By James Mellen
In a world that is becoming increasingly posthuman, the automation of production is going to decimate the workforce for everyday people. I believe that the implication of automation will bring the Liberal right to property ownership to its logical conclusion, and incentivise the revolution of the Proletariat.
Any and all rights have logical conclusions in which they lose their validity, while we are given a right to free speech, for the sake of the many that right needs to be limited when an individual calls for, advocates for or justifies genocide. While you are given your right to bear arms, in the name of the many no one individual is given the power to bear the atomic bomb without democratic process. Property rights are no exception to this rule and the logical conclusion to their existence therefore fits the criteria that an individual’s right to property ownership causes enough harm to the collective that the individuals must be stopped.
Automation is the tipping point in the net gain for society in regards to the ownership of private property. When the working jobs are replaced by machines then the bourgeoisie will be able to profit without needing to compensate the working class for our production. The Smithian self interest of the owners that keeps them providing bread for the working class is the opportunity to profit from the surplus labor that the workers produce. With automation there will be no incentive for the bourgeoisie to provide our scraps to compensate us for our stolen labor. If the bourgeoisie own the majority of the wealth in a country and have no incentive to share it, then they will have the power to commit genocides or to kill as efficiently as the atomic bomb.
When there is capacity and means in the system we live in for one person or a group of persons to completely own production, to completely decide who eat and who doesn’t, when it is no longer only the means to exploit but also the means to control completely then the rights to own property will have reached it’s limitation and there will no longer be a moral justification for them. Humanity has spent decades speculating the damage that technology could do but the real cause of damage has always been the owners of that technology.
Pierre Joseph Proudhon once said that to be a wage-laborer was “ to know no stimulus except your daily bread, and the fear of losing your job”. The exploitation of the proletariat is therefore twofold for the bourgeoisie; first to profit off of our surplus labor and second the decentivize the revolution of the proletariat. What keeps capitalism working as a system of production is not simply the ownership of the means of production by the bourgeoisie, but it is also the compensation (and more over the wage theft) of the proletariat for our labor cultivating this production. Despite its inherent injustices, the compensation that the proletariat are given for our labor is what prevents us from revolting against the bourgeoisie. The fear that the bread we are allowed to “earn” through our lining of Bourgeois pockets is going to be replaced with poverty is the fuel for complacency that allows for the injustices of capital.
Therefore what will happen when automation becomes the system of labor that produces? Machines do not require to compensation for our labor and therefore will slowly but surely make the human laborer obsolete, and if the human laborer is obsolete then humans will stop being employed, and if humans stop being employed then they will stop cease to be compensated. When the workers stop receiving our crumbs for the labor they produce then they will truly have nothing to lose but the our chains.