody would do that. Self-interest hurts the majority of people but it doesn't hurt the person who's involved in self-interest. That's why most people stick to what they know. Because when you tell them there's another way it doesn't do anything for them right now. Do you understand that? That's why they're not interested but if the system continues to lay off people they're going to be forced to be interested. Let's say (I hope it's not too late) that the environment is so badly damaged and people are so badly laid off and so hungry that robberies will go up. If you cut out the support structure if they can't get a job and you cut out payments then crime will go up whether they hit you on the head and take your wallet or break into your house. It's more efficient for criminals to work as a gang rather than trying to rob a bank alone: have one guy outside looking around one guy setting a building on fire three miles from the bank to keep the police occupied. That's called 'strategy for bank-robbing' instead of you just going in with a gun saying "I want your money!" Banks are now installing very heavy laminated plate glass so that even if you point a gun at the teller she has a foot pedal she presses that rings an alarm at the police station that means there's a robbery underway. They're not allowed to install a trap device in front of the cashier. When she presses that, the robber falls through the trap door. It might accidentally go off and they'll sue the shit out of the bank. They're not that accurate yet, but I can assure you when they are they'll install them. It becomes more difficult to become a criminal with all these cameras around the banks. Should the banks put the cameras in? If they want to survive and don't want to be robbed every day they have to do that, and their insurance is less. Did you know that? If you put fire sprinklers in hotels your insurance is less so people put them in. They don't put them in for your benefit. You've got to remember that if you get sentimentally attached to any system including the one where you're an engineer and you make things faster... Engineers do not concern themselves with working people and say "Look if they were smart enough, they'd be engineers." But until the engineers get laid off... That's why Veblen wrote a book called 'Engineers and the Price System'. He explains what will happen to engineers and he says "You are the guys that make everything happen! You ought to be in charge of society" but no engineer thinks that way except in the early days of technocracy. A lot of engineers joined because they knew by reading Veblen that eventually, they will be replaced.

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes and 38 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: The Venus Project
Views: 344
Posted by: ltiofficial on Jun 4, 2011

Jacque explains the different ways in which Technology affects society and the negative aspects of monetarism in this relation.

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