Thoughts on economics and liberty

The industrial age is over. The robotic age is upon us.

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The last 250 years were the industrial age. The next million years will be the robotic age.

I'm speaking an economist now, not as a student of science. There is a fundamental restructuring of the economy underway as we speak.

Of course, countries like India have now missed the bus. I don't see ANY chance of India's catching up with the West in the future.

a) Its political parties are socialist or busy fighting on grounds of religion.

b) Its 'educated' people have no interest in creating a classical liberal party. The policy "window" for India is now shut (barring a miracle).

c) Its governance cannot change – given its entrenched bad policies. It will only worsen and get more corrupt, leading to more unrest and violence.

d) Its average national IQ is 85 and shows no sign of improving given its policies and refusal of the "upper" castes to eliminate caste. This low IQ leads to the inability of most of its population to grasp basic concepts. 

e) The manufacturing world is moving rapidly to robotics and there will no longer be a comparative advantage in cheap labour available to India. That window is now shut. Industry is rapidly moving back to the West.

A book project: The Glorious Abundance and Creativity of the Robotic Age

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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4 thoughts on “The industrial age is over. The robotic age is upon us.
  1. Rakesh Pujari

    Hello Mr Sabhlok,

    I wanted to bring your attention to a very interesting concept called “The Venus Project”. I have known about this initiative since a long time now, and recommend you look into it and kindly provide your comments.

    I feel that this concept is very closely linked to your blog article, in the aspect that it talks of an age where all the menial, repetitive and unskilled jobs would be performed by robots, with humans free to pursue their passions/interests/hobbies to the best of their capacity, in a world where technology is used for building radically different cities from those today.

    However, this concept also talks of the abolition of the monetary system in society as we know it, which they believe is at the core of corruption, greed and crime in the world (however, from what I have studied of it, it is NOT akin to a utopian concept like Communism).

    So, do you feel that this concept is too idealistic, or is it something that is actually feasible?

    Rakesh Pujari.

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Rajesh

    I’m an economist and study markets. The idea of a non-monetary economy is incompatlble with ANY progress, including robotic progress. The robot entrepreneur needs profits to motivate him to produce robots. By removing money, any economy will revert to the stone age.

    I’ll review this when time permits, but at first glance this seems to be irrelevant to my study.


  3. Shravan

    If you do not like caste system you leave hinduism, we NEVER HAVE and STILL DO NOT ‘MURDER’ human beings if they do not believe in our Gods/Saints. Like California produces start-ups India produced and still does produce new religious/spiritual movements. Stop ‘reverse obsessing’ over caste! Yes it is entirely possible to believe in the caste system and yet be a supporter of liberty. I just need to respect a ‘lower’ caste persons choice to unfollow Hinduism, that is all.

  4. Prakash

    I’ve seen plenty of suggestions like the one Rakesh has linked to on the net. The idea is that of the Zero Marginal Product Worker, after automation advances. (You could google ZMP on Marginal revolution) These could be even the high IQ worker in a space that becomes automated next , like the need for developers reducing as more companies move to packaged software, but are generally thought of as low IQ workers.

    The idea is that employing them doesn’t work in a capitalist scenario anymore. They simply cannot compete against machines. There is nothing they can do that will outweigh the communication, coordination and supervision costs (economists recognise these as the limiting factors for Ricardo’s law of comparative advantage)

    Quasi-socialist ideas are generally the most suggested ways of handling this. You could check out Manna by Marshall Brain, a short story, or the book, “lights in the tunnel” by Martin Ford. Ford has a more nuanced way of looking at this, can’t really be said to be outright socialist.

    I am yet to make up my mind on what is the correct response. I have a couple of ideas, but would like to hear what you have to say in this regard as well.


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