POST-WORK POLITICS FOR A POST-WORKER AGE

POST-WORK POLITICS FOR A POST-WORKER AGE

Much has been made of trade protection of late since a certain brand of liberal populism is now en vogue in our country. Thanks to the likes of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and the ALP, we think it worthwhile to discuss the idea of a protected economy.

The main impetus behind this protectionist rhetoric from the populist liberals seems to be a mix of cynical, vote-hungry dog-whistling by Bill Shorten of the ALP and hokey nostalgia for the “old Australia” by the likes of senators Pauline Hanson and Jacqui Lambie.

Nationalists are not given to nostalgia and wishful thinking: those habits, in our experience, coupled with populist doomsaying and negativity merely lead to despondency and ennui.

The loss of heavy manufacturing from the economy is one of the talking points in play and while the mass layoffs involved have hurt the working classes and small businesspeople, the reality is that, from a Nationalist point of view, the subsidies given to foreign multinationals such as General Motors, Ford and Toyota are both politically and economically untenable.

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In the not-too-distant future automation will mean there’ll be plenty more time for redundant workers to get the shit beaten out of them by android police officers with nothing special to do

Now, we have some ideas as to how protected industry might be re-established in Australia, for the benefit and advancement of the Australian people; our plan would involve, obviously, a winding back of free (sic) trade and the phased introduction of embargoes, or heavy tariffs on certain goods.

Nationalists are not given to nostalgia and wishful thinking: those habits, in our experience, coupled with populist doomsaying and negativity merely lead to despondency and ennui.

Could we not, for example, place an embargo on the importation of hybrid, fuel cell powered and battery electric vehicles, then apply a regime of subsidies to an indigenous Australian manufacturing and supply chain for a range of practical low emission vehicles for the local market?

Obviously, there are other examples, renewable energy systems and other politically “desirable” commodities; certain high-value foodstuffs; farmed seafood products and so forth.

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Don’t worry about nothin’, comrade, the Hal 9000 won’t try to kill you

Approached in the right way a regime of trade protection could fulfil the dreams of the greenest voters, the economy could be transitioned from the 20th-century model to a clean, green, “future proof” system.

As political creatures, us Nationalists always have an eye for the main chance, killing two birds with one stone is always a good idea; jobs for the workers and a drop in polluting emissions to placate the more bourgeois types. Well and good, everyone wins; but not so fast!

Many reputable analysts predict that automation and robotics will dramatically alter the way we work in coming years. Some say that in the new economy of the 2020’s as many as 5% of jobs will disappear altogether and some 60% will be fundamentally altered by advances in technology.

Approached in the right way a regime of trade protection could fulfil the dreams of the greenest voters, the economy could be transitioned from the 20th-century model to a clean, green, “future proof” system.

Put into the context of this article that information suggests that even if total trade protection were implemented across all industries, that even if heavy manufacturing were to return the new factories might be almost entirely automated.

In fact that very scenario occurred in India in the middle part of the last decade, that country was regarded as a “Tiger” but even though substantial manufacturing work was shifted from Japan and Europe to the sub-continent the largely automated factories, such as the Suzuki plant in Haryana didn’t give the boost to employment expected of an economic boom.

While the manufacturing worker may be a dying breed, replaced by robots, the middle tier office worker is expected to bear the brunt of the rise of expert systems and so-called artificial intelligence.

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The post-work age sheeple will have plenty of Rollerball to distract them 

It is expected that the way data is collected, analysed and re-deployed will see the greatest change due to automation and robotics, that all the information hoovered up by corporations from the internet will be filtered and assessed by computer software, rather than the human mind.

As interesting as the prospect of a largely automated workforce is we, though, are merely humble political dissidents, workers who had the benefit of a quality state education and who can string a few words together; we are not market analysts or economists.

Nationalists are interested in the socio-political implications of the new economy; how will politics work in a post-industrial, digitally connected society where fewer and fewer people have meaningful, full-time work to occupy their time?

While the manufacturing worker may be a dying breed, replaced by robots, the middle tier office worker is expected to bear the brunt of the rise of expert systems and so-called artificial intelligence.

Few enough people in the world of 2017 trust government, the media or institutions like trade unions and churches; political participation, when compared to the 20th century is basically at zero and falling.

Rather than join the chorus of empty vessels and empty heads on the liberal populist side us Nationalists will seek to find the new politics for the new, “post work” society.
How does a movement for democratic change such as ours motivate an atomised, geographically scattered army of individuals, who may only have meagre financial resources from part-time work and who are held together only by the common thread of social media?

These are the heavy questions which must take precedent over nostalgia, populist rhetoric or doomsday fantasies; even if we were to return to the protectionism of old in its exact form, it is clear the way many of us work and conduct our business will be fundamentally and forever altered by the rise of the robots.

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Nobody could have predicted the era of robot depression