Luddites and the
effects of automation
There is a general doubt whether it has been Ludd
himself to found this movement. Some sources talk about a person with
a weak mind that has been used by others to serve as a front. Other
sources speak of a person that had a big sympathy with the people.
But this will never be clarified.
We must not forget that in this period most of the work still is menial
work, meaning a lot of workers, and that the introduction of machines
was just downright threatening every workers' existence.
Even now Luddites are amongst us. Persons that are against automation
for fear of losing jobs. Off course thousands of jobs will be lost.
But again new jobs will emerge just because of automation.
The difference is that the blue collar jobs will be lost and white
collar jobs will be more in demand. It is justified for the former
to be afraid of loosing their jobs. And re-education is not for all
of them the way to get a job in the new type of jobs emerging. So
many of them will stay jobless unless economy will be booming again.
Many people think this problem has to solve itself because governments
are not capable to cope with the problem of huge unemployment caused
by the process of automating production processes.
And thus workers will rise in protest, sometime causing riots. And
these riots will be crushed (by any government at all) with much unneeded
At the end of the 1990's this kind of problems will shift to the less
developed countries but not so, in social view, catastrophically
since production facilities are not that dense as in the industrialized
countries. Still many companies transplant their labor intensive production
facilities to countries were labor is cheap and abundant.
Sometimes with violent reactions from the populations involved, sometimes
in a laisse fair, but most of the times out of sheer economical need.
It will take another few decades before the underdeveloped countries
become developed themselves. Like then the world will have a big problem
to solve, and the answer is off course Robots. Still being very expensive
in 2000 but later when more intelligence is built into those it will
be the solution to most social problems.
But with the era we are dealing here this kind
of problems will not occur for another century to come.