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notes

Williams, A. and Srnicek, N. (2016). Notes. In Williams, A. and Srnicek, N. Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work. Verso, pp. 201-271

230

For example, recent fast food strikes brought forth numerous predictions that raising the minimum wage would lead to automation. Given how deplorable these jobs are, we consider their automation an unambiguous positive.

footnote 161. i actually take issue with this because they don't go into the negative short-term (or even long-term) effects for the workers themselves but maybe it's discussed in another section? or the reader is supposed to assume that the authors of course care about their plight, but it's just not relevant in the context of a long-term strategy? will have to think about this more

—p.230 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 2 years, 2 months ago

For example, recent fast food strikes brought forth numerous predictions that raising the minimum wage would lead to automation. Given how deplorable these jobs are, we consider their automation an unambiguous positive.

footnote 161. i actually take issue with this because they don't go into the negative short-term (or even long-term) effects for the workers themselves but maybe it's discussed in another section? or the reader is supposed to assume that the authors of course care about their plight, but it's just not relevant in the context of a long-term strategy? will have to think about this more

—p.230 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 2 years, 2 months ago
234

The standard Marxist response to full automation is to point to its ‘objective’ limits by arguing that capitalism will never eliminate its source of surplus value (i.e. labour). But this argument confuses a systemic outcome with an individual incentive, an internal barrier with an absolute limit, and a political struggle with a theoretical tension. In the first place, the individual imperatives are to increase the productivity of technology in order to gain extra surplus value relative to other capitalists. The systemic outcome of this is detrimental for all capitalists (less surplus value being produced), but still remains beneficial for individual capitalists, and will therefore continue. In the second place, the limits of the capitalist mode of production are mistakenly taken to be the limits of any possible change. If capitalism cannot survive with full automation, it is deemed that full automation must not be possible. Such a position makes capitalism the end-point of history, rejecting in advance any postcapitalist possibility. Finally, the theoretically derived tension between increased productivity, rising organic composition and a reduced rate of profit is taken to present a situation that capital will never allow to occur because of its systemic effects. Missing from this account is a political movement that would struggle to push capitalism beyond itself. In other words, the argument that full automation will never occur simply posits that political struggle is ineffective. In the end, such a line of reasoning gives up on every critical account of capitalism, and accepts it as the final stage of history. [...]

—p.234 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 2 years, 2 months ago

The standard Marxist response to full automation is to point to its ‘objective’ limits by arguing that capitalism will never eliminate its source of surplus value (i.e. labour). But this argument confuses a systemic outcome with an individual incentive, an internal barrier with an absolute limit, and a political struggle with a theoretical tension. In the first place, the individual imperatives are to increase the productivity of technology in order to gain extra surplus value relative to other capitalists. The systemic outcome of this is detrimental for all capitalists (less surplus value being produced), but still remains beneficial for individual capitalists, and will therefore continue. In the second place, the limits of the capitalist mode of production are mistakenly taken to be the limits of any possible change. If capitalism cannot survive with full automation, it is deemed that full automation must not be possible. Such a position makes capitalism the end-point of history, rejecting in advance any postcapitalist possibility. Finally, the theoretically derived tension between increased productivity, rising organic composition and a reduced rate of profit is taken to present a situation that capital will never allow to occur because of its systemic effects. Missing from this account is a political movement that would struggle to push capitalism beyond itself. In other words, the argument that full automation will never occur simply posits that political struggle is ineffective. In the end, such a line of reasoning gives up on every critical account of capitalism, and accepts it as the final stage of history. [...]

—p.234 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 2 years, 2 months ago