The Hidden Danger of Workforce Automation

June 17, 2021

Just like global warming, the steady march of work place robotics should instill immediate concern in the public. The World Bank estimates that, within the next twenty years, up to 57% of the world’s jobs face the prospect of automation. Where’s the outrage? Not in America, where one Pew Foundation study found half of its participants realize that automation will probably do most or all the work done by humans in the next fifty years. Why isn’t this issue at the forefront of every election? Like the melting ice-caps, the danger has arrived, but the entirety of the damage has yet to be felt.

One man, Justin Wolfe, sees that robots operate as nothing more than tools for the wealthy and seeks to change that for good when he runs for President in 2024.


woman interacting with robot

Yet there’s a bigger, but concealed, issue than the loss of jobs. It’s no secret that the level of public and private debt in the global economy has soared higher than ever, and only growing larger. Why does this matter? In the United States — the largest holder of debt in the world — the public sector carries over two-thirds of the debt, which ends up being dumped back into wasteful spending. If you removed the debt “growth” from the picture, you’d see the economy continues to shrink. Why? There’s not enough demand in the economy, a widely agreed upon fact.

What’s happened to the demand? For starters, over 60% of the economy hasn’t seen an increase in their income in nearly fifty years. Such stagnation comes largely from the dramatic increase in automation of the past few decades. On top of that, robots don’t get paid and therefore fail to produce demand. Simply put, they don’t wait in lines for the new Apple phone or go on Amazon shopping sprees, people do. And since robots don’t spend in the economy, they suck the value of work out of the economy.

At some point, inert income and automatization of the world will strip the economy so bare that no amount of debt growth will be able to save it. The likely result: an irreversible shrinking of the economy and a potential worldwide economic collapse.

“Robots are not cute. They are coming for your job, unless we do something about it.” — Justin Wolfe


robot in crouched position

Yet the most important question remains. Why, in our age of super-advanced technology does our economy fail to grow or help the poor? Our economic system continues to be run by banks and has always been rigged in favor of the wealthy. Technology represents yet another tool the prosperous are using to rig the system in their favor. Ironically, the rich will get richer initially, but as the customers they depend upon become robots, their wealth will implode. They will decry such statements as theoretical and events as remote. If that’s so, then ask: how come the global economy continues to shrink with the only apparent growth being small accelerations tied to short-lived stock market bubbles?

“Don’t let them fool you: An economy that benefits everyone is the only economy that works.” — Justin Wolfe

Until we decide to make the economy benefit everyone and not just the wealthy, it would be in the best interests of the rest of us to resist the rise of the robots.