Lab-grown meat could feed the world. Renewable energy could power it. Automation could save us from mind-numbing jobs.
But only if capitalism is replaced with a form of communism that deploys these technologies to the benefit of the many. At least, that’s the argument in a new New York Times op-ed, where author Aaron Bastani makes the case for what he calls “fully automated luxury communism.”
Workplace automation is a polarizing issue. Many warn that replacing employees with robots will be disastrous for the displaced workers. Others, like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez say that, with the proper support systems, automating menial tasks could let people better enjoy their lives.
The latter view mirrors Bastani’s — he argues that with a bit of imagination, people could develop technology in the near future that would help eliminate hunger, disease, and global warming. Yes, the technology would also eliminate jobs, but the right social structure would mean that people are still provided for.
“We can see the contours of something new, a society as distinct from our own as that of the 20th century from feudalism, or urban civilization from the life of the hunter-gatherer,” Bastani wrote in the NYT. “It builds on technologies whose development has been accelerating for decades and that only now are set to undermine the key features of what we had previously taken for granted as the natural order of things.”
READ MORE: The World Is a Mess. We Need Fully Automated Luxury Communism [The New York Times]
More on automation: AOC: Automation Means “More Time Enjoying the World We Live In”