This site uses the lens of historical materialism to explore the impact that the Rise of the Robots will have on our familiar socioeconomic structure. A lot of websites address the issue of a post-capitalist society but this specific approach yields novel (dare I say, profound ? ) insights into the nature of this transformation. For example:
- The revolutionary force which overthrows the capitalist system is not exogenous; it is endogenous, arising from conflicts within the capitalist mode of production itself. The Rise of the Robots makes this obvious.
- Increasingly popular appeals for a universal basic income, if adopted, may lead to a dystopic nightmare if the underlying structures of capitalist property rights are not concurrently addressed.
- An alienated society is the single greatest threat to the free development of civil society; it allows all other threats to flourish.
- A future post-capitalist society will look very much like the present because it will emerge from the existing order and will be constructed with materials already at hand.
[All these subjects are explained in further detail throughout the site.]
There are, of course, many more insights that could be added to this list but these are the most pressing. If you take away nothing else from your visit here please do not let these slip. These issues are inescapable and will only become more pressing with the passage of time. This is our opportunity to shape the world we’ll pass to future generations. So much depends on getting these issues right.
To that end this website features four main sections:
The first section provides an overview the rich history of thought on this subject and examines popular modern interpretations. Previous “eroding foundations” theories are examined in an attempt to understand why they failed. Alongside these ideas I will present the historical materialist perspective for your consideration.
The second section, titled “The Rise of the Robot Economy,” provides evidence of the progress and distribution of general-purpose, disruptive technologies. It’s a “still don’t believe this is really going to happen? Check this out…” section. I’ll also introduce a little bit of economic theory, from both orthodox and heterodox traditions.
The third section, “Slouching Towards Dystopia,” is concerned with the possibility of “missing the mark” and producing a disastrous, dystopic outcome. Subjects ranging from the dangers posed by too-rapid social change and unbridled technological advances, to the attempts of the current power structure to retain hegemony, and the propensity of alienated individuals to conform to authority, are all explored. Schumpeter once stated that the heir apparent of capitalism is socialism. Here we question that assumption. It may just as likely be neo-fascism if we are not careful.
The fourth section, “The Excellent Situation,” sees the social upheaval of this time as an opportunity for progressive advancement. The title is taken from the Chinese aphorism, “There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent.” This section reinforces the idea that the new ideological superstructure of society must correspond to and complement the newly transformed technological base if society is to function properly. Although I love ideological flights of fancy and visions of Utopia as much as anyone, this section focuses on really existing political and economic models as bridges to the post-capitalist society.
I hope that the ideas presented here will generate a vigorous debate, and that by reasoning together, we will produce something of lasting significance. So please, join in the discussions; your contribution to the dialogue is greatly appreciated and may prove invaluable.
Much of the site is still “coming soon,” but there is enough here to give you some idea of where this project is headed. You may find it helpful to check out the ABOUT pages for each section found in the main menu to get a quick orientation to each section.
Thank you for visiting. I hope you find something of value here.